Foster talks Medicare, Social Security in Aurora

Congressman Bill Foster at a committee meeting.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill., during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. | AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Congressman Bill Foster said that the Republicans’ latest budget proposal would cause “thoughtless damage to our children and elderly.”

Foster, a Democrat from Naperville, pushed preserving Medicare and Social Security programs in front of a dozen senior citizens at Senior Services on Lake Street in Aurora recently. He was joined by representatives from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

The Republican budget proposal, sometimes referred to as the “Ryan budget” after its architect, Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, would turn Medicare into a voucher system and raise the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67.

The Ryan budget would allow insurance companies to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, Foster said, meaning that 65- and 66-year-olds could be left without insurance.

“Medicare is a critical safety net that millions of Americans rely on,” Foster said. “The Ryan budget would be devastating for future generations of seniors, and I will continue to fight against it.”

But Foster’s opponent in the November election said that the Democrat-pushed Affordable Care Act already has affected Medicare’s bottom line. State Rep. Darlene Senger, a Naperville Republican, said she believes that the nation needs to preserve Medicare and Social Security programs to ensure the programs operate for generations to come.

“What’s troubling is that Bill Foster is trying to fool Illinois families on this issue,” Senger spokesman Anthony Barry said. “The reality is that Foster voted for the health care law which guts Medicare by (more than) $700 billion.”

Instead of cuts to Medicare, lawmakers need to tackle the root of the problem — medical costs, Foster said.

“If you look at the change of the rate of growth of medical costs since the Affordable Care Act has been passed, the results have been spectacular,” Foster said. If the trend continues, medical costs are set to stabilize in the country, he said.

The Republican budget proposal was approved 219-205 by the U.S. House in April.

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