Maryland’s seniors have raised their families and paid their taxes, Congressman Ruppersberger believes seniors deserve to live their golden years happy and healthy.
Congressman Ruppersberger has been fighting to close the so called “donut hole” since the Medicare Part D legislation was enacted several years ago. Seniors face a massive gap in coverage when it comes to paying for their prescription drugs. Seniors should not have to decide between taking the medicines they need to keep them healthy or buying groceries.
The health care legislation that recently passed Congress and was signed by the President allows a $250 rebate in 2010, a 50% discount on prescription drugs in 2011, and a complete elimination of the donut hole in ten years. The health care bill also provides free preventative and wellness care, improves primary care, and enhances nursing home care.
The Congressman believes we need to modernize social security, but he does not believe social security should be privatized. He believes we should not risk the future of Americans on the volatility of the stock market. Congressman Ruppersberger believes seniors need a guaranteed, monthly payment.
Thousands of seniors depend on social security to pay their rent or mortgage, buy groceries, or pay their power bill. The Congressman believes we should consider expanding tax credits for IRA’s or 401(k)s or layering personal investment accounts on top of the existing social security system. Congressman Ruppersberger believes the government should not divert people’s hard earned tax money away from the system and reduce people’s benefits.
Congressman Ruppersberger, a long time supporter of retired Americans, voted in favor of several key pieces of legislation important to older Marylanders. The Congressman:
- Opposed $196 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid (H. Con. Res. 141).
- Supported legislation to prevent home foreclosures by providing $300 billion in government loan guarantees for home refinancing (H.R. 3221).
- Voted for the Medicare Improvement Bill that expands access to Medicare for low-income seniors, adds preventive health care and mental health services, and prohibits cuts to physician reimbursement rates (H.R. 6331).
- Backed legislation to protect seniors from elder abuse by training prosecutors and law enforcement officers how to better protect older Americans (H.R. 5352).
- Supported legislation adding $5.1 billion to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and $477.2 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program (H.R. 2638).
Congressman Ruppersberger supported the health reform legislation that recently passed Congress and was signed by the President. H.R. 3962, the Preservation of Access to Care for Medicare Beneficiaries and Pension Relief Act of 2010, will make health care more affordable while reducing the federal budget by over $100 billion over the next ten years. The bill is not perfect, but it is a big step forward to making health care more affordable and accessible for All Americans.
- Prohibits annual and lifetime caps on coverage
- Prevents insurance companies from dropping you when you get sick
- Bans companies from denying you coverage for a so-called “pre-existing condition”
- Reduces the cost of preventative care
If you have insurance and you like your coverage, nothing will change. In fact, things will get better. The legislation has great benefits for seniors, young people, and small business – just to name a few.
For seniors, the legislation improves Medicare. It provides free preventative and wellness care, improves primary care, and enhances nursing home care. It also closes the donut hole that seniors pay for prescription drugs. It allows for a $250 rebate in 2010, a 50% discount on prescription drugs in 2011, and a complete elimination of the donut hole in ten years. Seniors are the backbone of our country. We must do everything we can to ensure they live their golden years happy and healthy.
For young adults, the legislation allows them to stay on their parents’ policy until they turn 26 years old.
Small businesses with 100 employees or less will be able to join a health insurance exchange to get group rates and a greater choice of insurers. Small businesses with 25 employees and average wages of less than $50,000 will qualify for a 50% tax credit to cover the cost of health insurance.
According to the Small Business Administration, Maryland is home to over 477,000 small businesses. Small businesses employ over a million people across the state. Since these businesses are such vital economic engines I thought it was critically important to give these businesses access to high quality, affordable health insurance in a way that does not stifle innovation or force them to lay off workers.
If you can’t afford insurance and you would like to purchase it, there are tax cuts available to make it affordable. For example, a family of four making $50,000 a year, can get a tax cut of up to $5,800 a year to buy health insurance.
Community Health Centers
There are nine community health centers in my District that provide care to the poor and medically underserved. This legislation provides about $11 million for these centers to help keep people healthy.
I believe we needed to act because health care costs were getting out of control. If we did nothing, health insurance premiums would continue to go up.
Over the past ten years, health insurance premiums have risen an average of 131% while wages have only gone up 26%. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average American family pays more than $13,000 a year in premiums for health insurance. If nothing changes, the average family will pay an estimated $25,000 a year in ten years.
Before we passed this bill, 47 million Americans did not have health insurance – 800,000 of those of people live in Maryland. 75,000 reside right here in the Maryland 2nd District.
People say they don’t want to pay for other people’s health care, but they already do. Right now, families pay a “hidden tax” of nearly $1,100 per year in the form of a higher premium to provide care for the uninsured and underinsured.
Congressman Ruppersberger would like to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable health care and the medical industry has the flexibility to grow and innovate.
Designing a comprehensive energy strategy that both reduces our reliance on unstable foreign oil nations and slows the effects of climate remains our country’s most pressing environmental need. We do not want to keep throwing away billions of dollars to purchase oil from countries that often disagree with us. For a national energy policy, I believe that all options must be on the table – we must invest in renewables like: wind, solar and nuclear – to reduce our carbon footprint and create jobs. Nuclear energy must be part of our energy policy, but we must first strengthen the safety regulations around nuclear plants and modernize methods to recycle and dispose of nuclear waste. We, as a country, must also focus on domestic energy sources. It is estimated that we have natural gas reserves that rival and exceed the oil reserves of Saudi Arabia. I believe that we must examine ways to responsibly, transparently and safely utilize our domestic natural gas reserves to deter our reliance on foreign oil. I am willing to consider a carbon tax, if done the right way I also remain committed to passing legislation to limit pollution and reduce run-off into the Chesapeake Bay.
The Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United allows a flood of unlimited and unaccountable money into elections. This is wrong. I believe that unions, businesses and individuals who want to influence an election with their wallets should have to fully disclose who they are. I am currently cosponsoring a Constitutional Amendment that would effectively reverse Citizens United, full disclosure is essential. Allowing millionaires and billionaires to buy an election is not the democracy our fore fathers envisioned.
I support thoughtful comprehensive immigration reform and not an amnesty program. We must first work to prevent illegal immigration by securing our borders. We must also crack down on businesses who hire illegal immigrants at the expense of American workers. I support legislation to establish a rigorous process for children of illegal residents to qualify for in-state college tuition rates. I also believe that we cannot deport our way out of the problem: we should create a pathway to citizenship for some illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements. A pathway to citizenship should require immigrants to pay all back taxes, learn about their new country and pass a citizenship test.
As Chairman of the Technical and Tactical Intelligence Subcommittee, I believe good intelligence is the best way to prevent terrorism.
Our men and women in uniform have risked their lives for their country so we can enjoy the freedoms we hold so dear. We must honor our promise to our veterans and make sure they have the comprehensive services they need and deserve.
Maryland is home to more than 484,000 veterans. Many more wounded warriors are returning home than ever before. Many of these retired military personnel were injured in the line of duty and will spend years recovering from injuries sustained in combat.
37,000 Marylanders have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many times, the day-to-day care of a disabled service member is provided by a spouse, child, or parent. According to the Dole-Shalala Commission, 20 percent of these caregivers are forced to leave a job to provide this care.
Congressman Ruppersberger supported S. 1963, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010. The legislation:
- Offers these caregivers training, financial support, health care and respite care.
- Provides women warriors with critical health care and child care benefits
- Investigates the tragically high suicide rate among veterans
- Expands treatment for veterans with traumatic brain injuries
- Increases opportunities for transitional housing for homeless veterans
The Congressman also supported H.R. 1016, the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009. The bill authorizes Congress to approve investments in the Department of Veterans Affairs medical care one year in advance and requires the President to request those funds one year in advance. This will ensure reliable and timely funding to support the delivery of high quality medical care for our veterans. It will also provide time for the VA to plan how to deliver the best care to an increasing number of veterans with increasingly complex medical conditions.