As members of Congress and President Obama seek a resolution to the nation’s fiscal woes, seniors in New York and around the country must not be sacrificed for the sake of a stronger balance sheet.
Programs like Medicare and Social Security are vital to seniors and must not be used as bargaining chips in negotiations over the nation’s debt limit. Half of all seniors rely on Social Security for 50 percent or more of their income and Medicare beneficiaries already pay an average of $5,500 each year in out-of-pocket costs for their medical benefits.
Any loss of benefits or increase in costs would prove catastrophic to countless seniors, robbing them of their financial security and health at a time when they are most in need of support.
Social Security did not contribute to the nation’s debt. Does it really make sense for it to be included in debt negotiations now taking place in Washington, D.C.?
Seniors deserve peace of mind. They need to know Medicare will always provide the affordable health care they depend on and that the promise of Social Security – which they have paid into all their lives - will always be honored.
The nation must deal with its debt crisis. And seniors understand that hard choices must be made, but arbitrary spending limits, privatization plans or plans that would reduce benefits are not acceptable.
Balancing the budget is important to the nation’s long-term well being, but protecting Medicare and Social Security is essential to the immediate well-being of the nation’s seniors. They must not become bargaining chips.
AARP NY State President