This government overhaul of our healthcare system intrudes in the doctor-patient relationship, increases total spending by trillions, and raises taxes over the next 10 years—the largest tax increase in American history. It also takes more than a half-trillion dollar from Medicare to finance this new entitlement. As the Affordable Care Act becomes enacted, I continue to hear from constituents, small business owners, and doctors who are losing coverage and seeing options restricted. That is why in Congress, I have voted repeatedly to repeal and replace the president’s healthcare law. I believe we must find a solution that replaces this law with thoughtful reforms that help insure the uninsured, protect those with pre-existing conditions, lower the growing cost of health coverage, safeguard coverage for our seniors, and preserve the doctor-patient relationship.
Preserving Medicare and Social Security for our Seniors
Staten Island and Brooklyn seniors have paid into Medicare and Social Security their entire careers and I am committed to preserving those benefits. Unfortunately, if we continue to do nothing, these essential programs will go bankrupt. Medicare will go bankrupt by 2026 – possibly as early as 2019, and Social Security will go bankrupt by 2033. This means that seniors and future generations are at risk of losing crucial services if we wait until the last minute to make these programs solvent.
I believe we must act now to preserve these programs for current beneficiaries, those near retirement, and future generations. I support a plan that empowers our nation’s 50 million seniors to make decisions on what type of care is best for them - all while keeping Medicare solvent past 2026 and without changing Medicare for any person 55 or older.
Combating Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic plaguing our youth and adults throughout Staten Island and Brooklyn. In 2011, prescription pain killers were responsible for 11.2/100,000 deaths in Staten Island and 2.5/100,000 deaths in Brooklyn. That is an increase of 261 percent and 108 percent from 2005. As a member of the Congressional Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus, I am fighting to stop this epidemic. I continue to work closely with his colleagues and community organizations to increase awareness of the problem and decrease the misuse and abuse of these drugs.
Supporting our Teaching Hospitals
In Congress, I have introduced and support bipartisan legislation to prevent a looming doctor shortage by phasing in much-needed residency slots to participating teaching hospitals. New York trains one out of every seven physicians nationwide and its hospitals are among the largest employers throughout the state, supporting 686,610 jobs statewide. By increasing slots in teaching hospitals, we can keep New York’s hospitals on safe financial ground while training physicians, and preserve and protect a high quality workforce to serve patients in New York and throughout the country.