Safeguarding Social Security and Medicare, and Fulfilling Our Commitments to Senior Citizens
With more than 16 percent of its population over 65, Rhode Island has one of the highest proportions of seniors in the country. Senator Reed believes that we must meet the unique needs of older Americans and protect the programs that they paid into, like Social Security and Medicare.
Senator Reed is committed to ensuring that Social Security remains strong and viable for millions of Americans. Today, nearly 220,000 Rhode Islanders receive Social Security benefits. Throughout his career, Reed has repeatedly voted to keep Social Security on sound financial footing and strongly opposes efforts to privatize the program or use it to pay for new tax breaks. He successfully fought efforts to use the Chained CPI to determine cost-of-living adjustments, which would have cut Social Security benefits.
Given its structure and design, Social Security cannot contribute to the federal deficit. Senator Reed has worked to protect the Social Security Trust Fund from being diverted to other programs or used for government spending. To help stabilize the Trust Fund for future generations, Reed supports including annual income above $117,000 in the wage base for Social Security contributions to help ensure that high-income earners contribute a fair share to the system. That kind of step points Social Security toward even stronger financial solvency.
Senator Reed strongly believes we must encourage more personal savings and investment for retirement. However, it should not be at the expense of Social Security, the one program that offers stable, guaranteed income security to the elderly, disabled, widows, and children of deceased or disabled workers.
He also vigorously opposes the Republican plan to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid. Ending Medicare as we know it would destroy people’s ability to pay their bills and save for retirement, college tuition, or anything but the medical insurance they will need as they get older. In fact, Reed supported the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because it makes key improvements to Medicare that strengthen its long-term solvency and increase benefits. The ACA also increases access to the Medicaid program, which provides critical long term and nursing home care to seniors.
Reed knows how important it is for retirees to be able to access care. He is committed to giving better certainty to Medicare patients and providers by ensuring that doctors are fairly reimbursed under Medicare. At the same time, he also knows how important it is to prevent poor care and fraud under Medicare, and has supported efforts to prevent them and make sure those who commit such crimes are held accountable.
Senator Reed also supports programs that allow older Americans to maintain their independence and contribute to their communities, like home-delivered meals initiatives, the Senior Community Service Employment program, and the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, which provides affordable housing options for certain low-income seniors.