After a year of kicking the can down the road, Congress has come back to Washington to deal with expiring tax and spending cuts, as well as action on cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates.
Make Your Voice Heard
But some in Washington are also considering cramming changes to Medicare and Social Security into a last-minute budget deal. They’re looking for funds to offset cuts to defense and other federal programs – and benefits for seniors and their kids and grandkids are on the table.
One proposal under consideration would gradually raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 to bring Medicare in line with Social Security, where full retirement age will be 67 by 2027. Raising the Medicare eligibility age would dramatically increase costs for younger seniors, drive up premiums for those in Medicare and raise health costs for individuals and businesses. And here’s why:
- Removing the youngest and healthiest older Americans from the Medicare risk pool will result in higher premiums for those remaining in the program.
- Forcing 65- and 66-year-olds into the private market shifts significant costs to seniors, driving up their health care costs by $2,200 per year.
- Adding older Americans to private insurance risk pools will drive up everyone’s premiums and employer health care costs.
Take action now! Tell Washington no cuts to Medicare as part of a last-minute budget deal.
Another proposal on the table would change the way the Social Security cost-of-living allowance (COLA) is calculated, reducing benefits by $112 billion in the next 10 years alone. Simply put, that’s money directly out of the pockets of today’s seniors and their kids and grandkids.
The new calculation, called the “chained CPI,” aims to account for ways consumers change their buying habits when prices changes. It assumes that when the cost of something you normally buy goes up, you will substitute a lower-cost item. For example, if the cost of chicken goes up at the grocery store, you will buy beef instead. However, this theory falls short for older adults since many seniors spend a disproportionate share of their money on prescription drugs, utilities and health care costs that keep going up, but that don’t have a lower-cost substitute. So, what would this change mean for you?
- The annual COLA would be, on average, 0.3 percent lower under the proposed formula.
- The proposed formula would compound over time, reducing the benefit by 3 percent after 10 years and 8.5 percent after 30 years.
Take action now! Tell Washington no cuts to Social Security as part of a last-minute budget deal.
Read AARP’s message to Congress about the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment.
Americans have paid into Medicare and Social Security and they deserve an open, thoughtful discussion about how we can protect these programs for seniors and strengthen them for our kids and grandkids – not shortsighted changes that are crammed into an eleventh-hour budget deal.
On behalf of our 37 million members and their families, AARP will fight for an open, thoughtful public discussion about how to strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and against cramming changes to these vital programs into a last–minute deal that could harm all of us.
Americans Have Earned Their Say: Principles for Responsible Solutions
In March, AARP launched You’ve Earned a Say – a national conversation to ensure that Americans have a voice in the debate about how to strengthen Medicare and Social Security for today’s seniors as well as their children and grandchildren. Since then, millions of Americans shared their opinions and ideas for solutions to the challenges facing these vital programs through questionnaires, online tools, personalized videos and surveys.
Based on what we heard from people of all ages and political viewpoints, we believe any debate about the future of Medicare and Social Security should adhere to the following principles for responsible solutions:
- Americans have earned a say in the future of Medicare and Social Security, and they have the right to know what any changes could mean for them and their families.
- Americans deserve an open and meaningful debate that reflects their views that strengthening Medicare and Social Security are critical for current and future generations.
- Solutions should be based on broad, bipartisan negotiations and reflect the values and the needs of current and future generations.
- The benefits of seniors and near retirees must be protected, and the main priority for any adjustments to Medicare and Social Security must be the health and retirement security of seniors and future generations.
- Any adjustments to these programs should preserve the promise of guaranteed benefits for future generations and be phased in gradually so workers can plan for their futures.