Since I was elected less than two years ago, I have had the pleasure to meet with literally thousands of people in Washington and throughout Burlington and Ocean counties, listen to their concerns and discuss issues large and small.

Many of the folks I’ve met with are seniors who have stressed to me the importance of protecting and preserving safety-net programs like Medicare and Social Security.

I could not agree more.

These people and millions like them have paid into these programs, planned their retirement and healthcare around them, and rightfully expect them to be available when they need them most.

That is why I voted to protect Medicare for current seniors and preserve this critical safety net for younger Americans.

I am the only candidate in this race who can make that claim.

My opponent, Shelley Adler, supported cutting Medicare by $700 billion to fund a big government takeover of our healthcare system that will allow bureaucrats to come between patients and their doctors, while raising taxes on millions middle-class Americans and small business owners.

Make no mistake, my votes to protect and preserve Medicare, and Mrs. Adler’s support of policies that would ultimately destroy it, are a key difference between us in this election.

Medicare’s income essentially comes from two trust funds, the Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund and the Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund, which are controlled by the United States Treasury. The HI Trust Fund is the large fund that pays for inpatient hospital care, nursing facilities, home healthcare, and hospice care.

By 2024 – just 12 years from now – this fund will not be able to cover all of its obligations. That is because the HI Trust Fund has been spending more than it has been taking in and is on the verge of insolvency. In 2011 the fund ran a deficit of $33.2 billion and will continue to run a deficit moving forward. In practical terms, this means that if we do nothing – as some suggest – by the Year 2024 the U.S. will have to pay out more in Medicare benefits than the treasury is expected to take in.

The bottom line is this: Medicare must be reformed or it will cease to exist. This is not my opinion…it’s a fact acknowledged by both President Obama and Mitt Romney. Doing nothing is not an option. It’s time to stop the scare tactics and work together to fix Medicare now.

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