FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2013
AARP Media Relations
AARP CEO Responds to State of the Union Address
WASHINGTON—AARP CEO A. Barry Rand released this statement following tonight’s State of the Union Address by President Obama:
“AARP appreciates the President’s focus on jobs, the economy, and expanding opportunities for the middle class, because we know that middle-class security in retirement is built over a lifetime of hard work. And unless we are able to reverse the trends that threaten middle-class families in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s today, those workers and their families will not be able to achieve a secure retirement.
“With so many families still struggling today and future retirees likely to rely even more on Medicare and Social Security, we were pleased to hear the President acknowledge the importance of protecting retirement security. And as he talks about ideas for reducing the deficit, his insistence that we must keep the promises we’ve already made is encouraging.
“As we look to address the rising cost of health care, it is important to remember that Medicare is just one part of the American health care system, and we must first consider measures that would lower overall health costs rather than simply shift costs onto seniors and other payers. While those with higher incomes in retirement are already paying more for Medicare, measures such as payment innovations, lowering drug costs and integrated care programs could bring significant savings to Medicare and Medicaid and spur innovative cost reductions in private insurance as well.
“It is clear that much work remains to improve the employment picture, so we welcome the President’s emphasis on increasing job opportunities for American workers. Unemployment continues to plague older workers, who endure longer spans of joblessness than any other age group, often due to age discrimination. This joblessness comes at a point when many older workers won’t have enough time to rebuild decimated nest eggs or have the ability to pay for health insurance.
“The President spoke of building an economy that will work for the middle class. This will mean we have to broaden the debate from the narrow lens of deficit reduction to the larger goal of economic growth and maintaining the health and economic security of all Americans, including retirement security. Congress and the President must work together and focus on economic growth, health and financial security and enacting affordable policies to meet these goals.
“As the President and Congress work on proposals to that end, AARP will continue to fight for responsible solutions to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, not shortsighted changes that would hurt seniors and their kids and grandkids. And we will work to ensure that Americans who have paid into these programs will have a voice in their future.
“We look forward to working with President Obama and members of Congress from both parties to strengthen health and retirement security for today’s seniors and for future generations.”
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 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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