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Protest of Massachusetts Hospital Association stance on Medicare postponed

A group of activists and seniors cancelled plans to stage a protest today at the Massachusetts Hospital Association after the organization agreed to meet with them to discuss their concerns about raising the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67.

The association has expressed support for the change, and the American Hospital Association has been organizing lobbying efforts in Washington to push it as a way for the congressional supercommittee hunting for $1.5 trillion in savings to cut health care costs without cutting hospital payments. President Lynn Nicholas called the proposal a “no brainer.”

A group of health care advocates and seniors, including members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, Massachusetts Senior Action, Massachusetts Association of Older Americans, Mass Home Care, Latinos for a Secure Retirement, and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, had planned to protest that position at the hospital association’s offices today.

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The group put off the event until Tuesday, saying they hoped the demonstration then becomes a celebration of the association’s reversal instead of a protest.

“Today’s negotiations are a direct reflection of the power of our groups standing together to protect Massachusetts’ citizens from reckless cuts to this important program,” said Ann Stewart, president of Mass Senior Action, in a press release.

Spokesman John LoDico said the hospital association is willing to talk about this and other health care issues.

“We have such dialogues continuously,” he said by e-mail. “We want to insure that our positions are fully understood and are not misconstrued.”


Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at cconaboy@boston.com. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy.