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President’s “Modest” and “Sensible Reforms” to Social Insurance Could Spell Major Trouble for Seniors

Max Richtman Reaction to President Obama’s Deficit Comments

February 5, 2013



“In his press briefing today, President Obama referred to ‘…modest reforms in our social insurance programs have to go hand-in-hand with a process of tax reform…’. While we welcome President Obama’s continued efforts to move Congress toward a path of fiscal responsibility, America’s seniors know that in Washington, so-called ‘sensible reforms’ can mean virtually anything.  If reform allows Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, prescription drug re-importation and provides other efficiencies that save Medicare money, it will have the support of the vast majority of Americans. However, reform proposals such as: Medicare means testing, raising Medicare’s eligibility age or cutting the annual COLA through the adoption of a chained CPI won’t pass muster with seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and federal workers.

For too long, many in Washington have pretended that "shared sacrifice" means that if a millionaire loses a tax break then the middle-class and poor must also lose their modest benefits in Medicare or Social Security. This false equivalency pretends that a tax dollar lost to a millionaire or huge corporation is the same as a benefit dollar lost to a retiree living on $14,000 a year from Social Security. America’s seniors know that’s not a fair and balanced approach, it’s not sensible reform and it’s not the path to economic recovery…Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO


The National Committee, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization acts in the interests of its membership through advocacy, education, services, grassroots efforts and the leadership of the Board of Directors and professional staff. The work of the National Committee is directed toward developing better-informed citizens and voters.


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We have written extensively in this space about cuts to the Social Security Administration budget negatively impacting customer service for beneficiaries. This week, as Mary Beth Franklin reports in Investment News, the SSA announced that it would stop mailing paper statements to Social Security beneficiaries under 60 “due to serious budget constraints.” Beneficiaries over 60 who do not have an online “My Social Security” account will continue to receive paper statements (for the time being, anyway).

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