Protecting Social Security and Preserving Medicare
Guiding principle: Our senior citizens must be guaranteed a secure and dignified retirement.
All their lives, our seniors have invested in their futures through Social Security and Medicare. Shelli will fight to protect Social Security from those in Congress who would jeopardize it with privatization schemes and risky investments in the stock market. She will oppose attempts to privatize Medicare or to raise premiums for seniors. Shelli believes any changes to Medicare must be made only after consulting with the seniors who rely upon it. She will also push for legislation to protect workers’ pensions and retirement benefits. Shelli Yoder understands the importance of supporting Americans as they build savings to retire with the dignity they have earned.
Shelli Yoder Will Fight to Protect Social Security
Shelli understands that Social Security plays an indispensable role in ensuring America’s seniors have the dignified retirement they deserve. She will fight any effort in Washington to cut benefits from the program, including those proposed in the Paul Ryan-Todd Young budget, and will work across the aisle to make sure that Social Security is available for generations to come. Shelli recognizes that minor adjustments will ensure the long-term solvency of the trust fund, and she will not allow those who have always opposed the program to hijack the reform process to end Social Security or privatize it. If Washington politicians are willing to put aside ideological battles, adjustments to the program can be made in a responsible and reasonable way so that they do not result in cuts to benefits for seniors who are counting on Social Security.
Protecting Social Security Benefits
Shelli will fight plans to cut benefits for today’s seniors and will work to make sure any future changes are targeted only to those who can afford them. Social Security will remain entirely solvent for the next thirty years and could then pay out three-fourth of benefits with no adjustments at all. Shelli opposes the Ryan-Young budget that cuts benefits immediately by adjusting the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) formula. Two-thirds of seniors rely upon the program for more than half of their retirement income, and cutting their benefits is unconscionable, especially when there are other adjustments that have the same effect.
If the past few years and the failures in the stock market have made one thing clear, it is that Americans need a safe and stable program like Social Security for their retirement. The Ryan-Young budget proposes to privatize Social Security, worsening its financial circumstances for the next sixty years and leaving the federal government on the hook for a private individual’s investment decisions. Shelli will fight against the efforts in the Ryan-Young budget to offer preferential treatment to Americans who leave Social Security. She sees these proposals for what they are – attempts to undermine the long-term future of Social Security.
Protecting the Long-term Fiscal Viability of Social Security
Shelli opposes the Ryan-Young plan to divert billions of dollars from Social Security into private savings accounts. To ensure that Social Security is on a sound fiscal path, Shelli supports Congressman Peter DeFazio’s bill to lift the payroll tax cap on earnings above $250,000. This simple adjustment would affect less than two percent of Americans but would raise more than $5.4 billion for the trust fund. Shelli also believes that capital-gains income, which is currently exempt from Social Security taxes from wealthy Americans, should be considered as a possible revenue source.
Shelli Yoder Will Fight to Preserve Medicare
Shelli understands that Medicare is an indispensable and non-negotiable part of the retirement security for millions of Americans. She will fight Todd Young’s efforts to convert it into a voucher program and will advocate for commonsense, cost-cutting measures, such as increased competitive bidding and fraud-fighting.
Shelli understands how important Medicare is to America’s seniors and will fight to make sure that it is available for future generations. She will not accept benefit cuts to seniors who rely upon Medicare and will work to preserve the long-term integrity of the program.
Shelli recognizes that Medicare, with a three-percent overhead, provides a cost-effective delivery of healthcare, with a far lower per-capita cost than private insurance plans. Much of the projected growth in costs for the program is simply a result of the increasing number of seniors, and Shelli understands that an aging population will naturally require greater spending on healthcare. She will support commonsense proposals to decrease costs, such as those outlined below, but will not allow those who oppose Medicare to use costs as an excuse to eliminate the program.
Shelli opposes and will fight any plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program, which would not contain costs and would shift costs onto America’s seniors who can least afford them. The Paul Ryan-Todd Young plan would result in seniors’ premiums skyrocketing because the subsidies would not keep up with rising premium costs.
Keeping the “Donut Hole” Closed
On June 24, 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that Indiana seniors and people with disabilities in the Medicare “doughnut hole” coverage gap have saved $93.5 million on prescription drugs since 2010 and passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Shelli understands the huge financial strain suffered by seniors who fall into the so-called “doughnut hole” on prescription drugs. She supports current efforts to close the hole by offering discounts of up to 50% on brand name prescription drugs and additional discounts on generics. In Congress, she will work to speed up implementation of these efforts, and she will fight the Ryan-Young budget plan to reopen the “donut hole.”
Further cost containment strategies:
• Paying for wellness
Shelli supports ongoing efforts to transition to payment systems that reward and prioritize wellness and preventive care while minimizing the use of less-effective and more costly fee-for-service approaches. She will work to support efforts that ensure that healthcare is delivered in the most effective and efficient fashion possible.
• Fighting fraud
Medicare is projected to lose approximately $34 billion each year in fraudulent payments. Reducing fraud and prosecuting those who perpetrate it is the kind of commonsense solution Sheill Yoder will bring to Washington politics. She believes that the first step towards fiscal security must be making sure all funds are used properly.
• Competitive bidding
Shelli supports increased use of competitive bidding to ensure that Medicare is getting the best deal possible for every product. Past use of competitive bidding reduced costs by more than one third, and Shelli supports speeding up the implementation of competitive bidding around the country.
• Coordinating dually eligible treatment
One clearly identified area where savings are possible is with dually eligible senior citizens who enroll in both Medicare and Medicaid. These seniors commonly have chronic diseases but are left with treatment programs that are both less effective and more expensive because they are not coordinated. Moreover, these seniors must have their care better coordinated so as to take advantage of lower drug prices Medicare has negotiated (as opposed to the higher prices billed under Medicaid). This is an example of another commonsense solution that will save taxpayer funds.
Shelli Yoder Will Fight to Ensure Financial Security for Seniors
Shelli Yoder understands the importance of supporting Americans who are building for retirement so they can retire with the dignity they have earned.
Expanding access to workplace retirement plans
The White House Middle Class Task Force proposed a number of initiatives to ensure that all Americans can access retirement plans. Shelli supports a plan to have employers offer a job-based savings account or to help employees to enroll in one of their own.
Expanding the Saver’s Credit
Shelli Yoder supports efforts to simplify and expand the Saver’s Credit so that it provides a fifty-percent annual match on the first $1,000 of retirement savings for middle-class families. She also supports efforts to make the credit fully refundable.
Targeting tax-deferred retirement savings
Tax-deferred retirement savings can provide an important resource for Americans saving for their retirement. However, the current tax-code structure does a poor job of targeting the savings towards those who need it most. Currently, the top twenty percent of earners reap about eighty percent of the benefit. Congress must revise these programs to help those who need them most.
Financial literacy is key to helping Americans learn how to build a nest egg for retirement. Aspects of financial literacy can be incorporated into school curricula and offered through trainings for older Americans at community colleges and universities.
Consumer Protection Bureau
Americans must be protected from fraud and scams by unscrupulous practitioners. The Consumer Protection Bureau will help to ensure that citizens – both seniors and those saving for retirement – are not disadvantaged or tricked into losing their savings.
Reconsidering asset-based means testing
As currently structured, Medicaid and SSI asset means-testing discourages savings by low-income Americans. Similar policies and rules are designed to ensure the programs reach those who need them most, but ultimately they discourage low-income citizens from accumulating savings for retirement. Additionally, the thresholds are not usually indexed to inflation and so continue to grow smaller and smaller over time. These means tests should be restructured to allow low-income Americans to save for retirement without being denied access to crucial services. Congress can recalibrate the test so that retirement savings are not counted as assets.