We owe our seniors respect, gratitude and thanks for their contributions to society. They deserve to enjoy their time with family and friends, rather than worrying about retirement security and health care costs. Throughout my congressional career, I have championed the need for resources and services so that seniors can live independently, in their communities, for as long as possible.

Over its 50-year history, Medicare has guaranteed dependable, comprehensive health coverage to seniors and individuals with disabilities nationwide. Today, Medicare supports over 57 million Americans- over 930,000 of whom are Marylanders. Current, reckless attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement threatens this essential program, which has been worrisome for our seniors. The historic health care reform law had brought peace of mind by extending the life of Medicare for more than a decade. Medicare provides more affordable health coverage than private health insurers, and successfully spearheads reforms in the healthcare delivery system to improve efficiency and control costs. The ACA eliminated all co-payments for Medicare preventive services, such as diabetes screenings and colonoscopies, and provided seniors with free annual wellness checkups with no co-pays or deductibles, two provisions I fought to have included in the law. Additionally, seniors who fall in the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap or “donut hole,” have been receiving a growing discount on all brand-name medications, which has been on track for elimination by 2020. In 2015 alone, approximately 86,000 seniors and people with disabilities in the Maryland saved on average $1,158 on drug costs. I remain committed to keeping the life-saving benefits provided by the ACA from being repealed without a viable replacement.

Preserving Medicare and Social Security should be fundamental value held by every Member of Congress, and any partisan attempt to scale back the program endangers the health of the millions of Americans who elected them. I want to restore that peace of mind our nation’s seniors deserve. As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, I will continue working across the aisle to guarantee the Medicare and Social Security’s quality, security, and solvency. I will also work to ensure that our seniors find confidence in their IRAs and 401k plans. Furthermore, I remain a strong supporter of the Older Americans Act, which expresses our nation’s commitment to protecting our seniors, and includes special provisions I authored to help Holocaust survivors living in the United States access essential services, such as health care and nutritional services, without having to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility. These programs are not only a vital part of our healthcare infrastructure, they are a life-saving guarantee and safety-net for millions of seniors.