FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 23, 2011
Kelly Brewington or Mary Liz Burns
AARP Urges Senators to Reject Legislation that Could Jeopardize Hard-Earned Medicare and Social Security Benefits
WASHINGTON—AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond sent two letters to senators today to express the organization’s serious concerns about the House-passed budget resolution, H. Con Res. 34, and the Commitment to American Prosperity (CAP) Act, S. 245—proposals that could dramatically change or reduce the critical Medicare and Social Security benefits millions of older Americans have earned through a lifetime of hard work. AARP understands the nation’s long-term fiscal health must be confronted, but the organization opposes any proposal that relies on arbitrary spending limits because they could result in harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security and threaten the health and financial security of retirees today and for generations to come.
In the letter to all Senators concerning H. Con. Res. 34, LeaMond warned the proposal would shift costs onto the backs of people in Medicare, erode consumer protections secured in the Affordable Care Act and threaten long-term care services for millions of older Americans and persons with disabilities.
“H. Con. Res. 34 appropriately acknowledges that health care costs must be addressed if the federal budget is to be balanced,” LeaMond wrote. “However, rather than recognizing that health care must be made more affordable for all Americans, this budget simply shifts these high costs onto Medicare beneficiaries, and shifts the even higher costs of increased uninsured care onto everyone else.
“If we’re serious about lowering health care costs, we cannot simply focus on Medicare and Medicaid for savings,” she wrote. “Rather, we must improve the delivery of health care generally, including increasing preventive services, better coordination of care, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and the reduction of waste and fraud throughout the entire health care system.”
In a separate letter to Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Bob Corker (R-TN), LeaMond expressed the Association’s strong opposition to the bill’s arbitrary spending cuts that could jeopardize the earned benefits that allow people to live independently and with dignity as they grow older. The legislation would impose across-the-board spending cuts, including cuts to Medicare and Social Security, to enforce spending limits to confront the nation’s debt.
“Medicare and Medicaid are critical programs that provide health and long-term care coverage to those who cannot find it in the private market; those who are uninsured or uninsurable due to a catastrophic illness or have spent all of their hard-earned savings to cover long-term care costs that can cost as much as $75,000 a year for a long-term nursing home stay,” LeaMond wrote. “Likewise, Social Security is currently the principal source of income for nearly two-thirds of older American households receiving benefits, and roughly one third of those households depend on Social Security for nearly all of their income.
“From surveys, town hall meetings, ongoing correspondence and numerous other interactions, we know older Americans are deeply concerned about the deficit and our nation’s fiscal health,” she wrote. “However, they also want to make sure the promises made to them regarding Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are honored. Subjecting these programs to across-the-board cuts is inconsistent with honoring these promises, and we call on you to make good on your word to preserve the promise of these programs.”
As a part of its ongoing effort to protect Medicare, Social Security and access to long-term care, the Association recently announced a new initiative (www.aarp.org/protectseniors) to fight against any proposal with arbitrary limits, caps or triggers that would result in harmful cuts to critical Social Security and Medicare benefits. AARP looks forward to working with senators on both sides of the aisle as they consider long-term solutions to the nation’s debt that ensure these programs are strengthened for the future.
For copies of AARP’s letters to lawmakers, please contact AARP Media Relations at 202-434-2560 or firstname.lastname@example.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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