AARP fights for responsible solutions

To the editor:

Contrary to your Thursday editorial, AARP has a long history of supporting changes that will strengthen health and retirement security in America and standing against budget-driven changes that will hurt today’s seniors and future retirees. From Medicare Part D through the fight against privatizing Social Security to the Affordable Care Act, we are proud of the work we’ve done to strengthen Social Security and Medicare on behalf of our members, older Americans, and those who one day will be older Americans.

Over the last year through “You’ve Earned a Say,” AARP has engaged more than 6 million people in conversation about the vital importance of Social Security and Medicare, the financial challenges facing these programs and the reform proposals being discussed in Washington. What we’ve heard overwhelmingly is that Americans want to have a voice in the future of these programs, and they don’t feel like Washington is listening.

As we continue the conversation in Nevada and across the country, we will fight for responsible solutions to keep Social Security and Medicare strong and against harmful cuts to these vital retirement security programs. Your readers can learn more about AARP’s advocacy work and positions, and make their voices heard on these critical retirement security issues, at www.earnedasay.org.

Carla Sloan

Las Vegas

The writer is state director of AARP Nevada.

Attack on AARP

To the editor:

The Review-Journal’s editorial diatribe, “AARP conference: Will opposition to entitlement reform ever stop?” couldn’t have been more one-sided. It calls AARP ruthless and disingenuous. The paper is careful to label this against only the organization’s lobbying, I assume in an attempt not to anger the 40 million members.

The editorial charges that AARP cares nothing about the need to address funding and expenditures for the entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What AARP is fully against is the dismantling of these programs by the Republican Party.

The history of this attempt by conservatives is a long and bitter one, including the last attempt, in the Paul Ryan budget, that would turn Medicare into a voucher program. Anyone remember George W. Bush’s attack on Social Security?

First of all, the country’s deficit problem wasn’t the product of these programs. It was the product of Mr. Bush’s tax break for the wealthy, his two unfunded wars and his financial bust. President Barack Obama is taking a significant bite out of this deficit, thank you very much.

Second, the financial problems with the three entitlements lie not with the programs themselves, but with the rising costs of medical care in this country. This is another fact that conservatives know all about, and they have done everything they can to block attempts to deal with this issue. They did it with Hillary Clinton’s work during her husband’s administration, and they certainly did it with Mr. Obama’s attempts while constructing ObamaCare.

Until you deal with the runaway costs involved with big pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and medical equipment, you will do nothing to solve the problem. Conservatives should get down on their knees and thank Medicare for its taxpayer subsidization of private insurance rates. What would those rates be today if all of the elderly didn’t switch to Medicare at age 65?

If the Review-Journal really wants a realistic appraisal of what needs to be done to keep the cost of medical care from devouring the U.S. budget, it needs to start looking at the real causes, not the AARP members.

RICHARD L. STRICKLAND

NORTH LAS VEGAS

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