Barbara B. Kennelly, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, issued the following message to NCPSSM members and supporters today:
“Once again we’ve seen the profits of the insurance industry take precedence over a call for help from America’s seniors and their doctors. The Administration’s allies in the Senate last night rejected HR 6331, a bill that would have preserved Medicare beneficiaries’ access to their doctors by averting a physician fee cut. Instead of approving important beneficiary improvements for the more than 44 million seniors and people with disabilities served by Medicare, a minority in the Senate once again blocked action on legislation that would have begun to reduce the overpayment of billions of tax payer dollars to Medicare Advantage insurers.
H.R. 6331 would have improved access to prevention and mental health services for all beneficiaries, and decreased the cost-sharing burden for low-income seniors who often forgo services because of expense. In addition, the bill would have preserved access to needed physical, occupational and speech-language therapy and prohibit many of the abusive marketing practices used to enroll beneficiaries in private Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drug plans.
The momentum of the on-going privatization of Medicare continues to worsen the economic and healthcare outlook for the elderly. How ironic as the Presidential candidates discuss improvements to our nation’s healthcare system, the Congress continues to weaken our one universal healthcare plan – Medicare.”
CATEGORY: [healthcare], [Medicare], [Medicare Advantage]
So whatever happened to the Straight Talk Express?
Watching John McCain parse words over Social Security private accounts during the past few months has left more than few people bewildered. Last week’s pronouncement that he is...
‘not for, quote, privatizing Social Security. I never have been, I never will be’
was the ultimate proof the straight talk express has jumped the track. Here’s Senator McCain on Friday:
But wait a minute, just 3 months ago conservatives were relieved to see Senator McCain promise the Wall Street Journal he still supports President Bush’s failed privatization plan, in spite of what his campaign website said at the time.
“Asked about the apparent change in position in the interview, Sen.McCain said he hadn't made one. 'I'm totally in favor of personal savings accounts,' he says. When reminded that his Web site says something different, he says he will change the Web site. (As of Sunday night, he hadn't.) 'As part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it -- along the lines that President Bush proposed.' "
In fact, here’s John McCain promoting the privatization of Social Security in 2004. So much for never have, never will:
While the American people overwhelmingly rejected President Bush’s plan to turn Social Security over to Wall Street, the privatization campaign did succeed in one way...most people now understand what private accounts and the privatization of Social Security really means. Senator McCain’s attempts now to redefine what privatization is in order to hide his past and present support for a failed and wholly unpopular strategy tells seniors and their families a lot about John McCain’s priorities.
They will, no doubt, have a lot to say in return come November.
CATEGORY: [Presidential Politics], [privatization], [Social Security]
The Youth Entitlement Summit
wraps up in Washington today and our President, Barbara B. Kennelly, addressed the group this morning. Given the clear anti-entitlement bent of the summit’s sponsors such as the Concord Coalition and the Peterson Foundation, some early supporters, like Rock-the-Vote, ultimately withdrew their summit sponsorship. Future Majority
blogged about it here
Barbara was in fact a very lonely anti-privatization voice in the room today. Even so, as a bi-partisan membership organization
we felt strongly the National Committee’s message needed to be heard.
I’m here to tell you that my members are every bit as passionate about protecting their children and grandchildren as the organizers of this Summit. We oppose privatization because we want to protect Social Security and Medicare for future generations. Believe me, privatizers want to dismantle Social Security – not for this generation of retirees –but for the generations down the road.
Our difference of opinion is not about the ultimate goal – we are all here because we care about what happens to our younger generation. Where we strongly disagree is on how the goal is to be achieved. Organizations such as mine believe that our children will absolutely need programs like Social Security and Medicare when they reach retirement age. We believe that the best way to represent their interests is not to spend our time talking about how to cut these essential programs, but instead in finding ways to make sure Social Security and Medicare are still strong and vibrant decades into the future.
Because we are primarily focused on the needs of our children rather than shrinking the size of government, we are less likely to buy into the ‘sky is falling’ rhetoric that young people have been bombarded with over the years. I understand that combining Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid all together into one huge catastrophe-waiting-to-happen makes for great theater, but it makes no sense to those of us who work with these programs every day. While all 3 are entitlement programs, that’s about all they have in common.
But combining them all together gives you very large and impressive numbers, particularly if you accumulate decades-worth of future projections into one present day number. In a way, it’s not that different than projecting the cost of a house today by adding together 30 year’s-worth of mortgage and interest payments into one lump sum. If we really shopped for housing that way, we would all still be renting apartments.
And as for all the sky-is-falling crisis rhetoric...
Many of the people who are complaining today about long-term spending on entitlements were largely silent when annual deficits were increasing and the debt was rising to its current record level. It wasn’t too long ago that we were running a surplus which was paying down debt, and economists were wringing their hands about what disasters might befall us if we actually paid all of our debt off. I wish we still had that kind of problem.
I also find it interesting that the only solvency solution presented by President Bush and so many of those who have opposed Social Security over the years is a combination of private accounts and dramatic benefit cuts. I was quite proud of my members, who have been vocal and active in their opposition to private accounts. But their passion was not born from a desire to protect their own benefits. It was an absolute determination to protect the benefits of their children and grandchildren.
Those who promote private accounts have never suggested privatizing Social Security for older people – in fact, they are quite careful to assure everyone over age 50 that they would not be affected by anything they propose.
Instead, those who promote private accounts suggest dismantling Social Security slowly so that it is nearly non-existent for future generations. These proposals take money out of Social Security to fund private accounts, making Social Security less solvent. They would cut Social Security benefits for future retirees; they would increase the public debt by trillions of dollars over the next half century or more, and they would transfer the risk of a secure retirement to the individual. This does not sound like a youth-friendly agenda to me.
We urge you to read Barbara’s entire speech for more details on the fiscal realities facing our children and grandchildren. It’s clear that groups like those sponsoring this summit understand they have to continue to undermine younger generations’ confidence in Social Security in order to convince them to give it up or destroy it through privatization.
We’ve also taken our “Don’t Buy the Lie” campaign to our YouTube Channel and MySpace page in an effort to reach this demographic with the truth about Social Security and Medicare.
CATEGORY: [Medicare], [privatization], [Social Security]
Who is the National Committee anyway and why should you care?
We've produced a new video detailing our organization's 25 year history, the history of the Social Security and Medicare programs and the vital role they play in the lives of American Seniors.
Social Security and Medicare: Past, Present and Future
This is only the second video we've produced since buying basic video & editing equipment. Our first was a youth video created to take our message to younger generations via our new YouTube channel and MySpace page. It's certainly been a learning experience but we hope to produce many more over the coming months to help spread the word that together we can preserve Social Security and Medicare. After all, it's all about priorities.
CATEGORY: [Medicare], [Social Security]
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