AARP Georgia volunteers and staff joined counterparts from the country to meet with Congressional delegations Tuesday and Wednesday (Dec. 4-5) and urge them to protect Social Security and Medicare.
Georgia's AARP representatives met with the staffs of U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss and U.S. Reps. John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey, John Lewis, David Scott and Lynn Westmoreland.
Norman Michael of Augusta, a member of the AARP Georgia Executive Council, was among those representing Georgia.
He urged the state's Congressional delegation not to reduce Social Security or Medicare benefits in any end-of-year deal. Congress is in "lame duck" session to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff.” With regard to both Medicare and Medicaid, Michael told members of Congress that simply reducing government expenditures by shifting costs does not lower the cost of health care—it merely shifts the cost to beneficiaries and other payers.
“Georgians have spoken, and they don’t want our members of Congress or the president to make changes to Social Security or Medicare in any last minute deficit deal,” said Michael. “In the long-term we need to strengthen Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, but shifting costs to the older and less fortunate among us is not going to make our communities or our country stronger."
Reducing the COLA for Social Security beneficiaries on the table in debt deal discussions, would cut benefits, taking roughly $3.03 billion out of the pockets of Georgia Social Security beneficiaries over the next 10 years – and $112 billion for beneficiaries nationwide.
Raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 would leave 158,028 Georgians 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.