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Congress Could Lose Older Voters by  Cutting Social Security, Medicare, Vets Benefits: AARP Poll

Senior advocates seem solid in opposition to cuts expected to appear Wednesday in President Obama’s budget; Congressional call-in on Wednesday

April 8, 2013 – Groups that advocate for senior citizens and senior issues appear to be solid in their opposition to budget moves advocated by Republicans and now supported by the White House that will cut income from Social Security and reduce spending by Medicare. A survey released today by AARP says 84% of American voters age 50 and older oppose the chained CPI proposal for reducing Social Security benefits for years ahead.

Another organization, The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, is mobilizing advocates across the nation for a Congressional Call-In day on Wednesday, April 10, the day that President Obama is scheduled to release his budget, including cuts to Social Security.

“Our goal is to flood Members of Congress with calls reminding them that Americans of all ages and political parties oppose cutting Social Security to pay for deficit reduction,” the group said in a news release..

“President Obama’s Chained CPI budget proposal in his 2014 Budget will do exactly that.  Our message to Congress is simple:

“Keep the Promise.  Social Security doesn’t contribute to the deficit and Americans of all parties oppose cutting benefits earned by middle-class families. The Chained CPI isn’t a “tweak” it’s a benefit cut America’s retirees, veterans and the disabled simply cannot afford.’


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“Seniors will have received an average COLA of 1.3% over 4 years with no increase in two of those years. Arguing that is too generous shows how out of touch Washington is with the real-world economic realities facing average Americans.”

NCPSSM’s Legislative Hotline will be activated on Wednesday to connect callers directly to their Congressional leaders from one toll-free number provided to activists nationwide next week.

AARP said today it will also release a series of fourteen state specific surveys in the days ahead that could indicate how a vote for benefit cuts would impact a number of House and Senate races across the nation.

“This cut to Social Security would break the promise to seniors and hurt veterans who’ve sacrificed so much for this great country,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond.

“The chained CPI reduction snowballs over time and would increase taxes for most taxpayers - at the same time that it cuts benefits for children, veterans, widows, retirees, and people with disabilities.  As this survey shows, older Americans oppose the chained CPI and they’ve historically made their opinions known to their elected officials.”   

Results in the survey on the impact of chained CPI include:

·         66% of voters 50+ would be less favorable towards their Member of Congress if they voted for a chained or superlative CPI (69% Democrats, 60% Republicans, 67% Independents).  

·         78% of voters 50+ oppose reducing the annual benefit increase retired and disabled veterans receive by changing the way the cost of living increase is calculated for veterans’ benefits (80% Democrats, 72% Republicans, 79% Independents).

·         87% of voters 50+ believe it’s very important that benefits are not reduced for today’s seniors.

·         52% of voters 50+ oppose increasing taxes for most taxpayers by changing the way the tax code is adjusted for inflation through chained CPI (47% Democrats, 61% Republicans, 50% Independents). However, 13% said they do not know if they support or oppose this, indicating there is little public understanding of how the chained CPI would affect a person’s taxes.   

·         84% of voters 50+ oppose reducing Social Security benefits to reduce the deficit (91% Democrats, 80% Republicans, 78% Independents).

·         84% of voters 50+ believe that the future of Social Security should be considered separately from the budget deficit discussions (85% Democrats, 83% Republicans, 82% Independents). 

The results of the full survey can be found at  Woelfel Research, an independent research firm, conducted 801 interviews of registered voters age 50+ on March 19 and March 20, 2013.  This survey has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.5%.

For more AARP resources and information on the impact of the chained CPI, visit

Nancy Altman, founding co-director of Social Security Works, warned, “Applying the so-called chained CPI to Social Security cuts the benefits of every single Social Security beneficiary, now and in the future.”

Her co-chair, Erick Kingson, added, “Evidently the president either does not  understand or does not care how critically important Social Security and Medicare are not just to seniors but to middle aged and younger workers for whom these programs are likely to be even more crucial.

“What he and other elites call 'tweaks' are deep cuts which will take away the bread and butter of seniors, people with disabilities, children who have lost parents, veterans who have served this nation and others.  He promised he would not slash benefits; he has broken his promise to the American people.”

Kaiser Health News Daily Report:

Obama's Budget Expected To Call For Medicare Cuts

In advance of the release of President Barack Obama's fiscal blueprint on Wednesday, an adviser warned friends and foes that the plan includes things neither will like. The budget plan is expected to kick off new discussions about trimming entitlements and revamping the nation's safety net.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Ahead Of Budget Release, Top Obama Adviser Warns Both Parties They May Not Be Happy With Plan
The White House is warning friend and foe alike: They're not going to like every part of President Barack Obama’s budget when it is released this week. White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer is telling Republicans their "my way or the highway" approach would spell the GOP's defeat in upcoming budget negotiations. He also is telling Obama's Democratic allies that they, too, will have to bend on the spending plan that is due Wednesday (4/8).

USA Today: Obama's Budget Revives Talk Of Entitlement Changes
A brief reprieve on imminent budget deadlines is providing Republicans and Democrats alike an opportunity to regroup for the next fiscal debate that will dominate the spring and come to a head this summer: increasing the nation's ability to borrow money to pay its bills. Negotiations to raise the debt ceiling are increasingly linked to an ongoing debate over how to revamp the nation's social safety net to help reduce the deficit (Davis, 4/7).

Medpage Today: Obama To Propose $400 Billion In Medicare Savings
About $400 billion of savings in President Obama's fiscal 2014 budget proposal will come from Medicare and other health programs, according to media reports. The money would come in the form of reduced payments to pharmaceutical companies and asking wealthier seniors to pay higher premiums, the news reports, citing a leaked budget briefing document, said Friday. Obama is set to unveil the full fiscal 2014 budget proposal to Congress on Wednesday. … One move would place greater price controls on drugs paid through Medicare Part D for beneficiaries eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Currently, those drugs are bought through Medicare, rather than Medicaid, where prices are lower and more restrictive (Pittman, 4/5).

Bloomberg: Obama Drops Stimulus For Benefit Cut To Woo Republicans
Less than a week after job-creation figures fell short of expectations and underscored the U.S. economy's fragility, President Barack Obama will send Congress a budget that doesn't include the stimulus his allies say is needed and instead embraces cuts in an appeal to Republicans…The Medicare insurance program for the elderly would be cut by reducing payments to health-care providers and drug companies and imposing more costs on high-income beneficiaries (Dorning, 4/8).

Some of this information is reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.


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