ST. ALBANS, W.Va. -- Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., met with senior citizens at the Tiskelwah Center on Charleston's West Side on Tuesday morning, hearing them express concerns about Social Security and Medicare.
Later, during her remarks at a Charleston Area Alliance luncheon, Capito said the meeting with seniors was "very intense."
"There was a bit of angst at the senior center. We [in Congress] will not do any anything for the next three or four months until the election is over."
Capito told the Gazette that many "people are scared [about the future of Medicare]. They are also concerned for [younger] generations behind them."
Capito said she tried to "tear down the myth" about Medicare during the Tiskelwah meeting.
"I told them that if you are 55 or older, nothing will change. But if you are 55 or younger, we will have to change something. I tried to calm down their fears."
What will happen to Medicare when people now under 55 become eligible to collect Medicare benefits "remains to be seen. If you keep it exactly the way it is, it will go bust by 2024. But Medicare is a great plan," she said.
Capito said the Affordable Health Care for America Act, promoted and signed into law by President Obama in March 2010, will ultimately cut $700 billion in Medicare benefits.
Jared Bernstein, with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C., said that is the same amount cut out of the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., now running for vice president as a Republican.
Ryan's budget passed the House on March 29, by a vote of 228 to 191. Only 10 Republican members voted against it, including Rep. David McKinley, D-W.Va.
Bernstein said Ryan's proposed $700 billion in cuts would be used largely to lower taxes for the most affluent Americans, in an article published on Tuesday by "Business Insider," a New York City-based business and entertainment website.