For too long, politicians have proposed privatizing Medicare, turning it into a voucher program, or cutting it altogether. Of course, these cuts won’t keep people from getting sick and needing care. Instead, these cuts are about shifting ever-growing health care costs onto seniors. This must stop. I will not support privatizing Medicare, turning it into a voucher program, or cutting benefits.
The real issue here is the rising cost of health care that is squeezing working families all across our state - the same costs that contribute to half of all bankruptcies. The solution to our problems isn’t to cut Medicare. What we really need to do is cut health care costs for people getting medicine or going to the doctor.
There are places to save money. An obvious one is on drug costs: It is ridiculous that Washington cut a deal to prevent Medicare from negotiating for lower prescription drug prices. Changing that one rule can save money, as can other reforms that will increase quality while reducing costs. When we bring down costs in the system, we’ll help make health care more affordable and control Medicare spending at the same time.
Too many have been using scare tactics when it comes to Social Security. The problems in Social Security funding are serious, but they are fixable. Social Security is safe for at least the next 20 years and, if we act quickly, we can make modest changes that will keep the system solvent without cutting back on benefits. We need honesty and political will to move forward.
Social Security is a promise made to our seniors and it would be a breach of trust - and just plain poor economic policy - to jeopardize this program with unnecessary cuts or risky privatization schemes.