"Raising the retirement age would inflict further hardship among a group of workers who are likely to face health and economic problems in their 60s." –Doug Hart, President, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans
"Of all the lies and confusion that still surround the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the greatest is that it is bad for seniors." - Dave Meinell, President, Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans
"My father died when I was three. Because of Social Security (survivors) benefits, my Mom, my younger sister and I survived." – Diane Fleming, DC Alliance Member
"We fear that Congress will balance the budget on the backs of the 98 percent, which is working Montanans and retired Montanans. We simply cannot afford these devastating cuts to vital services such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," –John Forkan, President, Montana Alliance for Retired Americans
"Along with national parks and Social Security, Medicare is one of the best ideas we Americans have ever devised." -Tim Cunningham, New Mexico Alliance Member
"Seniors have earned and deserve their Social Security checks, and they shouldn't have to go to Congress every 10 years and beg for the program to be renewed." –James Parent, Alliance for Retired Americans Regional Board Member
"Today's retirees paid Medicare and Social Security taxes in every paycheck we ever earned. Now that we are retired, these programs help us to be able to stay healthy and pay our bills. They are the promise we make to people who worked hard all their lives, and we need to keep that promise for today’s workers." –Tony Fransetta, President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans
"Today's seniors want to lower the budget deficit. We do not want a large debt to be the legacy we leave to future generations, but we should not punish people who have paid Social Security taxes all their lives." –Jim Moore, President, North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans
"Social Security should remain what it has been for 77 years – a solid, reliable way that generations of workers have been able to retire with dignity, economic security, and peace of mind." –Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The fight for Social Security and Medicare is part of a larger fight for justice and fairness"—Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The health insurance reform helps not just seniors, but also middle-class families and young Americans, who are just starting to see the benefits. Don’t let Republicans take all that away." –Don Rowen, President Emeritus, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
"Honoring the promise of Social Security and Medicare should not be a partisan issue. Honoring the contributions that we make throughout our working years so that we may feed and clothe ourselves, keep a roof over our heads and those of our family, there is no reason for that to be a hotly contested partisan issue." –Edward Coyle, Executive Director, Alliance for Retired Americans
"We need to make sure that people who need Social Security to make ends meet will have it, and not fall victim to ill-informed and unnecessary cuts to these vital programs."
–Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
Fact Sheet: June 2012
How various deficit reduction programs would affect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
Super Committee Background
On August 2nd, 2011, President Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 into law. The BCA established the Super Committee, a bipartisan Congressional committee charged with identifying at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. The Super Committee announced Monday, November 21st that they could not come to a bi-partisan agreement on recommendations.
The lack of recommendations from the Super Committee came as good news for current and future retirees who had reason to be concerned that deficit reduction could unjustly fall to them via cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Over the past four months, activists with the Alliance for Retired Americans and other progressive groups sent a very clear message to Congress – "Hands off Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid! These are critical lifelines for millions of Americans that must not be sacrificed on the altar of even greater tax breaks for Wall Street and corporate CEOs."
This was not the first threat that retirees have faced to their Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – and it will not be the last.
Since the Super Committee failed to put forward a plan, $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts are set to be triggered. Automatic cuts are to be divided equally between defense and non-defense programs. Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and other programs for low-income families are exempted from these cuts. Automatic cuts to non-defense programs would include a cut of up to 2 percent of the amount that would be paid to Medicare providers and insurance plans each year between 2013 and 2021. There would be no cuts to benefits.
Alliance members dissuaded the Super Committee from cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid by:
- Hosting and attending events in their states to educate and mobilize around the Super Committee
- Spreading their stories and messages using social media tools like Facebook and blogs
- Sending post cards and e-mails to the Super Committee
- Writing letters to the editor of their local papers (and being published)
- Circulating petitions
Alliance members lobbied their Super Committee Representatives hard and integrated their personal testimonies. View examples from Washington State:
The following reports on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid were released in states represented by Super Committee Members:
Arizona (Sen. John Kyl)
California's 31st District (Rep. Xavier Becerra)
Maryland's 8th District (Rep. Chris Van Hollen)
Massachusetts (Sen. John Kerry)
Michigan's 4th istrict (Rep. Dave Camp)
Michigan's 6th District (Rep. Fred Upton)
Montana (Sen. Max Baucus)
Ohio (Sen. Rob Portman)
Pennsylvania (Sen. Pat Toomey)
South Carolina's 6th District (Rep. James Clyburn)
Texas' 5th District (Rep. Jeb Hensarling
Washington (Sen. Patty Murray)