Social Security and Medicare
Social Security and Medicare are vital programs which must be strengthened and put on a sound fiscal basis. The reality is, however, that demographic changes—people are living longer, fewer people are being born, and there are less people in the workforce--are having a profound impact on the solvency of Social Security and Medicare. In 2010, for the first time, Social Security paid out more money than it collected. The Social Security Administration projects that the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted by 2033. If this shortfall is not addressed, beneficiaries will face a 25% cut in benefits. The most recent projections from the Social Security Administration are that the Social Security trust fund will run out of money by 2033. Similarly, the Medicare trust fund will begin running out of money in 2026.
To make sure that senior citizens continue to receive their benefits in the future, there must be comprehensive reform which should be done in a bipartisan manner, while ensuring that anyone who is on Social Security and Medicare, or will be joining these programs in the next 10 years, will have all their benefits maintained. This will not be easy but if we do not address the significant structural problems facing Social Security and Medicare, these programs will be irreparably damaged.
Medicare is an essential program for our nation’s seniors. I have a strong legislative history in support of Medicare. Specifically, I have been a strong advocate for the Medicare Advantage program, through which one million New Yorkers receive enhanced benefits such as protection against high out-of-pocket costs, vision and dental coverage, and screenings not covered by traditional Medicare. I am also working to keep durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, orthotics and prosthetics available under Medicare and to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to physical and occupational therapy services.
I support permanent removal of Medicare’s arbitrary therapy caps that prevent some beneficiaries from obtaining the rehabilitation services they require.
Nationwide, many physicians are restricting the number of Medicare patients they see because Medicare reimbursements do not adequately cover their cost. Without permanent reform of the physician fee payment schedule, seniors on Medicare will have limited access to care. It is essential that we reform physician payments in order to make sure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to their doctors.