Flanked by about 30 seniors who rely on Medicare, congressional candidate Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Coachella) held an event today in front of Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack’s office in Palm Desert.
Ruiz briefly spoke about the dangers of the Republican proposed voucher alternative plan before turning the podium to three seniors who told stories of their reliance of Medicare.
“The Republican platform and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack,” Ruiz said, “are determined to turn Medicare into a private voucher system. It’s a private voucher system that turns essentially into a coupon system that will give you a certain amount of money and the rest you have to pay on your own; which on average would be about $6,000.”
“My story isn’t much different than the others here,” said Randy Scott of Palm Springs. “A few years ago, I needed to have an operation. $96,000 later it was over with. Then I needed another operation… that was $36,000. If it wasn’t for Medicare, I wouldn’t be before you all today.”
La Quinta resident Cathy Snyder told of her retired husband being taken to the emergency room and eventually admitted to JFK Memorial hospital for what she described as a “minor operation on a toe”. Several weeks later, Snyder says she received a bill for $127,000.
“Fortunately, because of Medicare, we only had to pay $1,000. With the voucher system, I don’t think we could afford the plan we have today,” she said.
“Medicare is very important to everyone who is standing here right now”, Ruiz, said. “Not just for the current generation, but for the next generation.”
The challenger then went on the attack against the Republican reforms, saying we need to prioritize seniors, “not prioritizing insurance companies, it's not prioritizing giving tax breaks to multi-millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas.”
When asked about Republican claims that their system would not affect anyone over 55, Ruiz told Palm Desert Patch, “Medicare is needed for this generation and the next generation. This plan is the beginning of the demise of Medicare. The guarantee of Medicare is being broken, the promise that America made to our seniors; not only seniors back in the 1960s, but seniors now and in the next decade. That is a promise broken for all seniors and this is the beginning of the end of Medicare.”
Ruiz called on the incumbent to work closer with seniors on a solution to the Medicare crisis, saying, “In fact, Mary Bono Mack said a week and a half ago that she believes its time to engage that American people about the future of Medicare and what they think. Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack has had 14 years to engage the American people, 14 years to listen to our seniors, and unfortunately she’s been absent. Just like right now.
“Instead of listening to our seniors, she’s partying with party bosses, vacationing, and campaigning for other candidates in other states.”
In response to the Ruiz’ press conference, Bono Mack’s campaign manager John Pezzullo said, “Raul Ruiz knows that Congresswoman Bono Mack is in Tampa at the national convention. This is a pathetic stunt not worthy of comment and not worthy of someone who wants to serve in Congress.”