|Congresswoman Pelosi joins Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and community leaders to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Social Security.|
In San Francisco alone, one in five seniors live in poverty. Like so many in our city, Americans are also facing the dismal prospect of finding their pensions increasingly at risk. These realities make saving for retirement an even greater challenge.
Social Security and Medicare are solemn pledges to our seniors – a promise of a safe and secure source of retirement income and health care for Americans. Protecting Social Security and Medicare is among my top priorities.
Fighting the Attack on Seniors
House Republicans voted to pass a budget for 2013 to end Medicare as we know it, dramatically raise seniors’ health costs, and to dismantle the progress of the Affordable Care Act. AARP stated that “the proposal is likely to simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare's promise of secure health coverage -- a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work.” Democrats will always protect Medicare.
The Affordable Care Act’s passage in 2010 by a Democratic-led Congress has afforded Americans lower health care costs, access to higher quality health care, and protected the Medicare guarantee. The 2012 Medicare Trustee’s report states that the ACA improves solvency of Medicare by 8 years to ensure that future generations of Americans will be able to count on the Medicare guarantee. In the first 2 years of its enactment, 5.1 million seniors and people with disabilities saved $3.2 billion on prescription drugs alone; an average of $635 per Medicare beneficiary. In addition, over 2.3 million seniors took advantage of a free Annual Wellness Visit under Medicare in 2011.
I also support the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act in order to ensure uninterrupted delivery of social and nutrition services to our seniors and their caregivers.
Preserving Social Security
For more than 75 years, Social Security has represented a bedrock promise to the American people: that after a lifetime of work, this country will ensure a measure of protection for our seniors, now, and for generations to come. What started as a cornerstone of the New Deal has become an unbreakable bond in our nation’s social contract. It is a source of economic security for millions of hard-working Americans—through survivor benefits and assistance to seniors and people with disabilities.
About 90 percent of people aged 65 and older receive Social Security benefits and nearly 2 in 3 get half or more of their income from Social Security. As of December 2011, 36 million retired workers received an average benefit of $1,229 per month and 8.6 million disabled workers received an average benefit of $1,111 per month. The typical replacement rate is about 41 percent for a worker with medium earnings.
Despite this history, Republicans are yet again promising to privatize and cut Social Security and turn it over to Wall Street. The Social Security Trust Fund has a current surplus of $2.7 trillion. While Congress must address the long-term funding challenges to Social Security, any reforms must be focused on ensuring its long-term stability. We cannot turn our backs on the 55 million Americans who receive Social Security benefits.
Learn more about how health insurance reform works for seniors>>