11 August 2008

The 2008 Democratic Platform & Seniors

There are some planks in the 2008 Democratic National Platform, that should be of extreme interest to seniors and boomers. Most we've discussed here: Social Security,Medicare,Long-term care, and safe, secure and dignified retirements and old age.

Let’s jump first to page 45.

“We will protect and strengthen Medicare by cutting costs, protecting seniors from fraud, and fixing Medicare’s prescription drug program. We’ll repeal the prohibition on negotiating prescription drug prices, ban drug companies from paying generic producers to refrain from entering drug markets and eliminate drug company interference with genetic competition—and dedicate all of the savings from those measures towards closing the donut hole. (What’s the donut hole, ask any senior with Medicare D, they’ll be delighted to raise your awareness) We will end special preferences for insurance companies and private plans like Medicare Advantage to force them to compete on a level playing field.”

"We will take steps to ensure that our seniors have meaningful long-term care options that are consistent with their individual needs, including the option of home care. We believe that we must give caregivers a fair wage and train more nurses and health care workers so as to improve the availability and quality of long-term care. We must reform the financing of long-term care to ease the burden on seniors and their families. We will safeguard social security, we will develop new retirement plans and pension protections that will give Americans a secure, portable way to pay for retirement. We will ensure a safe and dignified retirement.”

Now, I will grant you, it is a bit vague and a bit boiler plate. But, it does stand out from the usual Republican platform issues of flag-burning, the sanctity of insurance and big-oil companies, and the anathema of gay-marriage.

On page 8, you will find a heartening message that begins with, “We will make it a priority to secure for hardworking families the part of the American Dream that includes a secure and healthy retirement.” And it continues to offer to provide portable workplace pensions which can’t be dumped by bottom fixated CEOS intent on assuring their own bonuses.

It also promises to reform bankruptcy laws so that worker’s pensions are a “priority for funding” and so that, “workers are not left with IOUs after years of service.” Perhaps we can call that the Enron clause!

One controversial plank in the platform calls for the elimination of “all income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000 per year. Lower and middle income seniors already have to worry about high health care and energy costs; they should not have to worry about tax burdens as well.” It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

You can view and/or download the entire platform document here:

The Draft 2008 Democratic National Platform

Remember, the devil is in the details and the candidate is free to offer his own plan. What seniors should make from this is that they have an opportunity to read the platform and decide what they would like to see come about and get busy letting their representatives know that they are informed, and savvy, and will only vote for those who represent their best interests.

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