Staten Island Advance

Letter to the Editor

October 25, 2016

Please note the Advance removed the Letter to the Editor from their website because it allegedly violated  a policy prohibiting candidates from making "blatant appeals for votes"

Medicare, Social Security are at risk (letter to the editor)
October 25, 2016 at 8:28 PM
By Richard Reichard

West Brighton

When you vote on Tuesday, November 8th you are deciding on the future of Medicare and Social Security.

By 2035, the Social Security trust fund will only be able to pay 77% of benefits. By 2028 the Medicare trust fund will only be able to cover 87% of expenditures

My opponent, Dan Donovan, and I support two different plans for a addressing the solvency of both trust funds.

My opponent supports the Republican plan that calls for transitioning Medicare to a voucher system and raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.

He supports the Republican plan that calls for transitioning Social Security to private accounts and raising the retirement age from 67 to 70.

The Republican voucher plan would shift cost from the government to Medicare recipients. Raising the eligibility age would result in hundreds of thousands of seniors between 65 and 67 losing medical coverage.

The Republican plan to divert payroll taxes to private accounts would expose seniors to economic downturns like what happened in 2008. Raising the retirement age to 70 would further reduce the benefits for those retiring earlier.

To address Medicare's solvency, I would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with drug companies. The Republicans are against allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

To address Social Security's solvency, I would lift the cap on the maximum wage ($127, 200 in 2017) subject to FICA.

Those currently receiving benefits need to understand that the payroll taxes being paid by those currently working are keeping the trust funds solvent. This is the contract between generations. The Republican plans would require breaking the contract.

If you want to break the contract between generations and phase out both programs, then your choice is my opponent.

However, if you want to preserve the current programs, then I'm your choice.

(The writer is the Democratic candidate for Congress.)