Congressman Crowley Hosts Medicare Event with Queens Seniors

May 19, 2011
Press Release

Washington, D.C.On Wednesday, May 18, Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) hosted a public forum with seniors from the Elmhurst Jackson Heights Senior Center to discuss his efforts to protect Medicare and Social Security from the latest Republican calls for privatization. In addition to addressing Medicare and Social Security, Crowley also announced his plan to introduce a bill to provide all Social Security recipients with a one-time $250 payment to compensate for a lack of a cost of living adjustment (COLA) this year.

“Medicare is a lifeline for millions of seniors in New York and around the country. Yet, Republicans are championing a plan that will end the guaranteed coverage seniors not only rely on, but paid for themselves over a lifetime of work,” said Congressman Crowley. “There’s no doubt the federal government needs to make tough choices, but one of them should not be to turn Medicare inside out and leave seniors at the mercy of private insurance companies. We should be focused on lifting seniors up during these troubled times, not pushing them down.” 

Recently, House Republicans voted to end the Medicare program in its current state and replace it with a voucher system, increasing seniors’ costs and reducing benefits for all those currently under age 55. Under the Republicans’ voucher program, seniors’ out-of-pocket health care costs would skyrocket over time to double, or even triple, the current amount.

In addition, the Republican plan will:

• No longer guarantee seniors the same level of benefits and choice of doctors they have today under Medicare;

• Raise prescription drug costs for millions of seniors by reversing key reforms made last year to Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program;

• Eliminate the free preventative care benefit available under Medicare, which was established under the health insurance reform measure (Affordable Care Act) enacted last year; and

• Increase the eligibility age by two years (from 65 to 67) to be eligible for the Republican voucher program.

During the event, Crowley also reiterated his pledge to oppose any effort to privatize Social Security or cut benefits, recognizing that Social Security is not the government’s money, but the people’s money. More than 50 million Americans, including 3.2 million in New York, rely on Social Security’s guaranteed benefits for retirement security or to make ends meet, put food on the table and stay in their homes.

“While spending reductions are necessary, we cannot – and should not – place the burden of these cuts on the backs of our Greatest Generation,” said Crowley. “We must continue to uphold the promise of Social Security and Medicare for today’s seniors, and the next generation of Americans."

Congressman Crowley is a seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He serves as chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for all tax, trade and Social Security issues, as well as health and retirement security.