DETROIT – The UAW will join the Alliance for Retired Americans during the weeks of July 29 and August 12 in celebrating Medicaid’s 48th anniversary (July 30) and Social Security’s 78th anniversary (Aug. 14) by fighting to defend and strengthen these programs and the protections they provide to all Americans. They have dramatically expanded access to health care and enabled millions of seniors to retire with dignity and out of poverty.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are again under attack by right-wing extremists trying to cut benefits and privatize these programs. This fall they will once again try to pressure Congress and the Administration into cutting benefits in the name of deficit reduction. Medicare and Medicaid programs are highly successful programs and are an efficient means to providing health coverage to retired Americans and the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicaid in many ways. The radical House Republican budget proposes privatizing Medicare by creating a voucher system and cutting billions of dollars from Medicaid, which many seniors use as their primary means for paying for nursing homes and long-term care. These short-sighted proposals would force far too many seniors to choose between paying for health care or other basic necessities like food and shelter. It is unacceptable to balance the budget on the backs of working families and there are far better ways to address our long-term fiscal problems.
The UAW instead supports legislation introduced by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA). The legislation, the Medicare Drug Savings Act, is S. 740 in the U.S. Senate and H.R. 1588 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would save the Medicare program $140 billion by eliminating the loophole that blocks Medicare from negotiating with the pharmaceutical industry for cheaper drugs.
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