WASHINGTON, D.C.– U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, joined Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and 16 Senate Democrats to introduce an amendment to protect Medicare and Medicaid from Republican attempts to radically and dangerously alter the programs during the budget reconciliation process. Menendez will question President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price when he comes before the Finance Committee in the coming weeks.

“Medicare and Medicaid are a literal lifeline to millions of New Jersey seniors, low-income families and children,” Senator Menendez said. “I am deeply concerned about the current Republicans’ efforts to impose a radical, ideological agenda on these vital health care programs, seeking to turn Medicare into a woefully inadequate voucher-type program, and impose draconian cuts to Medicaid that force states to shoulder the costs of coverage. I am proud to join my colleagues in this important effort and will continue to fight and protect Medicare for the 1.5 million seniors, 1.7 million children and families in New Jersey who rely on them for critical health care services."

The amendment would create a budget point of order to prevent changes to Medicare that raise the eligibility age, change eligibility requirements, or privatize and voucherize the program. The amendment would also prevent changes to Medicaid that reduce state funding from current levels. Any changes to either program would require a supermajority in Congress.

The amendment is cosponsored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Nearly one in three American families depend on Medicare and Medicaid for their health care needs.