Celebrate Medicare and Social Security’s anniversaries

“Baseball can be described in one word –You never know,” former Oakland As pitcher Joaquin Andular once said.

As we approach Medicare’s 50th birthday on July 30th and Social Security’s 80th on August 14th, we should pause and reflect on what these programs mean to all of us.

If we are lucky enough to continue inhaling and exhaling at 62 years while staying above ground, we all can become Social Security recipients.  If we become ill during our working lifetimes we can be eligible for disability benefits and if we should from the scene our survivors may be able to get benefits on our work record.  We also can get Medicare once we are either 65 or have been on Social Security disability for at least 2 years to deal with our hospital, medical visit expenses as well as possible medications.

We have all these opportunities because Presidents Roosevelt and Johnson  recognized that life like baseball is something we cannot predict.  But if we need benefits and/or services they are there for us.

My union, Local 3172 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) in representing workers at Social Security field offices in Northern California recognizes the importance of these programs and their anniversary dates.

We also realize that every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect when she or he visits a Social Security office.  People should have the option of seeing a living breathing person and not just an internet or telephone application to file for benefits to deal with Medicare or Social Security issues.  We urge everyone to encourage Congresswoman Barbara Lee and her colleagues to keep Social Security offices open.

Social Security and Medicare are the most efficient insurance organizations in the world with less than 1%going to administrative costs.  While all programs except for Disability are fully solvent, we encourage everyone to let Congress know that the programs need to continue as they are and not be privatized or have the human employee element removed from the program.

While former Oakland A Anduluar may not have had perfect grammars, he is articulate enough to recognize that none of us can predict the future and Medicare and Social Security are there for all of us.