Gov. Chris Christie was in New Hampshire on Tuesday to unveil a package of national proposals aimed at reforming Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and disability insurance — or so-called “entitlements.”On Social Security, the potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate proposed gradually raising the national retirement age to 69, hiking the early retirement age to 64 and imposing income caps on payments. Under Christie’s plan, future retirees making $80,000 annually in income exclusive of Social Security will see benefits gradually phased out and those making in excess of $200,000 annually will see them eliminated entirely.
“I’m suggesting that Americans pay into this system throughout the course of their life knowing that it will be there if they need it to support them. So that seniors will not grow old in back-breaking poverty,” Christie said in prepared remarks distributed by his Leadership Matters for America PAC. “But if you are fortunate enough not to need it, you will have paid into a system that will continue to help Americans who need it most. That is what we have always done for each other through private charity and good government. This is fair and it is what we must continue to do by changing Social Security.”
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Christie is also proposing slowly raising the eligibility threshold for Medicare by one month each year, ensuring that by 2040, the minimum age would be 67 and that by 2064, it would be 69. The plan also calls for the creation of a single, uniform combined Medicare deductible.
States under Christie’s plan would receive per capita allocations to fund Medicaid. On disability insurance, the governor’s proposals put a focus on incentivizing people to remain in or reestablish themselves in the workforce.
“Here’s what you’ll learn about me,” Christie said. “I have been talking about the growth of entitlements as a big problem, at both the state and federal levels, for a number of years. Not because it is politically popular, but because it is true. And because it will affect everything we can do as a country to make this century the second American century. I will not pander. I will not flip-flop. I am not afraid to tell you the truth as I see it.”
Tuesday’s remarks at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College mark the beginning of a four-day tour of the Granite State for Christie that will conclude with a Friday evening town hall at a sports bar in Exeter.
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