Issue Position: Seniors

Issue Position

Saving Medicare

The health care reform law known as ObamaCare has already cut Medicare by $500 billion to finance the larger government-run health care reform effort. It also created an unelected and unaccountable board of 15 bureaucrats who can deny care to seniors without appeal, changing Medicare as we know it.

The Medicare program is projected to run out of money in less than ten years, meaning the system needs reform if it's to be saved, while simultaneously protecting taxpayers.

Already, because of inaction and a failure upon the government to reasonably reimburse doctors for the care they provide to seniors, one in three doctors are limiting the number of Medicare patients according to the American Medical Association. More than half of doctors say ObamaCare will compel them to close or restrict practice to Medicare patients. This is an urgent and serious problem, particularly as 10,000 "baby boomers" per day reach retirement age.

Doing nothing to reform the system not only bankrupts Medicare in less than a decade, it jeopardizes very basic access for seniors to the care being discussed.

The Republican House Budget Plan strengthens and saves Medicare, preserving it as a critical lifeline for America's seniors, and protecting anyone over the age of 55 from changes. Individuals under the strengthened Medicare plan would be able to choose from a plan of guaranteed coverage options which best suit their needs, and provides personalized health care coverage (not a voucher). It would also provide greater support to those seniors on the lower-income level, and less support to wealthier individuals. Those with higher health risks would receive greater support.

Medicare Smart Cards to Eliminate Wasteful and Fraudulent Spending

Waste and fraudulent spending in Medicare is not only frustrating for taxpayers, but it robs critical funds from those most in need. Each year, the waste in Medicare totals $60 billion, which should otherwise be paying for critical health care needs of our nation's seniors. In 2011, Gerlach signed onto a bipartisan, AARP-endorsed bill that would implement smart-card technology for Medicare recipients. The cards would more securely transfer payments to doctors and other health providers, while protecting seniors from fraudulent activity by removing their Social Security numbers from the face of their Medicare cards. The Department of Defense maintains a similar system among 20 million users.

Social Security

Jim has always opposed privatizing Social Security and has sponsored legislation to segregate the funds that are pulled from workers' paychecks over the course of their entire working lives, and make them inaccessible to politicians and a growing urge for government to spend more. It would keep Social Security trust funds off-limits from the public debt and require annual surpluses to be invested in interest-bearing accounts and certificates of deposits in institutions insured by the FDIC.

Jim has also co-sponsored legislation to end the double-taxation seniors pay on income derived from Social Security.