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Our promise to seniors

 

Last updated 2/26/2020 at 9:36am



Our nation values those who have come before us, and that includes our seniors and retirees. Past generations have paved the way for future growth, and I truly believe we owe them the respect — and the benefits — they have earned.  Despite my gray beard, I am not a member of the greatest generation, but I am proud to be an ally to seniors across Central Washington.

While I believe we must balance the federal budget, many seniors have worked their whole lives to pay into the Social Security and Medicare systems with the promise that those funds would be there when they needed them. The federal government must fulfill those promises.

I have worked hard to protect seniors’ benefits and to reduce our country’s deficit in order to avoid any automatic cuts to mandatory spending. Instead of arguing about whether it is important to address the solvency of these programs, we should be working together to strengthen them and increase access for seniors, especially in rural areas.

I recently hosted a Senior Symposium where hundreds of seniors from across the region joined me and three panels of experts to discuss the benefits and resources available in our region. From free tax filing services for those on a fixed income to the availability of programs that help seniors afford medical costs, it is clear there is a plethora of resources in Central Washington. But we have to make sure they’re accessible.

For example, access to affordable Medicare Advantage plans can significantly improve the quality of life for those who utilize traditional Medicare, which only covers about 80% of medical costs. These programs provide a comprehensive healthcare option and cover dental, vision, and specialty care. Shirley from Yakima said, “My plan charges no premium, and they cap my out-of-pocket expenses. The best part is the extra wellness care, from checkups to a free fitness membership.” These are exactly the kind of programs we should be promoting.

As your representative in Congress, I also have the ability to provide one-on-one assistance with federal agencies, and my staff in the district has helped hundreds of constituents navigate the bureaucratic nightmare that can be a toll-free help line.

My office receives phone calls, letters, and e-mails from seniors and their families every day with questions about Social Security, Medicare, and other healthcare benefits. These pleas for help can range from a newly retired veteran who is trying to decipher the benefits they have earned to a widow whose Social Security benefits have been underpaid for a decade. In all cases, my staff and I are proud to help resolve these issues for the people of Central Washington.

Response and turnaround time for the cases my staff works on has steadily decreased since I came to Congress, especially since President Trump was elected. This is due in large part to this Administration’s willingness to help and expand flexibility for seniors to personalize their care. President Trump has made a commitment to ensure seniors can access these benefits without headache, and he is following through. 

Our promise to seniors is in line with the American dream, and I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and the Administration to ensure we keep it.

 

 

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