Like more than 1 million Wisconsinites, both my husband and I rely on Medicare and receive Social Security. These programs have been our lifeblood, allowing me and my husband to enjoy our retirement without worrying about going into debt.

Hearing Sen. Ron Johnson callously threaten to cut these programs that we have paid into for decades is a slap in the face. Our elected officials should be working to support us, not make our lives harder. But this is what we’ve come to expect from our self-serving senator.

Thanks to Medicare, we’re able to have affordable health care. We live in rural Chippewa County, so it’s extremely important for us to have reliable health care, especially since my husband has had numerous surgeries. Through Medicare, having coverage that includes telehealth has been crucial to making care accessible to our community.

Medicare assures us that we can afford our next doctor’s visit and gives us the ability to speak to our primary care physician. Medicare allows us to focus on our health and not the logistics of receiving care, which is how it should be.

To know that Johnson and other Republicans in Congress want to put these programs on the chopping block is heartbreaking. They are working to take away health care for millions of people — and if Republican politicians get their way, people across our state could struggle to afford doctor’s appointments and medication.

Every time Johnson and his fellow Republican politicians attack Social Security and Medicare, it reaffirms the fact that Republicans in Congress do not care about seniors and our livelihood — they only care about themselves.

We’ve paid into Social Security understanding that the benefits will be there for my family once we retire. It’s been a promise that if you work hard and pay into the program, you can retire with dignity. Johnson wants to break that promise, threatening to strip millions of Wisconsinites from their Social Security benefits.

Johnson has had the privilege of never worrying about depending on Social Security, unlike the rest of us who have spent our entire lives paying into these programs and who need them to survive. If Johnson had his way, seniors would lose retirement benefits and be hung out to dry.

Johnson’s Republican colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives are no better. A majority of Wisconsin Republicans in Congress serve on the Republican Study Committee, which outlined their plans to cut funding for these programs.

Seniors across our state deserve answers. Do Wisconsin Republicans in Congress agree with these proposed cuts, or will they disavow their caucus’ agenda?

It’s time to put an end to Johnson’s attacks on Social Security and Medicare, and the only way we can do that is by beating him at the ballot box this November. Our health care, our retirement and our livelihoods are on the line. We cannot allow Ron Johnson to continue to work against Wisconsin’s best interests.

Carolyn Kaiser is a resident of Chippewa County.

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