WASHINGTON — Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francsico) for a press conference July 12 highlighting the detrimental effects that cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits would have on American women.
Matsui is the co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Seniors, and has been an outspoken opponent of proposals to cut entitlement programs, especially proposals like those supported by House Republicans that she said would cut these programs in order to offset the cost of extending tax loopholes for large corporations – including those that continue to ship jobs overseas – and Big Oil.
Matsui’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:
“There are over 47 million Medicare beneficiaries across America, and more than half of them are women. Women usually live longer, make less money over the course of their lives, and have higher rates of chronic conditions than men. Almost half live with three or more chronic conditions at a time – meaning women are, on average, more sick, less wealthy, and more in need of chronic medical care than their male counterparts.
“Cutting Medicare benefits would hurt all of our seniors – but women seniors specifically would see their standard of living affected. A cut in Medicare benefits would reduce a women’s ability to pay for ever costlier basic necessities, such as groceries, gas, and medical care.
“These are our friends, our neighbors, our sisters, and mothers, and grandmothers – who we could be leaving with the choice between paying for medical care, or paying for things like food and rent.
“So I want to make clear, to my colleagues here, to the nearly 50,000 women on Medicare in and around my home district of Sacramento, and the nearly 25 million across our country: I will keep fighting to ensure that your benefits are not cut.
“And we will keep fighting to ensure that you continue to receive the benefits that you were promised. We will keep fighting to ensure that you are not left behind. And we will keep fighting to ensure that we, as members of Congress, work to strengthen Medicare – not cut it!”
On July 15, members of the House Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force, led by co-chairs Matsui and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), sent a letter to President Obama asking that he protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security as he continues to work on a deal to raise the debt ceiling. The task force stressed that cuts to benefits in these programs would have a profoundly negative impact on the lives, and health, of older Americans.