Rising medical costs contribute to the “hidden” problem of senior poverty

The number of seniors living in poverty is perhaps double what has been reported by the government in the past, due in part because the rising costs of medical care haven’t been included in a senior’s living expenses:

The National Academy of Science’s formula, which is gaining credibility with public officials including some in the Obama administration, would put the poverty rate for Americans 65 and over at 18.6 percent, or 6.8 million people, compared with 9.7 percent, or 3.6 million people, under the existing measure. The original government formula, created in 1955, doesn’t take account of rising costs of medical care and other factors.

“It’s a hidden problem,” said Robin Talbert, president of the AARP Foundation, which provides job training and support to low-income seniors and is backing legislation that would adopt the NAS formula. “There are still many millions of older people on the edge, who don’t have what they need to get by.”

Can you imagine what the poverty rate among seniors would be if Republicans (and John Stossel) were successful in eliminating ‘€œsocialist’€ Medicare and Social Security programs?

In New York City, roughly one in three senior citizens fell below the poverty line after Mayor Michael Bloomberg adopted the new formula last year; state officials in Albany, N.Y., plan to publish their revised numbers next month. Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, San Francisco and Chicago also have been considering a switch.

When New York City changed to the new formula, a smaller percentage of children fell below the poverty line, particularly those living in single-parent homes. Residents 65 and over in poverty nearly doubled, from 18.1 percent to 32 percent.

Bloomberg, who previously pushed for cuts in programs for the elderly, now is advocating pilot programs for older residents that would reduce taxi costs, provide free bus service to get to grocery stores and offer legal aid to those at risk of eviction from their homes.

Using taxpayer dollars to help those who need it. Um, does that make Bloomberg a socialist?

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