AARP to tell Congress about members' Medicare worries

WASHINGTON: AARP is planning a lobbying day when it will talk to Congress about the fears its members have about the future of Medicare and Social Security.

WASHINGTON: AARP is planning a lobbying day when it will talk to Congress about the fears its members have about the future of Medicare and Social Security.

On December 5, a handful of staffers and volunteers will share with lawmakers the 3 million responses the organization received to a survey about the state of the two government programs. The meetings will take place at a crucial time, when legislators are looking for ways to avoid the “fiscal cliff” the country is facing if President Barack Obama and Republican Congressional leaders cannot agree on a budget by the end of this year.

One significant finding is that 70% of respondents do not want talks about the programs to take place “as part of any rushed, end-of-year discussion” and are against harmful changes to the programs.

The lobbying day is a part of the bigger “You've Earned a Say” campaign that has been running for several months.

“If you look at 2011, during the whole debt ceiling [debate], cuts to these programs were on the table, and we believe they are going to be again,” said William Phillips, campaign manager for You've Earned a Say.

The organization's members hope that lawmakers will find ways to improve and strengthen Medicare for current and future generations once the debt crisis is resolved.

The campaign was also launched because many of AARP's 37 million members felt too many conversations about the programs were taking place behind closed doors. More than 4,000 campaign-related events have taken place across the country this year, including town halls and editorial board meetings. AARP has also used grassroots marketing, video, and other digital tactics to gain awareness for its efforts.

Firms that worked on "You've Earned a Say" are Hart Research Associates, GS Strategy Group, Woelfel Research, and experiential shop Marketing Werks.

AARP has also conducted outreach to its members about Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. The group warned homeowners via its site and social media to be mindful that some contractors offering to repair their homes could be scammers.

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