AARP CEO A. Barry Rand this morning offered the following strong statement as key congressional leaders meet with the President today to discuss a framework for a deal to raise the debt ceiling and to address deficit reduction. AARP is focused on protecting Social Security and Medicare for the millions of beneficiaries who have paid into the systems over their working lives, and reiterates its position that Social Security and Medicare benefits should not be on the table for deficit reduction.
"AARP will not accept any cuts to Social Security as part of a deal to pay the nation's bills," said Rand. "Social Security did not cause the deficit, and it should not be cut to reduce a deficit it did not cause. As the President and Congress work to negotiate a deal to raise the debt ceiling, AARP urges all lawmakers to reject any proposals that would cut the benefits seniors have earned through a lifetime of hard work.
"AARP is strongly opposed to any deficit reduction proposal that makes harmful cuts to vital Social Security and Medicare benefits. Social Security is currently the principal source of income for nearly two-thirds of older American households receiving benefits, and roughly one third of those households depend on Social Security benefits for nearly all (90 percent or more) of their income. The deficit debate is not the time or the place to talk about Social Security. AARP will fight any cuts that are proposed to this important program, including proposals to reduce the cost of living adjustment for beneficiaries (COLA) such as the proposed chained CPI which AARP also believes should not be considered as part of the debt ceiling or deficit reduction negotiations.
"AARP also strongly urges the President and congressional leaders to reject any proposals that would impose arbitrary, harmful cuts to the Medicare program or shift additional costs onto Medicare beneficiaries. Half of all beneficiaries live on incomes of less than $22,000, and many already struggle to pay for their ever-rising health and prescription drug costs.
"Some have proposed requiring Medicare beneficiaries to pay even more for their Medicare benefits, either through higher co-payments or higher premiums. AARP strongly urges you to reject higher costs for people in Medicare. Before we shift additional cost burdens onto beneficiaries, Congress should address the real problem of increasing health care costs throughout the entire system.
"Throughout the deficit reduction and debt ceiling debate, AARP will continue its efforts to raise the voices of our members who depend on Social Security and Medicare for their health and economic security," Rand concluded.
For more information, please contact AARP Media Relations at (202) 434-2560 or visit www.aarp.org/protectseniors.
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.org. 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.