AARP Will Battle Proposals to Gut Medicare: by John Hishta Originally Posted by AARP Advocacy January 2017
If you’ve been following the news lately, you know that President Trump has had a busy first week in the White House. As he signed executive orders, appointed high-level staff and hosted meetings in the Oval Office, our 45th president has made it abundantly clear that he’s eager to deliver on the promises he laid out during his campaign.
At AARP, the promise we’re focused on: his pledge to protect Medicare.
As you probably know, President Trump repeatedly said during his historic campaign that he would not allow changes to this popular program. “I am going to protect and save your Social Security and your Medicare,” he told voters. “You made a deal a long time ago.”
Since his election, his team has reiterated that vow. This month, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told CBS News that President Trump has no plans to “meddle” with Medicare. “He made a promise during the campaign that that was something he didn’t want to do,” Priebus said.
Still, up on Capitol Hill, House leaders are scrambling to push ahead with their long-simmering proposal to turn Medicare into a so-called “premium support program.” What that means is they want to implement a voucher system — a fixed-dollar subsidy that beneficiaries would use to buy private insurance. Supporters of this scheme can make it all sound perfectly reasonable, but make no mistake about it: This would end the guarantee of health insurance coverage to American seniors and dramatically increase costs for current and future retirees.
AARP agrees with President Trump that Medicare is a deal made with the American people that cannot be broken. That’s why we’re launching an aggressive campaign to tell Congress that we’ve earned our Medicare benefits with every paycheck and that we’re going to fight against any proposal that would increase costs and risk for seniors and today’s workers.
Here’s what we’ll be up to in the weeks and months ahead.
• Meeting with government officials. AARP leaders and lobbyists will be visiting high-level people in the White House and in both houses of Congress, letting them know about our overwhelming opposition to any plan that would privatize Medicare. We’ll be reminding them that the same older Americans who were key in voting President Trump into office are now counting on him to protect them.
• Launching an ad campaign. Starting next week, AARP will be running a nationwide television advertising campaign affirming our belief that Americans have earned their benefits and that we’re counting on Congress to protect them.
• Mobilizing the troops. Through our state offices, we’ll be recruiting and supporting volunteers who want to fight with us to protect our hard-earned benefits. These volunteers will be meeting with their elected officials, collecting signatures for petitions and launching letter-writing campaigns to communicate—in no uncertain terms—our support for keeping Medicare safe and strong. We’ll be collecting stories from AARP members in every state to share with congress to show them how important this program is to them and their families. Already, we’ve collected more than 300,000 petitions and stories from members in every state.
To join the fight, sign our petition to tell congress to protect Medicare.
• Educating the public. To people outside of the Beltway bubble, a lot of this policy stuff gets confusing and complicated. Through our publications, our website and our social media channels, we’ll be working to help you better understand what is happening here in Washington and to see exactly how changes to the program will have a direct impact on you and your family. We’re counting on you to join us in this critical fight.
If you want to be part of that grassroots movement, sign up at aarp.org/getinvolved, Like the AARPAdvocates Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter at @AARPAdvocates.