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Californians Fret Over Future of Medicare & Social Security

They are some of the hottest issues not on the Presidential campaign trail, but the future of Social Security and Medicare are definitely on the minds of many Californians.

See Also: You’ve Earned a Say

According to the results of a new questionnaire of more than 45,500 Californians, released by AARP California today, most are of the mindset that Social Security and Medicare are in need of changes and many do not expect to get back what they’ve paid in. The majority want to make their voices heard when it comes to proposed changes to the programs, but don’t think it will make a difference – AARP is working to make sure that’s not the case.

“As we hear from our members and the public throughout California, one thing is very clear: they want to keep Social Security and Medicare strong for their children and grandchildren, but many also recognize some changes will be needed to make that happen,” said Katie Hirning, State Director for AARP in California. “Our efforts are focused on helping our members understand potential changes to the programs and the pros and cons, learning where they stand on those proposals and bringing their thoughts to the debate.”

Though it was not a scientific survey, AARP’s “You’ve Earned a Say” questionnaire of 45,542 Californians found:

  • 23% think Social Security needs major changes, 18% feel it’s in a state of crisis (27% think it needs minor changes and 29% think it’s okay as is).
  • 30% believe Medicare needs major changes, while 16% think the program is in a state of crisis (27% say it’ll need minor changes and 26% feel it’s okay as is).
  • 28% expect to get back less than they’ve paid into the programs, 42% expect to get back the same, while 28% believe they’ll get more.
  • 34% say Social Security and Medicare will need more funding to maintain the same benefits, 12% believe benefits for the programs will be reduced (40% say either will likely occur).
  • 43% want to make their voices heard on changes made to the programs, but don’t think what they say will make any difference in the debate.

“You’ve Earned a Say” has already engaged over one million Americans in these discussions, both in California and across the nation. AARP California is inviting members and the public to share their thoughts at town hall meetings, community conversations and other “You’ve Earned a Say” events across the Golden State. People will be able to share their ideas directly with members of Congress and the presidential and congressional candidates on

This questionnaire is the first of three that will be coming from “You’ve Earned a Say” efforts. The questionnaire was conducted on-line and in-person at community forums and events in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland and Palm Desert . While it is not a scientific survey of AARP California members or the 50+ in the state, it reflects the opinions of the people who filled out the “You’ve Earned a Say” questionnaires. The full California results can be found at online at

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