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100 Days, 99 Counties, Thousands of Voices

In these times when thoughtful conversations on important topics seem like a thing of the past, AARP is working to create an environment for Iowans to come together and share their thoughts, questions and perspectives on the future of Medicare and Social Security.

Following the national AARP launch of “You’ve Earned a Say” this spring, AARP Iowa volunteers and staff are embarking on a 100-day, 99-county effort to engage with in conversations on these critical programs for 50-plus Iowans and all generations.

AARP research shows that 95 percent of Americans think Washington should spend more time listening to ordinary citizens like them when it comes to decisions about Social Security and Medicare.

“Instead of talking about Medicare and Social Security as line items in the federal budget, Washington should be talking about how to strengthen health and retirement security and ensuring Americans have a voice in the debate, and that’s just what we are going to do in Iowa” said AARP Iowa State President Tony Vola.

“And, there’s a lot at stake,” Vola said. “Social Security and Medicare are vital to Iowans. About one in five Iowans age 65+ relies on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their income, and more than one-third would fall below the poverty level if not for its benefits. Plus, Social Security pumps over $7.53 billion dollars every year into Iowa’s economy.

Vola said nearly all Iowa seniors rely on Medicare, but even with the health coverage, health costs are high. Iowa beneficiaries spend on average $4,800 on out of pocket costs, about one-third of their annual income.

“We want to ensure Iowans have a say in securing these programs for current and future generations,” said Vola. “Iowa AARP staff and volunteers are looking forward to meeting with and listening to member concerns at community conversations, county and community fairs, celebrations and special events throughout the summer.”

Upcoming dates include:

  • Des Moines, May 12 at CelebrAsian
  • Waterloo/Cedar Falls, June 12
  • Ankeny, Senior Fair, June 21
  • Des Moines Arts Festival, June 22-24

If you haven’t yet, please complete the You’ve Earned a Say online questionnaire, and look for more information about these and other local events on email, Facebook, Twitter, and in your local media. If you have a group or event you’d like to involve in a You’ve Earned a Say conversation, or if you’d like to volunteer in You’ve Earned a Say activities, send us an email at

We’re looking forward to meeting you and listening to your ideas to keep Social Security and Medicare strong for today and future generations.