By Dave Holmquist, State President, AARP Nebraska
At AARP, we believe Medicare is a deal with the American people that must not be broken.
Thankfully, President Trump repeatedly said during his historic campaign that he would not allow changes to this popular program. “I am going to protect and save your Social Security and your Medicare,” he told voters. “You made a deal a long time ago. “
Older voters were instrumental in electing President Trump and the Republican Congress. Now those voters are counting on Congress to follow the president’s lead and protect Medicare.
In Nebraska, we know what a vital program Medicare is. Nearly 300,000 people in Nebraska are on Medicare and more than 361,000 Nebraskans ages 50-64 will be eligible for Medicare in the next 15 years.
That’s why we’re worried about what’s happening in Washington D.C. Despite the President’s support for the program, Republican leaders in Congress are pushing ahead with their long-simmering proposal to turn Medicare into a “premium support program.” What that really means is they want to create a Medicare voucher system. It would be a fixed-dollar subsidy that beneficiaries would use to buy private insurance. If the amount isn’t enough to cover their needed health care – tough luck.
This risky scheme would end the guarantee of health insurance coverage to American seniors and dramatically increase costs for current and future retirees.
That’s why AARP is launching an aggressive national campaign to tell Congress that we’ve earned our Medicare benefits with every paycheck and that we’re going to fight against any proposal to turn it into a voucher program, which would increase costs and risks for seniors and the workers who are paying in today.
Here’s what we’ll be up to in the weeks and months ahead.
- Storming the halls of power. AARP leaders will be taking the message to Congress to let them know we will flatly oppose any plan that would increase costs and risks for seniors and the workers paying into the program today.
- Launching an ad campaign. Starting this week, AARP is running a nationwide television and digital advertising campaign affirming our belief that Americans have earned their benefits and that we’re counting on Congress to protect them.
- Mobilizing the troops. Here in Nebraska, we’ll be recruiting and supporting volunteers who want to fight with us to protect our hard-earned benefits. These volunteers will be meeting with their elected officials, collecting signed petitions and launching letter-writing campaigns to communicate—in no uncertain terms—our support for keeping Medicare safe and strong. We’ll be collecting stories from AARP members in our state to share with Congress to show them how important this program is to them and their families. To join the fight, sign our petition to tell congress to protect Medicare.
- Keeping our members informed. Through our publications, website and social media, we’ll be working to help everyone better understand what is happening in Washington, D.C. and to see exactly how changes to the program will have a direct impact on you and your family. We’re counting on you to join us in this critical fight.
If you want to be part of that grassroots movement, sign up at aarp.org/getinvolved, like the AARPAdvocates Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter at @AARPAdvocates.