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AARP Launches Protect Seniors Campaign to Keep Medicare Strong

As a way to reduce the national debt, Congress is considering drastic cuts to Medicare and Social Security which are programs Utahns have paid into over a lifetime of work.

See Also: Join us in the fight to keep Medicare and Social Security strong.

Nearly 265,000 Utahns rely on Medicare for their health care needs, with over 330,000 benefiting from Social Security—this program alone brings in $330 million to the Utah economy. Cuts to these programs would come at a huge price, as many may no longer be able to afford basic needs or critical health care. These benefits are literally a lifeline for older people.

But unless Congress raises the debt ceiling — increasing the maximum amount of money the government can borrow — the government will default on its debt and be unable to meet its financial obligations, which could happen sometime this summer.

AARP understands the urgent need to reduce the deficit and control government spending, but we do not agree that imposing arbitrary spending limits on Medicare and Social Security is the solution. That’s why we’ve launched the Protect Seniors campaign to urge Congress to save these bedrock programs.

We want your voice to be heard, and to keep you informed about the debate in Washington. Visit Protect Seniors and you will be directed to information about how to contact Senator Hatch, Senator Lee, or your House Representative (Representative Chaffetz, Matheson, or Bishop). You can also find information about Medicare and Social Security benefits, including help by choosing the “doughnut hole” in Medicare drug benefit (Part D).

This is a major issue for AARP members. The proposed limits on Medicare could force seniors to pay higher insurance premiums and co-pays, and threaten their choice of doctors and hospitals. We don’t dispute that health care costs, including Medicare costs, are rising at an unsustainable level. But there are more common sense solutions--including increasing preventive services, lowering the costs of prescription drugs, and encouraging delivery system reforms that improve care coordination for beneficiaries--that will help to reduce the growth in health costs for the overall program.

Instead of making harmful cuts to Social Security and Medicare, Congress should cut down on waste, fraud and inefficiency throughout the health care system and target other wasteful and inefficient spending, including spending through the tax code in the form of loopholes and other unnecessary subsidies. The Affordable Care Act tackled some of these problems, but we need to do better to keep Medicare and Social Security strong for future generations.

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