Facts can be a funny thing. If they don't fit your political perspective, you can't twist them to make them fit. With about 40 million senior citizens to woo, presidential candidates are going all out to get our vote. As November nears, seniors are being bombarded with both truthful and deceptive claims about programs that will make a difference in our lives.
The economy, education, taxes, health care, foreign policy and women's issues are critically important issues that affect everyone, no matter your age, gender or income level. But as a senior citizen, health care and retirement security rise to the top of my list.
I believe we have a clear choice this November between President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden and former Gov. Mitt Romney and his running mate, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
The Romney-Ryan plan would scrap traditional Medicare as we know it and turn it into a private system in which insurance companies write the rules. Seniors will be at the mercy of the insurance companies, which can decide what benefits to offer and how much to charge for premiums. The Republican plan would increase seniors' out-of-pocket expenses, including costs for preventive care, and increase costs for seniors' prescription drug benefits. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has determined the GOP plan would actually double out-of-pocket costs for seniors. The Republican plan would also make it harder for seniors to choose their own doctors and would raise the eligibility age for future beneficiaries from 65 to 67. We can't let this plan undo all the important progress that has been made to improve care for America's seniors.
And those misleading ads we keep seeing about Obama's Medicare reforms that save $716 billion while taking it from seniors' care? The truth is that those savings come from stopping waste and fraud. They make Medicare stronger and protect seniors.
To the Romney-Ryan ticket, Medicare is just another item to be used to hold down government spending and to help pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.
The Obama-Biden ticket, on the other hand, will fight tooth and nail to protect traditional Medicare so that seniors can get the health care they need. In fact, because the president supports Medicare he is closing the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" to make prescription drugs more affordable, and this will actually reduce medical costs because it provides free preventive care services such as checkups and cancer screenings.
President Obama understands what seniors need and has pledged to protect Medicare and Social Security. The Obama-Biden ticket has a vision for America that enables senior citizens to have retirement security and affordable, accessible health care. That's a vision that's good for all Americans.
I was elected to be a delegate to the National Democratic Convention, and I will proudly be a part of nominating our current President Obama and Vice President Biden to be re-elected in November!
-- Judith Puskar, Brookfield