The next twelve months is one of the most critical periods for the nation’s seniors and disabled who receive Social Security and Medicare. The failure of a special Joint Committee of Congress known as the “super committee,” means automatic budget cuts totaling billions of dollars that are scheduled to kick in by 2013 unless Congress enacts different plans. Although Social Security and Medicaid appear to have escaped the knife for now, billions in Medicare spending would be cut from payments to hospitals and other providers.
Some Members of Congress are calling for Congress to strike a deficit reduction deal of their own. Although gridlock may occur and would hardly be surprising, TSCL remains adamantly opposed to a key proposal that would change the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) calculation. The proposal, which would affect not only future retirees but ALL retirees, would switch to a more slowly-growing consumer price index known as the “chained” CPI to calculate the annual COLA. This proposal that would reduce the lifetime Social Security income of seniors by potentially tens of thousands of dollars is one of the few areas of agreement between both Democrat and Republican negotiators. TSCL also strongly opposes proposals that would increase what seniors have to pay for the Medicare benefits.
TSCL believes several of the proposals under consideration would make the program unaffordable over time for the majority of beneficiaries. According to a new TSCL survey, more than one quarter of Medicare beneficiaries spend as much as 50% of their Social Security payments just to cover healthcare costs. TSCL recently delivered a listing of hundreds of thousands of petition signers from supporters to almost every Member of Congress and is continuing to convey concerns about plans to cut Social Security and Medicare.
What you can do: Public opinion can sway votes in Congress! Take TSCL’s 2012 Senior Survey. TSCL will publicize the results and share your comments with elected lawmakers in our visits to Capitol Hill.