COLUMBIA, MO— Sen. Claire McCaskill spoke with seniors at Lenoir Woods Community Center in Columbia Tuesday afternoon as part of her journey around the state to discuss issues affecting them.
She said her series of “listening sessions” concentrate on the fears and apprehensions of Missouri seniors in regards to issues such as social security and healthcare.
McCaskill said, “The most important part of my job is listening.”
The senator said she has two main concerns regarding healthcare in mid-Missouri.
“I think the main concern here is the security they feel about Social Security… making sure we keep Social Security strong, vibrant and reliable. Secondly, Medicare… the notion that they can get to see the doctors they want to see, that we can get them the prescriptions they need and that they can get the care they need,” McCaskill said.
McCaskill also addressed her efforts to improve funding of Alzheimer’s research.
“I know we are going to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research this year. Book it. I am sure we are going to. We need to, and I think we will,” McCaskill said.
The senator said the government is spending $500 million on research right now, and she hopes that it will reach $1 billion this year.
McCaskill said the nation’s overall expenses in caring for Alzheimer’s patients are estimated to be $226 billion.
“We are spending all of this money on Alzheimer’s and on research for Alzheimer’s, and it is a pittance compared to what we are spending on research, for example, on HIV/AIDS, heart disease and cancer,” McCaskill said.
Brennan Holtzclaw, an attendee at the event, said Alzheimer’s disease directly affects him and his family because his grandmother is suffering from the illness.
Holtzclaw said, “Alzheimer’s is one of those diseases where it not only effects the person. You not only have to treat that person, but sometimes there are people that have to take time off their jobs to go and try to support that person.”
Holtzclaw said he appreciates McCaskill’s efforts towards the cause.
“I really value what Sen. McCaskill has been doing more recently to raise awareness and funds that are being put towards Alzheimer’s care,” Holtzclaw said.
While McCaskill had her supporters at the event, Vicki Leuther offered a voice of opposition. Specifically, Leuther disagreed with McCaskill’s standpoint on the Affordable Care Act.
Leuther said, “I do not believe that she read that whole act before she voted on it. She said she did, but there wasn’t a senator that voted on it that said they did.”
Leuther said the Affordable Care Act is about aging. She said where aging is concerned; there are too many restrictions.
Sen. McCaskill is continuing her “listening sessions” tour and heading to southwest Missouri. She will be in Branson and Springfield on April 2.