Reports on Social Security, Medicare no excuse for radicalism

Beware claims of right-wing politicians

Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, issued the following statement in response to the Trustees reports issued today on the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds:

“Current and future retirees must be wary of Mitt Romney and others who will use today’s Trustees reports as political cover for radical changes that would put seniors at risk while enriching Wall Street and the big health insurance companies.

“Today’s reports do not justify the extreme ideas advocated by Mitt Romney and right-wing groups. Increasing the retirement age would be terribly unfair to workers, particularly those in blue-collar and service sector jobs. Privatizing Social Security would let Wall Street firms profit while gambling workers’ Social Security savings on the roulette wheel of the stock market.

“A more reasonable approach, one that would extend the Social Security Trust Fund to 2052, is the Rebuild America Act by Senator Tom Harkin. It would require the highest-earning Americans to pay their fair share in Social Security payroll taxes, and would change the Cost of Living Adjustment to better reflect seniors’ daily needs.

“The Medicare Trustees report reminds us of the long-term need to manage the rising health care costs for seniors. The 2010 Affordable Care Act takes a number of bold steps in that direction, including free preventive and wellness services to identify and treat problems before they become chronic and costly. Also, by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, seniors are now better able to follow their doctor’s orders and stay healthy. The law strengthens the Medicare Trust Fund by eliminating wasteful subsidies to private insurance companies. Not only would Mitt Romney repeal these common-sense improvements, but his Medicare ‘reform’ plan would steer millions of seniors away from traditional Medicare and generate even larger profits for the big health insurance companies.

“The ‘sky is falling’ warnings from the right wing that accompany these reports are part of a larger agenda to scare seniors and push extreme changes. But seniors cannot pay their bills or fill a prescription off of heated ideology and opportunism. Instead, they need responsible, level-headed action from their elected officials to help keep Social Security and Medicare – two ofAmerica’s greatest success stories – strong for generations to come.”

Click here to read Sen. Tom Harkin’s column, “Preserving Social Security”, for more information about his plan.