Social Security & Seniors
* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her liberal allies are at it again. In an effort to divert attention from their failed economic policies, they seek to demagogue and "scare" seniors. At a recent speech I made in Killen, Alabama, a Lauderdale County Democrat leader grabbed the microphone and told the audience Mo Brooks wanted to abolish Social Security and fully privatize it. I responded that I have never called for privatization of Social Security and, to the contrary, was recently quoted in the news media as saying the Social Security system is basically fine . . . except for the lack of sound economic policies that will promote a strong economy that will, in turn, generate sufficient national wealth and taxes to pay for Social Security and our other obligations to senior citizens.
* This issue statement is made to ensure I am on record with respect to any and all false claims House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her liberal allies may make as part of their national strategy to misrepresent my (and other GOP candidates) views on Social Security and Seniors issues.
* In sum, and as your Congressman, I will do everything within my power to protect our obligations to our elderly who have done so much to make America a great nation.
Social Security Generally
"Social Security benefits should be protected. I believe the best way to properly fund Social Security obligations is not by raising taxes. Rather, we must have sound economic policies that grow our economy and generate sufficient tax revenues to pay for the commitments we have made to our elderly.
"So that there is no ambiguity, I do not now and I never have supported privatization of Social Security. While privatization may seem attractive as a theory, it is too risky a strategy to employ because the stock market and many other investments are simply too volatile.
"In addition to protecting Social Security, Congress must enact policies that encourage citizens to save during their working years so that they those savings, when coupled with Social Security benefits, will provide adequate income for their senior years.
"For three years, the Washington Democrats' big-spending, job-killing agenda has accelerated the threat of Social Security insolvency. It is time to rescue Social Security (and many other federal programs) via implementation of free enterprise and fair trade economic policies that have made America the world's wealthiest nation. In short, we must stop Washington Democrats' experiment with Socialism, an economic policy that has never worked in any other nation that has tried it and will not work in America.
Deficit Reduction and Social Security
"Washington Democrats' out-of-control spending threatens the Social Security Trust Fund. They have made things worse with their two-year budget deficit of $2.75 trillion, $800 billion "stimulus" bill that hurt rather than helped the private sector, and costly Government-Run Healthcare plan that will ration care and deny senior citizens life-saving measures. Cutting Social Security benefits is not a legitimate solution to the problems wrought by these risky, expensive and failing policies.
"My first priority in Congress is a balanced budget Constitutional Amendment (phased in over 5-10 years) that will reduce deficit spending and free up capital for job creation. Once the economy has rebounded, I will consider meaningful bipartisan Social Security reform.
"Medicare fraud and abuse is estimated to cost more than $60 billion a year, an unconscionable sum that inflates the cost of the program and abuses senior citizens. Congressman Peter Roskam of Illinois has introduced HR 5546, a bill that attempts to apply technology similar to that used by the credit card industry to prevent medicare abuse. Conservative estimates suggest that a system that would verify claims on the front end (prior to paying out benefits) could save $65 billion over 10 years. Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) put that number even higher at $100 billion over the next decade. CAGW, AARP and the National Healthcare Anti-Fraud Association have all endorsed this proposal.
This legislation, first proposed during the Ways & Means markup of the healthcare bill in July of 2009, would be a positive step toward addressing Medicare fraud, but Democrat leaders failed to include it in their government takeover of healthcare. I support common-sense solutions like front-end verification that would immediately crack down on those who would cheat seniors this way."
Physician Access for Medicare Beneficiaries
"Access to doctors and the reimbursement rates they receive under Medicare are fundamentally linked. Our seniors should always be assured of access to their doctors. However, the payment formula for physicians under Medicare is flawed and exacerbates a growing physician shortage for Medicare beneficiaries. Cost savings in Medicare should not be borne solely by cuts to our nation's physicians.
"Unfortunately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her liberal allies have enacted a temporary "fix' to the Sustainable Growth Rate compensation formula that will only last through November. In all, there have been four "fixes' to the 2010 rate alone. This is leading to more and more doctors choosing not to accept additional Medicare patients. We need an equitable payment formula for physicians" services in Medicare that fairly pays doctors for their work but that also keeps costs in check through the elimination of unnecessary duplication, waste, fraud and abuse of the payment system."
Economic Security & Jobs
"There are more seniors than teens in the workforce for the first time in our country's history. Within the next decade, older Americans are expected to make up as much as one-quarter of the workforce. As more and more seniors delay retirement or transition back to work, it is imperative that we remove the obstacles to economic growth and job creation that lead to a "jobless recovery' and fewer positions for all job-seekers. Programs that encourage unemployed workers to engage in education and training as a condition of receiving benefits can be especially helpful to seniors who seek to adapt their skill sets to a changing employment landscape. We need to get America back to work to restore our economic security and create necessary jobs."