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Gang of Six Proposal Relies on Deep Social Security Benefit Cuts for Immediate Deficit Reduction

Makes dramatic cuts to health care, long-term care that would hurt older Americans today and in the future


July 20, 2011


Media Relations


Gang of Six Proposal Relies on Deep Social Security Benefit Cuts for Immediate Deficit Reduction

Makes dramatic cuts to health care, long-term care that would hurt older Americans today and in the future

WASHINGTON—AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond offered the following statement in response to early summaries of a proposal from senators informally named the “Gang of Six.”  AARP is disappointed by the far-reaching cuts to benefits that are proposed in this framework, as the cumulative effects of these types of cuts would be detrimental to millions of Americans who depend upon them.  The organization is focused on protecting Social Security and Medicare benefits for the millions of beneficiaries who have paid into the systems over their working lives. LeaMond’s statement follows:

“While details about the latest bipartisan deficit reduction plan are limited, we remain concerned that the latest proposal from the “Gang of Six” would cut deeply into Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of a deal to pay the nation’s bills.  As an example, more than one-fifth of the immediate deficit reduction savings outlined in yesterday’s proposal will come from reducing Social Security benefits by lowering the cost of living adjustment (COLA) immediately.  Social Security did not cause the deficit, and cutting Social Security benefits should not be on the table as an option to reduce the deficit.  

“Specific proposals such as the chained CPI should not be considered as part of the debt ceiling or deficit reduction negotiations.  As the chained CPI would result in a lower COLA each year, reducing the COLA even by a small amount is a harmful cut for many retirees.   Any discussion of proposals that would affect Social Security should occur only in a separate debate on strengthening Social Security and improving retirement security, not on balancing the budget.  

“We also strongly oppose repealing the CLASS program, which will give Americans a new option to plan and pay for the costs of long-term care.

“This proposal also appears to call for hundreds of billions of dollars in additional health care cuts to Medicare, threatening the health security of older Americans.   Significant savings were already achieved as part of the new health care law, and additional cuts of this magnitude would increase costs of seniors and negatively impact quality and access to health care providers and services.  We believe the best way to hold down costs in Medicare is to hold down costs throughout the health care system, with a particular emphasis on delivery system reform.  

“Requiring Medicare beneficiaries to pay even more out of their own pockets for health care will do nothing to lower the costs of Medicare—the proposal simply puts additional burdens on seniors, who are already struggling to pay for their health care needs. 

“AARP believes that we should not be cutting benefits or raising costs for older Americans—with half of those age 65 and older having annual incomes of less than $18,500.  Social Security and Medicare are the bedrock of retirement security, and older Americans—indeed all Americans—do not support cuts to these benefits as part of a deal to reduce the deficit.” 

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

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 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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