Seniors deserve to be protected
Hundreds of AARP members are on their way to Washington to send this clear message to the “supercommittee” and all Members of Congress – “Seniors aren’t numbers. We aren’t line items in a budget. And we’re definitely not pushovers.”
This supercommittee is considering proposals behind closed doors that would shift health care costs onto seniors and cut their Social Security checks. Instead of focusing on cutting waste and tax loopholes, they’re treating seniors like they’re just another budget line-item.
Right now this supercommittee is considering proposals that would shift health care costs onto seniors, threaten seniors’ access to their doctors, or reduce the Social Security benefits they rely on. Plans to cut Social Security by $112 billion and raise the Medicare eligibility age are both on the table.
If Congress really wants to look at seniors and numbers, they should be looking at these: Nearly 1.1 million Wisconsinites rely on Social Security and over 900,000 rely on Medicare. Those are the numbers of people who could be harmed if Congress makes these cuts.
Let’s get real. It isn’t as if the benefits of these programs are lavish. Even with these benefits, half of those aged 65 and older have an annual income of less than $18,500 per year. Today’s Medicare beneficiaries already must pay an average of $3,000 each year out of their own pockets for their medical expenses – and their out-of-pocket share is rising every single year.
We’ve talked to our members and it doesn’t matter if they’re Republicans, Democrats or Independents, they think it’s wrong for the supercommittee to cut the benefits they’ve worked for and depend on.
So this supercommittee has a choice – they can start focusing on cutting waste and tax loopholes, or harm Wisconsinites who have worked their entire lives to earn their benefits, and who will undoubtedly hold lawmakers accountable for making harmful cuts.
Lisa Lamkins, Federal Issues
Advocacy Director, AARP Wisconsin