Issue Position: Seniors & Social Security
Washington seniors have worked hard all their lives and Senator Maria Cantwell believes that when they retire, we have a responsibility to provide for them and ensure that their retirements are secure. Seniors need dependable simple prescription drug and health care plans. They need to know that the money they've saved all their lives in Social Security will be there. Older workers should be able to count on the retirement benefits their employers promised after long years of service.
Preserving Medicare for Washington Seniors
Maria believes Medicare should be a universal benefit for America's seniors. Prescription drugs should covered by the Medicare program, but Maria believes the Medicare Part D program is inadequate because it leaves too many Washington seniors behind by failing to rein in soaring drug costs or ensure that low-income beneficiaries won't be hurt. She worked hard to pass a more effective plan, and continues to call for changes so seniors can actually take advantage of the program at the lowest prices possible. She is also working to give the federal government the ability to leverage its purchasing powere and negotiate better prices on prescription drugs. Maria supported extending the prescription drug benefit enrollment deadline and waiving the penalty. She continues to reach out to the millions of seniors still without adequate drug coverage and to advocate changes that would eliminate gaps in prescription drug coverage and provide life-saving medications to low-income and disabled seniors.
Saving Social Security for Everyone
Maria opposes privatizing Social Security. Americans should be able to supplement their savings by investing in additional individual savings accounts, but it is too risky to convert an individual's Social Security account to an unguaranteed private account managed by Wall Street. Because seniors spend a large share of their income on health care, which has a much higher rate of inflation than other goods, Maria believes Social Security payments ought to keep pace. That's why Maria introduced The Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers Act of 2005 to increase Social Security payments via an "elderly index."
Protecting Pensions for Hard-Working Americans
Maria believes that the dedication of working men and women is what drives our economyboth here in Washington and across the nation. Because we owe them so much, Maria has fought to make sure that America's workers get the pensions and health care they have earned. She has worked to protect pension plans, and joined a coalition of senators earlier this year to propose a new health insurance program for America's small businesses. Maria is fighting to fully fund defined benefit plans and to bring the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation back to solvency. She also supports a 6-month moratorium on terminations of under-funded airline pension and believes in better disclosure by companies to disclose the full value of their executive compensation plans.