The GOP Platform: A Guide-at-a-Glance for 50+ Voters

The voice vote is in, and Republicans have an official party message: overhaul Medicare and Social Security and make some tough-love changes in both public pensions and private pensions, which are backed by the U.S. government. The politically loaded word "privatize" appears nowhere.

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Some of the calls for action in the GOP's 62-page party platform, approved today, have broad implications for older Americans. Here are highlights (also read the Election 2012 guide to the Democratic platform):

Medicare

  • Move to a "premium support'' system under which the federal government would make an income-adjusted contribution to a health plan of the enrollee's choice, either a private plan or traditional Medicare. Those over 55 would not be affected.
  • Promote preventive care to avoid more expensive treatments for older patients later on.
  • Make the eligibility age "more realistic,'' given longer life expectancies.

Social Security

  • Make "long overdue" major changes in part because young people have "lost all faith in the Social Security system."
  • Give workers "more control over, and a sound return on'' their investments.
  • Does not specifically advocate private accounts.

Retirement Security

  • Take "immediate remedial action'' on public-employee pensions to cut costs.
  • Appoint a presidential panel to review the nation's private pension funds, which the platform says are underfunded and threatening the solvency of the Pension Guaranty Benefit Corporation.
  • Includes no specific proposals for job retraining or housing assistance for older workers and retirees.

-Susan Milligan

What do you think about the GOP platform and Tuesday night's speeches? Join the convention discussion.

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