SENATOR SAYS VITAL PROGRAM IS IN REAL DANGER; PLEDGES TO USE NEW ROLE TO FIGHT ALL ATTEMPTS TO DESTROY VITAL HEALTHCARE PROGRAM BENEFITING MILLIONS
Standing With NY Seniors, Schumer Will Make Pledge To Use New Leader Post To Be A Firewall Against Plans To Attack Medicare & Unravel Its Promise
Confirmation Of Tom Price Means Attack On Medicare Is Imminent; Price Has Spent Years Trying To Privatize & Weaken Its Assurance; Senator Rallies Seniors & Makes The Case For A Program That Works, Saves Lives & Give Peace Of Mind To So Many
Schumer: New Yorkers Will Pay The Price If HHS Secretary Is Allowed To Dismantle Medicare—So That’s Why I’m Sounding The Alarm
Standing with New York seniors, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, today, launched a new push to fight against an inexorable attack on Medicare, and to ensure the program is protected for current and future generations. Schumer warned that the newly confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, along with some Members of Congress, has proposed to turn Medicare into a voucher-based, privatized system, which would effectively gut Medicare, a program that provides affordable healthcare to countless New York seniors.
“Every senior and every American should hear this loudly and clearly: I will fight with every fiber of my being to beat back these harsh efforts to weaken, wound and destroy Medicare,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Medicare is enormously popular because it works, it delivers affordable and vital healthcare to our seniors and it needs to be strengthened, not put on the chopping block. Millions of seniors and people with disabilities in New York rely on their Medicare benefits to lead decent, independent and healthy lives. After paying into the system throughout their working lives, it is unconscionable that right wing extremists and ideologues seek to pull the rug out from under millions who depend on these modest, earned benefits for dignity and health security. Our country must keep its promise to seniors by ensuring they have access to health care and economic security in their aging years. So, I’m urging my Senate colleagues to keep Medicare off the partisan chopping block, and I plan to use my new role to make sure that Medicare is not only preserved, but strengthened for generations to come.”
Schumer promised to use his new role as Senate Democratic Leader to block the forces in Congress who seek to gut Medicare as we know it. Schumer said the opponents of Medicare seek to pull the rug out from under seniors and vulnerable populations by voucherizing Medicare and cutting Medicaid. The Senator warned out how in Congress Tom Price led the House Budget Committee, and as Chairman, authored budget proposals that sought to convert Medicare from an open ended entitlement to a fixed amount voucher.
Schumer argued that Medicare is one of the greatest policy innovations of the past century. Schumer said this program has raised countless older Americans out of poverty, and profoundly changed for the better the way the U.S. treats its seniors. Schumer said this critical program provides dignity and a higher quality of life to millions, and it must not only be preserved, but strengthened.
Schumer highlighted that President Trump declared during his campaign last year that seeking any “substantial” changes to Medicare would be a political “death wish.” However, the selection of Congressman Tom Price – an ideologue and ardent opponent of Medicare – to lead HHS suggests that converting Medicare to a voucher-based program is on the table. That’s why Schumer said today that any plan to fundamentally change Medicare by forcing seniors to navigate a maze of insurance options with a defined amount of money in a voucher– just to access substandard care at higher costs – is unacceptable.
Weakening this program, Schumer said, would be disastrous for New York State residents. Schumer insisted that turning Medicare, a program that protects millions of New Yorkers, into a partisan voucher-based program would devastate many seniors who have spent years paying into this essential program. As such, Schumer said he would use his new leadership role in Washington to fight such privatization proposals.
Last year, on its 50th anniversary, 55 million Americans, including 3.3 million New Yorkers, were Medicare beneficiaries. Schumer said the extreme Right’s changes to Medicare would hurt recipients across New York and the country. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:
Throughout New York City, approximately 1,089,935 seniors are enrolled in Medicare. Of that:
· In the Bronx, approximately 171,867 seniors are enrolled in Medicare.
· In Brooklyn, 311,582 seniors are enrolled in Medicare.
· In Manhattan, approximately 236,436 seniors are enrolled in Medicare.
· In Queens, 294,696 seniors are enrolled in Medicare.
· On Staten Island, 75,354 seniors are enrolled in Medicare.
On Long Island, approximately 476, 323 seniors are enrolled in Medicare. Of that:
· In Nassau, 227,803 seniors are enrolled in Medicare.
· In Suffolk, 248,520 seniors are enrolled in Medicare.
Schumer has long advocated for the protection of Medicare. In the 114th Congress, Schumer and Senator Casey (D-PA) introduced the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act. This legislation would protect seniors from losing out on coverage and having to pay exorbitant lifetimes penalties. The bill would require the federal government to send out a warning or notification to seniors 6 months before they turn 65, to remind them that they need to sign up for Medicare, it would limit coverage gaps for seniors, and clarify the appeals process for those looking to pursue recourse for penalties.