Here we go again. A Congressional supercommittee is considering proposals behind closed doors that would shift health-care costs onto seniors and cut their Social Security checks instead of focusing on cutting waste and tax loopholes.

Apparently seniors aren’t real people; we’re just another budget line-item.

I’ve spent my entire life working for Medicare and Social Security benefits. And I know I’m not alone. In fact, more than 400,000 retirees count on Social Security and more than 677,000 seniors rely on Medicare in Louisiana. These are the people who could be harmed if Congress makes these cuts.

And let’s be real.

It isn’t as if the benefits of these programs are lavish. Even with these benefits, half of those 65 and older have an annual income of less than $18,500 per year.

Today’s Medicare beneficiaries already must pay an average of $3,000 each year out of their own pockets for their medical expenses; and their out-of-pocket share is rising every single year.

So this supercommittee has a choice. It can start focusing on cutting waste and tax loopholes, or harm the very people who have worked their entire lives to earn Medicare and Social Security benefits they depend on now.

Brenda G. Hatfield, Ph.D., state president

AARP Louisiana