Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Chairman, the vote on the Republican budget is one of the most important votes that I and my colleagues will cast as Members of Congress. The vote will tell the story of two distinct visions for America: how we reduce our debt, our economic future, and what we value as Americans.
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The Republican plan to destroy Medicare, to replace it with a voucher system, and to saddle our older neighbors and hardworking families with nearly the entire burden of reducing the Federal deficit betrays our American values. Medicare has allowed our parents and grandparents and our older neighbors to live in dignity in their retirement years. Medicare has kept families out of poverty for decades. It has worked well. With the baby boomers coming, we need to be mindful of necessary reforms.
The Republicans should not use these difficult economic times as a reason to destroy Medicare. After all, the Republican plan will not save any money. It will simply shift the cost to older Americans and their families. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released an analysis, which reads: In 2022, with an increase of nearly $7,000 per year, the Republicans would double the cost per person. Not $1 of that increase in beneficiary cost goes to reducing the deficit. It all goes to cover the higher costs of private plans that the Republicans would force you to join.
The President said yesterday this debate over budgets and deficits is about more than just numbers on a page. It is about the kind of future that we want. It is about the kind of country that we believe in, and I agree. Each one of us deserves some basic measure of security and dignity. He said that we recognize no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck or a crippling illness or a layoff may strike any one of us. There but for the grace of God go I.
And let me say, back home in Florida under this Republican plan to end Medicare, life will be very different. We need to reject this pessimistic Republican plan. On this most important vote, I urge my colleagues to save Medicare and keep the promise of health security and dignity for older Americans.
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