News Published: Mar 19, 2012 - 2:27 PM

AARP launches national conversation on health and retirement security


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Hartford, CT - AARP leaders at events across the country today announced the launch of You’ve Earned a Say, a national conversation about strengthening health and retirement security. Through You’ve Earned a Say, AARP is taking the debate about Medicare and Social Security out from behind closed doors in Washington and making sure that all Americans have a voice in the discussion about their future.

In Connecticut, You’ve Earned a Say kicked off with a Community Conversation in the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol in Hartford where dozens of Connecticut residents made their voices heard about Social Security and Medicare.

“Instead of talking about Medicare and Social Security as line items in the federal budget, Washington should be talking about how to strengthen health and retirement security and ensuring Americans have a voice in the debate,” said AARP CEO A. Barry Rand. “Our members and older Americans have paid into Medicare and Social Security throughout their working lives, and they have earned a say in the future of these programs.”

AARP Connecticut State President, Laura Green said “Throughout the year, we’ll be hosting listening sessions and voter forums in Connecticut communities, and seeking feedback through surveys and questionnaires, and via social media. And, we’ll be providing straightforward information about all of the proposals that are on the table – both the pros and the cons – so that people can make up their own minds based on facts, not political jargon and spin.”

More than 622,000 Connecticut residents receive Social Security, and over 16% of them depend on it for 90% or more of their total income. In addition, Connecticut is home to more than 571,000 Medicare beneficiaries.

In conjunction with the launch, AARP unveiled new research showing that 95 percent of Americans think Washington should spend more time listening to ordinary citizens like them when it comes to decisions about Social Security and Medicare. There are a variety of activities through which You’ve Earned a Say will help Connecticut residents and all Americans make their voices heard, by:

· Holding community conversations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

· Distributing a series of You’ve Earned a Say questionnaires and publishing the results on, through AARP publications, and in state-specific summary reports.

· Helping people to share their ideas directly with their members of Congress and the presidential candidates on

· Hosting opportunities around the country for people to record their thoughts on why Medicare and Social Security are important to older Americans and their loved ones.

· Creating a map of the United States that features video footage from all the You’ve Earned a Say conversations taking place around the country.

A national television advertising schedule for You’ve Earned a Say begins running today on network, cable news and lifestyle channels.

In the national survey released today, 98 percent of respondents said Medicare is important to people’s health in retirement, but only 54 percent are confident it will be there for them throughout their retirement. Similarly, 96 percent believe Social Security is important to people’s financial security in retirement, but only 49 percent are confident it will be there for them.

“Social Security and Medicare are the foundation of retirement security for millions of Americans, including more than half a million Connecticut residents” Green concluded. “By working together, getting involved and making our voices heard, we can keep Social Security and Medicare strong for today and for future generations.”

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