Issue Position:Seniors

Issue Position

Congressman Sarbanes knows that our nation's seniors make enormous contributions to our civic life and to the success and prosperity of our nation. That's why he works to find ways to ensure that all seniors are treated with respect, that they receive the health care and retirement benefits they have earned and that they have meaningful opportunities to work or volunteer.
Strengthening Medicare and Lowering the Cost of Prescription Drugs

Health care reform will strengthen the Medicare program and benefit our seniors in critical ways:

Lowering Prescription Drug Costs: Once an individual reaches the coverage gap in 2014, seniors will pay 47.5 percent of the plan's cost for covered brand-name prescription drugs. For generic drugs, seniors will receive a 28 percent discount from Medicare. These discounts will continue to increase and by 2020, the "donut hole" will be completely closed.

Enhancing Preventive Care: The law has eliminated co-pays and deductibles that Medicare recipients used to pay for key aspects of preventive care including annual wellness visits, mammography screening, colonoscopy and glaucoma screening.

Extending the Solvency of the Medicare Program: By cutting down on fraud and abuse and instituting other cost saving measures, the law substantially enhances the solvency of the Medicare program -- extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by an additional nine years.

Eliminating Fraud and Abuse: Medicare is cracking down on fraud, waste and abuse with increased background checks, site visits and penalties to catch fraudulent providers and suppliers.

Improving Reimbursement for Primary Care: Congress has increased Medicare payments by 10 percent for many physicians, particularly those who provide primary care.

Preserving Social Security

Social Security has made it possible for millions of seniors to live with security and dignity in their retirement, and Congressman Sarbanes remains committed to ensuring retirement security for all Americans.

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA): The Congressman has co-sponsored legislation to create a new formula for calculating COLAs that would better account for costs that disproportionately fall on seniors. He has strong reservations about various proposals to adopt the chained CPI which would unfairly reduce benefits for current and future Social Security beneficiaries.

Extending the Solvency of Social Security: Congressman Sarbanes believes that a better way to protect the solvency of Social Security without adjusting benefits or raising the retirement age is to "Scrap the Cap" on earnings subject to the Social Security Payroll tax. This change would extend solvency for an additional 75 years.

Retirement Security

Protecting and improving the retirement security of all Americans is a top priority for Congressman Sarbanes. So in addition to protecting Social Security for current and future retirees, Congressman Sarbanes is committed to strengthening our private retirement savings system, securing the promise of defined benefit pension plans, expanding access to workplace savings accounts and improving tax incentives to help more Americans build a nest egg for retirement.