GOP: Obama's Medicare cuts 'a breach of faith with seniors'
By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 09:48 AM ET
Rep. Tom Rooney gives the Republican Party's Weekly Remarks
Good morning. My name is Tom Rooney, and here in the House, I represent Florida's 17th District.
Few promises are more sacred than the ones we make to older Americans. (Scroll down for video of these full remarks.)
Protecting the dignity and the security our seniors have earned is a commitment that spans generations and party lines. For example, during President Obama's health care speech to Congress in the fall of 2009, he took a moment to speak directly to older Americans.
“These steps,” he said, “will ensure that you — America’s seniors — get the benefits you've been promised.”
Then, during a telephone town hall with seniors from around the country, he said he wanted to respond to what he called “hysterical claims” about his plan. “Here’s the truth..." he said, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”
That is the promise he made — several times.
But here's the reality.
To help pay for his health care law, the president made deep cuts to the successful Medicare Advantage program, which serves nearly 30 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries. This includes seniors with low incomes, patients with chronic conditions and Americans in rural areas.
It’s a win-win program that gives seniors more control over their care and delivers better value for both them and the taxpayer.
But now, because of the president’s health care law, I'm hearing from seniors in my district who have already lost their doctors. Constituents tell me they can no longer see the primary care physicians they have been going to for ten and even twenty years.
One woman told me that four of her specialists have already been dropped from her plan. Another shared with me the story of how her husband lost access to the cardiologist he’s been seeing since his heart surgery five years ago.
In Florida’s heartland, seniors are now forced to drive an hour or more just to see a primary care doctor, let alone a specialist.
And across the country, millions of seniors are now paying more money for fewer choices, less access and far less peace of mind.
This goes well beyond a glitch or a pocketbook issue.
This is a breach of faith.
The president’s promises have proven false for working families, and now they are proving false for our seniors as well.
That is why, on Thursday, Republican leaders sent a letter to the president warning that unless something is done, his health care law will continue to wipe out options for seniors.
After all the assurances he gave older Americans, shouldn’t the president develop a plan to address the problems his law is causing them? That’s what our letter asks him to do.
But better yet, members of both parties should listen closely to the stories like the ones I have shared. I'm sure they sound a lot like what they're hearing back in their own districts.
Let's work together to repeal this law so we can focus on better solutions that lower costs for all Americans, especially our parents and grandparents.
We pledge to do our part, and now we ask the president to do his. Thank you for listening. ####