Medicare represents a covenant between the U.S. government and its citizens, regularly acting as a lifeline for our seniors.
Knowing this, Congress crafted a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law on March 23, 2010, to extend the solvency of Medicare by nine more years.
Medicare is a federal insurance program that pays for covered health care services of qualified beneficiaries, including individuals 65 and older, and has been expanded over the years to include permanently disabled individuals under 65.
Medicare, which consists of four parts (A-D), covers hospitalizations, physician and diagnostic services, prescription drugs, skilled nursing facility care, home health visits, and hospice care, among other services.
Generally, individuals are eligible for Medicare if they or their spouse worked for at least 40 quarters in Medicare-covered employment, are 65 years old, and are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
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Social Security is a contributory social insurance system that covers 164 million workers (94 percent of workers in paid employment or self employment) and provides monthly cash benefits to 51 million beneficiaries, including retired and disabled workers and their dependents, as well as the dependents of deceased workers.
Social Security was enacted in 1935 and was intended to improve the economic circumstances of older adults during the Depression. As more and more people were covered and living longer, Social Security has been modified to address these changes over the years.
Social Security has been, for 75 years, a bedrock promise. You have earned it with a lifetime of hard work, and it should be there for you and future generations.
In 2008, the Social Security trust fund assets were at $2.4 trillion.Although the trust fund is projected to have a positive balance until 2037, costs are projected to exceed income by an average of 14 percent over the 75-year projection period as our population ages.
Considering the large and important role that Social Security has in America’s safety net for older and disabled, widowed and orphaned citizens, comprehensive Social Security reform has been a perennial and contentious item on the Congressional agenda.
I fully support maintaining traditional Social Security and finding ways to effectively extend it without cutting benefits to our nation’s seniors.
According to the Congressional Research Service: “In 2008, 69% of aged Social Security beneficiaries received more than half of their income from Social Security, and 41% received more than 90% of their income from Social Security. Moreover, Social Security is credited with keeping many of the nation's elderly out of poverty. An estimated 8% of aged Social Security beneficiaries fall below the poverty line, compared with an estimated 22% of aged non-beneficiaries.”
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