Democratic Congressional Nominee Tracy Mitrano, expressed the need to have Congress take strong and immediate action to bolster and expand both Social Security and Medicare.
Social Security and Medicare were implemented by Democratic administrations in the 1930s and 1960s in order to ensure that older Americans, as well as their dependents and those with disabilities, receive an adequate income and health insurance.
As of today, the programs are cornerstones of American society: last year alone, Social Security made payments to 62 million beneficiaries, while 58.4 million Americans received health insurance through Medicare. Over 3 million people in New York State are on Medicare, while 166,000 people in the 23rd Congressional District alone rely on their Social Security checks to pay their bills. 118,850 are retirees over 65, while another 26,363 are disabled workers. Nearly 12,000 children also benefit from this crucial safety net.
“In many ways, these programs are the bedrock of American democracy—of the commitment of our government to its people,” Mitrano said. “During the Great Depression, far too many aging Americans were living in poverty, despite having worked for their whole lives. Today, Social Security payments help millions of retirees make ends meet. Medicare allows millions to access the health care they deserve. But it’s still not enough. As a nation, we need to strengthen these programs and keep them away from predatory private interests.”
Mitrano supports raising the earnings cap on the Social Security tax. In 2018, the cap was $128,400, which meant that an individual who received a higher income did not pay any Social Security tax on those additional earnings. She also supports an expansion of Medicare through the lowering of the age of eligibility, so that more Americans who are in need of health care are able to receive coverage.
In June of this year, the House Budget Committee revealed plans to balance the federal budget by 2027. The proposal, laid out a plan for hefty cuts to federal discretionary spending, such as drastic cuts to social welfare programs.
Within the budget, Medicare funding would be reduced by $537 billion over the next ten years, while Social Security funding would be cut by $4 billion over the same period.
“In a word, the Republican position on these issues is callous,” Mitrano said. “Less than a year ago, the Republicans were so unconcerned about the budget that they passed a massive tax overhaul, an overhaul that disproportionately benefits the wealthiest while adding what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects will be $1.4 trillion to the debt over the next decade.”