News Release

Social Security and Medicare Cuts in the President’s Budget

ELLEN SHAFFER
Shaffer is co-director at the Center for Policy Analysis. She said today: “President Obama has announced that he will propose a budget plan on April 10 that would cut Social Security benefits and increase Medicare deductibles.

“Congress and the President must protect these lifelines for seniors, people with disabilities. These cuts would be especially harmful to the health of women, who live longer but have lower incomes. The “chained CPI” would cut payments to women in their 80s by the cost of three months of groceries a year. Additionally, women of color, who already experience a host of health disparities and difficulties in accessing critical health services would be disproportionately impacted by any erosion of Medicare or Medicaid. Such cuts would force women ages 65-67 to neglect needed health care, worsening chronic conditions throughout their lives. Reduced income support would force many elderly women without family or friends as caregivers to spend down to qualify for Medicaid, and experience medically unnecessary confinement in nursing homes as a result.

“Social Security has absolutely nothing to do with causing the deficit, so cutting it won’t help to reduce the deficit. The Social Security Trust Fund is entirely solvent through 2038, requiring only minor tweaks in the interim to extend into the future. Medicare and Medicaid are affected by health care cost increases, but cutting benefits will not solve those problems.

“On Nov. 6, women and communities of color gave the margin of victory to a President and members of Congress who promised to fight for higher taxes on the wealthy, for more public investment and for careful cuts in spending, while revitalizing the economy. It is unconscionable to ask those who are barely making it to be squeezed even tighter at a time when corporations and the wealthiest 2% are not paying their fair share of taxes, despite soaring profits.”