Letter to the Editor

‘Fiscal cliff' concerns

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Americans have much to be concerned about if we go over the "fiscal cliff."

I am the Cape Girardeau County board member of the 18-county SEMO Area Agency on Aging. I am concerned and urge you to be concerned about how cuts will affect senior citizens served by our agency. SEMO AAA has many programs, but the most fundamental -- and by far the largest -- is nutrition. It will have to be scaled down if we go over the "cliff."

In the 2011-12 fiscal year, through our contract and agency-run senior center meal programs, just over 960,000 meals were served in the centers or though "Meals on Wheels."

All of these meals for seniors are served below cost. Medicaid-qualified seniors can have their meals at no cost.

Good nutrition is central to a senior's ability to remain at home. The thrust of most of our programs is to help seniors remain independent and at home. These programs cost taxpayers about one-third the cost of nursing-home care for Medicaid-qualified seniors.

Some government programs really do operate efficiently and save more tax dollars than they cost.

Email or write the White House, Sen. Blunt's, Sen. McCaskill's and Congresswoman Emerson's offices and urge them to take a responsible and balanced approach to solving our nation's deficit problem.

KEN LIPPS, Cape Girardeau