The Issues Part 4

Dream Act

It makes no sense to throw away our investment in the young people who have lived here and successfully completed school who now want to go on to college. We have already heavily invested in their education. It makes no sense to throw away our investment and deport these people to a country they have not been to except as little children. Let’s help them go to college, and offer them, not an immediate citizenship, but a path to citizenship.

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Social Security & Medicare

It is important that we protect Social Security and Medicare to ensure that our seniors have a retirement with dignity that includes access to affordable medical care. While each program faces challenges in the future, the solution to the challenges is not privatization but common sense.

Social Security is Solvent

The Republicans have sought to create a false panic over the solvency of Social Security in order to advance their privatization program even though they concede privatization does nothing to strengthen the program’s solvency. The fact is that the Social Security Trust Fund will be able to pay 100 percent of benefits through 2041 and 75 percent of benefits through 2081. Considering the fact that the cost of making the Bush Republicans’ tax cuts for the rich permanent is three times the Trust Fund’s projected shortfall, common sense dictates calls for sound fiscal management not radical reform.

Medicare Needs to be Addressed

The Medicare trust fund is only solvent through 2019 but Republicans refuse to address this issue because of the fact that the problem is exacerbated by the Bush Republicans’ prescription drug plan designed to benefit HMO’s and pharmaceutical companies not seniors. The Republican plan forced seniors into more expensive HMO’s and prohibited Medicare from doing what the VA does successfully – negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. Common sense tells us that this is bad for seniors and bad for America.

We need to pass the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act to prevent taxpayers from being gouged by pharmaceutical companies. We also need to reform the prescription drug benefit to allow seniors to choose a plan administered directly by Medicare – efficiently guaranteeing a simple, secure benefit that will reduce drug costs and ensure comprehensive coverage. Finally, we must seek ways to control spiraling health costs particularly as the baby-boomers advance in years. This means abandoning ideological solutions and instead working with Democrats and Republicans, doctors and insurers and Arizona consumers to find practical solutions to this growing problem.

We have a lot to work on as a state. We have a long way to go but I with the right leadership & responsible policies, we can make a huge difference.