By Dante U. Barboy
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes spoke about changes in Social Security and Medicare for the elderly in front of about 80 people on Sunday afternoon at the Pikesville Library.
Sarbanes, D-3rd District, said he is working with others in Congress to strengthen benefits for the elderly. He stated that all modifications of the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010 will be in full effect by 2020.
“There are many things that we did in the Affordable Care Act to strengthen Medicare,” Sarbanes said. “We took steps to reduce and eliminate costs that seniors face when it comes to preventive care services.”
Sarbanes said the ACA is now closing the so-called Medicare “donut hole,” the gap in insurance coverage that occurs after a person has received up to $2,800 in prescription drug benefits but before insurance picks up the remaining drug costs for the year. Provisions in the ACA will guarantee that some of the costs that come during this time are covered, Sarbanes said.
“I support a piece of legislation that would create a new formula,” Sarbanes said. “Under the new formula, the cost of coverage will be more affordable.”
“Recently, we passed a bill that limits the amount of increase with respect to Medicare and prescription costs,” Sarbanes said. “Members of Congress and I are trying to make sure a sudden burden is not put on seniors when it comes to Medicare and deductibles.”
Before leaving, Sarbanes spoke briefly about age requirements for Social Security benefits, along with a list of different people that are eligible to receive those benefits.
Sarbanes emphasized that he is working with other members of Congress to put more ACA provisions into place as quickly as possible to facilitate the stresses and burdens that the elderly face when having to apply for these programs.
Sarbanes said Social Security will be in place until 2035. A system is in the works that will eventually succeed the current one after that time, he said.
The event was followed by a presentation of important facts and numbers for the people in attendance to be aware of when applying for Medicare or Social Security benefits.
Sarbanes has been a member of Congress since 2007, when he entered the House of Representatives. He is most widely known for advocating for campaign finance reform, with the goal of passing what would be called the Government By the People Act. This act would make politicians prioritize regular citizens and not big corporations and interest groups when fundraising for campaigns.
Sarbanes is not up for re-election until next year, with plans of continuing his initiatives in the House.
“I want to make sure we are serving you as effectively as we can,” Sarbanes said. “I know that we can’t solve everybody’s problem, but we will try our best. That is what I can guarantee you.”