ANNAPOLIS – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, today discussed the importance of protecting Medicare and Social Security as a “guaranteed benefit” at the United Seniors of Maryland’s annual meeting. He addressed seniors’ concerns about Congressman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program, which the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed.
“I believe that Congressman Ryan’s plan to make Medicare a voucher program would ultimately kill Medicare, one of the most important programs in our nation’s history. As we evaluate the Ryan budget plan, we must remember that Medicare, along with Social Security, helped create the middle class of the 20th Century,” said Senator Cardin.
Congress created Medicare in 1965 because most seniors were unable to purchase health insurance at any price. Today, approximately 775,000 Maryland seniors rely on Medicare for their health care needs.
“I will fight to make sure Medicare remains a guaranteed benefit for seniors and the disabled so that they can continue to have access to health care. We have a real opportunity with the 2012 budget to chart a more responsible fiscal path for our nation. But we must do it in a way that preserves important programs that our seniors and families depend upon and that invests in our nation’s future. Balancing the budget on the backs of our seniors would be a great disservice to them and to our nation as a whole. ”
Senator Cardin has been a strong advocate for Medicare throughout his congressional career. Last year, he supported the Affordable Care Act, which includes provisions eliminating all co-payments for Medicare preventive services and provides seniors with free annual wellness checkups with no co-pays or deductibles in the law.