"Raising the retirement age would inflict further hardship among a group of workers who are likely to face health and economic problems in their 60s." –Doug Hart, President, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans
"Of all the lies and confusion that still surround the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the greatest is that it is bad for seniors." - Dave Meinell, President, Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans
"My father died when I was three. Because of Social Security (survivors) benefits, my Mom, my younger sister and I survived." – Diane Fleming, DC Alliance Member
"We fear that Congress will balance the budget on the backs of the 98 percent, which is working Montanans and retired Montanans. We simply cannot afford these devastating cuts to vital services such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," –John Forkan, President, Montana Alliance for Retired Americans
"Along with national parks and Social Security, Medicare is one of the best ideas we Americans have ever devised." -Tim Cunningham, New Mexico Alliance Member
"Seniors have earned and deserve their Social Security checks, and they shouldn't have to go to Congress every 10 years and beg for the program to be renewed." –James Parent, Alliance for Retired Americans Regional Board Member
"Today's retirees paid Medicare and Social Security taxes in every paycheck we ever earned. Now that we are retired, these programs help us to be able to stay healthy and pay our bills. They are the promise we make to people who worked hard all their lives, and we need to keep that promise for today’s workers." –Tony Fransetta, former President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans
"Today's seniors want to lower the budget deficit. We do not want a large debt to be the legacy we leave to future generations, but we should not punish people who have paid Social Security taxes all their lives." –Jim Moore, former President, North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans
"Social Security should remain what it has been for 77 years – a solid, reliable way that generations of workers have been able to retire with dignity, economic security, and peace of mind." –Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The fight for Social Security and Medicare is part of a larger fight for justice and fairness"—Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The health insurance reform helps not just seniors, but also middle-class families and young Americans, who are just starting to see the benefits. Don’t let Republicans take all that away." –Don Rowen, President Emeritus, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
"Honoring the promise of Social Security and Medicare should not be a partisan issue. Honoring the contributions that we make throughout our working years so that we may feed and clothe ourselves, keep a roof over our heads and those of our family, there is no reason for that to be a hotly contested partisan issue." –Edward Coyle, former Executive Director, Alliance for Retired Americans
"We need to make sure that people who need Social Security to make ends meet will have it, and not fall victim to ill-informed and unnecessary cuts to these vital programs."
–Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
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Marco Rubio Proposes Dismantling Medicare and Raising the Retirement Age
May 16, 2014
On Tuesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave a speech at the National Press Club in which he laid out his sweeping proposal to confront the nation’s retirement security crisis through cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Rubio is widely viewed as a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. In addition to laying out policy changes involving retirement savings plans and incentives for older workers to remain in the workforce, Senator Rubio proposed raising the retirement age, a move that would force millions of Americans to work longer to collect the benefits they have earned. Although Senator Rubio cited the “rise in life expectancy” as the rationale for this change, his proposal would disproportionately harm low-income and minority seniors who have not seen their life expectancies rise in step with other workers.
Senator Rubio also used the speech to endorse Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposal to end Medicare’s guarantee by privatizing the program and converting it to a voucher system. Under the proposed changes, Medicare would be replaced by a system in which seniors would be given a voucher redeemable towards the purchase of either private insurance or a modified Medicare plan. Since these vouchers would likely fail to cover the full cost of coverage, seniors would be expected to make up the difference out of pocket. It is expected that adopting such a system would result in millions of seniors paying more for coverage. “If Senator Rubio really cared about strengthening retirement security, he would join the effort to expand Social Security benefits as Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Linda Sanchez have proposed. If he really cared about addressing the retirement security crisis, and there is one, he would get on board with raising the minimum wage. Social Security benefits are based on wages. By calling Social Security ‘outdated,’ Senator Rubio shows how out of touch he is with the needs of current and future retirees,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director for the Alliance. Read the Alliance’s reaction to the speech at http://bit.ly/1jxWqTU.
Gender Gap Continues for Female Workers in Retirement
A Congressional report on recent census data points out again that women lag behind men when it comes to financial security in retirement. The report shows the average median income for women over age 65 is around $16000 a year – roughly $11000 less than the median income for men of the same age group. Read more at http://cnnmon.ie/1nOf6X6.
Since Social Security ties benefits to lifetime earnings, retirement income for women is reduced by lower wages and a higher likelihood of spending time out of the workforce to care for children or sick family members. Of course, longer average life spans mean women are forced to stretch their savings over a longer period of time. Adding to the financial strain are higher average healthcare costs for women in retirement and higher rates of employment in part-time jobs that do not offer employer sponsored retirement benefits. “This makes it all the more important for Congress to take action to raise the minimum wage and expand Social Security – policies particularly important for easing the financial strain for retired women,” said Barbara Easterling, Alliance President.
Striking Fast Food Workers Stage Protests Across the Globe
On Thursday, fast food employees calling for higher wages, better working conditions, and the ability to unionize staged protests and one-day strikes in cities across the country. Although a series of one-day strikes have been organized over the last 18 months, this week’s strikes were by far the largest yet. The strikes included thousands of workers in 150 Americans cities and support protests by fast food workers in more than 30 countries across the globe. Fast food workers in other nations often face similar corporate policies including low wages, part-time employment, and irregular hours. Organizers hope the strikes become a global movement that puts pressure on low-paying fast food employers to improve working conditions and allow employees to unionize.
These protests bring further attention to the debate about income inequality and ongoing efforts to increase the minimum wage. “These workers are working to feed and support their families. Higher wages mean enhanced economic security for workers and a stronger Social Security system. We need to stand with these striking fast food workers to fight for working families,” said Scott Watts, President of the Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans. For more on the strikes, go to http://on.msnbc.com/RGMt0. For a look at information on how raising wages would improve Social Security protections for workers and strengthen the system, check out the fact sheet from Social Security Works at http://bit.ly/1hOqE5m.
States Refuse to Expand Medicaid and Still See Increased Enrollment
A new analysis of Medicaid enrollment numbers show that many of the states refusing to take part in the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion have still seen an increase in new enrollment. In total, 17 of the 26 states that declined to expand Medicaid coverage have seen a boost in enrollment totals. The uptick is seen as the result of a recent advertising and marketing blitz related to the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Analysts suspect that outreach efforts encouraging people to sign up for coverage led many new enrollees in these states to discover that they were previously eligible for Medicaid even without the law’s eligibility expansion.
“We continue to see an increasing number of positive benefits from the Affordable Care Act. Even in states where Republican-controlled legislatures are trying to stop citizens from accessing affordable healthcare, the rollout of the law is helping people better understand their options when it comes to getting coverage,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer for the Alliance. For more, read the article at http://onforb.es/QMS5Fv.
A Rose by Any Other Name...
A recently released survey from the state of Kentucky shows that while 56% of respondents in the state expressed dislike for “Obamacare,” only 22% reacted negatively toward “Kynect,” the state’s own health exchange created as a result of the healthcare reform law. This perception gap is consistent with recent national polling showing approval for the “Affordable Care Act” at 7 points higher than approval for “Obamacare”; this despite the terms referring to the same set of reforms. Read more about the perception gap at http://huff.to/1mrSgCl.
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