In the recent weeks there have been many phone calls, letters and constituents that have voiced their opinions on Medicare and different attempts to preserve and protect this program. I appreciate everyone who is taking the time to vocalize their concerns and get actively involved in this important conversation. However, I do not want anyone to get fooled by the scare tactics that are being used by outside interest groups when discussing the topic of Medicare. Allow me the opportunity to explain the facts about Medicare and the actions that are being taken to save it.
The president’s health care reform bill that was passed last Congress cut the Medicare program by over $500 billion. With that plan’s and prior cuts, Medicare will be defunct in nine years if we do nothing to save it. The president’s signature law also created a panel of unelected bureaucrats that will continue to change your future benefits by deciding what procedures you are eligible for. As an example, this panel could decide on procedures such as a hip replacement and even diabetes prevention tests. As a health care provider for over 25 years, I feel strongly that health care should be patient centered, not federally dictated. That is why I voted to repeal the law that nationalized health care and continue to dialogue with my district, you my constituents, about how we can preserve and protect Medicare for today and tomorrow.
One of my missions in Congress is to work with you to restore and sustain Medicare for future generations. When Medicare was first enacted, men were only living into their 60s and women into their early 70s. Now men are living into their 70s and women into their 80s stretching the structure of the program in its original form. Also, we need to note that the baby-boomer generation is retiring at a rapid rate of close to 10,000 people a day. This puts a tremendous strain on the program. NPR reported on a study done buy the Urban Institute that said a two-earner couple both earning an average wage ($43,100 each in 2010) would in a lifetime pay $109,000 in Medicare taxes and receive $343,000 in Medicare benefits.
The Republicans have put forward an honest, fact-based proposal to deal with Medicare spending, which ensures Americans 55 and older will keep their current benefits. Those 54 and younger will receive a list of guaranteed coverage options through Medicare so recipients are able to choose the best plan for their needs, rather than the government choosing for them.
At present, America’s vital entitlement programs are in their last years of solvency. It is high time both parties come together to have a common sense conversation without scare tactics, we must prevent the collapse of institutions upon which millions of seniors rely on and save Medicare for our children and grandchildren. Inaction will mean Medicare becomes bankrupt and the reality that our generation may be the first in American history to leave the next generation worse off.
As a new member of Congress, I am committed to having a fact-based conversation. Our mission must be not only about today, but about the next generation, not the next election — this is something we cannot lose sight of. It is time to take action to ensure that Medicare is protected and preserved for our future generations. This conversation is about your choice, your liberty, and your freedom. Join me in the conversation so that we can ensure we keep our promises to our seniors and strengthen the program for our younger generations.
I am calling for your ideas on this topic and any topic that is concerning you. You have rewarded me with a wealth of ideas and I would like to continue the dialogue as we move forward. America’s problems can only be fixed if we work together.
Rep. Paul Gosar is the first district congressman from Arizona, which includes the Rim Country.