AARP: Reject Harmful Cuts to Social Security and Medicare

As the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing the interests of Americans age 50 and older and their families, AARP urges the budget conference committee to reject harmful cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits for the purpose of achieving deficit reduction or as a tradeoff for scheduled sequestration cuts or other government spending. While we agree that sequestration cuts will have a growing impact on critical discretionary programs and should be revisited, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protect the earned benefits upon which millions of Americans rely daily, and we oppose cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits to replace sequestration cuts.

800px-United_States_Capitol_west_front_edit2

Resolving the financing challenges of Social Security and addressing the retirement crisis facing millions of Americans deserves a separate conversation. AARP firmly believes that any changes to Social Security, which is off-budget, self-financed by payroll taxes and has run surpluses for most of the last 30 years, must be done separately within the proper context of ensuring the retirement security of present and future generations of Americans, and not for purposes of reducing the federal budget deficit or as a bargaining chip for other government spending. We have therefore opposed, and will continue to oppose, proposals to authorize Social Security changes for, or within the context of, deficit reduction or budget agreements. AARP believes that using the Social Security benefits that American taxpayers have earned to remedy a problem that Social Security did not create is neither right nor fair. And the American people agree.

Every dollar of the average annual Social Security retirement benefit of a little over $15,000 is absolutely critical to the typical beneficiary. For older American households receiving benefits, Social Security is the principal source of income for nearly two-thirds, and roughly one-third of these households depend on Social Security for nearly all of their income. Social Security also provides a measure of economic security for families who face a loss of income because of the disability or the death of a wage earner. Moreover, the inflation protection provided through Social Security's annual COLA - which prevents beneficiaries' modest income from falling further behind over time - is a critical component of the success of the program.

As it pertains to Medicare, AARP believes that Congress must remain focused on reducing the cost of health care, not simply cutting the federal share of health care expenditures. AARP opposes any proposal which either shifts costs to Medicare beneficiaries or reduces their benefits. Cost-shifts, such as expanding income-relating of premiums, adding copays, raising deductibles, or limiting first-dollar coverage, do nothing to improve our health care system or lower overall health care costs.

The typical Medicare beneficiary lives on roughly $22,000 per year and already spends 17 percent of their income on health care. Asking older Americans to shoulder higher costs will jeopardize their financial stability and health security. Moreover, it ignores the role physicians, providers, hospitals, and drug manufacturers play in establishing prices and utilizing services. Instead of placing an extra burden on older Americans, we should implement responsible solutions. Better coordination of care; greater investment in information technology and reducing waste, fraud and abuse; and reducing prescription drug prices are just a few areas where we can achieve true cost reduction. Attempts to shift costs will only hurt those who have paid into Medicare their entire working lives.

Photo: Architect of the Capitol/Wikimedia Commons

Also of Interest

 

See the  AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more

ACA = Affordable Care Act = Obamacare

 

Search AARP Blogs

Related Posts
December 11, 2018 10:07 AM
In an election year filled with partisanship and political fights, it’s no surprise that many Americans feel that their voices aren’t being heard or that the issues that affect their lives aren’t being addressed. But, many outstanding elected officials work hard every day to make a positive difference for their constituents.  That’s why AARP recognizes state legislators, governors, and other elected officials – from both sides of the aisle – who have stepped up and worked together to write, support, and advance common-sense policies that help older Americans remain in their homes and communities and retire with confidence. AARP is proud to announce our fifth annual bipartisan class of Capitol Caregivers, who fought this year to increase support for family caregivers and their loved ones, along with our fourth annual bipartisan class of Super Savers, who championed policies that enhance retirement security.
December 05, 2018 01:06 PM
Caroline is a mother of two children and a preschool teacher who unexpectedly became a family caregiver for her father after he suffered a major stroke. Her father, Tom, now deceased, lost the use of his right side and his ability to speak. Multiple surgeries and rehabilitation treatments later, he was able to live at home with the help of nurses. But it was up to Caroline to provide daily care, such as overseeing appointments and handling certain nursing responsibilities, like managing his medications. “I became the person my father could rely on more than anyone in the world,” Caroline said. “I became his safe place and his best friend.” In communities across the country, family caregivers like Caroline are caring for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, helping them to remain at home – where they want to be. Their tasks are done out of love and commitment, but are not easy. That’s why AARP is fighting for family caregivers and their loved ones in every state. In 2018, AARP advanced new policies to provide more help at home, flexibility at work, training, relief and more, which will benefit over 30 million family caregivers. Here are a couple highlights:
November 27, 2018 08:55 AM
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the vital role that transportation options play in what we at AARP call “livable communities” – great places to live for people of all ages. Being able to get around is critical to earn a living, raise a family, contribute and stay connected to your community and enjoy life. And, having alternatives to getting behind the wheel of your own car is particularly important for older adults who want to stay in their homes and communities as they age.