SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security managed to escape the cutting block when our nation's lawmakers crafted the now infamous debt deal this month. In the Ozarks, there is still plenty of concern those programs could be in the crosshairs once again in the near future.
A community forum at Missouri State University adddressed the issue on Monday. The forum was sponsored by the Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans Education Fund.
AARP Regional Director Jim Clemmons has answered a lot of questions lately.
"It's very difficult to travel to unravel misinformation and present the true facts," said Clemmons.
Many of the questions are about Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
One in six Missourians actually benefits from Social Security in some way. Roughly 1.1 million people use it. In southwest Missouri, more than 40 percent of those 65 and older manage to stay out of poverty because of Social Security programs.
"The general feeling is they are very, very concerned. They know the future appears unpredictable right now," said Clemmons.
Someone very interested in what happens to these social programs is Ozark resident Richard Green.
"[I] gradually started using a cane, then a walker, then eventually a wheelchair," said Green.
Green was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1997 and lost his job in 2004.
"So reality was hitting hard: 'Where am I going to find income?'" he recalled thiking.