An A.A.R.P. official in Iowa is touring the state, urging the group’s members to speak out against the idea of cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits. A so-called “super committee” of U.S. House and Senate members has a November deadline to come up with a series of cuts to the federal budget or a mandatory across-the-board cut would be imposed. Anthony Carroll, associate director for the A.A.R.P. in Iowa, says benefits for seniors could be endangered.
“We’re asking our members of congress to use everything in their power to prevent those Medicare and Social Security cuts because this super committee is scheduled to look at and scheduled to come up with $1.2 trillion in cuts at a minimum,” Carroll says, “and everything’s on the table.” Carroll is holding “cookies and conversation” meetings with A.A.R.P. members around the state.
He was in Newton this morning, urging senior citizens to lobby Iowa’s five congressmen now because the super committee’s work is almost done. “They’re scheduled to come up with their proposal…by November 23, so November 23 is really a magical date,” Carroll says. “…Once that proposal’s out, that cannot be amended. It has to be taken as an up or down vote in both the senate and the house of representatives, so the chance to impact what is or is not in that proposal is now.”
The congressional “super committee” is meeting behind closed doors, so it’s difficult to know what’s being considered. But Carroll believes the committee may consider raising the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67. “Two-thirds of those 65- and 66-year-olds would pay more out-of-pocket, an average of $2,200 per year, but it’s also important to know the impact that would have on beneficiaries over (the age of) 67,” Carroll says.
“…On average, 65-to-66-year-olds tend to be healthier, so they have lower expenses, so when you take them out of the pool, it’s estimates that Medicare Part B and D premiums would increase for all remaining beneficiaries by approximately three percent.” Carroll says his group understands adjustments to Medicare and Social Security need to be made if those programs are to remain solvent, but
Carroll says any significant changes should be made public soon so citizens have time talk with their representatives in congress about the proposals.
By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic