"Dear Ms. Berben,
Thank you for taking the time to contact me to express your concerns about Medicare and Medicaid. I understand these are important issues and I appreciate hearing your thoughts. The Medicare and Medicaid programs are paramount to many Floridians, as more than 3.3 million residents are currently Medicare beneficiaries and approximately 2.97 million residents currently rely on Medicaid benefits for their health care.
As your elected representative, I have made a commitment to tackle our nation's debt by cutting federal spending, reducing the deficit, and making necessary reforms to our entitlement programs. Medicare and Medicaid are currently facing major obstacles because of substantial financial challenges which must be addressed in order to protect current and future generations of Americans.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, total Medicare spending is expected to be $555 billion in Fiscal Year 2011, and total Medicare outlays as a percent of our nation's gross domestic product (GDP) are expected to be about 3.5% in both 2011 and 2012. Medicare is growing at unsustainable rates, and unless major changes are made, the program's financial instability "could lead to reduced access to care or diminished quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries". Individuals currently receiving Medicare benefits and those who are approaching retirement age (55 or older), should not and will not be subjected to any changes. But for younger generations, the Medicare program must change or it will no longer exist by the time they become eligible for benefits.
Of Florida's $69.1 billion state budget for 2011-2012, Medicaid expenditures amount to more than $21 billion, and enrollment is expected to continue to grow in future years. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicaid enrollment across the country is estimated to reach 78 million by 2019. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which was passed through a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed into law in March of 2010, authorizes a massive expansion of the already financially unstable Medicaid program. The Office of the Actuary at CMS estimates this expansion will cost federal taxpayers $735 billion over the next ten years.
Since Medicaid is already depleting state budgets and simultaneously placing a considerable financial burden on the federal budget, changes must be made to the Medicaid program in order to protect current and future generations of Americans. The federal government should authorize state block grants to provide flexibility in states' decisions on how to effectively provide high-quality health services to their residents through the Medicaid program. We must ensure that our nation's poor and most vulnerable are sufficiently cared for as well as reducing the financial burden of the Medicaid program on states and our federal expenses.
As Congress continues to debate important issues surrounding our country's growing debt and out-of-control government spending, I will continue to listen to Floridians while working to ensure that Americans continue to have access to Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Again, thank you for writing to me with your concerns and I look forward to hearing any views or input you wish to share in the future." Marco Rubio
He might as well say "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah," this puppet for the GOP!