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AARP CEO A. Barry Rand released the following statement in response to the recently announced National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform:
"AARP is committed to supporting balanced and responsible approaches to reducing the nation's deficit. Protecting the fiscal future of the nation for our children and grandchildren is one of the paramount concerns of our members. But we must do so with equal regard to ensuring the health care and long-term financial security for all Americans.
"AARP will remain vigilant that deficit reduction efforts do not unfairly target the critical benefits provided by programs such as Social Security and Medicare, and we urge our elected leaders to address the real threat to our country's fiscal health--the skyrocketing costs rampant throughout our health care system.
"Social Security and Medicare serve as lifelines for millions of older Americans--in fact, nearly one-third of people in Social Security rely on its benefits as their sole source of income. AARP members care deeply about making sure that these vital programs remain strong for our kids and grandkids. Deficit reduction, while essential, must be about more than just numbers--it must be about protecting these two fundamental pillars of health and economic security for current and future generations.
"In particular, AARP will continue to oppose efforts to fast-track changes to these critical programs by short circuiting the legislative process. While commissions can play an informative role, Americans deserve a full public debate on the fundamental challenges facing our nation by accountable, elected Members of Congress.
"Further, any attempt to rein in spending through Medicare and Medicaid--two likely targets for this commission--would cause more harm than good unless the commission addresses the underlying threat of rising costs throughout our health care system. It's like squeezing one end of a balloon--it just pushes the pressure somewhere else.
"Americans want more than fiscal sanity--they want to know that the benefits they have contributed to and earned over the course of their working lives will be there when they need them. AARP looks forward to working with Congress and the Administration in a full and open debate about how to responsibly reduce the deficit while maintaining our health and economic security."
You can find the statement and more informaiton on the commission here.

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