Op-Ed: Defending Social Security and Medicare
We made a solemn pledge to our seniors through Social Security and Medicare. For the last 83 years, Social Security has provided a financial foundation for our retired workers who work hard and play by the rules. Our parents and grandparents worked their entire lives contributing to Social Security. This indispensable program currently provides financial stability to nearly 63 million retirees, widows and those with disabilities.
When Congress created Medicare under Title XVII of the Social Security Act in 1965, elected representatives made a promise to provide health insurance for Americans 65 and older, regardless of income or medical history. Today, retirement plans revolve around the existence of Medicare and Social Security.
I am actively working to strengthen and protect Medicare and Social Security. During my term, I’ve listened to the concerns of thousands of constituents. Chief among their concerns is the long-term sustainability of Social Security and Medicare. I am absolutely committed to upholding our nation’s promise to our seniors to guarantee their hard-earned Medicare and Social Security benefits.
These programs provide a critical income for retired and disabled workers — nearly 62 percent of the elderly get at least half of their income from Social Security. We must preserve the vital Social Security safety net and make sure it remains solvent for future generations.
As your independent voice in Congress, I am fighting to defend the dignity of our seniors and secure their retirement by strengthening Medicare and Social Security. Retirees today need relief from higher costs of living. That’s why I wholeheartedly support and cosponsored the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act, H.R. 2552, which would eliminate income taxes on Social Security Benefits.
Social Security exists to provide Americans with financial support during retirement, not to provide the Federal government with additional tax revenue. Under this bill, Social Security would neither be taxable or reportable on individual tax returns. Seniors earned their Social Security checks, and it’s unfair for the Federal government to take from duly earned benefits when so many seniors are feeling the squeeze of higher costs of living.
I remain a steadfast advocate for providing quality healthcare to seniors, individuals with disabilities, and those struggling with addiction by strengthening the Medicare program. Seniors and their families deserve well-rounded options when it comes to affordable and comprehensive healthcare coverage.
Earlier this year, I voted with a bipartisan majority of Congress to finally eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which would have existed with the sole purpose of reducing Medicare payments by approving or denying funding for care. It threatened physician reimbursements at a time when more and more medical providers are refusing to accept Medicare patients.
Since my first day in Congress, I’ve been completely committed to defending the retirement benefits of our seniors. It’s a shame to see scare tactics being used for political gain regarding the new tax law.
Let me be clear: Tax Reform included no provision mentioning either Social Security or Medicare, much less reducing them. There were no cuts to either program. Many partisans, in their political opposition to the Tax Reform Bill, insisted on conflating tax bills and spending bills to advance a political agenda. My commitment to you: I will never support any bill that would reduce Social Security and Medicare. These programs demand a full and fair budget, and sustained economic growth is crucial to their solvency.
Some politicians would have you believe that the best way to protect these programs is through raising taxes. The reality is that raising taxes as our solution of first resort just serves to scare away the entrepreneurial activity that has led to the impressive economic growth in our country as of late. In fact, this growth, at 4.1 percent this quarter, is our best in years. This alone boosts the likelihood that the economy is ready to break out of its decade-long slumber, replenishing funding for Social Security and Medicare.
I will always stand to protect the benefits our seniors are owed. Make no mistake, it’s your money, and I am absolutely committed to protecting the benefits you earned.