January 19th, 2023

News Release

“Congressional Republicans are playing with fire by risking a government default on its financial obligations — an outcome that is more likely as the U.S. reached its legal borrowing limit today.  A default would hit the nation’s seniors especially hard, as the payment of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits would be jeopardized.  This could be devastating for the 65 million older Americans on Social Security and the 63 million beneficiaries of Medicare.   

Absent the legal authority to borrow beyond the current debt ceiling, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other payments may not be made on time and in full unless Congress approves an increase in the debt limit.  Even a short delay in the payment of Social Security benefits would be a burden for the millions of Americans who rely on their earned benefits to pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses, food, rent and utilities. In fact, almost two-thirds of beneficiaries depend on Social Security for half of their income and 40 percent rely on their benefits for 90 percent or more of their income. 

 Many seniors are struggling to recover from the pandemic recession and runaway inflation – not to mention the physical toll that COVID has taken on older people.  The last thing that they need is to have their vital Social Security and Medicare benefits threatened because Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling without massive spending cuts, including seniors’ earned benefits. If the House GOP refuses to raise the debt limit and replaces responsible governance with fiscal extortion, our most vulnerable citizens will pay the price.  This is definitely not what the American people voted for last fall.”  – Max Richtman, President and CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare



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.

Media Inquiries to:

Walter Gottlieb 202-276-9089