Braley: Respect Your Elders PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Amanda Bowman   
Friday, 24 August 2012 11:12

The past few weeks have given us the 75th anniversary of Social Security, the 47th of Medicare, and a reminder of the millions of people the programs have assisted throughout the past decades.

Social Security and Medicare provide protection and support to millions of seniors, and were started with the spirit and belief that America’s seniors should maintain a basic quality of life in their golden years. This social support is critical to protecting the health care and basic needs of our elders, here in Iowa and around the country.

That’s why I’m baffled when I hear that some politicians are trying to do away with Medicare and privatize Social Security.  After years of service and work, our seniors deserve a happy, secure retirement and access to quality, affordable health care.

And I know this through personal experience in my own family – my mom, Marcia, receives both Medicare and Social Security.  She earned it, just like millions of other seniors.

But everywhere you turn, you hear the latest outrageous claims about Medicare and Social Security.  So, to put it in plain English, here’s how I view it:

1.       The term “entitlement” is misleading.  It should be “investment.”  My mom paid into Medicare and Social Security her entire working life, just like every other working Iowan.  She paid for those benefits, and nobody should take that away.

2.       It’s not just seniors who have paid into Medicare and Social Security.  If you are working, then you are helping pay for these programs, whether you’re 25, 55, or 65.  So when politicians talk about cutting benefits for those 55 and younger, they’re still talking about a breach of contract.  If you’re 54 years old, you’ve probably been investing in these programs for over 30 years.

3.       Medicare is currently solvent until 2024, and Social Security until 2033.  These are the facts.  This means that we should be thinking about the future of the programs, but we should not give in to knee-jerk reactions or those who use scare tactics to call for immediate, drastic changes.

I believe that we can protect Medicare and Social Security, maintain all current benefits, and keep the programs solvent.  We should not privatize the programs, turn them into vouchers, or cut benefits – these are just too drastic, and would be bad for seniors and Iowa families.  I’m confident that if we bring a little Iowa common sense to Washington, we can come up with ways to ensure strong, solvent and stable Medicare and Social Security programs for years to come.  I’m not just protecting these programs for my mom, Marcia.  I’m also protecting them for my daughter, Lisa.

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