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AARP Calls on Lawmakers to Oppose Unbalanced Budget Proposal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 14, 2011


CONTACT

Media Relations

202-434-2560


AARP Calls on Lawmakers to Oppose Unbalanced Budget Proposal

Plan could cut Medicare benefits for current retirees, raise costs for future retirees


WASHINGTON—AARP CEO A. Barry Rand today sent a letter to members of the House of Representatives urging lawmakers to oppose the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012 (H Con Res 34).  While AARP agrees the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges must be addressed, Rand expressed concern that the current proposal would jeopardize the health and economic security of older Americans.  Excerpts from the letter follow:


“…  Many elements of this budget proposal would harm individuals who currently receive Medicare or Medicaid coverage, including proposed budget caps enforced by across-the-board spending cuts.  Although some changes in Medicare are directed at those 55 and under, in fact, the mandatory spending caps would very likely trigger cuts to Medicare benefits for today’s seniors.”


“…  AARP is concerned that a so called ‘premium support’ system would dramatically increase costs for Medicare beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage—a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work.”


“According to calculations based on the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis, the proposal would more than double beneficiary costs in 2022, from about $5,500 to $12,500.  For a retiring 65 year old average earner, fully 49 percent of his/her Social Security benefits would be absorbed by Medicare out-of-pocket costs in 2022, and 62 percent by 2030, up from about 20 percent today.”


“…  AARP is gravely concerned that this proposal [to block grant Medicaid] fails to acknowledge that older adults and people with disabilities account for two-thirds of all Medicaid spending and have nowhere else to turn for coverage of these services.  …  Limited financing options currently exist to pay for long-term services and supports and individuals typically exhaust their own assets before turning to Medicaid.  As such, Medicaid becomes a lifeline, providing either nursing facility care or home and community services to allow independence and the opportunity to live at home.”


“By block granting Medicaid, this proposal would place at risk both current and future seniors in need of these services.  This is because proposed future federal payments would be substantially lower than projected spending—without addressing the real drivers of Medicaid spending growth.  Thus, states would be compelled to reduce services, eligibility, or payments to providers; as a result, Medicaid cut-backs would lead to reduced access and inadequate care for our most vulnerable citizens.  …”


“As H Con Res 34 acknowledges, any changes to Social Security must be focused on ensuring the retirement security of present and future retired Americans, and not simply on reducing the federal deficit.  …  AARP agrees that protecting and strengthening Social Security must be done on a bipartisan basis, and we welcome the opportunity to continue the conversation with Congress, the Administration, our membership and all Americans about how to achieve that goal.”


For a complete copy of Rand’s letter to House members, please contact AARP Media Relations at 202-434-2560 or media@aarp.org.


AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership 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 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org.  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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