WASHINGTON, DC, Oct 23 – The Association of Mature American Citizens has called for a massive, concerted effort by other advocacy groups to put pressure on Congress and the President to “fix the impending financial dilemma facing America’s seniors.”
AMAC president Dan Weber made his challenge in the wake of “the roar of rhetoric from political office seekers and others who pursue personal gain” in the wake of news that there’ll be no cost of living increase in Social Security benefits next year. Compounding the situation, he said, is news that premiums and deductibles for Medicare benefits are poised to increase sharply.
He called on all associations and organizations that care about the needs of those who need their benefits in order to survive to “stop talking and do something.”
“Words are not enough. AMAC has had boots on the ground since its founding in 2007, confronting members of Congress to give older Americans who rely on Social Security and Medicare relief. And, we would welcome reinforcements.”
Weber said that “a lion’s share of our association’s budget and effort is devoted to the task. We’ve established a well-oiled Social Security advocacy machine with the sole purpose of keeping tabs on developments that impact these important sources of economic stability for older seniors. Our aim is to force Congress and the President to do the right thing by America’s senior citizens and provide a COLA for Social Security recipients and a means to slow, if not stop, increases in their costs for Medicare.”
He noted that it was only after it was announced that 59 million Social Security recipients would not receive a COLA increase in 2016 that it became an issue. AMAC is pressing for an increase of at least a one percent cost of living increase next year. Social Security has not been a priority for many advocates for the elderly in their day to day activities. Meanwhile, politicos seeking office at long last recognized it was an election campaign issue, Weber said.
“There’s a lot of shouting from the sidelines but not very many activists in the halls of Congress sitting down with lawmakers in an effort to prevent an outright disaster for seniors next year. It’s what we do, however, and it works.”
The denial of COLA is the result of a flat year-to-year Consumer Price Index, a major component of which is the price of gasoline which fell sharply from 2014 to 2015. But seniors don’t drive as much as the general population. Their chief expenses are for essentials including medical attention, food, housing and utilities, all of which increased during that period.
President Obama may have already realized it was a mistake to forego the COLA, Weber said. The White House, in fact, acknowledged that the president is concerned about the unintended consequences of the decision, he noted. “Perhaps there is still an opportunity to exert pressure and achieve a fair deal for seniors via Congressional action. If there is still a chance then it is our obligation to try to make it happen.”
A White House spokesman has indicated that the president may be willing to compromise. He said that the administration has actually reached out to lawmakers with a view to finding a resolution for the issue.
“AMAC certainly will continue to urge Senators and Representatives in one-on-one meetings to make the issue a budget priority. Our Congressional outreach will be increased until this issue is resolved and we urge all the other senior organizations to join us. As for the politicians seeking office in 2016, we call on them to stop talking about the plight of older Americans and start using whatever current influence they might have to do something positive for a change.”
The Association of Mature American Citizens [http://www.amac.us] is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members. We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today. Live long and make a difference by joining us today at http://amac.us/join-amac.