Fact Sheet: June 2012

How various deficit reduction programs would affect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Super Committee Background


On August 2nd, 2011, President Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 into law. The BCA established the Super Committee, a bipartisan Congressional committee charged with identifying at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. The Super Committee announced Monday, November 21st that they could not come to a bi-partisan agreement on recommendations.

The lack of recommendations from the Super Committee came as good news for current and future retirees who had reason to be concerned that deficit reduction could unjustly fall to them via cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Over the past four months, activists with the Alliance for Retired Americans and other progressive groups sent a very clear message to Congress – "Hands off Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid! These are critical lifelines for millions of Americans that must not be sacrificed on the altar of even greater tax breaks for Wall Street and corporate CEOs."

This was not the first threat that retirees have faced to their Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – and it will not be the last. 

Since the Super Committee failed to put forward a plan, $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts are set to be triggered. Automatic cuts are to be divided equally between defense and non-defense programs. Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and other programs for low-income families are exempted from these cuts. Automatic cuts to non-defense programs would include a cut of up to 2 percent of the amount that would be paid to Medicare providers and insurance plans each year between 2013 and 2021. There would be no cuts to benefits.

Alliance members dissuaded the Super Committee from cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid by:

  • Hosting and attending events in their states to educate and mobilize around the Super Committee
  • Spreading their stories and messages using social media tools like Facebook and blogs
  • Sending post cards and e-mails to the Super Committee
  • Writing letters to the editor of their local papers (and being published)
  • Circulating petitions

Alliance members lobbied their Super Committee Representatives hard and integrated their personal testimonies. View examples from Washington State: