The future of Social Security and Medicare was the primary topic of discussion during Wednesday's Senior Expo in South Park. Congressman Murphy spoke with many at the event who expressed concern that earned benefits like Medicare and Social Security wouldn't be available for their own children and grandchildren.
Murphy discussed several key pieces of legislation he's been championing to strengthen and protect Medicare and Social Security.
First and foremost, Murphy discussed his Social Security and Medicare Protection Act, a landmark bill he authored to block Congress and the Administration from raiding the Trust Funds to spend on earmarks and other programs. Senior citizens have paid into these programs their whole lives, which is why Murphy has been working to ensure their money is not spent on other projects. The bill currently awaits further action before the House Ways and Means Committee.
Last month, Murphy's bipartisan Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers Act (SMART Act, H.R. 1063) was passed unanimously by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Under a complicated federal law called "Medicare Secondary Payer," the Medicare Trust Fund must recover any medical bills that should have been paid by a private insurance company as part of a legal settlement. But Medicare's bureaucracy is failing to carry out this law effectively and putting the burden on seniors instead of the insurance companies. This convoluted process puts legal settlements at risk and is causing some seniors to lose their Medicare coverage or have their Social Security checks garnished.
Murphy's bill fixes these problems so no senior loses their health insurance because of bureaucratic error, and recoups billions of dollars owed by insurance companies to the taxpayers. With Medicare headed toward bankruptcy in five years, Murphy's bill shores up the Trust Fund by recovering between $1 billion and $4 billion annually. The SMART Act also saves the Medicare agency countless hours of staff work pursuing claims of little or no value. Following the recent passage by the Energy and Commerce Committee, Murphy's SMART Act awaits full consideration in the House, where strong bipartisan support is expected.
Rep. Murphy also heard from seniors who are concerned with the rising costs of prescription medications. To alleviate these costs, Murphy authored legislation that was recently signed into law bringing more life-saving affordable generic medications to market. Murphy's legislation clears a backlog of 2,800 generic applications awaiting FDA review and factory inspection. Under the new law, drug companies -- not taxpayers -- will cover the expense of factory inspections and expedited approval of generic medications. To learn more about Rep. Murphy's work on behalf of Pennsylvania seniors, visit his official website.