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Medicare is Not a Welfare Program - AARP to President Obama

  • Published: 2011-07-17 : Author: AARP
  • Synopsis: Medicare is not a welfare program as seniors pay into Medicare their entire working lives based on the promise that they will have secure health coverage when they retire.

Main Document

AARP Senior Vice President Joyce Rogers offered the following statement in response to President Obama's indication that he would support means-testing Medicare as part of a debt ceiling deal.

AARP is focused on protecting Social Security and Medicare for the millions of beneficiaries who have paid into the systems over their working lives. Rogers' statement follows:

"Medicare is not a welfare program. Seniors pay into Medicare their entire working lives based on the promise that they'll have secure health coverage when they retire. Applying a means test for their earned benefits would erode the popular support that has sustained these programs for years and made them so effective in helping older households.

"The small minority of seniors who are wealthy also contributed more to these programs throughout their working lives, and continue to pay higher taxes in retirement to support them. Also, in contrast to plans for those under age 65, premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D already are pegged to income.

"We believe the right way to strengthen Medicare is to improve the quality and lower the cost of care throughout the health care system. Simply shifting the bill to seniors would be like squeezing one end of a balloon - it does nothing to improve health care quality or combat the real problem of rising costs."

For more information, please contact AARP Media Relations at (202) 434-2560 or visit

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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