Local
8:15 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Proposed Medicare Cuts Draw Ire from Occupy Pittsburgh

Nurses from several local health care providers stopped by the Occupy Pittsburgh camp on Tuesday to give free blood pressure screenings, and to denounce possible cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

The congressional super-committee that's working to reduce the nation's debt by $1.5 billion is considering cuts to the federal health care programs, a proposal much decried by those in the Occupy Movement.

Marcy Bruno, a nurse at the Friendship Ridge nursing home in Beaver, said that she's predicting dire consequences if lawmakers decide to decrease funding for Medicare and Medicaid.

"I think that that will be the death of capitalism as we know it, if that should happen," said Bruno. "There's just no way that a country like ours, that has the ability to do better, should cut those things. And people will stand up, if they're not standing up now. When those things happen, it's a runaway train with the 99%."

Rather than cutting Medicare and Medicaid, the super-committee should propose cuts to the Department of Defense, said nurse John Ziegler.

Reverend Robert Kline of Swissvale said the nation shouldn't be cutting any federal programs right now.

"This is a time when you spend," said Kline. "We know, historically, from our country and countries around the world within the industrialized nations, that when you spend money on infrastructure [and] needed things, and employ those people, you're going to boost a consumer economy."

The Occupy Pittsburgh group called on Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey, who serves on the super-committee, to increase taxes to the wealthy as an alternative to Medicare and Medicaid cuts.