Medicare and Medicaid

By Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-FL) / 5.5.11


Just last week, I held a Town Hall meeting on Medicare with Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Kathy Castor of Tampa, where we pledged to fight tooth and nail against  the changes the Republicans want to make to our nation’s Medicare and Medicaid system.

Indeed, why should the federal government save money on the backs of seniors and the working poor at the same time the Republicans want to give tax breaks to millionaires, subsidies to Big Oil, and tax cuts to companies that send jobs overseas?

The budget that the Republican Party supports gives out $2 trillion in tax breaks for the rich, privatizes Medicare, and turns Medicaid over to the states by block granting this program for our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

And their new plan for Medicare is to give vouchers to senior citizens and send them out on their own to purchase insurance in the open market. Ironically, the value of the vouchers in the Republican plan would not even keep up with inflation, and force senior citizens to wind up paying $6000 more for health care than they do under the current Medicare system.

In addition, the Republicans’ plans for Medicaid are no better:  they would cut funding to the states with even fewer requirements. A few years ago in my district, an HMO-run Medicaid pilot program was attempted by then Governor Bush. To no one’s surprise, it did NOT work. And while my constituents were guinea pigs in Governor Bush’s experiment, the residents of Florida’s 3rd district struggled desperately just to find care, while state Medicaid costs did not fall.

As an active Member of the Congressional Black Caucus, I will fight to preserve the gains we made in the last Congress to expand access to health care and protect those who already have it, not undermine our senior citizens and the poor. Under the Affordable Care Act of 2009, guaranteed Medicare-covered benefits won’t be reduced, the prescription drug donut hole will disappear, and many preventive services for seniors are already free. We have come too far to go back to the days when seniors had to choose between eating and visiting the doctor, yet that is exactly where the Republicans want to take us.

I urge everyone listening today to call your local Member of Congress and Senators’ offices to urge them to vote to preserve Medicare and Medicaid and reject the Republican scheme to privatize Medicare and Medicaid in our country!


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