Today, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced a Senate resolution urging Congress to adopt a "Seniors Bill of Rights." The resolution calls on Congress to ensure our seniors have access to financial security; quality affordable healthcare; protection from abuse, scams and exploitation; a strong economy; and safe livable communities. Stabenow's resolution is co-sponsored by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA). This resolution is a companion to H.RES.1342 , "the Seniors' Bill of Rights," introduced by U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), the co-chairs of the House Seniors Task Force.
"America's seniors have devoted their lives to our country, our communities, and our families," said Senator Stabenow (D-MI). "Sadly, our seniors have been among the hardest hit during this economic downturn and have struggled to keep a roof over their heads, put food on the table, and buy the medicine they need to stay healthy. My resolution calls on Congress to make sure our seniors have access to a basic "bill of rights,' so they receive the care and support they deserve."
"Pennsylvania has the third oldest population in the country and we owe it to them to ensure they have what they need to lead safe, healthy and stable lives," said Senator Casey (D-PA). "This resolution recognizes the importance of protecting the financial security, affordable health care, livable communities and well being of our older Americans."
"The Seniors Task Force is working on behalf of the seniors to rebuild our economy, strengthen Social Security and Medicare benefits and protect our seniors from predatory financial schemes," said Rep. John Larson (D-CT), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. "The Seniors Bill of Rights reaffirms our commitment to make Washington work for seniors instead of CEOs and multinational corporations."
"The "golden years' are eluding many older Americans," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Co-Chair of the Seniors Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives. "They have lost much of their savings during this recession; on average they are paying 1/3 of their income on out-of-pocket health care costs; 10 percent live below the poverty line. They deserve better. The Seniors Task Force was created to ensure that older Americans receive the benefits that they have earned over a lifetime of work, and that they are guaranteed a dignified quality of life. I am incredibly pleased that today Senator Stabenow has introduced the Seniors Bill of Rights in the Senate, companion to H.R. 1342, which I sponsored and introduced in the House this May."
"This Congress is committed to seniors' issues and enacting public policy that will strengthen Medicare, improve health care, put in place critical Wall Street reforms, and help protect seniors from financial scams," stated Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Seniors Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives. "The Seniors' Bill of Rights formalizes this commitment and I commend my colleagues in the House and the Senate for standing up for America's seniors."
Over 10 million seniors rely on programs such as Medicare, Social Security, and TRICARE to support their livelihoods. During national economic downturns, seniors are more susceptible to greater financial losses than any other age group. Seniors are often victims of fraud, scams, exploitation, physical abuse, and other threats to their financial and health care security. This resolution acknowledges the work that the 111 th Congress has done to pass legislation to help diminish these threats and strengthen federal programs that provide critical assistance for seniors.
Organizations that have endorsed the resolution are the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Association of State Units on Aging, National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs, National Association of Social Workers, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Easter Seals, Families USA, Elder Justice Coalition, OWL- The Voice of Midlife and Older Women, and B'nai B'rith.
Under health reform, Medicare is strengthened and protected for millions of America's seniors. For more information regarding the health reform law, please visit: www.stabenow.senate.gov/healthcare .