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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Representing the 1st District of Washington

Seniors

For more than 50 years, the Older Americans Act (OAA) and the Medicare and Medicaid programs have provided our nation’s seniors with vital assistance for the costs of healthcare, food, transportation and other support services. As we look back on the decades of success of these critical programs, we must also look forward to the next 50 years and put policies in place to ensure our seniors receive the care they need. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to consider the changing needs of older Americans and to develop immediate and long-term solutions to address the challenges facing seniors in the 21st century.

To start, we must stop the dangerous legislation advanced by House and Senate leaders that cuts more than $750 billion from Medicaid, which covers 64 percent of nursing home residents. That bill also imposes an “Age Tax” on older Americans, forcing them to pay five times more for healthcare than others. We should be working to give seniors better coverage at a lower cost, not forcing them to pay more for less. I strongly oppose efforts to undermine Medicaid for the 68 million Americans who depend on it for needed medical care and to stay healthy. 

Medicare serves as a lifeline for more than 55 million Americans and it must be protected. I strongly oppose efforts to reduce benefits or privatize this critical program. When House leaders attempted to re-open the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” in 2013 and 2015, I stood strong in opposition and fought to protect the 72,000 seniors in Washington state who have benefited from reforms that helped reduce their out of pocket prescription drug costs. I have also consistently opposed proposals to replace Medicare’s guarantee of medical coverage with a voucher or premium-support system, which would leave millions of seniors with higher costs and without adequate healthcare coverage. Instead of shifting greater costs onto our seniors, we should work to control the rising cost of care. To reduce costs for seniors, I support allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

Improving retirement security for our nation’s seniors remains a top priority of mine, and ensuring the long-term stability of Social Security is paramount to this goal. For more than 80 years, Social Security has kept seniors out of poverty and provided basic living standards for the middle class. Instead of breaking our promise to seniors and future generations — as some in Congress have suggested — we should advance forward-looking reforms that strengthen the program and ensure all Americans can retire with dignity. That’s why I have joined my colleagues in introducing legislation to enhance Social Security benefits, increase annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) and scrap the income contribution cap on the wealthy. I’m pleased to support this legislation as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Social Security.

And as a member of the House Budget Committee, I’m also working hard to protect federal funding for critical programs and services our seniors rely on. President Trump’s draconian budget cuts would present enormous setbacks for the most vulnerable Americans. I strongly oppose the proposed reduction or elimination of funding for Meals on Wheels, affordable housing, Community Services Block Grants (CSBG) and other targeted investments in our seniors’ health and wellbeing.  

More on Seniors

Jul 27, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Suzan DelBene (WA-01) and Jackie Walorski (IN-02) introduced bipartisan legislation to improve access to emergency air medical services that are critical to providing emergency medical care and saving lives in rural communities. The Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act (H.R. 3378) would update Medicare reimbursement rates for air ambulance service providers based on the actual cost of care.
Jul 13, 2017 eNewsletters
Dear Friend, For nearly 52 years, Medicare and Medicaid have provided quality healthcare to seniors across the country. I had the opportunity to mark the anniversary of these essential programs during my recent visit to two senior centers in our district this month.
Jul 13, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Reps. Diane Black (R-TN-06), Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) and Patrick Meehan (R-PA-07) praised movement on their bipartisan legislation, also co-sponsored by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA-05), expanding access to home dialysis therapy under the Medicare program for patients with end stage renal disease. The bill, H.R. 3164, is included in the Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017 package that was marked up today by the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee.
Jul 6, 2017 In The News
Rep. Suzan DelBene recently visited two senior centers and heard concerns about the health care repeal bill being considered in the senate that would increase the seniors’ health care costs and cut the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Senate Republicans delayed a vote on the repeal bill this week due to a lack of votes and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to try again later this month. DelBene listened to concerns regarding the bill from First District seniors at the Northshore Senior Center in Bothell and the Brookdale Senior Living Community in Monroe.
Jul 2, 2017 In The News
Carole Hood is battling both bone cancer and breast cancer. Right now, Medicare pays for her treatment, but she fears the burden will fall on her if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. “[Medicare] has always done the best and if they cut that, I don’t know what I would do,” Hood said. The Virginia woman moved to Monroe’s Brookdale assisted living facility to be closer to her son and does not want to burden her family if the costs end up falling on her. It is not just her.
Jun 9, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Dave Reichert (WA-08), Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Tom Cole (OK-04) today introduced the Tribal Social Security Fairness Act to allow tribal council members to participate in Social Security — including paying Social Security payroll taxes and receiving earned benefits in retirement — in a similar manner as state and local governments.
Apr 7, 2017 In The News
As Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives hem and haw over when and how to make a second attempt at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, President Trump has an opportunity to work with Democrats to keep one of his campaign promises and claim a major victory: protecting Social Security.
Apr 5, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today helped introduce the Social Security 2100 Act to improve retirement security for America’s seniors by enhancing benefits, increasing annual cost-of-living adjustments, scrapping the income contribution cap on the wealthy and ensuring the long-term stability of Social Security into the next century.
Mar 9, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) today opposed the Republican health bill that increases out-of-pocket costs for middle-class families and strips healthcare from tens of millions who received coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
Mar 9, 2017 Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) joined colleagues in writing to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) urging them to look into improving access to genetic testing and patient outcomes through precision medicine.

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