Coalition Urges Policymakers: Don't Reduce the Deficit on the Backs of
Seniors in Need
Groups representing 60 million older Americans oppose
cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security Cost-of-Living
Dec. 17, 2012 - The Leadership Council of Aging
Organizations (LCAO) - who together represent over 60 million older
Americans - expressed grave concerns about proposed cuts to
Medicare, Medicaid, the Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment
(COLA), and discretionary programs like the Older Americans Act as part
of the emerging budget agreement.
Council on Aging (NCOA) leads the LCAO, which is a coalition of 68
national nonprofit organizations concerned with the well-being of
America's older population.
have an enormous stake in the current budget discussions. Proposals on
so-called 'entitlement reform' are likely to mean slashing programs that
help seniors in need and that they paid into throughout their working
years," said James Firman , NCOA president and LCAO chair. "Cutting
benefits or shifting costs onto vulnerable seniors through drastic cuts
to Medicare and the Social Security COLA are unfair, unnecessary, and
bad policy. They would seriously harm millions of seniors—half of whom
have incomes below $22,000."
urging Congress and the Administration to adopt a balanced approach to
deficit reduction that includes increases in revenue and targeted cuts
that do not increase poverty. It is calling for a budget agreement that
builds economic security for older Americans and their families,
strengthens the middle class, and promotes job growth.
particular, LCAO members are concerned with the following proposals now
The level and nature of Medicare and Medicaid cuts being considered
raise grave concerns. The focus should be on reducing the rate of
increase in federal health spending by addressing the systemic causes of
health care inflation, not shifting costs onto consumers or jeopardizing
access to needed care. Medicare households already spend an average of
15% of their incomes on health care (compared to just 5% among under 65
Social Security COLA:
A proposed new formula for calculating the annual COLA for people with
Social Security and Supplemental Security Income would permanently—and
immediately—cut this basic safety net for generations of retirees and
the disabled, many of whom are barely paying their bills right now.
According to the Social Security Chief Actuary, the so-called "chained
CPI" formula would reduce annual benefits for a typical 65-year-old by
about $130 per year.
Discretionary (NDD) Programs:
Programs like the Older Americans Act, Section 202 Housing for the
Elderly, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program help millions
of older adults maintain their health and stay in their own homes. These
vital programs already have been cut by $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
Additional cuts would severely limit services and likely force more
vulnerable seniors into costly institutional care.
About NCOA The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy
organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice
for millions of older adults—especially those who are vulnerable and
disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings
together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop
creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA
works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors
find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and
remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit:
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