WASHINGTON – As Medicare celebrates its 45th anniversary tomorrow, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) is renewing his pledge to protect Medicare from any plan that would hinder seniors’ ability to access affordable health care. Medicare began provide benefits on July 1, 1965, and in its first year, roughly 19 million Americans over the age of 65 were enrolled in the program, which provides hospital, medical, and prescription drug insurance to seniors and those who are disabled. Now, at least 47 million citizens depend on Medicare, including 563,000 Connecticut residents.

“During my time in office, I have worked hard in Congress to reduce medical costs across the board so that our seniors can continue to get good care at an affordable price,” said Himes. “It is absolutely essential that we find smart, sensible ways to improve efficiencies in Medicare to assure that it is sustainable. But some plans in Congress simply shift the burden of rising health care costs onto our nation’s seniors. I will continue to oppose any legislation that forces our seniors to shoulder the burden of rising health care costs alone.”

Medicare has been a stable, reliable program for senior citizens and people with disabilities for over four decades. In a misguided attempt to restructured the federal budget, Washington Republicans recently passed a plan that would balance the nation’s books by shifting the burden of rising health care costs onto seniors. This plan is estimated to cost seniors an extra $6,000 per year in health insurance premiums, now, and that number would only grow over time. Himes voted against this plan and has continued to defend Medicare against any bill that would shift the risk of rising health care costs onto seniors.