With Medicare’s open enrollment season kicking off today and news about next year’s Social Security COLA, issues big and small about their health and financial security will be on the minds of seniors across the country — including the votes they’ll cast this election. Here’s what’s at stake.
Medicare and Social Security guarantee our security in retirement — unless we let politicians privatize and cut them.
Social Security and Medicare belong to all of us: we worked for them, paid into them, and earned them. Social Security and Medicare guarantee our security in retirement — unless we let politicians cut and privatize them.
Contrary to what Republican politicians say, our Social Security system doesn’t add a penny to the deficit. Obamacare guarantees our Medicare coverage for life and adds almost a decade to the Medicare trust fund.
Here’s the real threat to our retirement that Romney & Ryan are trying to hide: their agenda to completely privatize Medicare and Social Security, so insurance companies and Wall Street can make billions off our retirement. Who should you trust on these issues? The Democratic party that created Social Security and Medicare and fought to protect them every step along the way — or Republican politicians who want to privatize them?
ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
ATTACK: "Social Security is going broke."
- Actually, Social Security doesn’t add a penny to the deficit and never has.
- Americans can already count on our Social Security system for decades to come. There already is a massive trust fund with a growing $2.7 trillion surplus in the safest investments in the world and its own dedicated income stream.
- Yes, there is a crisis — but it’s in the rest of the retirement system, not in our Social Security system. Americans’ pensions are gone, housing is down, and 401k’s are unreliable. Social Security is the only retirement left that we can count on.
- Our Social Security system is as strong as we make it. Our parents and their parents built our Social Security system over generations — it’s our generation’s turn to protect and maintain it.
ATTACK: "Romney is committed to saving Social Security."
- Romney is infamous for trying to hide his real plan for America, so look to his VP pick’s and the Republican party’s long-standing agenda: cut Social Security and move it to a privatized system where Wall Street banks can make billions in fees off our retirement.
- Keeping our Social Security system strong into the next century takes a simple adjustment: close the tax loophole that makes the middle class pay at a higher rate than for a millionaire. But Romney opposes that, too, which isn’t surprising given his other policies favoring the rich.
- Medicare and Social Security guarantee our security in retirement — we can’t afford to let politicians cut and privatize them.
ATTACK: "Romney wants to save Medicare."
- Romney & Ryan’s idea of saving Medicare is privatizing and ending it as we know it — sticking ALL seniors with a little coupon and making them go fight with the big insurance companies to get coverage.
- Romney & Ryan would also shorten the life of Medicare’s trust fund by saddling Medicare with $700 billion in waste, just so they can keep criticizing the President for the same $700 billion savings they had in their own plans before.
- The Republican plan doesn’t just immediately increase seniors’ out-of-pocket costs — they would restructure Medicare into a voucher system, undermining and ending "traditional Medicare," too.
- On the other hand, Obamacare preserves every dime of Medicare benefits, strengthens the trust fund, and guarantees your Medicare coverage for life — just what you’d expect from the Democratic party that created Medicare and fought for half a century to protect it.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- According to a new nonpartisan study released today, the kind of voucher-care plan pushed by Romney & Ryan to privatize Medicare would force most seniors to pay higher premiums.
- Contrary to Romney & Ryan’s claims, their Medicare plan would financially harm all current and future seniors — costing $11,000 more for a 65 year old and $330,000 more for a 30 year old — by:
- Immediately and deeply cutting Medicaid, which millions of seniors count on for their long-term care needs;
- Taking away the benefits that Obamacare added to Medicare, like free preventive care and more help with prescription drug costs;
- Moving all seniors to a voucher system in which everyone would get a little coupon to buy either a privatized plan or something they’d call "traditional" Medicare but that would cost far more while providing far less;
- Undermining and ending that "traditional Medicare" plan, too, by breaking the health and financial security that Medicare guarantees you for life and Medicare’s massive negotiating leverage to keep costs down.
- Mitt Romney, Congressman Paul Ryan, and Republicans in Congress have long pushed to privatize Social Security and turn it over to Wall Street so their banker donors can make billions in fees — even though that means seniors could lose huge amounts of their retirement savings to stock market downturns.
- In fact, Congressman Ryan authored a plan to privatize Social Security that was so extreme that the Bush Administration, which also tried and failed to privatize Social Security, rejected it as "irresponsible."
Average Social Security earnings are actually modest at about only $14,000 per year, which still provides two-thirds of income for a typical senior and more than 90% of the income for a third of seniors. In fact, without Social Security, nearly half of elderly Americans would live below the official poverty level.