Email Blast DeLong CA47: Are You Tired of the Partisan Bickering in Washington?
March 22, 2012
Are You Tired of the Partisan Bickering in Washington?
Are you tired of the partisan bickering in Washington? I know I am. I just returned from spending three days in our nation’s capitol, meeting with both Republicans and Democrats, and I want both parties to work together to create real solutions for all Americans. Whether it be Health Care, the HIghway Bill currently under consideration, solving the budget problems, fixing Medicare, etc.
Which is why I was surprised, and disappointed, to arrive home to a mass email I received from my opponent Alan Lowenthal titled “Stop Republicans from Ending Medicare.” Do you really believe that either party, Republicans or Democrats, wants to end Medicare? I don’t. I do believe there are different approaches towards saving Medicare, and both parties need to figure out how to work together to solve the problem.
Here’s the situation. If no changes are made to the existing system, it will go broke. In a recent report, the Medicare Trustees projected that Medicare will go bankrupt in 2024 if Congress does not make changes to the system. The problem is real and the health of our nation’s seniors is far too important not to solve it. We must work together to save Medicare, avoid disruptions in benefits for current seniors, and strengthen the program for future generations. Medicare needs a prescription to stay healthy – an Rx for a healthier Medicare.
Some of the reasons the Medicare system is in such poor financial condition are:
1. Due to the retirements associated with the baby boomer generation, the senior population (receiving benefits from the system) is growing significantly and the younger population (paying into the system) is not.
2. In 1960 there were 5.1 taxpaying workers funding each retiree. That figure has declined significantly and is projected to fall to 2.2 taxpaying workers funding each retiree which means every single working couple will need to support a retireee.
3. People over 65, and especially over 85, tend to incur disproportionately high medical bills, which an ever-shrinking base of current workers will somehow have to shoulder.
4. We are living longer, and per capita health spending for the 85+ group is three times higher than for the 65 – 84 group.
5. Even if we wanted to (which I don’t), you can’t tax your way out of this problem. The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that for the Federal government to balance its budget and fully fund programs like Medicare, the lowest marginal tax rate of 10% would rise to 26%, the 25% marginal tax rate would rise to 66% and the 35% tax rate would rise to 92%. What little economy we had left would be destroyed by these high tax rates which would then require even higher tax rates to stay balanced!
Meanwhile, the tax bill for the typical middle-class family has increased by approximately 140% over the past generation.
My goals for Medicare are:
1. Make no changes for existing retirees.
2. Make no changes for people 55 and over, who will be using Medicare in the near future.
3. Develop a sustainable system over the long term for future generations.
4. Prevent the cost of frivolous litigation from being passed on to consumers in the form of higher health-care premiums and higher hospital and physician charges.
While we may not all agree on what the best solution is to ensuring the sustainability of Medicare over the long term, you deserve an intelligent debate on the important issues that effect you.
Please let me know your thoughts on the best way to preserve Medicare.
I’m open to ideas from everyone.