Advocate For Seniors
Please know that I am committed to our seniors and to those who rely on Medicare and Medicaid.
I believe that Medicare is one of our nation’s most important programs, and it is vital that we guarantee our seniors are able to receive affordable quality health care. Both of these programs were established to provide a safety net for retirees and needy Americans. Unfortunately, both suffer from mismanagement and rampant abuse, which contributes to the rising costs of health care in this country. Under the current law the costs of Medicare and Medicaid will continue on an upward trajectory from nearly a quarter of the Federal Budget today to insolvency in as few as seven years. Medicare’s own Chief Actuary warns that doctors are abandoning the program and agrees with the Congressional Budget Office on Medicare heading for insolvency. There is no denying the current Medicaid system is broken, with an unacceptable high level of fraud and limited access to care. This is an unsustainable path—one we cannot leave for future generations.
Furthermore, Medicaid was created to serve as a safety net providing health care services for low-income individuals and recently was expanded to provide health coverage to children. The current federal program doles out Federal funding on a one-size fits all basis. That approach restricts innovation and cost-reducing initiatives while encouraging fraud. Several states have even threatened to completely withdraw from the program.
Please know I remain committed to ensuring that Medicare and Medicaid remain strong and solvent and will continue to work with my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to achieve this goal.
Preserving Social Security Benefits
I believe that Social Security is a sacred trust between the government and its citizens and therefore benefits should not be reduced. In Congress, I will never support a reform plan that reduces benefits for people already retired and those nearing retirement. It is important too that we work to address funding shortfalls so that our nation’s younger workers also have the promise of a full retirement.
While I will never support any reform which would reduce the benefits for people already retired or for those nearing retirement, it would be irresponsible to allow our younger generation of Americans to inherit a bankrupt retirement system. If we do not address serious future funding problems, Social Security will face significant long-term debt. The biggest threat to the social security surplus has been wasteful spending. While the President and Congress could easily ignore or put off addressing the long-term financial soundness of this federal program, it is the responsible thing to examine our long-term options.
The average American today lives much longer than when Social Security was first introduced. Social Security was originally intended to provide only temporary relief for seniors living in retirement. However, it has grown into a much broader system providing permanent benefits to all American retirees, spouses, dependents and the disabled.
The current Social Security system will be solvent to pay for the benefits of those 55 years of age and older. For them Social Security will not change in any way. However, leaving this problem to future generations and future Congress’ is simply irresponsible.