The future of Social Security and Medicare depends on our ability to continue financing the programs without hurting those senior citizens that depend on their benefits. As a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which oversees both Medicare and Social Security, I have been working to protect both of these vital programs.

I was proud to help author the Affordable Care Act, which strengthened the Medicare program and extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. Because of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare now covers important preventive health services, such as mammograms and cancer screenings without copays or deductibles. Additionally, Medicare beneficiaries can now receive an annual wellness check-up every year free of charge. The health reform law also helped seniors reduce their out-of-pocket drug costs by providing discounts and rebates to seniors who reach the prescription drug coverage gap, commonly referred to as the “donut hole.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was proud to support the American Rescue Plan because it included important provisions that improved infection control and vaccination support in Medicare-certified nursing homes. The plan provided an important fix on the Medicare area wage index for hospitals located in states like New Jersey were considered to have no rural areas. This permanent fix will ensure millions of federal Medicare dollars will flow to New Jersey’s hospitals.

When it comes to Social Security, I believe that we can find a solution to achieve long-term sustainability without cutting benefits. However, one fact is clear: privatization of Social Security is not the answer. Privatization means that your Social Security benefits would be placed in the hands of the very same Wall Street traders whose irresponsible speculation created the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Can you imagine if what happened to many Americans’ 401(k) retirement plans during the recent recession happened to everyone’s Social Security benefits? It would be an absolute disaster for most senior citizens, for many of whom Social Security is their sole source of income.

That is why I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Social Security 2100 Act. This bill would increase Social Security benefits while making Social Security solvent in the long term by making minor changes to the program. This bill demonstrates exactly what I believe – we do not need to cut benefits or raise the retirement age to improve Social Security’s solvency.

I have also been a strong advocate for community-based care through Medicaid, which will provide services that would permit seniors to maintain their independence and remain in the comfort of their own homes. Furthermore, I support giving seniors increased mobility and, as a member of the House Transportation Committee for 10 years, I worked to give seniors increased access to transportation options so they can maintain their independence.

Seniors in the Ninth District can have the confidence I will always stand up and fight for them. After all, I am one, and I am committed to keeping the promise that America has made to our seniors. As your Representative, I will continue to push for solutions which will help seniors including increasing the cost of living adjustments in Social Security and fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare benefits.