By Representative Scott Rigell (VA-2)
I am pleased to tell you that earlier this year I introduced House Resolution 680, which expresses the will of the House of Representatives to protect Medicare for Americans 55 and older and to seek ways to root out waste, fraud, and abuse from the program. With heated rhetoric coming from both parties about the future of Medicare and how to save it, my resolution is an attempt to find common ground – the first step toward protecting seniors and achieving any meaningful reform.
We have a deep moral obligation to ensure our seniors receive quality, affordable healthcare. We have an equal obligation to our children to pass on an America rich in opportunity and free from the bonds of debt. That is why resolving this problem is one of my top priorities.
While more than 47 million citizens of the United States are Medicare beneficiaries, each day 10,000 newly eligible citizens enroll in the Medicare program. And, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund — the fund that pays the Medicare bills — is projected to become exhausted in 2022. On top of this, the Department of Justice estimates that $60 billion is lost each year from fraud in the Medicare program.
While most in Washington acknowledge this dilemma, and House Republicans have put forward a plan to address the issue, our leaders have yet to agree upon a solution to preserve the program for seniors beyond that date, and instead are pitting each other against seniors.
Sadly, Washington is feeding Americans misinformation about Medicare and how we are trying to save the program. No one in Washington wants to see our seniors suffer. But the truth is undeniable: If we don't address this now, together, Medicare really will end. If anyone else tells you differently they are not facing reality. We must take steps — even small steps — to address this. That's what this Resolution does: it forces us to consider two steps toward common ground.
I know from meeting with friends and neighbors across my district that Americans are ready for the truth. They are ready for solutions. And they are ready for leadership. We must not be afraid to speak – and act – boldly on their behalf.
It will take true leadership in Congress and the White House to save Medicare and face the reality of the situation: if we do nothing, which has been the status quo for years, Medicare as we know it will cease to exist. I am committed to doing all that can be done to ensure a strong and healthy Medicare program for America's seniors.