Strengthening & Protecting The Social Safety Net
The unsustainable government programs aimed to bolster the safety net are failing to deliver on their promise to society’s most vulnerable citizens. It's time that we advance solutions that save and strengthen our entitlement programs for future generations. If we do not act to reform Medicare and Social Security now, we will see an explosion of debt that will cripple our nation and rob our children of their future.
House Republicans have introduced a budget that will do just that: enabling Medicare & Social Security to be able to deliver on its critical mission to seniors today and future generations.
We are currently facing a choice of two futures: a path to debt and decline or a stronger, more prosperous path of less debt, lower taxes, and greater opportunity for generations to come. Our budget, The Path to Prosperity, strengthens health and retirement security by taking power away from government bureaucrats and empowering patients instead with control over their own care.
The Path to Prosperity offers bipartisan solutions to preserve the Medicare guarantee, offering guaranteed coverage options to future seniors, regardless of pre-existing conditions or health history, financed by a premium-support payment adjusted to provide additional financial assistance to low-income and less-healthy seniors and less to the wealthy. The Medicare health plans, including a traditional Medicare option, would compete against each other to offer higher quality care at lower costs.
The quality of healthcare in the United States is the best in the world. That said, it behooves us to look for new and innovative ways to improve Medicare, Medicaid, and other healthcare programs in the United States.
Seniors should be able to count on Medicare and protecting Social Security and Medicare is one of my highest priorities in Congress. I have been supportive of many solutions to help address issues that are important to our nation’s vulnerable seniors. Whether it was voting for the Pension Protection Act last Congress, which reformed outdated worker pension laws and protects the retirement benefits of American workers and retirees, or supporting legislation that ensures seniors can continue to choose the prescription drugs they need and continue to meet with their local pharmacist, I have had the interest of seniors and all Americans at heart.
The success of the healthcare system in the United States largely depends on cost efficiency. Both my concern for the health of American citizens and my devotion to fiscal prudence compel me to believe that we must weed out inefficiencies in the American healthcare system. Such inefficiencies include the current absence of computerized medical records, which could lower medical costs drastically if instituted. Unneeded subsidies are another possibility for inefficiency in the system. I will continue my vigilance as I work with my colleagues in Congress, professionals in the healthcare industry, and concerned constituents like you to ensure that all seniors have the widest possible Medicare options consistent with high quality and reasonable prices.
One of my highest priorities as a Member of Congress is protecting the interests of America's senior citizens and the promise of social security. We all must work towards ensuring the integrity and solvency of the Social Security and Medicare programs for current and future retirees. Additionally, we need to make sure that seniors are not being treated unfairly by any federal laws, like the Government Pension Offset and Social Security windfall taxes. I believe so strongly in this that I have worked with Congressman Berman in almost every Congress for the last ten years to introduce legislation to repeal the unfair GPO/WEP provisions and will do so again in the 112th Congress.
Our nation’s dedicated teachers, firefighters, peace officers, and other public servants have a great need for this reform to further secure their retirement. the GPO reduces or eliminates Social Security spousal benefits if a worker’s spouse has a government pension based on work that was not covered by Social Security. Likewise, the WEP reduces Social Security worker benefits based on work history by applying a less generous formula to the calculation of benefits. Unfortunately, these provisions can significantly decrease the retirement pay of millions of hard-working public servants even though they have worked for relatively lower wages than most workers in the private sector.
However, we must make sure that social security is around for generations to come. The unsustainable government programs aimed to bolster the safety net are failing to deliver on their promise to society’s most vulnerable citizens. The skewed incentives of federal safety-net programs foster dependence and leave lower-income Americans most at risk to consequences of the looming spending-driven debt crisis.
I supported the House-passed Fiscal Year 2013 budget that repairs the safety net by returning power over public-assistance programs to the states, directing assistance to those who need it most, and strengthening federal education and job-training programs to help Americans get back on their feet.
- This budget gives states the freedom and flexibility to tailor Medicaid programs that fit the needs of their unique populations.
- It better focuses other low-income assistance programs, including food stamps, to those that need them most, realigning incentives to ensure these programs can best meet their critical missions.
- This budget ensures higher-education assistance programs are put on a sustainable funding path, better focusing aid on those in need and better addressing the root drivers of tuition inflation for all students.
- This budget consolidates dozens of overlapping job-training programs into accountable career scholarships so that workers have the tools to thrive in the 21st century global economy.