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'Chained CPI' underestimates health care spending by seniors

  • Published in Letters
To the editor,
As a veteran and volunteer advocate for AARP, I am very concerned about the attempts to implement the Chained CPI (consumer price index) as the formula for calculating cost-of-living adjustments.
A little-understood proposal to cut federal spending, the chained CPI is being promoted as a more accurate way to compute cost-of-living adjustments than the current inflation index. This is not true for older Americans, including veterans and those with disabilities, whose hard-earned benefits would no longer keep up with inflation if this proposal takes effect. Nationally, 23 million veterans would lose an estimated $19 billion over a 10-year period. In New Hampshire, that would translate to a loss of over $75 million for 115,000 veterans over the next decade.
The Chained CPI underestimates the health care spending of seniors and others who may have chronic conditions and disabilities because it is based on a younger, working population. Further, it overestimates the ability of older veterans to substitute services and products when prices rise. That is why more than a dozen veterans' organizations oppose the chained CPI.
Surely, our great nation can find a way to strengthen its finances without taking even more from those who already have given so much.
Chuck Engborg