Democratic members of Illinois’ congressional delegation say preserving Social Security and Medicare is on the top of their agenda.
U.S. Reps. Bill Foster (D-Naperville), Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates) made that promise to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicaid at a senior citizens’ center in Des Plaines. Means testing, raising the eligibility age of Medicare and raising the Social Security retirement age were the topics of discussion.
Schakowsky says senior citizens are already means tested for Medicare. Single senior citizens earning above $85,000 already pay higher premiums for Medicare Part B and D. The same is true for couples earning above $170,000.
On raising the Social Security retirement age to 70, the congressmen say that would lead to a reduction of benefits for some senior citizens. Raising Medicare’s eligibility age means 65- and 66-year-olds could lose Medicare coverage and face higher out-of-pocket costs.
On Social Security, Schakowsky says the fix is simple: raise or eliminate the cap at which wage earners no longer have to pay into the system. Currently the cap is at $113,700, meaning any wages earned above that aren’t taxed for Social Security contributions.
There has been a push by Republican congressmen to enact such changes to help reduce the deficit. Schakowsky, Foster and Duckworth say there are plenty of other places to cut spending to preserve benefits for senior citizens.
(Copyright 2013 Illinois Radio Network.)