Letter: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid vital for Alaska

There is very good reason for all Alaskans to let our senators and representative know how important Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are, not only to individual Alaskans but also to our Alaska economy. 

According to “Strengthen Social Security,” over 78,208 Alaskans were beneficiaries in 2010.

Of these, 49,275 were retirees like me, 12,119 were disabled, 5,164 were widowers, 2,819 were spouses and 8,831 were children.

Of Alaska’s 51,615 Medicare beneficiaries, 42,189 were aged 65 or older. Medicare provided $553 billion in benefits in 2009.

In 2009, 121,290 Alaskans received Medicaid benefits totaling $1.1 billion. This includes 8,504 Alaskans aged 65 or older, 15,428 people with disabilities and $391 million for long-term care, including 470 nursing home residents.

That’s a lot of numbers to contemplate but they are important for every Alaskan to think about and to know what direction Congress is considering for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

During the “cliff” Congressional budget talks, these entitlements must all be strengthened, not diminished!

— Lillian Wilder