AARP Volunteers Take Message to Lame Duck: Don't Throw Older Americans Over Economic Cliff
WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today AARP volunteers and staff from across the nation met with key members of Congress involved in the lame duck discussions to avert a so-called "fiscal cliff" and urged them not to reduce Social Security or Medicare benefits in any end of year deal. With regard to both Medicare and Medicaid they told members of Congress that simply reducing government expenditures by shifting costs does not lower the cost of health care—it merely shifts the cost to beneficiaries and other payers.
"Americans have spoken and they don't want Congress or the President to make changes to Social Security or Medicare in any last minute deficit deal," said AARP's volunteer President Rob Romasco. "In the long-term we need to strengthen Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, but shifting costs to the older and less fortunate among us is not going to make our country stronger. Instead, it would erode our economic security at a time when Americans need it the most."
Across Capitol Hill the volunteers and staff also reiterated AARP's positions against extending the Social Security payroll tax cut, against the Social Security COLA Reduction (Chained CPI), and against raising the Medicare eligibility age during fiscal cliff talks.
AARP has sent a series of letters to Congress and the White House on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in October and November of 2012 with regard to the lame duck session. Portions of the letters sent and their topics are below:
Medicare and Medicaid: "Older Americans, across party and regional lines, also have serious concerns about efforts to make major changes to the health care and retirement benefits they have paid into and depend on - especially as part of any rushed, end of year discussions…As Congress debates proposals to change Medicare and Medicaid, it is important to keep in mind that many beneficiaries lack the resources to shoulder additional cost-sharing."
Social Security – Chained CPI: "Reducing Social Security benefits by moving to a chained consumer price index (CCPI) –estimated to take $112 billion out of the pockets of current and future Social Security beneficiaries in the next 10 years alone – is inappropriate and unwarranted….Social Security is not the cause of our current large budget deficits. In fact, as you know, Social Security is a self-financed, off-budget program and any reduction in Social Security does nothing to address the shortfall in the rest of the federal budget."
Social Security – Payroll Tax Holiday Extension: "Further extension of the payroll tax holiday would undermine confidence in Social Security and put at risk the program's dedicated funding stream and the hard-earned benefits of millions of Americans and their families...We must ensure that efforts to promote economic health do not undermine the single most important source of retirement and disability income for millions of workers and their families."
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for Americans 50+ and the world's largest-circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for the 50+ audience; AARP VIVA, a bilingual lifestyle multimedia platform addressing the interests and needs of Hispanic Americans; and national television and radio programming including My Generation and Inside E Street. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.