Letters to the Editor

Schneider backs up challenge made to Rep. Buchanan

Constituents stand and become vocal in disagreement while Congressman Vern Buchanan answers questions during his town hall Saturday at the Van Wezel auditorium in Sarasota.
Constituents stand and become vocal in disagreement while Congressman Vern Buchanan answers questions during his town hall Saturday at the Van Wezel auditorium in Sarasota. zwittman@bradenton.com

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, has repeatedly voted to turn Medicare into a “premium support payment,” aka “voucher,” system. When I pointed this out at his town hall meeting, Rep. Buchanan accused me by name of deliberately misstating his record. In this age of “fake news,” however, here is evidence supporting my statement.

On March 25, 2015, Rep. Buchanan voted “Yea” on House Roll Call Vote No. 142. The vote was for H. Con. Res 27 “Establishing the budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2016 and setting forth appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2017 through 2025.” The “Policy Statement on Medicare Reform” in Section 808(c)(3) provided that “when future generations reach eligibility, Medicare is reformed to provide a premium support payment . . .”

On April 10, 2014, Rep. Buchanan voted “Yea” on House Roll Call Vote No. 177. The vote was for H. Con. Res. 96 for FY 2015, which contained identical language to that quoted above. Our representative likewise voted “Yea” on the three previous budget resolutions containing the same provision (March 21, 2013, Vote No. 88, H. Con. Res. 25; March 29, 2012, Vote No. 151, H. Con. Res. 112; & April 15, 2011, Vote No. 277, H. Con. Res. 34). He has also otherwise supported the quest by now Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to restructure Medicare.

To be charitable, I will assume that Rep. Buchanan inadvertently misconstrued my remarks. What we all need to focus on is how vital Medicare is to the Florida 16th Congressional District, with one of the oldest populations in the country. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the proposed support payments/vouchers would soon cover only 40 percent of healthcare costs for those over age 65. Our seniors cannot afford this.

Jan Schneider

Sarasota

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