Delores Kelly said Monday her knee surgery cost $55,000. Rick Briley said his wifes heart-valve replacement topped $450,000.
Its scary, Briley said about health care costs.
Briley, Kelly and three other retirees joined Democratic Senate candidate Joe Donnelly for lunch Monday at the Dash-In in downtown Fort Wayne. They talked about strengthening Medicare and Social Security in the face of rising demand for benefits from baby boomers leaving the workforce.
We dont have to privatize (Medicare) to do that, said Rep. Donnelly, D-2nd. We dont have to tell seniors, Heres a coupon – hope your coupon works. And if you get really sick, your own out of pocket (expense) increases so dramatically.
He said retirees would be in danger of financial ruin under a Republican proposal to turn Medicare into a system in which people younger than 55 would receive vouchers to buy insurance.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has projected that with the voucher program, the average private health insurance policy would cost $6,200 a year more than Medicare.
Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, the state treasurer, is a proponent of the plan.
He appeared Monday with its author, vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., at a fundraiser at JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Indianapolis.
Please, please send us Richard Mourdock, Ryan told supporters, according to the Indianapolis Star. The two met privately during the event, Mourdocks campaign said.
Mourdock campaign spokesman Christopher Conner said in an email, Congressman Joe Donnellys only notion about Medicare was to vote in favor of cutting it by $700B to help pay for ObamaCare, which gives an unelected board of 15 bureaucrats the ability to deny health care to Hoosier seniors.
PolitiFact Florida, operated by the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald, has reported that Medicare cuts contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are reductions in future spending growth.
The Independent Payment Advisory Board could reduce Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors, PolitiFact Florida says, but it cannot change patient benefits or eligibility.
In an interview, Donnelly declined to say what possible revisions to Medicare and Social Security he might support, such as raising the retirement age, in an effort to shore up their future finances.
Im not going to specifically say, Ill do this or Ill do that. There are a number of items on the table, Donnelly said. Its something that through negotiation well be able to put together.
Asked about other topics, Donnelly said:
He supports the Obama administrations complaint, filed Monday with the World Trade Organization, that China is violating trade rules by subsidizing the export of Chinese-made automobiles and auto parts.
Asked how those subsidies differ from U.S. government loans to General Motors and Chrysler, Donnelly said: We dont tell (American automakers) what to charge. Theres no price-setting, no price-fixing.
The U.S. should make sure we take care of American interests first in response to attacks and protests at American embassies in the Middle East.
We must make the message very, very clear we will do anything and everything to protect our people, he said, and then we need the governments of these countries to fulfill their obligations, which is to protect their international friends who have a presence in their country.