Social Security and Medicare
Note: This page is a reproduction of the Hillary for America policy proposal on Social Security and Medicare.
Throughout her career, Hillary has stood up for Medicare and Social Security. She is committed to preserving, protecting, and strengthening these lifelines for today’s seniors and for future generations.
For 80 years, Social Security has been America at its best. Social Security reflects our shared belief that every American should be able to retire with dignity after decades of hard work. That no American should face poverty because he or she is disabled, or when a loved one dies. That we all have an obligation to each other.
Social Security isn’t just a program—it’s a promise. As president, Hillary will:
- Defend Social Security against Republican attacks. Republicans are using scare tactics about the future and effectiveness of Social Security to push through policies that would jeopardize it. The real threat is Republican attempts to undermine the bedrock of the system. Hillary believes that Social Security must remain what it has always been: a rock-solid benefit that seniors can always count on—not subject to the budget whims of Congress or to the fluctuations of the stock market. She fought Republican efforts to undermine Social Security when she was a senator and throughout her career, and she will fight them as president. As president, she would:
- Fight any attempts to gamble seniors’ retirement security on the stock market through privatization.
- Oppose reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments.
- Oppose Republican efforts to raise the retirement age—an unfair idea that will particularly hurt the seniors who have worked the hardest throughout their lives.
- Oppose closing the long-term shortfall on the backs of the middle class, whether through benefit cuts or tax increases.
- Expand Social Security for those who need it most and who are treated unfairly by the current system—including women who are widows and those who took significant time out of the paid workforce to take care of their children, aging parents, or ailing family members. Social Security works well, but it should work better. Hillary will fight to expand Social Security for those who need it most and who are treated unfairly today. For instance:
- The poverty rate for widowed women 65 or older is nearly 90 percent higher than for other seniors—in part because when a spouse dies, families can face a steep benefit cut. For a two-earner couple, those benefit cuts can be as much as 50 percent. Hillary believes that we have to change that by reducing how much Social Security benefits drop when a spouse dies, so that the loss of a spouse doesn’t mean financial hardship or falling into poverty.
- Millions of women—and men—take time out of the paid workforce to raise a child, take care of an aging parent or look after an ailing family member. Caregiving is hard work that benefits our entire economy. However, when Americans take time off to take care of a relative, that can reduce their Social Security benefits at retirement, since those benefits are calculated based on their top 35 years of earnings. No one should face meager Social Security checks because they took on the vital role of caregiver for part of their career. Americans should receive credit toward their Social Security benefits when they are out of the paid workforce because they are acting as caregivers.
- Preserve Social Security for decades to come by asking the wealthiest to contribute more. Social Security must continue to guarantee dignity in retirement for future generations. Hillary understands that there is no way to accomplish that goal without asking the highest-income Americans to pay more, including options to tax some of their income above the current Social Security cap and taxing some of their income not currently taken into account by the Social Security system.
Medicare is the bedrock of health care coverage for more than 50 million American seniors and people with disabilities. As senator, Hillary co-sponsored and sponsored bills to reduce the impact of the Medicare prescription drug gap by reducing the price of pharmaceuticals for seniors.
As president, Hillary will:
- Fight Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act made preventive care available and affordable for an estimated 39 million people with Medicare and saved more than 9 million people with Medicare thousands of dollars in prescription drug expenses.
- Fight back against Republican plans to privatize or “phase out” Medicare as we know it. Republicans have called for privatizing or even “phasing out” Medicare and shifting millions more seniors into private plans that would dramatically raise costs. Hillary will stand against these attempts to weaken the program.
- Drive down drug costs for seniors and other Americans. Hillary will ensure Medicare can negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, so we lower costs for seniors.
- Reform Medicare delivery systems to deliver value and quality to our seniors and people with disabilities.