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Clinton, Democrats on Medicare, Social Security

Written by Diane Archer

In sharp contrast to the 2016 Republican Party platform, the Democratic Party platform proposes to increase Social Security benefits and strengthen and expand Medicare.

Hillary Clinton and the Democrats want both to increase the average Social Security benefit, which would mean that older adults with low incomes see an increase in benefits, and to change the way cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security are calculated so that benefits increase in tandem with the increase in costs to older adults. This year, Social Security benefits did not increase even though health care costs for older adults increased significantly because benefit increases are based on the cost of a typical basket of goods for a younger population that does not use a lot of health care. And, for the same reason, Social Security benefits are not likely to increase in 2017 either.

Democrats propose to pay for the increase in Social Security benefits by lifting the cap on Social Security contributions for the wealthiest Americans. Anyone earning more than $250,000 a year would continue to make contributions to Social Security on income above $250,000. They would not make contributions on their income between the current cap and $250,000. These additional contributions to Social Security would extend its life from 2034 to 2084.

Democrats further pledge to fight Republican proposals to cut or privatize Social Security benefits.“We will fight every effort to cut, privatize, or weaken Social Security, including attempts to raise the retirement age, diminish benefits by cutting cost-of-living adjustments, or reducing earned benefits.” While the Republican Party platform does not expressly state it will cut or privatize Social Security, the language in the platform suggests the Republicans will continue in their attempts to do so.

Hillary Clinton and the Democrats see health care as a right, and they recognize the value of a public health insurance option like Medicare to give people meaningful choice. They want to ensure everyone has access to a public health insurance option and that people 55 and over can enroll in Medicare if they choose. Moreover, the Democratic Party platform states that “Democrats will fight any attempts by Republicans in Congress to privatize, voucherize, or “phase out” Medicare as we know it. And we will oppose Republican plans to slash funding and block grant Medicaid and SNAP, which would harm millions of Americans.” Democrats also plan to address out-of-control drug prices and excessive health care costs.

Here’s more from Just Care:

 

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2 Comments

  • Under Pick A Topic category, where are any words addressing BANKING REGULATIONS & WALL STREET REFORM/REGULATION?

  • …my concern for healthcare costs are the obscene prices we have to payfor medications. TPP (which is favoured by the current President, Vice Presidential Candidate and party platform) would grant the large Pharmaceutical corporations the ability to extend patents on existing medications thus delaying more affordable generic versions from reaching the market for decades. With Medicare premiums already increased for those (such as myself) who came on board with Social Security beginning this past January, it will mean a larger portion of our meagre benefits will be taken up by healthcare costs.

    What was also never mentioned in her campaign was a renewed effort to give Medicare the ability to negotiate drug prices, which would also lower the programme’s overhead costs. Even better would be a single payer system using Medicare as its core, something the Clinton camp has now come out against (even though she championed it in the 1990s). The ACA was basically a good idea, however, it’s major flaws were keeping the private insurance industry in the loop and penalising the working poor who could still not afford the premiums with fines imposed by the IRS.

    Another cost factor not mentioned (except by Mr Sanders) are skyrocketing rents in many cities that often are more than the average benefit cheque for a small 1 BR or even a studio. Here in Portland OR, the median rent is 1,400$ which would require earning over 50,000$ a year to keep at the “manageable” 1/3 of one’s monthly income. As a senior who doesn’t drive (because I cannot afford it), I would like to continue living in a walkable neighbourhood rather than be pushed out to the outlying burbs where everything is farther apart, transit is often insufficient, and in many areas there are not even sidewalks.

    What low income housing the city has is pretty much filled, with wait lists of 5 years or more. Developers and rental agencies are loathe to provide housing for those on a low or fixed income as there is no profit in it, as well as having to contend with a lot of red tape. To cover rent along with other expenses such, as Medicare payments, prescription drugs, as well as food and utilities, it would would require more than an incremental increase in the monthly benefit, at least on the order of twice what it currently is.

    You can believe that the Republicans would fight that tooth and nail as many see Social Security as an “entitlement” rather than a paid into retirement plan. Meanwhile they, and even the some Democrats, have few qualms about reducing taxes for the wealthy and corporations, none of which has ever “trickled down” since the term was coined over three decades ago (and will not in the future). The more these two sectors received, the more they hoarded rather than put back into the economy which is illustrated by the growing gap in wealth (that is now greater than the “robber baron” days of a century ago) and trillions in corporate profits stashed away in tax havens.

    Being that Clinton and the Demos still follow neoliberal policy I have to say, “I will believe her promises when I see them in action”. Until then, I feel we will continue to struggle, and it very likely may become worse (particularly if we fall into another recession like some economists are feeling my happen) no matter who is in the White House.

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