For too long, for too many Pennsylvanians, retirement has meant years of insecurity and despair. I want to bring a new freedom to older Pennsylvanians, a new freedom to realize that the end of one life is the beginning of another. That freedom will only come when seniors feel secure about their health and finances in their golden years.
The seniors of today and of future generations should be able to count on Social Security. But that will not be possible unless we act now and commit the entire Social Security surplus to the Social Security trust fund. We cannot risk the future of this vital program with risky investment schemes or an abandonment of the basic principle of the pay-as-you-go system that binds generations together and ensures a continuous flow of funds.
Medicare is critical to the security of older Pennsylvanians. When the next generation retires, the already overburdened system will have to support twice as many citizens as it does today, and unless we address the problem now, Medicare will not be ready. We must commit a portion of the surplus, and savings earned from paying down the debt, to preserving Medicare and adding a voluntary prescription drug benefit. Three out of five seniors now lack the prescription drug coverage they need. In this era of prosperity, it is simply wrong to make our parents and grandparents choose between medicine and meals.
Long Term Care
Older Pennsylvanians need to know they will not be a burden to the family members that choose to care for them in their final years. Today, a record number of families are caring for aging parents and loved ones at home. It is essential that we support these Pennsylvanians by providing a tax credit for long-term care expenses and provide grants to communities to develop caregiver support and information programs.