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Colorado

Coloradans Weigh In On Social Security and Medicare

Changes needed...but not right away

Dennis Valentine, AARP Colorado questionnaires on Social Security and Medicare

Dennis Valentine, 70, of Castle Rock, is one of many Coloradans who filled out AARP questionnaires on Social Security and Medicare. Two-thirds said major changes to the programs should wait. — Matt Nager

The vast majority of Colorado residents who weighed in on the future of Medicare and Social Security said some changes are needed to make sure they are available to their children and grandchildren.

But most Coloradans who completed AARP-sponsored questionnaires (pdf) about Medicare and Social Security oppose major changes just yet. Instead, about two-thirds said large-scale changes should wait.

Partisan rhetoric

Dennis Valentine, 70, of Castle Rock, said that's especially true of Medicare, adding that the current rhetoric about changing the federal health insurance program "is so charged and so partisan."

He added: "I don't think there's been a full public debate in which a citizen like me can say, 'This is the way to go.' "

Raju Jairam, 64, of Fort Collins, also is opposed to immediate, major changes. He pointed to the suggestion of boosting the full retirement age for Social Security to 70 from the current 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

The life expectancy in 2010 for U.S. males was 76.2 years, a fact that prompted Jairam to exclaim: "I live to 76 and get six years of retirement? That's nonsense!"

Jairam and Valentine were among the roughly 37,000 Colorado residents who filled out questionnaires about Medicare and the nearly 17,000 who completed surveys about Social Security.

The responses were collected at AARP Colorado events, on a website, by phone and from questionnaires printed in the AARP Bulletin.

The nationwide responses will inform AARP advocacy this year as policymakers consider changes to the programs.

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