AARP’s “You’ve Earned a Say” conversations around the country have focused on hearing about the importance of Social Security and Medicare to people’s lives – we’ve heard stories of how these programs have provided financial security and health care assistance for recipients and their families, and the impact that losing benefits would have on retirement security.
See Also: You’ve Earned a Say
Many people have expressed outrage because they believe that Congress isn’t listening to their problems and that politicians are more concerned with re-election and power than helping the public.
You’ve Earned a Say not only wants to give a voice to these concerns, but to the solvency solutions people want to see implemented. Our conversations now focus on presenting You’ve Earned a Say audiences (or those filling out questionnaires online or in writing) the chance to tell Washington what options they think will work best.
Possible options to keep Social Security stronger include raising the full retirement age; reducing benefits for higher earners; increasing the payroll tax cap; and changing the benefit calculation so that more working years are used to compute a worker’s average earnings history. (Right now, the average is taken from a worker’s highest 35 years of earnings.)
For Medicare, the road to strengthening the program is a bit more complex. Potential solutions include raising the Medicare eligibility age; raising premiums, changing Medicare to a premium support plan (where a fixed amount of money would be given to people to buy insurance on the private market); redesigning Medicare co-pays and deductibles; and taking more steps to reduce fraud.
These options represent just a few of possible solutions. These are no easy answers, and the path to complete solvency will almost certainly require a combination of ideas. AARP commissioned experts who views typically represent different sides of the issues to provide some pros and cons of each option. Most experts agree that each solution has clear advantages and disadvantages that must be weighed carefully.
Here in Utah, we’ve held You’ve Earned a Say conversations in Salt Lake City, Provo, Cedar City, St. George, Layton, Moab, and other communities around the state. Visit the You’ve Earned a Say website for more information or to fill out a questionnaire. If you want to host a presentation in your area with help from AARP Utah, please contact Jill Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Decisions about the future of the benefits you’ve earned through a lifetime of work should include you. Please join the conversation.