Protecting Our Seniors
Ensuring Social Security and Medicare for Future Generations
Social Security and Medicare are two of our most important social programs, having helped keep millions of seniors and the disabled out of poverty. House Democrats fought long and hard to pass the original Medicare program, and we must continue to honor Medicare's guarantee that our seniors' health needs will be taken care of during their golden years.
Before Medicare, in 1964 just 51 percent of Americans over 65 had health care coverage. Today thanks to Medicare, coverage is practically universal. Currently Medicare provides comprehensive health care coverage to 47 million Americans, including 39 million seniors and 8 million people under 65 with disabilities. Such universal coverage has shielded seniors from the often debilitating costs of healthcare, drastically reducing the number of our seniors living in poverty. Nearly 30 percent of seniors lived below the poverty line in 1964, and today that number has dropped to 7.5 percent.
As you know, House Speaker Paul Ryan has announced his plan to privatize Medicare. This would end Medicare as we know it. According to Speaker Ryan, Medicare would be replaced by what Republicans call “premium support.” Vouchers would be given to seniors to reduce the price of buying private insurance. However, if they cannot afford insurance even with the vouchers, they would be left uninsured with no additional assistance from the government. This plan would be a disaster for our nation’s seniors. It give insurance companies the power to decide who they wish to cover, leaving many seniors unable to purchase insurance because their preexisting health conditions are too costly.
Under Speaker Ryan’s plan, millions of seniors who have paid into Medicare their entire lives will left out in the cold. I refuse to stand idly by as Republicans attempt to rob America's seniors from getting the quality health care they deserve. I want my children and grandchildren to have the same health security the generations before them had. Rest assured I will do everything in my power to protect Medicare and Social Security and keep the promise our country has made to its citizens.