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New AARP Campaign: Protect Medicare, Social Security

May 16, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - "Protect the safety net for older Americans." That's the message from AARP, in light of the current budget talks on Capitol Hill. The organization warns that people on Medicare and Social Security could be at risk unless Congress raises the federal debt limit and votes down budget proposals that would cut payouts for recipients of the two programs.

Craig Eichelman, senior state director with AARP Missouri, says about 2 million Missourians depend on Social Security and Medicare.

"It impacts too many people who rely on those programs for maintaining their dignity, maintaining their home and independence, and maintaining their health."

AARP recently began a public awareness campaign about the threats to Social Security and Medicare. It includes a website with toolkits, fact sheets and other information for people planning for retirement or already retired.

Even future generations need to pay attention to this debate, Eichelman says, because a lot of misinformation is being spread about Medicare and Social Security.

"It's important for everyone to know that Social Security does not add to the national debt; it never has. Therefore, it should not be a target for addressing the debt ceiling and paying the nation's bills."

Eichelman adds that it's also misleading to claim Social Security is out of money, since the program is fully funded through 2036.

Those who want to trim the programs say they're unsustainable, as millions of baby boomers head into retirement.

More information about the entire AARP campaign is available at www.aarp.org.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO