This is Hillary Clinton's stand on issues important to most Americans -- Social Security and Medicare.
For 80 years, Social Security has been America at its best. Social Security reflects our shared belief that every American should be able to retire with dignity after decades of hard work. That no American should face poverty because he or she is disabled, or when a loved one dies. That we all have an obligation to each other.
Social Security isn't just a program—it's a promise. As president, Hillary will:
Defend Social Security against Republican attacks. Republicans are using scare tactics about the future and effectiveness of Social Security to push through policies that would jeopardize it. The real threat is Republican attempts to undermine the bedrock of the system. Hillary believes that Social Security must remain what it has always been: a rock-solid benefit that seniors can always count on—not subject to the budget whims of Congress or to the fluctuations of the stock market. She fought Republican efforts to undermine Social Security when she was a senator and throughout her career, and she will fight them as president. As president, she would:
Fight any attempts to gamble seniors’ retirement security on the stock market through privatization.
Oppose Republican efforts to raise the retirement age—an unfair idea that will particularly hurt the seniors who have worked the hardest throughout their lives.
Oppose closing the long-term shortfall on the backs of the middle class, whether through benefit cuts or tax increases.
Expand Social Security for those who need it most and who are treated unfairly by the current system—including women who are widows and those who took significant time out of the paid workforce to take care of their children, aging parents, or ailing family members. Social Security works well, but it should work better. Hillary will fight to expand Social Security for those who need it most and who are treated unfairly today. For instance:
The poverty rate for widowed women 65 or older is nearly 90 percent higher than for other seniors—in part because when a spouse dies, families can face a steep benefit cut. For a two-earner couple, those benefit cuts can be as much as 50 percent. Hillary believes that we have to change that by reducing how much Social Security benefits drop when a spouse dies, so that the loss of a spouse doesn’t mean financial hardship or falling into poverty.
Millions of women—and men—take time out of the paid workforce to raise a child, take care of an aging parent or look after an ailing family member. Caregiving is hard work that benefits our entire economy. However, when Americans take time off to take care of a relative, that can reduce their Social Security benefits at retirement, since those benefits are calculated based on their top thirty-five years of earnings. No one should face meager Social Security checks because they took on the vital role of caregiver for part of their career. Americans should receive credit toward their Social Security benefits when they are out of the paid workforce because they are acting as caregivers.
Preserve Social Security for decades to come by asking the wealthiest to contribute more. Social Security must continue to guarantee dignity in retirement for future generations. Hillary understands that there is no way to accomplish that goal without asking the highest-income Americans to pay more, including options to tax some of their income above the current Social Security cap, and taxing some of their income not currently taken into account by the Social Security system.
Medicare is the bedrock of coverage for more than 50 million American seniors and people with disabilities. Hillary has fought to protect and strengthen Medicare throughout her career, and she won't stop in this campaign.
As senator, Hillary co-sponsored and sponsored bills to reduce the impact of the Medicare prescription drug gap by reducing the price of pharmaceuticals for seniors. As president, Hillary will defend against the efforts to end Medicare as we know it by privatizing Medicare or even to “phase out” the program.
Fight Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would raise costs and limit coverage for seniors. Republicans in Congress have voted more than 50 times to repeal or dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and on the campaign trail, candidate after candidate has put forward plans to roll it back. The Affordable Care Act made preventive care available without cost sharing to an estimated 39 million people with Medicare. It also began to close the drug coverage gap, or “donut hole,” saving more than 9 million people with Medicare an average of almost $1,600 per person. Seniors and people with Medicare coverage cannot afford repealing the ACA.
Fight back against Republican plans to privatize or “phase out” Medicare as we know it. Republicans have called for privatizing or even “phasing out” Medicare, and shifting millions more seniors into private plans that can segment the program and lead to a “death spiral” that dramatically raises costs for those relying on basic Medicare and thus undermining the basic Medicare guarantee. Hillary Clinton will stand strongly against these attempts to weaken the program.
Drive down drug costs for seniors and other Americans. A typical senior spends over $500 per year out of his or her own pocket on prescription drugs. Hillary’s plan will drive down drug costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prices with drug and biologic manufacturers; demanding higher rebates; and allowing Americans to import lower-cost drugs from foreign countries with approved safety standards. Her plan will encourage drug companies that get ahead by investing in life-saving treatments, rather than jacking up prices without innovating. The changes and reduced payments or higher rebates to drug companies will strengthen Medicare by saving more than $100 billion in program spending.
Medicare delivery system reforms that will deliver value and quality to our seniors and people with disabilities. Hillary’s plan will continue to reward quality and improve value in Medicare by building on delivery system reforms that began as initiatives and pilot projects under the Affordable Care Act. For example, her plan will encourage the expansion of payment systems that pay for an entire episode of care or “bundle,” rather than the traditional “fee for service” payments, and those that incentivize doctors and hospitals to coordinate care in an Accountable Care Organization, so that providers are responsible for offering the best possible care at the highest value to patients. These delivery reforms will provide higher quality at lower costs to people in Medicare, and Clinton’s plan will work to expand them to other parts of our health system so every American can benefit.