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Medicare Continues to Dominate Discussion

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Medicare Continues to Dominate Discussion
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Medicare played a big role in the recent special election in the 26th Congressional District. It's an issue that's not going away, as Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle found out at a town hall meeting in the 25th District Wednesday evening.

Buerkle was greeted by protesters worried about the future of Medicare as she walked into Palmyra Town Hall.

"The thought that it would cut so much into what someone's benefits would be," said Dana Alas. "It's so expensive already to live as a retiree."

It's an argument we saw play out in the 26th District. Many believe it's a big reason Kathy Hochul won.

Democrats are tying Republicans to the Paul Ryan budget in Congress that would change Medicare starting in 2022. Democrats say it would become a voucher system. Republicans say Democrats are twisting the facts to scare people.

"It's not fair and it's very disingenuous and it's very unfair to seniors to really try to frighten them," said Buerkle.

Buerkle says she and other Republicans need to clear up the facts about the proposal.

"I think that we cannot educate enough," said Buerkle. "We have to spend in all of our efforts explaining that this is a start for the discussion, it's a proposal, but it is a good faith effort to save Medicare and preserve it."

The talk in political circles is that Buerkle could face a rematch with Dan Maffei, the former Congressman whom she defeated last November. Buerkle has said she does expect to run for reelection, but that it's too early to talk about possible opponents.

"What's on my radar right now is to be the best representative I can be for New York's 25th District," said Buerkle.

If the protest and questions at the town hall meeting are any indication, the future of Medicare is an issue that will be on voters' minds a year from November.

"We don't want to let up," said Alas. "2012 we feel like everyone needs to be on notice that we're paying attention, that these issues are very important to the working class, no matter which party we're in."

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