AARP Volunteers Take Message to Montana Congressional Offices: Don’t Cut Social Security or Medicare Benefits in Deficit Deal
During the President’s Day Congressional recess, AARP Montana volunteers and staff from across Montana met with the offices of Senator Baucus, Senator Tester and Congressman Daines. The AARP volunteers and staff urged the Montana congressional delegation not to reduce Social Security or Medicare benefits in any deficit deal. Instead, the volunteers emphasized that AARP is fighting for responsible solutions to strengthen Medicare and Social Security, not shortsighted changes that would hurt seniors and their kids and grandkids.
“Montanans have spoken and they don’t want our members of Congress or the President to make changes to Social Security or Medicare in any deficit deal,” said AARP Montana State President Joy Bruck who attended the meetings. “In the long-term we need to strengthen Medicare and Social Security but shifting costs to the older and less fortunate among us is not going to make our communities or our country stronger. Instead, it would erode our economic security at a time when Montanans need it the most.”
Across Montana, the volunteers and staff also reiterated AARP’s positions against benefit cuts to Social Security in the form of a reduction to the Cost of Living Adjustment (known as a “Chained CPI”), and against raising the Medicare eligibility age. Each proposal is currently on the table in Washington.
Reducing the COLA for Social Security beneficiaries would cut benefits — taking roughly $390 million out of the pockets of Montana Social Security beneficiaries over the next 10 years – and $112 billion for beneficiaries nationwide.
“This shortsighted change would reduce benefits by over $2,000 over the next 10 years – and even more in the years beyond for the average Social Security beneficiary in Montana,” stated Bruck. “On behalf of tens of thousands of members statewide and all Montanans age 50 and over, AARP would like to reiterate our opposition to reducing Social Security benefits for the purpose of deficit reduction, including efforts to address sequestration. AARP believes that using the Social Security benefits Americans have earned over a lifetime of work to remedy a problem that Social Security did not create is neither right nor fair. Instead, in the face of declining pensions, shrinking savings, fallen home values, and rising health costs, Social Security deserves its own national conversation that focuses on preserving and strengthening the retirement security of Americans and their families for generations to come.
Raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 would leave 20,470 Montanans without health coverage (based on current beneficiary data), forcing them into the private insurance market, which is estimated by the Kaiser Family Foundation to cost them an additional $2200 per year. And, removing the youngest and healthiest older Americans from the Medicare risk pool would increase premiums for those remaining in the program.
AARP volunteers also provided a series of fact sheets and handouts to each field office of the Montana Congressional delegation. The materials given to the offices of Senator Baucus, Senator Tester and Congressman Daines include the following:
Fact Sheets and Handouts Provided to Montana Congressional Delegation
- Montana 2012 StateFactSheet
- Montana Fact Sheet on Social Security and Medicare
- Ten Facts on Seniors
- AARP Public Policy Institute Fact Sheet on Chained CPI
- The Facts about Chained CPI
- November 2012 CCPI Letter to Congress:
- Senate Version
- House Version
- AARP Position Papers:
- AARP Opposes Income-Relating Medicare Premiums
- AARP Opposes Raising the Age of Eligibility for Medicare
“In bringing our message to Montana’s Congressional delegation, we want 50+ Montanans to know that AARP is in your corner fighting on issues that matter to you and your family.” Bruck concluded.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security and retirement planning. We advocate for consumers in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world’s largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; www.aarp.org; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP VIVA, a bilingual news source. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The 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. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at www.aarp.org.