Last week, I asked you to write the White House and Congress about no cuts to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid in the fiscal cliff budget talks. Today I am asking you to telephone your senators and Congress person with the same message: no cuts to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid.
President Obama offered Congress a budget free of cuts to these programs. On Monday, House Majority Leader John Boehner made a counteroffer which includes:
• Increase eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67. There are good reasons not to do this. Just one of them is that healthcare coverage after retirement and before Medicare would be made prohibitively expensive by private insurance companies.
• Change the method of calculating Social Security cost-of-living increases (COLA) to the chained CPI which would immediately reduce benefits to current recipients.
• Extend the Bush tax cuts. That is, more billions for billionaires.
That's right. The Boehner proposal is to avoid the fiscal cliff by cutting elders' earned benefits while further enriching billionaires.
The Republican Congress is simply not a serious body and the White House rightly rejected the entire counteroffer.
Social Security is sound for many years to come. It needs only minor tweaks (NOT chained CPI) to ensure it will be there for the next 75 years.
Medicare/Medicaid are an entirely different matter - more fraught and more complex - which is exactly the reason changes should not be rushed in a hastily built budget done with no thought to consequences.
What I want to see before we change a penny of those programs is some solid research, study, review and hearings with experts the country can trust. But that's for later.
Today, we must tell Congress not to cut Social Security and Medicare. Don't whine to me that your Congress people won't listen. It is number of us, number of phone calls that count and all members of Congress absolutely do keep a list of the incoming calls and what they say.
This makes it hard for members of Congress to claim they are representing their constituency by voting to slash benefits when the messages delivered to their offices run exactly the opposite. So make your voice heard today in Washington.
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) has a dedicated legislative hotline for you: 800.998.0180.
I've done it and it's easy. Just follow the voice instructions and you can't go wrong leaving a short, to-the-point message with your senators, representative and the White House. I got a “busy circuits” message the first time I phoned but two minutes later it went right through.
Please take the time to telephone today. Do your part to ensure that Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid are not destroyed by Republicans and their rich benefactors.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Johna Ferguson: Rules