Today, Congressional candidate Ron Barber released the following statement regarding the vote scheduled today in the U.S. House on the Republican budget plan.
"Nine days ago, I made a specific commitment to Southern Arizona's seniors that I would vote to protect Medicare when I go to Congress. Today, the House is set to vote on a budget that the non-partisan AARP has said will "jeopardize the health and economic security of older Americans.' I call upon Congress to vote against this budget.
"This proposal would pay for enormous tax giveaways to the very richest Americans by dismantling Medicare, ending the guarantee of health care for Americans over the age of 65. For their entire lives, the senior citizens of this country have put money into Social Security and Medicare under the promise it would be there when they need it. Now some people in Congress are trying to break that promise.
"Some reforms may be necessary, but I will not try to balance the budget on the backs of seniors. One study has found that under this plan, people who earn over $1 million each year will get an average tax cut of over $250,000 a year. [Tax Policy Center, 3/23/12] Seniors, meanwhile, will have to pay more for prescription medicine and doctor's visits, and eventually they would need to go out and buy private health insurance as the Medicare guarantee came to an end. That's just plain wrong and would break our commitment to seniors.
"This plan is a mistake. I would vote against it if I were in Congress today, and I call upon my fellow candidates to join me in saying No to dismantling Medicare."