IAM Retiree Shares Story on 50th Birthday of Medicare, Medicaid

IAM retiree Susan Taylor, right, spoke at a press conference on Capitol Hill commemorating the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid. From left, Alliance for Retired Americans Executive Director Rich Fiesta, U.S. Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

Preserving and strengthening Medicare and Medicaid – government programs that provide health insurance to more than 120 million Americans – is personal for IAM retiree Susan Taylor.

WATCH: Taylor speaks on the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid.

“When I hear a politician say that we should reduce benefits or that we can no longer afford Medicare, I think about what that would mean for so many families, including mine,” Taylor said at a Capitol Hill press conference marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of Medicare and Medicaid.

Taylor’s brother, a truck driver for 20 years, was terminated and forced into early retirement after suffering the first of five heart attacks at age 45. Taylor’s family helped cover his medical expenses and prescriptions until he became eligible for Medicare two years ago.

“If those who want to cut and dismantle Medicare could have seen the tears of relief and joy on my brother’s face when he realized that he no longer had to choose between medicine, food, and a place to live, they would not be so cavalier in striking down this lifeline,” said Taylor, who spent a career working at United Airlines.

A Medicare contributor for 36 years, Taylor has been a Medicare recipient herself for the last three years. She also serves as a Retiree Coordinator for the IAM Retirees in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

“Medicare and Medicaid successfully continue to cover one in three Americans, representing health security for all Americans,” said IAM General Vice President Diane Babineaux. “We must stand up to attacks on these overwhelmingly successful programs.”