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Upton Receives ‘Champion of Seniors’ Award

National Grange recognizes work to strengthen Medicare for nation’s seniors

Kalamazoo, MI, September 5, 2013 | Lynn Turner / Nick Culp (269-385-0039 / 202-225-3761)

Congressman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, was presented this morning with the “Summer 2013 Champion of Seniors Award” for his dedication to working on behalf of millions of senior citizens in the United States and the benefits Medicare programs provide them.

The award was presented to Upton in Kalamazoo following a selection process done by several state and local organizations based on criteria created by the National Grange, the nation’s oldest national agricultural organization that works to better life for those living in rural America.

“It is an honor to serve our senior members of the community who have given so much that allows us to be where we are today,” said Upton, who is also chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “It is my duty -- and privilege – to look out for our elderly and most vulnerable citizens so they can live full and meaningful lives.”

For over two years, Upton has helped lead the bipartisan effort to permanently fix the fundamentally flawed Medicare payment model that is used to reimburse our nation’s doctors. The current Medicare payment system – known as the Sustainable Growth Rate or simply the SGR – has been a source of continued worry, threatening physicians who serve Medicare beneficiaries with substantial across-the-board cuts in reimbursement. 

In late July, Upton’s committee unanimously approved a permanent SGR fix (H.R. 2810) that secures stable payments for doctors while promoting the highest quality of care and gives Michigan seniors the peace of mind in knowing that their trusted physician will be there for them.

Medicare, the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the doctor-patient relationship for Medicare beneficiaries come under attack in recent years, according to Grange officials.

“We wish to recognize those members of Congress who exhibited outstanding leadership to protect it and the benefits it provides to millions of seniors and their families,” said Grace Boatright, legislative director, who presented the award to Upton.

The National Grange, formed shortly after the Civil War, was created to service agricultural and rural areas on a variety of issues such as economic development and education. The organization is represented in 37 states and has 300,000 members. 

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