AARP CEO A Barry Rand released this statement following State of the Union address by President Obama.
"As Americans continue to struggle to find work, pay for health care and plan for retirement, AARP is pleased that the President called on his colleagues in Congress and all Americans to continue to set aside the partisan bickering and work together to find solutions to our nation's pressing problems. We're hopeful that the signals of bipartisanship in the House chamber tonight are not just a one-time gesture but the beginning of a lasting trend.
"Half of AARP's members are still in the workforce, which means they're still on the job or looking for work, so we appreciate the President's emphasis on job creation. While the plight of all American workers remains challenging, older workers are facing their highest unemployment rates since 1948, and once they lose a job, they are out of work longer than any other age group on average, nearly a year.
"We were pleased to hear the President acknowledge the vital importance of Social Security and the need to protect this lifeline for future generations, but we are disappointed that he, like his fiscal commission did last late last year, seeks to address this bedrock of financial security in the context of reducing a deficit it didn't cause. Furthermore, any attempt to control spending in Medicare and Medicaid without addressing the causes of skyrocketing costs throughout the health care system will not reduce these costs, but rather shift them on to the backs of people of all ages and generations. While efforts to reduce the deficit are important, we will continue to speak out against any plan offered by the Administration or Congress that would target these critical safety nets for changes based on budgetary targets instead of their impact on the lives of everyday Americans.
"We are disappointed by the lasting partisan divisions on the Affordable Care Act a law that is providing important benefits to older Americans, such as making prescription drugs more affordable by closing the Medicare doughnut hole, making preventive care cost-free, helping those with pre-existing conditions and allowing adult children to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26. The act is also helping to root out billions of dollars lost to fraud and waste money that instead can help American families get and stay healthy. Good ideas do not belong solely to one political party or the other, so there is room to work together to strengthen our health care system without rolling back these important benefits.
"One area that must be addressed this year is Medicare's flawed physician payment system that is jeopardizing access to doctors for millions of older Americans. This is a problem that has been kicked down the road for too many years, with each delay driving up the cost of a solution that provides stability and security to older Americans and their doctors.
"We stand ready to work with the President and leaders of both political parties to find solutions that help older Americans today and help them prepare for tomorrow."
For more information, please visit aarp.org.
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 nearly 35 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.