Don’t Throw America’s Safety Net over the Fiscal Cliff

As American’s struggle to pull out of the recent recession, now is NOT the time to dismantle the nation’s safety net for political gain. It is, rather, time to evaluate a balanced approach to the nation’s deficit that does no harm to our most vulnerable citizens while saving dollars. This approach must ensure that individuals and corporations are all contributing their fair share to keep America strong. There are ways the safety net can contribute to deficit reduction.

Medicare does not need to be radically changed. It can be improved AND save dollars just by allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices and to compute an accelerated rate of savings for the savings that are already beginning to be calculated from the Affordable Care Act while improving quality of care for seniors. Addressing fraud, decreasing duplicative or unnecessary tests/drugs, reducing the need for hospital re-admissions and transforming payment systems from “more is better” to reimbursing for good health outcomes will save billions of taxpayer and consumer dollars over time. Congress must look at these alternatives and assess them as cost reductions.

Contributions for Social Security should not be capped, but continue to be collected for all wages, helping to keep Social Security strong.

The Medicaid Program will get smaller as we get our people back to work and is critical to the health of our most vulnerable. Radically gutting this program will result in unnecessary deaths. We will kill our own people with a diagnoses of uninsured or underinsured.

To address our need to reduce our national debt, we must be willing to ask more of those who can afford to contribute more. A good place to start is by allowing tax rates on the top 2% of our households return to the level of the Clinton era – a time of unprecedented prosperity.

Americans must also be willing to recast our military spending from needs for multiple wars to what is needed to protect us in peacetime. We believe there is substantial savings to be gotten from the defense budget without putting our country in danger. Let your Congress person know that you support deficit reduction, but the safety net must be kept strong.

The above balanced approach to our deficit and budgetary needs is intellectually, fiscally and MORALLY the right thing to do.

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