By Representative Josh Harder, (CA-10)
My parents are entering retirement age just like thousands of people across the Valley. I care deeply about making sure they receive all of the benefits they’ve earned and that they get the support they need to stay healthy and enjoy their golden years. That means protecting people’s earned benefits and cutting drug prices.
First things first: Social Security is not an entitlement. I’m sick and tired of hearing that.
My folks have worked their entire lives to get ahead and start saving for retirement. Now that I’m working for them – and for all our seniors in the Valley– my job is to protect these earned benefits. Folks who have worked hard and done everything right should not have to worry if they’ll have their Social Security or Medicare cut when they need it most. We have to get federal spending in order – but we can’t balance the budget on the backs of our seniors.
Recently I hosted a town hall for our seniors in the Valley, and retirement security is what I heard about most– but it wasn’t the only thing. As Baby Boomers start to retire, we face all kinds of new challenges. A lot of older folks end up being alone after they retire. They encounter new health problems. And some struggle to afford the outrageous costs of health care and medicine, all on a fixed income.
We’re working to tackle a lot of these problems. Just last month, I was proud to vote for the Older Americans Act. This sweeping bill takes aim at all of the issues our seniors face now and into the future.
When I was a kid growing up in Turlock, I joined my mom delivering Meals on Wheels to seniors here in the Valley. It was one of the most rewarding parts of my childhood – not only because it felt good to help someone out – but also because I got the chance to see the impact that such a seemingly small gesture had on people’s lives.
A lot of these folks lived alone, and for some, their Meals and Wheels visit was the only contact they had all week. This experience inspired my decision to focus on combating social isolation in the Older Americans Act. I worked to pass a provision that will do just that. Social isolation isn’t just about feeling lonely – it can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression. Giving folks a lifeline and a healthy meal is its own kind of health care.
But our work still isn’t close to done. Drug prices are out of control, especially for our seniors. I am a huge advocate for allowing Medicare to negotiate drug costs. It will make medication cheaper for consumers – and save Medicare millions of dollars a year. We’d improve people’s health while reducing costs.
I’m doing my part in Washington – but I always like to hear new ideas. Please feel free to stop by a town hall, office hours, or just drop me a line in Modesto. My job is to work for you. Please let me know if I can ever be of service.
The opinions expressed in “Congressional Corner” reflect the views of the writer and are not necessarily those of TSCL.