BRADENTON -- About 40 rallied Friday in front of the Bradenton office of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, waving signs that said, “Save My Medicare.”
The group, organized by the Democratic Party, was protesting Buchanan’s vote for a Republican budget proposal that would have replaced Medicare, a program operated by the U.S. government providing health care for those 65 andolder, with vouchers and private insurance.
Last month, Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, voted for U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s 2012 spending plan calling for federal budget cuts of $5.8 trillion over the next |10 years and a Medicare overhaul, according to a House of Representatives website.
The protesters stood before his locked office at 2424 Manatee Ave. W. as rush-hour traffic zoomed by.
“I’m 70 years old, and I need my Medicare,” said Ruth Uecker, a retired civil servant who lives on Anna Maria Island.
“We’re here to demonstrate we do not want Medicare demolished.”
She was also concerned that her three daughters -- ages 33, 45 and 47 -- would be left without reliable health care when they needed it as senior citizens.
Bradenton retiree Robert Phillipoff carried a sign that read, “Medicare for Everyone.”
He noted that every industrialized country except the United States has a system of universal health care, saying the United States is just backward.
Medicare, launched in 1964, has been proven to work and should be expanded to cover everyone, he said.
“It has a proven record of effectiveness. It’d be simple to expand a program that works. It’s the most effective way of having good medical care for everyone.”
Asked for a comment about the protest from Buchanan, his communications director, Max Goodman, said, “Just another cookie-cutter attack cooked up by the national Democrats in Washington.”
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.