With a new session of Congress just a few weeks away, there are already concerning discussions underway about privatizing Medicare. Let me say unequivocally to you now: I have opposed and will continue to oppose privatization of Medicare.
Privatizing Medicare, or turning it into a voucher system, would take seniors back to a time where they have to make difficult financial tradeoffs if they get sick and need good health coverage. It would mean higher out-of-pocket costs for seniors and higher insurance premiums for younger Americans.
Every day, across Indiana and our country, millions of seniors rely on Medicare for the quality, affordable health care it provides. More than 1.1 million Hoosiers are enrolled in Medicare today, and thousands more will join in the next few years. It is central to the promise that, after years of hard work, seniors have earned the right to the peace of mind that they will be able to access care.
To that end, I have consistently opposed efforts to privatize Medicare. And I will oppose any effort to end Medicare as we know it or turn it into a voucher program in the future.
Before the implementation of Medicare and Social Security, millions of seniors were uninsured and risked having to choose between healthcare and poverty. Thanks to Medicare and Social Security, nearly every senior now has health insurance coverage, and poverty among seniors has been dramatically reduced.
Recently, President-elect Trump nominated Congressman Tom Price of Georgia to be the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, a position that in part oversees Medicare. Because of Congressman Price’s long record of pushing to privatize Medicare and undermine the promises made to our seniors, I will vote against his nomination.
If my colleagues or President-elect Trump have constructive ideas that would strengthen Medicare, reduce the costs of care and crack down on waste, fraud and abuse, count me in. But if they want to phase out Medicare, or privatize the system, count me out.
And, just as Indiana’s seniors have worked for a lifetime counting on the guarantee of Medicare, the young men and women working hard today expect to have Medicare available when they retire. I am committed to ensuring that we keep that promise to them as well.
As always, I am hopeful that there will be opportunities for bipartisan cooperation in the new year on common sense policies that will benefit Hoosier families. I will not stop fighting until every Hoosier who wants a job has one, until we have ended the tragedy of servicemember and veteran suicide and until we have addressed the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics that are devastating communities across Indiana and our country. But when it comes to Medicare, I will not support any effort that would put us on a direct path to ending Medicare as we know it.