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AARP Responds to Criticism of Campaign Advertising

October 18, 2011

Media Relations
202- 434-2560


Washington, DC—AARP’s Senior Vice President for Campaigns John Hishta gave the following statement after the Concord Coalition issued a press release criticizing AARP’s new television ad that urges Congress not to cut Medicare and Social Security benefits as part of a deal to reduce the deficit:

“Our new television ad was designed to inform seniors and future retirees that behind closed doors, a congressional ‘super committee’ is considering proposals that could cut the Medicare and Social Security benefits they’ve earned through a lifetime of hard work. This includes proposals that would shift health care costs onto seniors, threaten seniors’ access to their doctors, or reduce the lifetime Social Security benefits they rely on.

“One proposal would raise the eligibility age for Medicare, which increases costs throughout the health care system. Cutting benefits for younger retirees would increase their own out-of-pocket spending by about $2,000 per year. It would also increase premiums for people already in Medicare because it would leave an older, more costly insurance pool; and increase health care costs for businesses because workers would be staying on their employer plans longer.

“Rather than targeting Medicare and increasing costs for many, AARP believes Congress should look for ways to reduce costs and improve the system. These might include reducing the exclusivity period for biologic drugs, allowing for the safe and legal importation of prescription drugs, and enabling the Secretary of HHS to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. With some estimates putting waste and fraud in the health care system at ten cents on the dollar, we stand by our call for Congress to fight fraud and target wasteful spending instead of simply cutting Medicare and Social Security.

“Another proposal being considered would cut Social Security benefits by $112 billion by changing the formula for calculating Social Security’s annual cost of living increases. Reducing the COLA would cost today’s seniors thousands of dollars over their lifetimes.

“Social Security didn’t contribute to the national deficit and shouldn’t be cut to balance the budget. Furthermore, Social Security can pay full benefits for the next 25 years and the $2.6 trillion Trust Funds continue to grow, so assertions the program is in crisis are vastly overblown. Any changes to Social Security should be discussed as part of a broader conversation about how to help Americans prepare for a secure retirement, especially as pensions, savings and home equity have been crumbling over the past decade.

“Simply, our ad reflects what our members believe: Congress should find ways to solve our nation’s budget problems without making damaging cuts to Medicare and Social Security for today’s seniors or future generations.”

To view the new television ad and learn about AARP’s campaign, visit

About AARP
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 nearly 35 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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