GOP Proposal: Raise Retirement Age to 69, Overhaul Medicare

House Republicans are once again gunning for social security and Medicare payments. This time, they’re promising to raise the retirement age and restructure how medicare works – a plan that some Republicans aren’t on board with. Let’s take a look in more detail.

Republican Study Committee’s Budget Unveiled

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Last week, the Republican Study Committee (RSC) – a group that includes over 170 House Republicans – unveiled their “Fiscal Sanity to Save America’s” budget, which targets free school meals and foreign aid and suggests reforming the tax system and a host of other domestic policies.

Focus on Social Security Reform

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One provision that’s currently causing uproar is the plan to raise the age at which people can claim Social Security benefits.

Controversy Surrounding Retirement Age

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While they’ve not specified precisely what the retirement age would increase to, it’s currently set at 67, and pundits predict that Republicans would likely add at least 2 years on.

Republican Justifications for Raising Retirement Age

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Social Security has been a controversial issue with Republicans for years. It’s viewed by many as another form of welfare and unnecessary government spending – as is Medicare.

The issue is, however, that both of these policies are wildly popular with the electorate.

Political Sensitivities

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Over the years, Republicans have had to temper their criticisms, as they know a lot of their older voter base relies on Social Security.

However, recently, they’re trying to shift in the opposite direction, as this proposed budget shows.

“Modest Adjustments”

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The budget states that Republicans want to “make modest adjustments to the retirement age for future retirees to account for increases in life expectancy,” a policy they’ve confirmed would only impact people under the age at which they become eligible to receive Social Security.

Assurances for Current Retirees

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“We cannot be clearer: we WILL NOT adjust or delay retirement benefits for any senior in or near retirement,” the RSC’s chairman stated.

Internal Republican Criticism

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Despite this, some senior Republicans are worried.

Josh Hawley’s Opposition

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Senator Josh Hawley called it “the stupidest thing I ever heard,” while Mitt Romney has come out in full force against the idea.

Mitt Romney’s Strong Stance

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“Seems like people have lost their political ear if they think any adjustments to the benefits of Social Security makes sense to talk about at any time, let alone during an election year,” Romney was quoted saying.

Democratic Response to Proposed Changes

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Democrats are also opposing the plans.

Concerns Raised by Social Security Commissioner

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During a committee hearing, Social Security Commissioner Martin O’Malley stated, “We have to be mindful of people who really do hard work, hard labor, their whole lives, and who die sooner than those of us who are privileged enough to do work that is not as taxing on our bodies and our physical well-being.”

Biden’s Condemnation of the Budget

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Biden has been equally critical, stating, “This extreme budget will cut Medicare, Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act. It endorses a national abortion ban.

The Republican budget will raise housing costs and prescription drugs costs for families. And it will shower giveaways on the wealthy and biggest corporations. Let me be clear: I will stop them.”

Challenges Facing Older Americans

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Statistics show that a comfortable retirement already looks like an unreachable dream for many Americans over 60.

Rising Rates of Homelessness and Poverty

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More and more Americans over 60 are experiencing homelessness and poverty, and over half of Americans over the age of 65 are earning less than $30,000 a year.

Impact of Social Security on Poverty Levels

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Couple that with some recent research by the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities, which found that “Without Social Security benefits, a staggering 38 percent of older adults would have incomes below the poverty line,” and it paints a bleak picture.

Republican Proposal for Medicare Overhaul

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It’s not just Social Security under fire in this budget proposal – Republicans have their sights set on overhauling Medicare, too.

Premium Support Model Explained

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Republicans would have it work as a “premium support model,” which would only offer subsidies to eligible people in order to help them afford private healthcare plans.

Criticism of the Life at Conception Act

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This budget proposal backed the controversial Life at Conception Act, which grants embryos the same rights as newborns and which critics say would destroy IVF treatment availability nationwide.

Implications for a Trump Presidency

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Whether this budget will pass through a divided Congress remains to be seen. However, it does provide an insight into the Republican plan for a Trump presidency.

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