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Roskam warns business  leaders about Medicare crisis

U.S. Rep.  Peter Roskam speaks answers questions  Auror2012. File Photo. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam speaks and answers questions in Aurora in 2012. File Photo. | Steven Buyansky~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: September 18, 2012 8:10PM

AURORA — When Americans look back and evaluate the key decision in the November election, it will be the decision to wrestle a popular entitlement program to the ground, come up with a remedy and move forward, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam told a gathering of Fox Valley business leaders Monday.

If there is no Medicare reform, the Wheaton Republican said, the health program for seniors and the disabled will be insolvent in 12 years.

“It is an objective statement of fact from the Medicare trustees based on the current trends,” he said.

“We are saying take current seniors and those approaching retirement and move them through the system as status quo. But if you are ages 54 and below, it’s not going to be there anyway if we stay on the current path — we propose to put you in a health program that is not unlike what federal employees have. If you do that, the debt crisis we are most surely walking into begins to dissipate and make sense.”

Roskam addressed about 150 area business people Monday morning at a multi-chamber legislative breakfast at Pipers’s Banquets in Aurora. Roskam, the U.S. House Chief Deputy Whip, was joined by his colleague in the House, Rep. Randy Hultgren of Winfield Township.

Roskam said it will be a “political Rubicon” if after the November election Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, hands the gavel over to former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calf

“The country will never see another majority party deal with entitlements until we are in austerity. Either we deal with our debt, or our debt is going to deal with us,” Roskam said.

Hultgren said small business people across his Fox Valley district repeatedly ask for the government to stay out of the way and stop throwing obstacles of uncertainty that cause them to paralyze their capital that otherwise could be invested in hiring people.

“The key part to getting this economy growing again is getting the confidence back from small businesses,” Hultgren said.

Hultgren introduced Roskam by saying he has been recognized by his colleagues as someone who brings people together.

“He is the one counting votes and making sure we come together — truly it’s a job like herding cats,” Hultgren said.

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