AARP Issues 'Wake Up Call' on Entitlements

Chad Blair/Civil Beat


AARP Hawaii has a message for voters ages 18 and above: Social Security and Medicare are imperiled, so get educated and vote accordingly.

"Who is president and who are members of Congress have taken on a huge significance this election," said executive director Barbara Kim Stanton. "We are at a crossroads for which direction we are going in and what changes are proposed. This is a wake up call for our safety net programs."

Stanton said there is a lot of confusion about the entitlement programs, especially as the two are used in political campaigns. So AARP Hawaii wants to break through the confusion and highlight the facts.

AARP has already held some 30 workshops statewide to explain how Social Security and Medicare are funded, how long they will remain solvent and to suggest the pros and cons of possible funding solutions for both programs.

Civil Beat attended Wednesday's workshop at Ward Warehouse, which featured a policy analyst from the national AARP. Workshops are set for Pearl City on Friday and Kailua on Saturday.

"It's really important for the people you hire to represent them in Washington, D.C., to know what you want them to do," said Cheryl Matheis, AARP's senior vice president for policy.

Matheis encouraged meeting attendees to review the candidate positions on entitlements on AARP's website.

"You can click through and send your thoughts right to them," she told them. "If enough people do it, we will really pressure them to do what we want them to do."

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