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Standing Up for Seniors, Wyden Outlines Medicare Reform Principles

As the Senate debated various budget proposals this week, Senator Wyden cut through the rhetoric fueled by ideology and stood up – once again – for America’s most vulnerable.

Citing his own experience working for Oregon’s elderly, Senator Wyden rallied to defend Meals on Wheels, the home-delivery food program that is a lifeline for so many of our seniors. In the state of Oregon, nearly 52,000 seniors rely on these hot, nutritious meals. The fact that these meals are delivered by thousands of generous volunteers provides these older folks regular contact with someone who cares.  Some of these budgets would have cut Meals on Wheels funding anywhere from 17-59%, a staggering amount considering the great impact the program has on the lives of tens of thousands – an even greater impact given the financial hardship of the Americans it serves. 

As Congress tackles the various challenges of increasing federal commitments, however, the future of Medicare is front and center.  Wyden spoke plainly stating, “We are going to have…for the next 20 years, 10,000 seniors turning 65 every single day….If nothing is done, the Medicare guarantee is in peril.”  Senator Wyden believes doing nothing is not an option and instead laid out principles that he feels must be included to achieve meaningful Medicare Reform, including:

1. Preserving Traditional Medicare
2. Protection for the sickest & most vulnerable (meaning, among other things, Medicaid may not be block-granted)
3. Strong, comprehensive consumer protections
4. Maintain Medicare’s purchasing power so that competition between government and private sector innovation can make each other better

Finally, as in every major reform Senator Wyden has spearheaded, any effort at Medicare Reform must be bipartisan. Protecting the Medicare Guarantee is too important to let partisan politics get in the way.

Watch highlights of Senator Wyden’s speech:

Learn more about Wyden’s bipartisan Medicare reform proposal with Representative Paul Ryan: