Medicare contributes $2.5 billion to Rhode Island’s economy, equivalent to 21% of state and local government spending in the state, according to a new report from AARP. Medicare also covers 192,186 beneficiaries in Rhode Island. Older Americans have said Medicare is one of their top issues in the 2018 mid-term elections, and AARP Rhode Island is working to encourage voter participation this election season.
“Medicare is a major economic engine in our economy security, as well as a key part of providing health security to Rhode Islanders,” said AARP State Director Kathleen Connell, in a statement announcing the release of the report on July 26, 2018. “Older Americans have said Medicare is one of their top issues in this election, yet too many politicians fail to recognize the contributions Medicare makes to the economy and our residents. Any candidate who fails to talk about how they would strengthen Medicare for future generations does so at their peril,” says Connell.
AARP’s “Be The Difference. Vote” campaign includes a one-stop online portal – aarp.org/vote – to provide people with the information they need about Social Security, Medicare and aging issues to consider when voting in this year’s elections.
Recently, Connell says that AARP worked to help close the Medicare Part D doughnut hole a year early – a victory for older Americans that the pharmaceutical industry is working to undo. AARP has also long oposed efforts that would reduce benefits or shift costs onto consumers by turning Medicare into a voucher programs, she said, noting that such a move would dramatically increase people’s health care costs, and expose current and future retirees to greater financial risk.
Medicare Pumps Money into Rhode Island’s Economy
Below is a breakdown of some of Medicare’s spending in Rhode Island:
- $1.1 billion for hospitals
- $551 million for doctors
- $338 million for prescriptions and medical supplies
- $198 million for skilled nursing facilities
- $159 million for home healthcare agencies
- $92 million health professionals
- $24 million for medical equipment
Meanwhile, businesses in the Ocean State receiving Medicare dollars use them to pay employees’ salaries, rent, state and local taxes, and buy equipment, and make capital improvements to their facilities.