Amy On The Issues
Protecting Older Americans’ Health & Economic Security
After a lifetime of hard work, Americans deserve to retire with dignity. That’s why America created Medicare and Social Security—programs that people pay into over their lifetimes, earning access to health care and income security. But these fundamental programs are under attack. For years, Congressional Republicans have tried to cut benefits and defund and destroy Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. They have done everything they can to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which reduced out-of-pocket costs for millions of seniors. And they have blocked efforts to lower prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate for them.
In Congress, I will stand up for South Jersey’s seniors—fighting to protect their health care and retirement benefits; to expand access to long-term care; and to lower health care costs by holding pharmaceutical companies accountable.
Protect and Strengthen Medicare
Medicare provides health insurance coverage to roughly one in five Americans. It does so efficiently, with low administrative costs, while ensuring access to high-quality care. And it is critical to keeping older and disabled Americans out of poverty—because no one, and especially not our seniors, should have to choose between essentials like food and utilities and paying for life-saving treatment.
I will always fight to protect and strengthen Medicare and will oppose any efforts to increase costs or reduce benefits. In Congress, I will work to:
- Strengthen Medicare’s long-term solvency, including by lowering drug prices and continuing to implement reforms, like coordinated care, that contain costs and promote access.
- Expand Medicare benefits, by finding a financially-sustainable way to cover dental, vision, and hearing care.
- Oppose any efforts to reduce benefits or increase out-of-pocket costs, including efforts to privatize Medicare, expand means-testing, or raise the retirement age.
- Block efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would take health care away from millions of older Americans and raise costs for those with pre-existing conditions.
Lower Prescription Drug Prices
Skyrocketing drug prices are crushing older Americans and their families while large pharmaceutical companies make billions of dollars in profits. I will stand up to drug and health insurance companies to reduce out-of-pocket costs and expand access to life-saving care. In Congress, I will fight to:
- Enact the Lower Drug Prices Now Act, which will allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices and expand those lower costs to people on private insurance. This important bill will save $500 billion in drug costs over 10 years.
- Reform the generic drug system to stop pharmaceutical companies from limiting access to low-cost medications. Congress must act to get more generics into the marketplace more quickly, prevent price-gouging, and use federal procurement power to ensure production of life-saving medications.
Protect and Strengthen Social Security
Social Security is our most important income-security program, providing hard-earned benefits to millions of retirees, disabled workers, and children. Expanding Social Security is key to addressing America’s retirement crisis. Yet Republicans are doing everything they can to tear down this fundamental program. Even before the Covid-19 crisis began, Congressional Republicans wanted to cut Social Security to pay for the $1.3 trillion tax cut they gave to giant corporations. Now, Republicans like Jeff Van Drew want to slash Social Security funding. If these efforts continue, Social Security could disappear in just three years.
In Congress, I will fight to protect and expand Social Security, including by:
- Increasing benefits for new and current beneficiaries, by passing the Social Security 2100 Act.
- Strengthening cost of living adjustments, improving the adjustment formula to better reflect costs incurred by seniors.
- Supporting and rewarding caregivers, reforming Social Security so that women are not unfairly penalized for taking time off from their careers to care for their loved ones.
- Putting Social Security on stronger financial footing, by requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay the same payroll tax rates as everyone else.
- Opposing efforts to cut or weaken Social Security, including through privatization, raising the retirement age, cutting cost of living adjustments, or unilaterally ending payroll tax collections.
Uphold the Right to Secure Retirement
America has a retirement crisis. Big corporations and Wall Street have broken their promises to workers, cutting and taking away retirement benefits in order to boost their own bottom lines. Unless we act, more than 200 multiemployer pension plans will fail in the next 10 years, threatening the retirements of 1.3 million Americans.
American made a promise to working people that if you work hard, you have the right to a secure retirement. I will always fight to uphold that promise, including by:
- Protecting defined-benefit pension plans, including those currently provided to teachers and other public employees.
- Enacting the Butch Lewis Act, which would create a loan program to help get multiemployer pensions back on solid ground.
- Requiring financial advisors to serve the best interests of their clients, rather than their own best interest. For example, I support restoration of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, which would save New Jersey retirees as much as $610 million a year.
- Expanding access to retirement savings, by enrolling workers in “automatic 401(k)s” if they lack other ways to save.
Expand Long-Term Care Benefits
The coronavirus has exposed and exacerbated America’s long-term care crisis. And even before the pandemic, most families struggled to pay for the nursing and home-health care they or their loved ones need. In Congress, I will fight to:
- Increase and expand access to long-term care benefits, including Medicare coverage, to ensure community or at-home care.
- Protect and continue expanding Medicaid, which currently finances two-thirds of all nursing home residents’ care.
- Help families pay for long term care, by enacting a tax credit for informal and family caregivers.
- Put strong safety measures in place to ensure that all long-term care facilities are protecting residents and workers from Covid-19.
Invest in Brain and Mental Health
One of my most important priorities in Congress will be to revolutionize our mental health care system. That includes working to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s and other dementias—both to reduce the enormous costs these diseases impose on seniors and the Medicare system, and to ensure that all Americans have access to brain and mental health care.
In Congress, I will fight to:
- Boost funding for medical research, providing more resources for the search for cures to Alzheimer’s and cancer.
- Dramatically expand preventative and mental health care to ensure access to collaborative, integrated care and services for patients who show signs of cognitive decline.
- Realign financial incentives in our health care system to focus on brain health, risk reduction, and preventative care.