New Jersey's 26th Legislative District

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Senator Joe Pennacchio

Pennacchio: Lautenberg and Menendez Fail New Jersey and Its Seniors

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The following statement was released by State Senator Joe Pennacchio (R – Morris/Passaic):

“Both Senators Lautenberg and Menendez, while blindly and enthusiastically following their party’s leadership, have failed in putting New Jersey and in particular its senior citizens first. Their vote to move the Senate’s ‘Health Care Bill’ will hurt our states finances but more importantly reduce the quality and quantity of care given to our senior citizens through Medicare.

“The bill contains $400 billion in Medicare cuts. To oversee these cuts, the Senators voted to allow a newly formed bureaucracy called the ‘Medicare Advisory Board’ to institute deep and lasting cuts to our seniors. Recently, a similar government board advised severe restrictions on mammograms. Could this be the future of health care? These cuts would be ‘automatic’ unless overruled by the same Congress which created the ‘Medicare Advisory Board’ in the first place.

“While drastically cutting Medicare by hundreds of billions of dollars, the Senators also voted to increase Medicare taxes! The Federal governments tinkering with one-sixth of our entire nation’s budget, especially in the throws of a recession, makes no fiscal sense. To make the balance sheet look better on the 2,000 page bill, billions of dollars in new taxes and fees will begin years before the actual health care program begins.

“The bill dramatically increases Medicaid coverage then would force the states to pick up the tab estimated at $25 billion. Rather than following the party blindly, Lautenberg and Menendez could have heeded the words of Jeffrey Flier, Dean of Harvard’s Medical School who said ‘the bill would harm America’s health and finances, and hamper innovation needed to save patients’ lives.’ The Senators also did not pay attention to the Federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services which said the bill would ‘reduce senior care and increase medical costs, and could jeopardize access of care for millions.’

“It is unfortunate that both of New Jersey’s United States Senators voted for a program that would suffocate New Jersey taxpayers and stifle economic and business growth but more importantly hurt seniors and their primary source of health care. Lautenberg and Menendez rallied behind a bill which sees Medicare as a ‘cash cow’ ready to be milked in order to re-engineer our nation’s health care system, at the expense of our seniors.”

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