I believe in respecting and honoring the promises we made to our seniors. As Senator, I will work to protect and preserve not only programs like Medicare and Social Security, which are the bedrock programs that allow our seniors to remain independent and secure, but I will also fight for important programs like Meals on Wheels, which help our seniors remain active in their homes.
Our seniors have paid into Medicare for years. And now more than ever, we should honor the promises that we made to them. I won't vote to take away care from seniors who depend on Medicare, and I won't vote to privatize it either. My opponent voted to re-open the Medicare "donut hole," which would force thousands of North Dakota seniors to pay an extra $554 for their prescription drugs each year. The "donut hole" forced seniors to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs after their yearly drug expenses exceed $2,840, and full coverage did not resume until total drug spending hit $6,447 for the year. The "donut hole" was finally closed in 2010, helping 14,090 North Dakota seniors to save $8,984,577.10 on prescription drugs. We cannot go back and raise costs for seniors and force them to pay thousands more out of pocket for drug costs.
Protect Our Rural Medical Centers: Preserve $650 million in Medicare Funding in the Frontier Amendment
The Bismarck Tribune's editorial board wrote "The Frontier Amendment made North Dakota and its peers part of a fair system. It gave the Frontier states an honest share of Medicare reimbursement. It would be inherently dishonest of Congress and the administration to return to an unfair system." In 2011, Rick Berg voted to repeal the Frontier Amendment and gut funding for North Dakota hospitals. [Vote 14, 1/19/11]
Protect Free Preventive Services
In North Dakota, 130,000 people and 75,207 seniors with Medicare get preventive services for free. These free preventive services can help reduce long-term costs by helping to discover problems early. I'll fight to protect these services.
Fight Efforts to Privatize Social Security
More than 100,000 North Dakotans rely on Social Security today. Unlike my opponent, who once voted to privatize Social Security, I oppose those efforts, which would be nothing more than a massive giveaway to many of the very same Wall Street banks that crashed our economy.
Support Programs That Keep Seniors Independent and Secure
There are a number of programs, like Meals on Wheels, that help keep our seniors independent and secure in their homes. I'll fight to protect these programs. Just this year, my opponent voted to cut funding for programs like Meals on Wheels by almost $2 billion, even though the program helps more than 5,000 seniors in North Dakota remain independent in their homes.
Protect Long-Term Care For Our Seniors
North Dakota's seniors rely on Medicaid for long-term care, especially in our rural communities, where there are often fewer choices. I'll stand up and do what's right for North Dakota regardless of the politics and fight to protect and strengthen long-term care in our communities.
Unfortunately, my opponent voted with his party leaders to cut funding for long-term care by 22 percent -- over $810 billion. I believe in putting politics aside and doing what's best for North Dakota, not my political career, and that's why I'll fight for our seniors.