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Congresswoman Joyce Beatty

Representing the 3rd District of Ohio

Congresswoman Beatty Defends Medicare

Mar 20, 2013

Watch here.

What a great opportunity for me to tell my story when I think about Medicare and what that means to me--but more importantly, what it means to this Nation, what it means to the citizens in the Third Congressional District that I represent, what it means to someone's mother, someone's grandmother, someone's spouse.

   Medicare is something that was created and seniors have paid into it, oftentimes for a lifetime. And then they get to a point in their life when they want to be able to use something that they paid into. Medicare is something that you're going to hear about from people.

   I agree with my colleagues that Medicare is not, nor should it be, a Democrat or a Republican issue. It should be something when you think about being able to provide health care for the same individuals who put so much money into it that they can now be able to use it. Medicare helps save lives. Medicare is part of what I think of as part of the American Dream. Medicare is something that we should be proud to be able to say that we're going to take care of our seniors.

   You see, a few years ago my father was very ill; but it was because of Medicare that I was able to witness him getting quality health care. I'm fortunate, my mother is still living. And like many of my colleagues who have come here today and talked about the wonderful benefit that they had by being able to know that their parent was being taken care of, and they were going to be able to have quality health care, isn't that something that we all want? Isn't that something we want as a Democrat? Isn't that something that we want as a Republican?

   Let me tell you what I know the citizens of the Third Congressional District want. Let me tell you what I really believe the citizens of this wonderful country we live in want. I think they want to see us working together. I think they want to hear solutions. I think they want to know that they can trust us, because they sent us here not to be in gridlock, not for us to be fighting, not for us to be arguing without resolve, and that's what Democrats are saying to you today.

   We have taken this issue that touches lives and reaches across America, and we are saying it is our responsibility as Members of Congress, Members of this 113th Congress, that we should make it one of our key responsibilities to stand on this floor and tell those stories, to tell those stories about Medicare, to tell those stories about the lady who lives down the street from me and how fortunate she was because Medicare saved her life. We should be able to stand on this floor and give speech after speech to say to America: you sent us here to protect those who are the most fragile citizens, those who have given so much that we stand here.

   So you see, my story is quite simple about Medicare. It's about exercising our right to protect those who paved the way for us. It's about me saying proudly as a Democrat our alternatives to the budget as it relates to Medicare is the best solution. It's about saying we should not make it a voucher program. It's about me saying we should not take moneys from Medicare and give to other companies that don't need it.

   You see, it's quite simple. It's a story about saving lives. It's a story about doing all the things that we say as public servants. It's about the oath that we took as an elected official that we would serve our communities, that we would come here and make a difference.

   So, Congressman Bera, for me, it's about standing strong and saying to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, Join us; join us in making a difference to help our seniors and protect and save Medicare. And that's my message and my story.