FORT MYERS, Fla. - Retired Steelworker Don Badie will tell you Medicare is the most important issue to him this year. The Cape Coral resident isn't a fan of any of the top leading GOP candidates.
"I get social security, I get medicare, I get VA Programs because I was in the service," said Badie, who moved to Florida from Chicago in 1989, "we're fighting for everything we've worked for all our lives."
Badie joined about a dozen more senior advocates for a small protest in Downtown Fort Myers Thursday afternoon.
"They plan on taking (Medicare) away from our children, our grandchildren and everyone else's children and grandchildren," said Tony Fransetta, President of the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans.
All four leading candidates in the Republican Primary favor some sort of privatization of Medicare. Newt Gingrich's plan would allow seniors to opt out of Medicare for private accounts. Romney would keep current seniors on Medicare and move everyone else into the private market.
Rick Santorum is the last candidate who supports Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to scrap Medicare and give qualified seniors federal money to purchase health care. Ron Paul, who isn't aggressively campaigning in Florida, favors block grants.
Despite the large number of retirees, Medicare has not been a hot topic in the Sunshine State's primary. Romney and Santorum both came to the defense of Medicare on Monday, trying to draw a connection to the President's health care law. Both men argue the law takes money away from Medicare.
After fighting back claims that he was a lobbyist for expansion, Gingrich said this week he is a lifelong advocate of Medicare.