Stoughton Resident Volunteers with AARP to Protect Social Security, Medicare
AARP volunteers urge elected officials to stop cuts to programs as part of the deficit debate.
A press release from the AARP:
To coordinate with AARP’s national call-in day to Congress, held Wednesday, local volunteers reached out to their peers – other AARP members in the Bay State – during a phone bank in Boston.
The message: "Call Senator Kerry, Senator Brown, and your U.S. Representative; tell them no deal to reduce the deficit should cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. In just a few days, the President and Congress may make a political deal that could cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for today’s seniors and tomorrow’s retirees."
In Massachusetts, more than a million residents rely on Social Security and Medicare. While Social Security benefits remain modest for retired workers – approximately $1,100 a month – Medicare costs continue to increase.
For those who count on Medicare for health and prescription drug coverage, they pay about $5,500 annually, out of their own pockets, for medical expenses.
“Now is the time for action,” says Deborah Banda, state director of AARP Massachusetts, who recently returned from Washington, DC, after meeting with members of the state’s Congressional delegation about the deficit debate.
“Our members must raise their voices, and let Congress know that they are paying attention, and they won’t accept cuts to their hard-earned benefits.”
Already, 24,000 Massachusetts residents have reached out to their elected officials, telling them to protect Social Security and Medicare.
During the phone bank held at AARP’s Massachusetts state office in Boston, AARP Massachusetts Executive Council Volunteer Joseph Feaster from Stoughton said, “I am here because I believe in citizen action. Our elected politicians need to hear from us. I encourage my fellow AARP members to tell Congress: ‘No. No. No cuts to the Medicare and Social Security programs!’”
According to the AARP, the Medicare benefit cuts potentially on the table as part of a deficit deal could force seniors to pay thousands more for health care. And, the cuts to Social Security would reduce seniors’ monthly benefit check and cost them thousands of dollars more over their lifetime.
“While the President and Congress must make tough decisions to get our country’s fiscal house in order, Social Security did not contribute one dime to the federal deficit, and shouldn’t be cut to fix it,” says Banda.
“And, instead of targeting Medicare for cuts, Congress should look for ways to reduce healthcare costs throughout the system.”
“In fact, before even considering harmful cuts to programs that are lifelines to millions of older Americans,” Banda adds, “Congress should first cut wasteful government spending, then close tax loopholes and special interest tax breaks for companies that make billions in profits, but pay little or no taxes.”
As part of its campaign to protect Social Security and Medicare, this week AARP Massachusetts volunteers are also delivering more than 27,000 petitions from AARP members and local constituents to the district offices of all members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation.
In signing the petitions, AARP members – representing Democrats, Republicans and Independents – call on their elected leaders to not cut Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of any deal to reduce the nation’s deficit.