Protecting and Expanding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

Our state and nation face a health care and long-term care crisis that affects people of all ages and strains our economy. Seniors do not receive the long-term care they need because it is unaffordable. These costs lead to significant financial stress on millions of families, especially those in the “sandwich generation”— one in seven adults — who are not only providing care to children but also to their aging parents. And while community-based care provides a less costly option than institutionalization and allows people to live independently with dignity, there are still significant barriers that make it difficult for people to remain in their communities, namely, a lack of access to affordable care delivered by a well-qualified and well-paid workforce.

Medicare and Medicaid, cornerstones of our healthcare system. For over 50 years, Medicaid has provided vital health insurance protections to seniors in nursing homes and low-income Americans of all ages. Medicaid and Medicare are especially important in Montana, which is aging at a faster rate than most of the other States in the Union. The 2010 U.S. Census showed that Montana’s 65 and older population was at 13.4% while the United States is at 12.1%. In Montana, Medicaid expansion efforts since 2015 have helped 100,000 Montanans.

Preserve and Protect Social Security. Without Social Security, the elderly poverty rate in Montana would go from 7.1% to 41.8%. We need to protect Social Security as a vital service we all deserve. In Montana, Social Security provides benefits to over 227,000 Montanans. Social Security is earned by over l59,000 Montanans aged 65 and theses hard-earned benefits keep people out of poverty.  

Improve Access to Healthcare and Long-Term Care. Medicare insures more than 227,000 Montanans, half of whom live on incomes below $23,500 per year. While Medicare is essential, the plan doesn’t do enough. There are gaps in Medicare’s coverage including basic dental, hearing, and vision, preventive services that aging people need to live healthy and productive lives. People on Medicare now spend on average 15% of their income on health coverage, which is three times more than younger households spend for health coverage.

Big Sky 55+ will:
  • Support I-185, Healthy Montana Campaign, which contains long-term care services that help seniors and people with disabilities live independently and remain in their homes.
  • Oppose efforts to defund or weaken Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
  • Support efforts to advocate for and create long term care services, and publicly funded home and community-based care where and when needed.