Senior Votes Count! believes that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are key retirement security programs that have transformed the health and economic security of millions of Americans and their families. Before Social Security became law in the 1930’s, over 50% of American seniors lived below the poverty line. Before Medicare became law in the 1960’s, 35% of American seniors still lived in poverty. Thanks to Social Security and Medicare, two of the most successful government programs in American history, that figure is now under 10%!
So it’s hardly conjecture that without these earned benefit programs, poverty for older Americans would skyrocket. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act offers a number of constructive reforms to Medicare and the entire health care system. These reforms are not only providing millions of Americans affordable health insurance, but have aided seniors through reforms to Medicare that expand benefits, close the Part D prescription drug “donut hole,” and extend Medicare’s solvency to the benefit of all.
Medicaid is another vital social insurance program that not only serves millions of low income Americans, but also provides health care for many seniors. Medicaid is there for people who have become disabled or have experienced economic hardships, and for seniors who need long-term care.
Any candidates endorsed by Senior Votes Count! have pledged to support the following positions on these key public policy issues facing older voters:
1) Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to oppose any benefits cuts to Social Security (including the recently proposed “Chained CPI”).
2) Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to oppose raising the age for Social Security eligibility. Recent proposals in Washington have suggested raising the age for full Social Security benefits as a way to help fix our national deficit and reduce the national debt. First of all, Social Security has nothing to do with our deficit. Social Security is separately financed and does not add one penny to the deficit. Second, Social Security is the primary source of income for millions of seniors and keeps them out of poverty. Raising the age for eligibility is a major benefit cut, and we at Senior Votes Count! reject it categorically.
3) Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to oppose proposals to privatize Social Security in any way. Some have suggested converting Social Security into an investment plan with much lower guaranteed benefits by diverting FICA taxes into private investment accounts. This puts seniors’ economic security at the mercy of Wall Street, and the wild market fluctuations during the Great Recession of 2007-08 graphically showed how much harm such changes could inflict.
1) Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to oppose changing Medicare by introducing a “voucher” or “premium support” system that would throw seniors back into the hands of private insurance companies. This amounts to a hidden benefit cut that takes away the guarantee of affordable health care for seniors who have paid into this system for all of their working lives.
2) Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to oppose proposals to cut Medicare benefits by raising the eligibility age. People have paid for Medicare while they are working and the promise made to them that Medicare will be there when they reach age 65 should be kept.
3) Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to protect Medicare beneficiaries’ access to their doctors and other health care providers.
1) Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to support the expansion of Medicaid as proposed in the Affordable Care Act. This would ensure that more seniors will have access to affordable quality health care and would relieve their families of the financial burden of long-term care expenses.
2) Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to oppose cutting Medicaid by turning it into a block grant to states. This would put funding at risk every year and would create uncertainty for many seniors and their families with regard to continuing access to health care.
Affordable Care Act:
1) Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to support the Affordable Care Act’s guarantee of health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions who are not yet eligible for Medicare.
2) Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to support the Affordable Care Act’s provisions that reform Medicare’s Part D prescription drug benefit to close the “donut hole” in benefits and to extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust fund.
1) Endorsed candidates will support efforts to lower prescription drug costs
2) Endorsed candidates will support promoting competition and leverage our nation’s bargaining power to lower drug prices
3) Endorsed candidates will you demand a stop to excess profiteering by drug companies?
Voting Rights for Seniors:
Endorsed candidates have made a commitment to support legislation to strengthen the Voting Rights Act to ensure that seniors’ right to vote is not infringed upon by burdensome identification requirements or by restriction of access to polling places and curtailment of absentee or early voting.