Social Security & Medicare

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SOCIAL SECURITY

After decades of stagnant wages and rising costs of living, millions of American workers continue to reach retirement age without enough savings to pay their bills. Without Social Security, more than 40 percent of retired Americans would be living in poverty – with it, retirees in this country can live with dignity in their final years. Kathleen is committed to protecting and strengthening Social Security so that this critical program can continue to protect our most vulnerable citizens for generations to come. 

Oppose Privatization: Kathleen will fight back against all efforts to privatize Social Security and dismantle the most effective, financially healthy social insurance program we have in this country. 

Oppose Benefit Cuts: Recent proposals would unnecessarily slash benefits paid to all workers, even those living below the poverty line. This would be especially devastating to women and people of color, who disproportionately work in low-wage industries and do not have access to retirement plans through their job. Kathleen knows there are fairer, more effective ways to ensure the financial health of the Social Security program, and she will continue to fight back against attempts to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, disabled workers, and low-wage earners. 

Improve Cost-of-Living Adjustments:The cost of living keeps rising, and, without adequate support, too many seniors struggle to make ends meet. Kathleen will work to improve the annual cost-of-living adjustment formula so that it better reflects the reality of rising health care costs and ensures that beneficiaries can live with dignity and access the high-quality medical care that they need and deserve. 

Eliminate the Government Pension Offset & Windfall Elimination Requirement: Kathleen is a cosponsor of H.R. 141, the Social Security Fairness Act, which would eliminate the government pension offset and windfall elimination provision so government workers and their families aren’t short changed their earned benefits because of their years of public service.

Prevent Improper Payments: Kathleen is an original cosponsor of H.R. 2543, the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act, which directs the Social Security Commissioner to provide better information about deceased Social Security beneficiaries in order to ensure that the government does not continue making payments to deceased individuals. This bipartisan legislation is a common-sense way to prevent fraud and wasteful spending, protect taxpayer dollars, and guarantee that benefits will be there for the people who need them. 

MEDICARE

Medicare allows  millions of Americans, including 100,000 in our district alone, to access affordable, high-quality health care services. Kathleen will keep working to protect and improve Medicare so that it remains effective and financially secure for future generations. 

Ensure Access to High-quality, Affordable Healthcare: The Medicare program is the best tool we have to control rising healthcare costs and ensure that wealth and privilege are not prerequisites for quality medical care in America. Kathleen will work to keep it that way – by opposing efforts that would cut benefits, shift a greater share of costs onto beneficiaries, or convert Medicare to a privatized voucher system. 

Fair Pay for Physicians: In March, 2015, Kathleen voted for H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which passed in the House with broad bipartisan support and was signed into law on April 16, 2015. H.R. 2 fixed the flawed Medicare physician reimbursement system, which for years had threatened to severely cut payments to physicians and erode the quality of care provided to patients covered by Medicare. The bipartisan passage of H.R. 2 ensured that doctors receive fair pay for the services they provide without over-burdening the Medicare beneficiaries who rely on those services. 

Solve the Physician Shortage: Thanks to the success of the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans who had long been uninsured or under-insured now have access to affordable health insurance. But at the same time, the national shortage of primary- and specialty-care physicians and other medical professionals means that many Americans still struggle to see a doctor when they’re sick. Recognizing that Congress must act to address this shortage, Kathleen is a cosponsor of the Resident Physician Shortage Reduction Act, which would fund 15,000 new Medicare Graduate Medical Education slots over five years. Teaching hospitals and academic medical centers play a vital role in New York State, and this bill will help New York recruit and retain our country’s brightest young doctors. 
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