Sen. Bill Nelson speaks to Hispanic seniors about concerns

Sen. Bill Nelson speaks to Hispanic seniors about concerns

TAMPA — Jacklynn Hurst’s questions about her future grow.

The 70-year-old wonders: What’s going to happen to me tomorrow? Will Medicare be around? How good will my quality of care be?

“Will my children be able to afford to take care of me?” she asked.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, state Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, and a panel of local, federal and nonprofit officials who work with senior citizens addressed these concerns Monday at a roundtable discussion of aging issues affecting area Hispanics. They met at the Town ‘N Country Regional Public Library.

Amid all the pressure to reduce the federal deficit, Hurst and other seniors invited to the event wondered whether Medicare could be carved up.

“There is a lot of fear among senior citizens because they see Medicare under attack in the political arena,” Nelson said. “Let me assure you, you don’t need to worry.”

Medicare will not be trimmed, Nelson pledged, adding “we have the votes” to protect the federal health insurance program. He also told the group about legislation passed over the past decade, as well as planned reforms, aimed at helping caregivers take care of elderly family members outside nursing homes.

“It just makes common sense,” Nelson said. “If you can keep the senior citizen in the home, it’s just a better quality of life. It also saves the government a whole lot of money.”

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