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AARP Statement on Fiscal Commission: Deficit Reduction Should Not Unfairly Target Social Security, Medicare

February 18, 2010

AARP Media Relations

AARP Statement on Fiscal Commission: Deficit Reduction Should Not Unfairly Target Social Security, Medicare

Association urges full, open process to protect lifeline programs and address real fiscal threats

WASHINGTON, DC—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, almost one in four people age 65 and older who receive Social Security rely on its benefits for nearly all of their 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.”

For more information, contact AARP Media Relations at 202-434-2560 or visit

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable 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 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.7 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, 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. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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