Last week, I spoke rather harshly about one of Senator Cantwells letter. I can't fault this one at all. There is a solid position here: "I have fought to preserve Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security throughout my career." She also, rightly, in my opinion, believes that deficit talks should not be the place to discuss cuts to our social safety net. So Americans, salute a democrat taking a position.
Thank you for contacting me regarding proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.
I have fought to preserve Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security throughout my career.
Image via WikipediaCurrently, 46 million seniors and people with disabilities rely on Medicare for their health care. Before the enactment of the Medicare program in 1965, only half of America's seniors had health insurance and most of those with insurance only had coverage for inpatient hospital costs. At the same time, approximately 30 percent of seniors lived below the poverty line before Medicare. Today, only 1.8 percent of seniors lack health coverage and less than nine percent live below the poverty line.
You will be pleased to learn I recently joined with a group of 50 senators in sending a letter to President Obama urging him to protect America's seniors and to oppose any attempts to dismantle Medicare. I believe that while deficit reduction is essential, balancing the budget by dismantling Medicare is unfair to hard-working Americans. Seniors have paid into the system their working lives and deserve affordable, secure health coverage upon retirement.
Likewise, the Medicaid program has been an essential safety net program, providing health coverage and long term-care for low-income children and adults. More than 58 million people nationwide rely on Medicaid services.
Finally, the importance of the Social Security program to retirees and disabled Americans cannot be overstated. Since its beginning in 1935, Social Security has prevented millions of seniors from falling into poverty, and it has served as a cornerstone of retirement security for American workers. We have a responsibility to ensure that Social Security delivers on its promises to current and future retirees. Changes to the Social Security program—how it is financed, how benefits are calculated, or decisions about retirement age—should be designed to preserve and strengthen the financial integrity of the program, and should not be a part of deficit reduction decisions.
It is true that our nation faces difficult fiscal challenges that will require serious solutions. I believe strongly in our Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security systems. I look forward to working to further strengthen Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security and to find sensible and balanced strategies to ensure the long-term fiscal stability of the United States.