WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Judy Chu, D-El Monte, issued the following statement marking today's 46th Anniversary of the establishment of the Medicare program, vowing to continue to support the Democratic Party's efforts to preserve this crucial safety net for America's seniors:
"On this, the 46th anniversary of the establishment of the Medicare program, there are two things we as Americans must be mindful of: first, the incredible benefits that this invaluable program have brought to our nation; and second, the ongoing determination of the GOP to destroy Medicare," said Rep. Chu.
"Medicare is one of the proudest achievements of the Democratic Party in generations. Before Medicare, barely half of American seniors had health coverage, nearly 30 percent of older Americans lived in poverty and life expectancy was about 70 years," Chu continued. "Compare those figures to today, with virtually all Americans 65 and over guaranteed health care coverage, less than 8 percent of seniors living in poverty and life expectancy up to 78.2 years, and it is obvious that Medicare has made us a stronger and more prosperous nation, committed to the compassionate care of our older citizens.
"And yet, even in the face of all of this evidence, the Republican Party continues its decades long assault on Medicare. Just as they did when Medicare was first introduced, delaying its passage by more than a decade and decrying the program as a step toward "socialized medicine," the GOP continues its assault on our senior and disabled residents even to this day. Current efforts by the Republican majority to gut Medicare would result in increased out-of-pocket costs for the typical senior of more than $6,000 a year, require seniors to be paying a majority of their health care costs by 2030, and essentially forfeit our nation's commitment to caring for our seniors in their later years. And the debt ceiling bill proposed by Speaker Boehner would lead to even further cuts in this crucial program.
"Democrats will not stand for these attacks. We will continue to fight for and protect the Medicare program, as we have done so for nearly half a century. We will not let the Republicans allow this crucial program to 'wither on the vine,' as former Speaker Newt Gingrich would have us do. And we will do everything in our power to make sure our nation continues to take care of all of its residents, young and old alike. It is what our forefathers expected of us, what our citizens expect of us, and to not do so would go against everything the United States of America stands for."