Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) met with Branford seniors today to discuss the "fiscal cliff" negotiations currently taking place in Congress and stress her opposition to Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefit cuts. DeLauro was joined by Judy Stein, Executive Director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, which advocates for and educates seniors and the disabled.
"Raising taxes on the middle class and slashing spending could derail our economic recovery," DeLauro said. "We need to come to a balanced agreement on deficit reduction that focuses on growing the economy, rebuilding the middle class, creating jobs and protecting seniors. We should let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire and return to the Clinton-era rates, not slash into the benefits of programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that millions of Americans rely on. That should be off the table.
"Unfortunately, many of the Republicans in Congress want to protect the wealthy from paying higher taxes while reducing benefits to seniors under Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. This is unacceptable."
In the 1950s, more than 30 percent of elderly Americans lived in poverty; thanks to Social Security that number is now about ten percent. Two out of three seniors currently rely on Social Security as their main source of monthly income, including three-quarters of elderly women. In 2008 alone, 153,000 Connecticut residents were saved from living in poverty thanks to Social Security.
Before Medicare became law, only half of Americans over the age of 65 had health care coverage; now virtually all do. One out of six Connecticut residents receives health insurance through Medicare, nine out of ten of whom are 65 or older. And millions of Medicaid beneficiaries, including the 586,713 in Connecticut, use their coverage for vital needs like long-term care, disability services and mental health care.
Stein said: "The Center for Medicare Advocacy works to keep Medicare strong for current and future older and disabled people. That means supporting Congresswoman DeLauro and other decision-makers who believe in maintaining Medicare as a cost-effective public program, and rejecting unfair cost-shifting to beneficiaries and their families."
DeLauro is the senior Democrat on the subcommittee responsible for funding the Health and Human Services Department, Social Security Administration and other agencies. She is a longtime supporter of ensuring seniors are not pushed back in to poverty, as was so often the case before the passage of Social Security. And DeLauro is a leading voice in Congress for ensuring Medicare and Medicaid meet the health needs of seniors and those struggling to get by.