Monday, April 15, 2024

Proposed Budget Targets Medicare, Social Security

Proposed Budget Targets Medicare, Social Security

A budget, recently proposed by the Republican Study Committee (RSC), calls for more than $1.5 trillion in cuts to Social Security, raising the retirement age to 69 “to account for increases in life expectancy,” and cutting disability benefits. These “increases in life expectancy” are true for top earners. However, low-income and low-wealth individuals have not shared in these improvements. Since the 1980’s, government policies to reduce tax rates and shrink social safety nets have led to a significant increase in income inequality, which coincides with disparities in health and longevity. Further slashing these earned benefits would only exacerbate the issue.

Moreover, the budget repeals key provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that have and will benefit public sector retirees. For instance, repealing the Act will remove the ability for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to negotiate prescription drug costs. This provision was designed to increase the affordability of the most common medications prescribed to seniors. The budget proposal would also repeal the $35 insulin cap, which was effective in 2022, and the $2,000 out-of-pocket prescription drug cap planned for 2025 for retirees with Part D coverage. The RSC budget proposal also calls for ending Medicare’s guaranteed health care benefits and converting it to a “premium support model.” Subsidies and regulations of the Affordable Care Act aimed at extending insurance coverage would also be rolled back.

AFSCME Retirees and other national retiree organizations have vocalized concern about the budget proposal and its potentially catastrophic impacts on retirees. RPEC will continue to advocate to preserve the funding for your well-earned Social Security and Medicare benefits. In the coming election cycle, RPEC will continue to endorse candidates, at state and federal levels, who will safeguard these critical retirement benefits.

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