On Friday, the Miami Herald published an op-ed by Max Richtman, the executive director of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, that outlines the dangers that Senator Rick Scott’s GOP plan to sunset Social Security and Medicare poses to the five million Florida seniors who rely on these incredibly popular government programs.
- For many seniors in the Sunshine State, their Social Security checks – averaging a modest $1,625 per month – can make the difference between financial survival and falling into poverty. Without Medicare, most Florida seniors would not have affordable health insurance and access to quality medical care. How ironic, then, that Florida’s own Senator Rick Scott (R) would propose a plan that could bring an end to Social Security and Medicare as we know them.
- Fiscal conservatives have long been skeptical of federal programs that help society’s most vulnerable, but Senator Scott’s proposal goes beyond skepticism to outright recklessness.
- Senator Scott’s record makes clear that wealthy and corporate interests hold greater sway with him than older working and middle-class Americans.
- Florida has a lot to lose under Senator Scott’s proposal. If Social Security and Medicare were not reauthorized, one third of the state’s seniors could tumble into poverty. Both state and local governments (and businesses) would lose millions of dollars in economic stimulus from Social Security payments. Half a million seniors could lose their health insurance, including prescription drug coverage. Wealthier seniors would be fine, but the rest would be out of luck. Millions of Floridians would be denied a healthier and more financially secure retirement.
- Seniors should be wary of politicians who claim to support Social Security and Medicare, but also advocate policies that would undermine both programs. Senator Scott’s is the boldest and most egregious to date. But for years his party has promoted privatizing both programs, raising eligibility ages, and other benefit cuts – preferably by special committees behind closed doors. This November, the only candidates who deserve seniors’ support are the ones who reject those wrongheaded proposals and commit to protecting the benefits that Americans have earned over a lifetime of work.