After a lifetime of hard work, seniors deserve to know that the promises of Social Security and Medicare will be upheld. Social Security is a vital safety net into which seniors have already paid. It lifts 22 million people out of poverty, including 15 million senior citizens. Recently, some Members of Congress have proposed sweeping changes to these programs that would renegotiate and eviscerate the contract between America and its seniors.
I am opposed to the use of a Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for Social Security benefits. Chained CPI would lead to smaller monthly payments and increased payment gaps over time, because it assumes that when prices rise for one item, people will choose a cheaper substitute. This assumption is simply unrealistic for seniors and others whose budgets are increasingly consumed by rising healthcare costs. This is why I co-sponsored H.Con.Res.34, which declares that Chained CPI should not be used to calculate COLAs for Social Security benefits. I also signed a joint letter with my colleagues to President Obama, expressing our concern about Chained CPI.
While improvements to Medicare are needed to remedy the unsustainable trajectory of health-care expenses, the beneficiaries should not have to bear the burden of these cost-containing measures. I support a balanced approach to strengthening Medicare that protects vital benefits while also addressing the program’s long-term fiscal challenges. I steadfastly oppose turning Medicare into a voucher program that would leave seniors with higher out-of-pocket costs.
Another problem plaguing many of our seniors is “spoofing,” a widespread caller-identification scheme. Spoofing masks a caller’s true identity in order to commit fraud and steal, usually from seniors. To combat this problem, I introduced the Anti-Spoofing Act of 2013, H.R. 3670, which is supported by AARP and has strong bipartisan support. The legislation broadens current protections to prohibit spoofing calls from abroad, include text messaging protections, and include new internet-based protections.
I will continue to closely monitor developments that affect our seniors and work to preserve the critically important benefits that they deserve.
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