Reed, Robertson Clash On Medicare

The battle rages on between New York’s 23rd Congressional District candidates Tom Reed and Martha Robertson – this time, over seniors and health insurance.

Reed, R-Corning, held a press conference at the Frewsburg Community Pharmacy last week in an effort to call attention to comments made by Robertson about Medicare.

He said Robertson “brushed off” the charge that more than $700 billion had been cut from Medicare in order to pay for the Affordable Care Act.

According to Reed, Robertson said the cuts in question only came out of Medicare Advantage.

Medicare Advantage is a type of health plan offered by private companies contracting with Medicare to provide Part A and B benefits, according to the government website.

Cuts in Medicare spending over the next decade have been cause for concern for both parties, but are often used as fodder by Republicans. Many of them say the Affordable Care Act cuts health care funding for seniors through Medicare Advantage.

“I was very troubled to hear that Martha Robertson is willing to cut Medicare Advantage because she believes it’s only benefiting insurance companies,” Reed said. “Medicare is a promise we have given our seniors, and we need to live up to it by working to protect and preserve the plans our senior citizens rely on.”

With more than 1.1 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage in the state of New York, over 35 percent of senior citizens rely on Medicare Advantage for their primary care.

“Health insurance is so important that people will do almost anything, such as stay in a job they hate or postpone retirement to keep it,” Robertson said. “Protecting Medicare is critical. Older Americans have paid for it all their working lives. I will fight to protect Medicare as we know it to guarantee the health and well-being of our seniors who have earned it.”

Robertson has stated the cost of health care as a whole must decrease in order to make Medicare more affordable, and that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the real cost of health care, while preserving or even enhancing quality. Furthermore, she believes Medicare can be made more affordable by enacting reforms like negotiating for prescription drug costs.

This is Reed’s third Congressional race, and his second attempt at securing the District 23 seat.

He represented District 29 from 2009-12, when the Congressional map was redistricted and District 23 was created.

Robertson has been chair of the Tompkins County Legislature since 2010 and a legislator since 2002.