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Public Statements

Issue Position: Protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

Issue Position

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Protecting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

I oppose efforts to alter Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for the benefit of private health insurance companies and financial interests. This will undermine and weaken these critical programs.
I oppose vouchers, premium support, block grants, and other Republican gimmicks to defund these programs.
I support strengthening Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income so the program will remain fiscally sound without raising the retirement age, changing COLAs, or otherwise reducing or altering benefits.
I support keeping the prescription drug donut hole closed and will oppose any efforts to reopen it.
I support allowing Medicare to negotiate for prescription drugs. This removes a huge cost Republicans added to the Medicare program in order to appease lobbyists.

Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" Plan for the House GOP focuses on privatizing, downsizing, and radically altering Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. I could not disagree more.

Our social safety net is no laughing matter. Many of us are falling right now and no one wants their friends, neighbors, or family to hit the ground. That is why I am committed to protecting these programs.

We all work hard, we are all willing to pay, and when we reach our golden years, we can retire with dignity. That is the American way.

Privatization is not the American way; it is the introduction of harm and risk to a program that is built to provide security and stability. Privatization, and those that support such efforts, are focused only on increasing corporate profits, most likely so politicians that support these plans can receive more PAC money. These proposals do nothing to lower costs or increase benefits.

When the time comes, we all will retire and many of us will be glad there is a basic degree of economic security. Social Security was created to combat poverty and homelessness among seniors. The program is one of the best ideas, for our society and economy, which has ever been proposed.

Paul Ryan's budget, which he called the "Path to Prosperity," would privatize Medicare. Seniors would pay, on average, hundreds more a month for the same care. It would place Social Security into private accounts invested in the stock market. Millions of seniors would have been wiped out in the Great Recession under Ryan's plan.

Both of these programs, Medicare and Social Security, are better than their private alternatives. They work.

In a time when many people are losing pensions, and have little left over to contribute to a 401k plan, Social Security has provided stability in the golden years of millions of Americans. This program is more important than ever. Medicaid currently covers nearly 60 million individuals, including 1 in 3 American children. Medicare covers 47 million seniors and people with permanent disabilities, groups that historically have had great difficulty obtaining coverage.

Medicare is more efficient than private insurance. It delivers better care for less money which is why I firmly oppose privatizing Medicare, vouchers, "premium support," or many of the other ideas proposed by Paul Ryan. As stated above, the question is about what we fund with our budget. Medicare is worth it, and we can afford it. We can however, make Medicare cheaper by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower-cost prescription drugs. We can also eliminate tax loopholes and cut waste in the defense budget to pay for Medicare and many other investments we need to make for students, seniors, and middle class families.

We must strengthen Social Security, because by the year 2036, the Social Security Trust Fund will experience a temporary period where there is more money being required from the fund than is being paid in. Social Security has not contributed a penny to the federal deficit and contrary to Paul Ryan's claims, is not in crisis. Social Security has a $2.7 trillion trust fund and can pay all promised benefits in full for the next twenty five years. After that, it can pay three quarters of promised benefits and it can be restored to long-term actuarial balance without cutting benefits. The program's revenue shortfall over 75 years is comparable to the revenues needed to pay for Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

We can ensure the health of the Social Security guarantee without reducing benefits, raising the retirement age, adjusting COLAs, or otherwise weakening the program. Right now, Social Security taxes the first $110,100 of income. I support lifting the cap on Social Security taxes to include all income. This will ensure fiscal stability without reducing benefits.

I will work to protect Social Security and Medicare from privatization and to keep these programs efficient and sustainable.

I will lead the fight in Congress to make the changes necessary so the middle class does not pay more, and we can continue to ensure retirement security for our nation's seniors.


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