Everywhere you look, cherished ideas and precious protections are coming under attack. No longer secure is the notion that all Americans should have affordable health insurance that allows them to weather a crisis without fear of financial ruin. Health care is squarely in the political crosshairs — and older adults and those with preexisting medical conditions have become prime targets, threatened with paying astronomically higher premiums for their health insurance. Consider:
Medicaid is the health safety net for people of all ages. Proposals to cut Medicaid by 45 percent are especially troubling for the more than 70 million Americans — including low-income families, older adults and people with disabilities — who rely on the program.
And then there's Medicare. Here at AARP, we are poised to fight any attempts to cut benefits or turn Medicare into a voucher-based program that would reduce services, increase costs and raise risks. Many members of Congress have voted for just such a scheme. These changes would hurt the millions of Americans who have paid into the program their entire working lives, with those near retirement being most at risk.
On the financial front, 55 million people whose employers don't offer a savings plan need help saving for retirement. Yet Congress has overturned federal regulations that encouraged cities and states to create IRA-type vehicles for these workers.
But not all the news is bad. Some states, thank goodness, are still going ahead with their plans to create IRA-type investments. And the Credit for Caring Act — which provides a new tax credit to help family caregivers pay for home care, adult day care, respite care and other relief from the daily challenges of caregiving — is starting to gain bipartisan traction.
Now is the time to turn your beliefs into action. Please join AARP in fighting to safeguard the principles that have made this a caring and compassionate nation. Help us protect access to affordable health care, support Medicare and Medicaid, and ensure a sound financial future for everyone.
Call your elected officials, share your thoughts on Facebook, tweet to your heart's content and ask questions at town meetings. And we'd love to have you as a volunteer. Learn more at aarp.org/volunteer.