October 13, 2015

Tony Padilla Speaks Up for TARA

An Interview by Tom Herrera – LA VOZ Newspapers October 2015
Herrera: Mr. Padilla as Secretary of the Texas Alliance for Retired Americans (TARA), what is your basic message to interested American voters?
Padilla: TARA is currently fighting to keep and improve benefits for Seniors. We ask politicians from all parties not to dismantle these most important programs that keep Seniors healthy, functional, financially secure, and out of poverty. Here, I am talking about actions to promote, protect and preserve Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and an Affordable Health Care. Our group has been and will continue to fight to preserve these social programs. We ask the community to not believe the propaganda that some politicians invent to try to destroy our programs in order to finance their own Congressional budgets on the backs of Seniors. It is not by accident that Medicare has been here for fifty years and Social Security for 80 years. These benefits are much needed, but the attacks on those programs are not new. Attempts to repeal these Acts have been frequent since they became public Replacing pensions and Social Security with 401(k)s is nonsense and it is a farce. Social Security has a surplus of $2 Trillion. This is enough to cover benefits for twenty-five years or more. It is fully funded by the payroll contributions of American workers. Social Security does not contribute in any way to this nation’s deficit. And now more than ever, these benefits are critical to 50 Million Americans who rely on them.
Herrera: Please explain how Medicare is important to most of us and how it became a program.
Padilla: I got my training in the field representing my membership in the Union and the AFL-CIO. I also attended many professional retiree classes for organizing Retiree Chapters and I learned about the many issues that affect Seniors. These include Medicare, Security, Medicaid, and the general health care for all Seniors including education in communications and geriatric programs. I served as Vice President of the LCLAA which is the Hispanic arm of the AFL-CIO. I am concerned about the Hispanic Seniors who may be less informed regarding these programs.
Herrera: Are we in danger of losing all or part?
Padilla: Although the benefits of these programs can not be denied, not all of our politicians feel the same way. There are over twenty announced presidential candidates for 2016. We have to ask them to commit to continue to improve and expand these important programs as a part of their platform to protect Seniors.
Herrera: Of the announced presidential candidates which appear most friendly to the needs of the older citizen. Does one party or group seem more committed to our benefits?
Padilla: Many Republicans want to weaken these senior programs. To them reform means to dismantle and fix means weaken. A greater number of Democrats are more sensitive to and in favor of preserving these social programs.
Herrera: Is it not odd that Medicaid funds were not granted to Texas since it appears that Texans had already paid taxes for these funds which were accepted by several other states?
Padilla: Medicaid funds are normally granted to the states to supplement health care for those in need. Reasons for need may be several. Some workers are not provided health care by employers. Some are not working because they are sick. Others have exhausted their resources because of catastrophic illnesses of self or family. Many families need Medicaid for their children. Some governors have made it a political issue because of President Obama. They do not want to supplement The Affordable Care Act. Texas is controlled by Republicans and officials are being willfully determined to reject Medicaid Federal funds. They are being spiteful even if it hurts many medically needy Texans.

labordallas@sbcglobal.net Donate to Texas Alliance for Retired Americans by clicking here. Contact Texas organizer Judy Bryant at 214-729-0063.

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