It was a celebration to recognize the 53rd Anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson signing the landmark Medicare legislation into law on July 30, 1965. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) joined Seniors Task Force co-chairs Congresswomen Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Doris Matsui (D-CA), Democratic Policy and Communications Committee co-chair Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) and dozens of aging advocacy groups in the historic Rayburn Room of the U.S. Capitol, to call on Congress to strengthen Medicare, not dismantle it.
“We usually celebrate Medicare’s anniversary at the U.S. Capitol with balloons and cake. This year, the 53rd anniversary, was a more solemn occasion because of relentless attacks on the program by the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans, says Max Richtman, President and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, one of the advocacy groups in attendance.
Leader Pelosi called Medicare and Medicaid “the pillars of health and security for the nation,” noting that for years these two programs have been under unrelenting and constant attacks from Republicans.
Too Many Seniors Struggle Paying for Costly Pharmaceuticals
“For years, Republicans have sought to deny seniors and working families the healing miracle of medicine. Republicans want Medicare, in their words, to ‘wither on the vine.’ They want to cut and cap Medicaid into oblivion. They want to give massive tax handouts to big pharma who are denying seniors lower prescription drug prices,” says Pelosi.
Rhode Island Congressman Cicilline backed Pelosi in her calls to rein in costly prescription drugs. “Democrats believe that seniors shouldn’t have to cut pills in half to afford prescription drugs, he says, noting that “I have met with too many seniors across my district in Rhode Island who are struggling with the high cost of prescription drugs.”
We need a president who will work with us to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, to compel drug makers to justify cost increases, and to crack down on price gougers,” said Cicilline.
But, Cicilline reminded those attending that the President once promised to take on the drug companies but now has decided to appoint a former drug company executive as his Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Service. “And right now, he’s pretty much letting the pharmaceutical lobby have the run of the place,” he charged.
Democrats Call for Cracking Down on Drug Manufacturers .
Cicilline touted the Democrats plan, A Better Deal, as a way to contain Medicare costs by lowering the price of prescription drugs. The Rhode Island Congressman said that the Democratic approach allows the federal to drive down drug prices by negotiating lower prescription drug prices for Medicare. It would require drug manufacturers to publicly release hard data and information justifying any significant increase and would crack down on price gouging in a very significant way.
At this event, the House Democratic Seniors Task Force unveiled a new 24 page report, “The Republican Record on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security: Attacks on Benefits Seniors Have Earned and Deserve,” detailing years of Republican’s attacks on seniors and demanded the GOP take action on lowering pharmaceutical prices.
For a copy of the House Democratic Senior Task Force report, “The Republican Record on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security: Attacks on Benefits Seniors Have Earned and Deserve,” go to www.schakowsky.house.gov/uploads/Seniors%20Task%20Force%20Report%207.24.18.pdf