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Panel examines futures of Medicare, Social Security

AARP held an informational session in Clarence Thursday to education citizens about the future of Medicare and Social Security. The session was held to alleviate the fears Americans may have about the programs running out of money."There is an awful lot of misinformation out there about Medicare and Social Security," says Bruce Boissonnault, president and CEO of the Niagara Health Quality Coalition.

Boissonnault serves on AARP's executive council for New York State. He appeared as a panelist Thursday.

With an ongoing discussion among Congress about potential cuts to Medicare and Social Security in the federal budget to keep government operating, some Americans remain confused about the futures of the two programs they depend on financially and for health care.

"At the beginning of the conference, they asked 'How many of you think you are going to have Social Security in your retirement?' Most people in the audience raised their hands. 'How about your children and your grandchildren?' There were a lot of folks who felt that wasn't feasible," Boissonnault said.

For Western New Yorkers, the panel discussion was designed to help "separate fact from myth." According to current predictions from the federal government, Medicare won't run out of cash until 2026 and Social Security in 2033.  

"I don't think that there's a question of will we run out of money in Social Security. I think the question is, will we decide to make it a priority? Social Security is an American value and it is well-financed," Boissonnault says.

Boissonnault says it is important for people to step away from so-called "fear tactics" by politicians and instead become an informed citizen.