Maurice has worked tirelessly to stand up for the rights and benefits that seniors earned and deserve. That's why he fought so hard to strengthen Medicare as part of the recently approved health care law. Under that measure, Maurice helped: add at least nine years to the solvency of the Medicare trust fund; close the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage known as the donut hole; provide new, free annual wellness visits, and eliminate out-of-pocket copayments for preventive benefits; provide better chronic care; improve Medicare payments for primary care, to protect access to these vital services; reduce overpayments to private Medicare Advantage plan; and encourage the reimbursement of health care providers on the basis of value, not volume. While the health care law is a great success, Maurice knows that more must be done. That's why he is helping to lead the effort in Congress to allow Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for bulk discount deals, which could save taxpayers up to $156 billion over 10 years.
Maurice was proud to recently celebrate the remarkable success of Social Security on its 75th anniversary. He is a strong supporter of the bedrock program on which more than 50 million Americans, including more than 3 million New Yorkers, count on for their retirement security and to make ends meet. While some have proposed privatizing the program and gambling with seniors' benefits on Wall Street, Maurice has been steadfast in his commitment to protecting Social Security. He is adamantly opposed to any efforts to cut benefits or privatize the system.
Maurice is also a supporter of the Elderly Consumers Act, which would link annual Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security to the price of goods that seniors most commonly purchase such as medicine. Right now, Social Security COLAs are tied to price increases for all consumer products -- a formula that unfairly penalizes seniors whose commonly purchased items increase in cost at a much faster rater than items such as TV's and dishwashers that are bought by the general public. Maurice is the author of legislation to provide tax relief to seniors who are having trouble making ends meet. Maurice's bill would raise the standard deduction for seniors by roughly $1,000 per year. For the typical senior who pays 15 percent in income tax, the bill would amount to $150 per year in relief. A household with two seniors in the 15 percent bracken would be eligible for $300 per year in relief. Seniors who fall into a higher tax bracket could see relief as high as $300 per individual senior and $600 per couple.