Today, in recognition of the 75th anniversary of Social Security, Rep. Tom Perriello affirmed his commitment to keep the promises made to our seniors. More than 50 million Americans, including more than 150,000 in the 5th District, rely on Social Security's guaranteed benefits for retirement security, and to make ends meet, put food on the table and stay in their homes.
"Social Security and Medicare represent a promise made by our nation to our seniors that I'm proud to work to protect. I am committed to placing these programs on stable footing for the long term so we fulfill our obligations to current and future recipients. This means rejecting risky schemes like privatization and an end to the games that both parties have played with these programs' trust funds. All workers should have the peace of mind that if they play by the rules and contribute to the system, their most basic needs will be met when they retire and they can age with a sense of dignity and security," said Rep. Perriello.
This Saturday, August 14, marks the 75th Anniversary of the enactment of Social Security. Rep. Perriello has rejected calls in Congress to privatize this critical program, a dangerous shift which would subject seniors' retirement security to the volatility of the stock market. If proposed privatization schemes had been in place during our current downturn, seniors would have suffered even more during the stock market meltdown.
This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the administrators of the nation's two health care safety net programs, said that reforms included in the recent health care legislation will extend the solvency of the Medicare program an additional 12 years, to the year 2029. By 2018, reforms are expected to lower recipients' premiums by nearly $200 annually.
Seniors are also finally getting relief from the ever-rising costs of prescription drugs. As part of the health care reform legislation, seniors who hit the prescription coverage "donut hole" automatically receive a $250 check to help with their out of pocket expenses. As of August 2010, nearly 18,000 seniors who fall into the donut hole will have received checks. Beginning next year, seniors who fall into the coverage gap will get a 50% discount on name-brand prescription drugs and a 75% discount on generics. The rebate checks and discounts for seniors in the coverage gap are part of the health care reform bill's plan to completely eliminate the "doughnut hole" by 2020.