July 1 isn’t just the start of a long holiday weekend as we prepare to celebrate Independence Day – it’s also a very important anniversary in our country’s great history of taking care of senior citizens when they most need it.
Exactly 45 years ago today, Americans entered into the Medicare program for the first time, paving the way for drastic reductions in poverty among the elderly, near-universal coverage of senior citizen health care, and the steady improvement in American life expectancy.
Unfortunately, this is not an entirely happy anniversary, as long as the shadow of the House Majority plan to end Medicare voted on earlier this year continues to loom.
And new figures compiled by Congressional analysts put a dramatic human face on the effects of this plan. They show that the House Republicans’ private voucher proposal for Medicare would reduce or eliminate health care services for over two million Long Islanders, including over half a million people in my district alone.
According to the Minority staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the Majority plan to end Medicare would eliminate new preventative care benefits for 427,000 seniors currently enrolled in Medicare and living in the four Congressional districts entirely in Nassau or Suffolk Counties. The plan would also deny future access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits to 2,010,000 Long Islanders currently age 54 or younger who are living in those districts.
In the Fourth Congressional district, which I represent, the House Majority plan to end Medicare would eliminate new preventative care benefits for 102,000 seniors currently enrolled in the program. It would also deny future access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits to 490,000 people currently age 54 or younger.
This plan would also increase prescription drug costs for 9,900 Medicare beneficiaries in my district who enter the Part D donut hole, forcing them to pay $98 million for drugs over the next decade. It would also raise the Medicare eligibility age to 66 or 67 for 439,000 residents of my district, and about 1.4 million residents of neighboring Long Island districts.
Full reports on the impact of the House Majority plan to end Medicare are available at http://bit.ly/Medicare-Impact.
Thank you so much for your attention on this critical matter. It’s an honor to serve you in Congress and I promise to keep fighting to protect Medicare and to continue to report any of our findings or progress with you.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-Mineola, represents the fourth Congressional district.