AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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AFT Resolutions

IN SUPPORT OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY

WHEREAS, Social Security and Medicare are the foundations of a secure retirement for older Americans; and

WHEREAS, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010, has strengthened Medicare by reducing costs and fighting waste, fraud and abuse, while improving benefits and the quality of care for seniors; and

WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act contributes significantly to a healthier and more secure retirement; and

WHEREAS, the Congressional Budget Office has determined that the Affordable Care Act will contribute in the long term to a reduced federal deficit; and

WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act has protected and improved Medicare; and

WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act addresses the negative impact of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 through the elimination of the donut hole; and

WHEREAS, provisions of the Affordable Care Act require greater accountability for costs from the health insurance industry; and

WHEREAS, the Affordable Care Act has extended the solvency of the Medicare trust fund; and

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers opposes legislative proposals that masquerade as fiscal responsibility, the effect of which would be to destroy the safety net created by Medicare by shifting a greater cost of healthcare to senior citizens and Social Security, while at the same time keeping tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; and

WHEREAS, Medicare, the federal health insurance program that covers 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, has played a central role in the U.S. healthcare system since it was established in 1965; and

WHEREAS, prior to the inception of Medicare, about half of all seniors lacked health insurance; and

WHEREAS, today, virtually all Americans 65 and older have coverage under Medicare, and are eligible for this coverage without regard to their income or medical history; and

WHEREAS, the Republican leadership endorsed the Ryan budget, which proposes to change Medicare by replacing guaranteed benefits with a "premium support" payment or inadequate voucher that beneficiaries would use toward the cost of private insurance starting in 2023; and

WHEREAS, there is no guarantee that this "premium support"/voucher payment would be enough to cover the cost of a private health insurance plan's premium, which would mean that some Medicare beneficiaries would be unable to afford private coverage; and

WHEREAS, the Republican proposal includes a plan to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, which would increase out-of-pocket healthcare costs by $4,300 per year for nearly 1 million individuals ages 65 and 66; and

WHEREAS, under Republican proposals, a typical 65-year-old retiring in 2022 would be expected to devote nearly half of his or her monthly Social Security check toward healthcare costs, more than double what the individual would spend under current Medicare law; and
WHEREAS, Social Security has been recognized in standing resolutions by the AFT as integral to the financial well-being of retirees; and

WHEREAS, Republican proposals would cut the benefits of middle-class Americans, raise the age of full retirement benefits from 67 to 69, and radically restructure Social Security to eliminate the link between benefits and wages; and

WHEREAS, the collapse of the budget compromise, including the looming defense cuts and expiration of the Bush tax cuts, will lead to continuing pressure to make a deal to meet budget targets that protect defense spending and preserve at least some of the tax cuts; and

WHEREAS, that political pressure could cause some policymakers to look again at cuts and changes in Medicare as well as the Affordable Care Act:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will continue to fight efforts to restructure Social Security benefits, raise the age of eligibility of Social Security and cut the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), because Social Security checks are what most beneficiaries rely on to pay for their healthcare costs; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to oppose efforts to undermine the U.S. healthcare system by shifting costs and risks to individuals, and that the AFT will continue to protect and strengthen Medicare; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to fight efforts to eliminate or undermine the Affordable Care Act; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will make comprehensive reform of the healthcare system an ongoing priority, supporting proposals to promote efficient, effective delivery of healthcare through integrated systems that provide coordinated and efficient care; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue its efforts to reject the cuts-only approach of the Republican budget proposals; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to fight to rebuild and expand the middle class, and to make retirement security a priority, by putting the needs of working families before profits and tax cuts for the wealthy.


(2012)