Hope for reasonable solution
To the Editor:
Neither Social Security nor Medicare should be used in last-minute budget deals that cut benefits for seniors to reduce the deficit. With the fiscal cliff discussions continuing in Washington, I hope Congress will work toward responsible solutions that strengthen both programs for current and future generations.
Right now, Washington is considering a proposal that would change the way the Social Security COLA is calculated, reducing benefits by $112 billion in the next 10 years alone. That’s money directly out of the pockets of today’s seniors, their children and grandchildren. The President and Congress are also considering raising the Medicare eligibility age. This would dramatically increase costs for younger seniors, drive up premiums for those in Medicare and raise health care costs. Americans have paid into Medicare and Social Security. They deserve an open debate about how to strengthen these programs and how any changes would impact them and their families. This is what we heard during AARP community forums held across Maine over the last few months.
I applaud bipartisan politicians who express the need to work together on important issues including the deficit. I hope they understand that cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits of seniors with national average incomes of just over $20,000 is unfair and wrong. Over 200,000 Maine seniors receive Social Security for an average annual benefit of $13,100 or just over $1,000 a month. As Congress works toward solving the budget issues, they should remember the lasting impact their decisions will have on real people.
AARP Executive Council