In light of ongoing conversations on strategies to strengthen America's economy, create jobs, and responsibly reduce the deficit, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) today reiterated his belief that cuts in benefits in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid/MediCal are counterproductive and can be avoided by finding specific savings in the programs that are wasteful and duplicative.
"Here are four facts that I hope are on the minds of everyone involved in this conversation: 1) Medicare is currently forbidden by law to directly negotiate with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices; 2) Medicare is currently forbidden by law to import drugs from countries with rigorous safety standards, no matter the cost difference; 3) Fraud, errors, and unnecessary procedures in Medicare are estimated to cost roughly $50 billion; and 4) Social Security is currently anticipated to be able to pay all benefits in the program until 2036," said Garamendi, who served as California's Insurance Commissioner and Lieutenant Governor.
Congressman Garamendi continued, "We can responsibly reduce the deficit while maintaining benefits in Medicare and Medicaid, by negotiating drug prices, going after fraudulent claims by providers, and using payment systems that discourage unnecessary services and reward keeping the patient healthy."
"Cutting Social Security benefits when the system's surplus is projected to reach $3.7 trillion in 2022 makes no sense," said Congressman Garamendi. "The average Social Security recipient receives about $14,800 a year, and the program lifts 14 million seniors out of poverty. We must not harm our vulnerable elderly. Social Security works; now is not the time to change it."