We have an obligation to ensure that all of our seniors have the opportunity to enjoy health security and economic security in their golden years. As Vice Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and as a Vice Chair and founding member of the House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Aging and Families (formerly the Congressional Task Force on Seniors), I continue to advocate for critical programs that impact seniors’ health and economic well-being.
Our seniors deserve quality, affordable health care. We must guarantee that a strong Medicare program will be available for today’s seniors, and the millions who will join them as our population ages. I am committed to strengthening Medicare, rather than dismantling it and forcing our seniors to negotiate their own health benefits. Any proposal to ensure Medicare’s financial stability must preserve the guaranteed benefits that have made Medicare a reliable source of care for seniors.
I supported efforts to ensure that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) strengthened Medicare's financial footing and protected the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund, by cutting overpayments to providers, reducing waste and fraud, and lowering Medicare administrative costs. The ACA has been repeatedly shown to improve seniors' health care in concrete ways. It has provided them full access to preventive health services, increased the quality and coordination of care, reduced medical errors, and lowered prescription drug prices, including total elimination of the "donut hole" coverage gap which had made beneficiaries responsible for the full cost of their drugs.
In addition to protecting seniors’ health, we need to ensure their long-term financial security. That includes honoring the promises our Social Security system has made to workers and retirees. Protecting the Social Security safety net must be a national priority – not just for the sake of today’s retirees, but for tomorrow’s retirees and for persons with disabilities. Any proposal to control the deficit and reduce the national debt should include a sensible and equitable solution to keep Social Security solvent.
Democrats are the party that created Medicare and Social Security, and I am proud that today’s Democrats have continued this tradition of respect for America’s seniors. My colleagues and I will continue to fight for a dignified retirement for those who gave so much to our country.