Dear Editor:

Imagine choosing between life-saving medication and other necessities like food and shelter. New Jersey, as a leader in pharmaceutical aid for low-income disabled and older adults, has worked hard against this possibility. Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) and Senior Gold, two state-funded programs, help cover prescriptions for disabled adults and seniors. In April of 2010, however, the security of the two programs was threatened when Governor Christie proposed cuts that would have raised the cost of medication for PAAD beneficiaries by hundreds of dollars.  Fortunately, the proposal was rescinded. We hope that similar threats to these two critical programs do not arise again for 2011.

165,377 New Jerseyans depend on these programs and any cuts would place a dangerous burden on their beneficiaries, potentially forcing them to forego crucial medicine. Therefore, I urge legislators not to allow a threat to PAAD and Senior Gold budgets similar to the one proposed last year. Cuts to these programs would be nothing short of cruel for besieged New Jerseyans who cannot absorb more financial hardship.



Douglas Johnston

AARP New Jersey Governmental Affairs Manager