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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

48 Years of Medicare

Jul 30, 2013
Blog Post

Forty-eight years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act, enacting Medicare and Medicaid into law and establishing a promise to our nation’s seniors. For nearly half a century, Medicare has provided vital health care security for seniors and people with disabilities. In the Badger State alone, Medicare helps hundreds of thousands of seniors afford their care. For millions more around the country, Medicare is a tangible guarantee of security and stability after a lifetime of hard work.

 

The Affordable Care Act (which Republicans will vote to repeal AGAIN this week) made notable advancements toward guaranteeing that we keep the Medicare promise to our seniors. It takes steps toward closing the prescription “donut hole,” extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by nearly a decade, and renews focus on wellness and prevention. In 2012 alone, almost 500,000 Wisconsin seniors took advantage of these newly free preventive services to help detect and treat health issues early.

Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress want to gut Medicare and end this program as we know it. The GOP Budget would turn Medicare into a voucher program, essentially ensuring that our seniors pay more for less. As a member of the Budget Committee, I’ve pledged to make the tough choices to get our nation back on track and back to work. But balancing our nation’s finances on the backs of our seniors is not the tough choice—it’s the absolute wrong choice.

For nearly a century, Medicare has been a vital lifeline for our nation’s seniors. It is a moral promise of health care security we make to the elderly and people with disabilities, and it is a promise we cannot break. I pledge to do all that I can to protect and strengthen this program for generations to come.