Social Security benefits should not be cut to reduce the deficit; health care cost savings must be sought system-wide
WASHINGTON—AARP Executive Vice President Nancy A. LeaMond released the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s FY2014 budget proposal:
“As the President and Congress work to address the budget challenges facing our nation, AARP believes it is time for responsible solutions, not harmful proposals that would hurt older Americans and threaten the retirement security of future generations.
“AARP is deeply dismayed that President Obama would propose cutting the benefits of current and future Social Security recipients, including children, widows, veterans and people with disabilities, to reduce the deficit. Social Security is a self-financed program that doesn’t contribute to the deficit, so it shouldn’t be cut to reduce it.
“The so-called ‘chained CPI,’ included in the President’s budget, would cut Social Security benefits significantly over the next ten years. It would start now, taking money from the pockets of current beneficiaries, and would grow larger over time, having the greatest impact as Americans grow older and rely more on their Social Security benefits. It would also cut additional benefits for veterans and people with disabilities, and raise taxes on most taxpayers.
“Across the political spectrum, older Americans agree with AARP’s opposition to the chained CPI. In a national survey we released this week, fully 84% of voters 50+ oppose cutting Social Security benefits to reduce the deficit.”
“AARP is carefully reviewing the details of the President’s proposals to achieve savings in Medicare, bearing in mind that the rising cost of health care threatens people of all ages. Medicare is only one part of our health care delivery system, and it is critical that we look for innovative solutions that can hold down health care costs more broadly.
“We know that prescription drugs are one of the key drivers of escalating health care costs, so we appreciate the President’s inclusion of proposals to find savings in lower drug costs. And we applaud his plan to accelerate closure of the ‘donut hole’ in Medicare Part D by 2015, which would reduce seniors’ often burdensome out-of-pocket health care expenses.
“Instead of making harmful cuts to Medicare or shifting additional costs onto beneficiaries, we need to look for savings throughout the health care system, including Medicare. In addition to lowering the costs of prescription drugs, innovations that promote better care, reward improved outcomes and make health care programs more efficient and less wasteful have the potential to hold down systemic high health care costs, including costs in Medicare.
“As retirement security grows ever more elusive for Americans of all ages, Medicare and Social Security have become increasingly important for today’s retirees and their kids and grandkids. AARP believes it is wrong for the President to try to balance the budget by weakening the programs that provide the very foundation of retirement security for current and future generations.”