Seniors Task Force Co-Chairs Release Video Marking 45th Anniversary of Medicare
WASHINGTON – Today, the Co-Chairs of the House Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force, Congresswomen Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), released a video in celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Medicare program’s implementation, and reiterated their opposition to the Republican Budget plan to end Medicare.
Before July 1, 1966, 51 percent of senior citizens were uninsured and unable to get coverage because of their age, health and income status. Without health insurance, getting sick or injured meant going without needed care, or going bankrupt as a result of getting care –nearly 30 percent of seniors lived below the poverty line before Medicare’s enactment. Since Medicare’s implementation, almost all Americans 65 and older have health care coverage, and the percentage living below the poverty line has dropped to 7.5.
On April 15, 2011, House Republicans adopted a budget that would end Medicare and replace it with a system where seniors would get a voucher to go out and buy private insurance. This plan, which would take effect for all Americans under age 55, would result in the reduction of benefits and increased seniors’ out-of-pocket health care costs, while doing nothing to control the rising costs of healthcare. However, the Democratic Seniors Task Force is committed to preserving and improving Medicare, just as Democrats have continuously fought to do over the past forty-five years. Most recently, Democrats strengthened Medicare through the Affordable Care Act, which extended the program’s solvency for an additional eight years and provided added benefits to enrollees including prescription drug discounts and annual free preventative check-ups.
“For many seniors, the implementation of Medicare became the difference between making ends meet and living in poverty,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “In 45 years, millions of Americans have received comprehensive, reliable and affordable health coverage through Medicare. Protecting Medicare for future generations is a non-negotiable priority.”
Congresswoman Doris Matsui remarked, “The implementation of Medicare changed the way our country functioned, and vastly improved the health and financial security of our seniors. Today, the promise that we have made for forty-five years to our seniors – that getting older does not mean getting forgotten – is being tested. But we will continue to fight to strengthen and protect Medicare, for today’s seniors and tomorrow’s.”
For more information on the Seniors Task Force, visit dems.gov/seniors.