January 02, 2013

In Fiscal Cliff Delay, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid Remain at Risk

The fiscal cliff deal passed by Congress last night is a breakthrough in beginning to restore tax fairness. It raises over $700 billion over 10 years by ending the Bush tax cuts for families making over $450,000 a year. The deal does not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits and stops a 27 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors.

A strong message from voters and a relentless echo from grassroots activists helped get us this far, however, retirees and workers need to remain vigilant against long-standing threats to seniors’ health care and economic security. The fiscal cliff deal does not increase the debt ceiling and postpones the $1.2 trillion sequester for only two months, setting the stage for another fiscal cliff.

Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – landmark national efforts to help retirees pay their bills and stay healthy – continue to be unfairly targeted as a way of keeping the wealthiest Americans and big corporations from paying their fair share of taxes.

Despite what was heard daily in Washington and in the media, Social Security has not added one penny to the deficit. The Illinois Alliance remains deeply troubled by a recurring policy proposal, coldly named the ‘chained-CPI,’ which would base future Social Security Cost-of-Living-Adjustments off a lower, badly-flawed measure of inflation, one that significantly under-estimates seniors’ day-to-day financial needs.

This week’s deal is a brief pause in the long-running threats to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. In the weeks to come, as the confrontation over the economic direction of our country continues, the Illinois Alliance will continue to educate and mobilize retirees to protect seniors’ health care and economic security.

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