Clyburn Statement on Medicare Anniversary

Jul 29, 2011 Issues: Health

WASHINGTON, DC—Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn today issued the following statement on tomorrow’s 46th anniversary:  

“Forty-six years ago, America made a promise to working familiesthat they wouldn’t lose their life savings in their golden years to pay for health care or suffer without treatment due to an inability to pay for medical services. 

“Before President Johnson signed Medicare into law, only half of American seniors had health insurance, now virtually every senior is covered.  Before Medicare, nearly 30 percent of seniors lived below the poverty line and now that number is 7.5 percent.  Before Medicare, life expectancy for Americans was 70.2 years old and today it has grown to 78.2 years. 

“Democrats fought a tough battle to enact this necessary safety net for our seniors, and we are fighting a tough battle today to protect and strengthen it.  Democrats won the fight to strengthen Medicare by extending its solvency for an additional eight years in the Affordable Care Act.  But in April, House Republicans adopted a budget that would end Medicare and replace it with a system where seniors would get a voucher to buy private insurance, for all Americans under age 55. The end result would reduce benefits for seniors and increase their health care costs. 

“Today as we debate the financial future of our country, Republicans are again targeting Medicare for cuts.  Yet they are not willing to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share to decrease our budget deficits.  Democrats will continue our fight to protect the promise of Medicare for our seniors and generations to come.”