Claire McCaskill 11/09/2011

Post date: Nov 10, 2011 2:40:34 AM

From: Senator Claire McCaskill []

Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 9:18 AM

Subject: Fighting for Seniors

November 9, 2011

Dear Mrs. Olsen,

I never need to go far if I need a reminder of how important Medicare and Social Security are to Missouri's seniors. My mom, Betty Anne, is one of millions for whom these services provide a reliable safety net.

Across the country, these protections are an integral part of sustaining the health and dignity of millions of seniors.

Unfortunately, there are some folks in Washington who don't understand the value of these protections.

Earlier this year, I helped put a stop to a plan that would have dismantled Medicare, turning it into a private voucher program. That plan would ultimately have forced seniors on Medicare to pay more than $6,000 more each year just to sustain their current benefits, and would leave seniors to fend for themselves in the health insurance marketplace against large private insurance companies.

Their plan was reckless, and wrong for Missouri seniors. That's why I rejected it.

The Missourians I hear from just don't believe that the only way to tackle the national debt is to drastically alter Medicare and Social Security. They understand that small adjustments can be made to shore up these vital services without radically re-defining them.

That's why I opposed the effort to make Medicare a voucher program. It's why I'm helping lead an effort in the U.S. Senate to pass legislation to ensure the wealthiest Americans are paying their fair share into the Social Security trust fund. And it's why I'm advocating some commonsense ways of getting benefits only to the folks who need them--because your tax dollars shouldn't be paying for Donald Trump's prescription drugs.

As a member of the Senate's Committee on Aging, I'm no stranger to fighting for America's seniors. After holding hearings to get input from Missourians, I led the fight to pass legislation that protects seniors from predatory lending in the mortgage industry. I stood up against efforts that would make it harder for seniors to vote, and battled telemarketers bent on defrauding seniors.

And I voted to close the prescription drug doughnut hole and eliminate co-pays for preventative health services in Medicare.

Recently, I traveled around the state, hearing directly from Missouri's seniors at town hall events. They told me about the challenges of living on a fixed income and just how important Social Security is to their everyday survival. That's why I'm pleased to see that there will be an increase in the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment this year.

My fight for Missouri's seniors is grounded in Missouri values and our state's history. Medicare was signed into law at the library of our own Harry Truman. At the time, President Lyndon Johnson told the nation that it "all started with the man from Independence," pointing to Truman's work on behalf of our seniors. Truman, Johnson said, had "planted the seeds of compassion and duty" that led to Medicare.

And with a signature from President Johnson, Harry Truman became the very first Medicare recipient in our nation's history.

I have the honor of holding Harry Truman's Senate seat today. And I'll continue fighting to make sure that the protections granted to him all those years ago are sustained for today's seniors and are still there for our kids, grandkids, and for generations to come.


Claire McCaskill

United States Senator

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