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How Would You Strengthen Social Security and Medicare?

Maine voters 50+ have been looking for specifics from the presidential candidates on the future of Medicare and Social Security all year. However, we are hearing from many of our members that finding unbiased and straightforward information about the candidates’ positions can be a challenge. That’s where AARP’s Voters’ Guides can help.

See Also: You’ve Earned a Say

To bring the conversation on Washington’s plans to change Social Security and Medicare out from behind closed doors, earlier this year AARP launched You’ve Earned a Say, a national conversation on both programs.

Since March, AARP Maine volunteers and staff have conducted nearly 100 in-person events, contacted hundreds of thousands of AARP members via e-newsletters, our AARP Bulletin, tele-town halls and community conversations. We would like as many Mainers as possible to have a chance to make their voices heard and hear about the proposals in Washington to change Social Security and Medicare.

The core of AARP’s effort is a groundbreaking effort to provide straight talk about the pros and cons of all major proposals to change Medicare and Social Security, without the insider jargon and political spin that permeates so much of today’s political discourse.

To ensure that Americans get clear information, AARP asked the conservative Heritage Foundation, the progressive Brookings Institution and respected independent experts on both programs to provide the pros and cons for 12 proposals to change Social Security and 15 options to change Medicare. Each set of proposals is detailed in a downloadable brochure at You’ve Earned a Say (look for “Download Brochures” at upper left).

How would YOU strengthen Medicare and Social Security? With AARP’s interactive online tools, you can give it a try:

On Medicare, for example, options include:

  • Raising the age of eligibility for Medicare from 65 to 67. This would eliminate about 5 percent of Medicare’s long-term funding gap, but also may pose problems for older people who can’t find affordable medical insurance.
  • Raising Medicare premiums so that Medicare beneficiaries pay about 35 percent of the cost of their own care, rather than the current 25 percent. This would raise Medicare premiums by about 40 percent for most beneficiaries, or about $40 a month.

Each option has pros and cons, described in detail by independent experts.

On Social Security, options include:

  • Raising the age of eligibility for full Social Security retirement benefits from 67 to 68. This would close about 18 percent of the Social Security solvency gap.
  • Changing the Social Security “wage tax cap.” Wages above $110,100 (for 2012) aren’t subject to Social Security payroll tax. This means that about 84 percent of all U.S. earnings are subject to Social Security taxes. Increasing the “wage tax cap” so that 90 percent of all earnings are taxed would close 36 percent of the financial gap.

For more information about You’ve Earned a Say, go to online or call 1-866-554-5380 toll-free.