STRENGTHENING SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE

I will always fight to strengthen and defend Social Security and Medicare. If you elect me to Congress, I will

·       Oppose raising the retirement age.

·       Support cost of living increases in benefits and oppose any reductions. 

·       Support using the government’s bargaining power to control prescription drug costs and other healthcare costs.

Social Security and Medicare were there for my family when we needed them most.  My grandmother kept a roof over the heads of my dad and his brothers after her husband died, because she had Social Security survivor’s benefits to supplement her secretary salary.  When my dad was seriously ill and in the hospital for many weeks, it was Medicare that allowed us to make the decisions that allowed him to recover, without bankrupting our family.  Since their beginning, these programs have been essential in raising millions of Americans out of poverty and allowing them to enjoy a secure retirement.

That doesn’t mean that these programs are perfect.  We should always be looking for ways to improve them.  Benefits must keep up with the rising cost of living.  No one should have to forgo medication or other medical care because it’s too expensive, but we know that is happening to too many people in Indiana and around the country.  We cannot trust our government or our budget to those who will slash taxes on the rich, and then insist we must cut these essential earned benefits in order to make up the shortfall.   

Social Security

Scrap the Cap.  Social Security has run a surplus for decades.  To keep up with the increasing number of retirees, we don’t need to slash benefits.  We can maintain and increase benefits by adopting Senator Bernie Sanders’ plan to “scrap the cap” that limits what higher-income workers contribute through payroll taxes, so that everyone pays the same percentage of their income toward Social Security. 

Protect the retirement age. Politicians have been trying to raise the Social Security retirement age for decades.  This would put too much burden on working families, and especially those who have worked in physically demanding jobs, and those with poor health, disabilities, or in low-income groups where life expectancy has not increased by much. I will oppose any plan that increases the retirement age. 

Medicare

Allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. Why do we allow the V.A. and Medicaid programs to use their bargaining power to lower prescription drug costs, but not Medicare?  If we allowed Medicare were allowed to negotiate directly with prescription drug manufacturers, like other countries do, we would save as much as $541.3 billion over the next decade. This is a common-sense change that I support.

Improve Medicare’s transparency. A Government Accountability Office report estimates that Medicare alone squandered $44 billion in improper payments in 2012.  We can address this waste by insisting on more transparency in the system and requiring the government to release data on payments to Medicare providers. Then government watchdogs, journalists and concerned citizens could root out fraud and abuse, saving us billions.