Social Security and Medicare will be there for those who need them now and for future generations as well, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva told a group of senior citizens Thursday.
“The need right now is to strengthen and reinforce those programs,” Grijalva said. “Bring them back to the premier status they should have.”
Grijalva told about 40 people attending the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans’ convention that his plan to preserve Social Security and Medicare includes promoting the value of those programs.
“It’s about modernization and reform,” Grijalva said. “It is not about elimination.”
According to his website, Grijalva’s plan for Social Security includes eliminating a cap on the amount of wages to which the Social Security payroll tax applies and increasing benefits for those who contribute more.
Grijalva said Social Security is available for the next generation but needs to be made secure for the future.
“Right now we have enough for 75 percent of the benefits for the next 50 years,” he said. “If we do the things I’m saying, we’ll have 100 percent of the benefits for the next 75 years.”
Grijalva added that Americans should automatically have access to the programs they need.
“They’re not entitlements,” Grijalva said of Medicare and Social Security. “They’re earned benefits. People work for them.”
Rep. Chad Campbell and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, both Phoenix Democrats, attended the convention to discuss other health care issues, including access to Arizona’s Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid system.
Sinema called arguments that the state’s budget woes justify deep cuts in AHCCCS benefits “baloney” and said they hurt people who need help.
“The vast majority of the people on AHCCCS are workers,” Sinema said. “These are the people who have jobs and work. They are the working poor.”