• Legislative Update For Week Ending January 14 2012

    One can't write about Medicare as I do without learning that Medicare has requirements for everything. Lots of requirements.. Medicare Starts Mailing New Cards In April — Beware Of Scams! Start watching the mail for your new Medicare card. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services will start mailing the cards this month and plans to replace all existing Medicare cards over the next year — by April of 2019. .Wages in the ESF since the end of 1999 grew by 3.20 billion to 5 billion, nearly doubling from 1.8 billion. In other words, it took 63 years to accumulate 1.8 billion in wages in the ESF. In the five most recent years, the amount of wages rose by 93%. This growth is illustrated in the charts in Tables 1, 2 and 3, which follow. .The nation's pharmaceutical industry has pushed back against the potential order, arguing that the United States should not shut itself off from a global supply chain. … Continued

  • 2019 Social Security

    What would locality pay adjustments mean for your Social Security benefits? It's unclear, and likely difficult to estimate. Studies would have to be performed to compare locality - based pay adjustments to what future annual COLAs might be. Locality pay adjustments would be higher in areas where private sector pay scales are higher than those of federal workers, and lower in areas where pay scales are lower. The percentage of the annual locality pay increase would vary depending on where you live. Some retirees would receive a lower percentage of increase, or even no increase, while others a higher percentage. .By Shannon Benton, Executive Director .Over the past nine years, COLAs have averaged just 1.4%, so it comes as a frustrating surprise to retirees to learn that, in the decade prior to 2000, COLAs averaged 3% per year, more than twice the average today. Because COLAs compound, and the monthly benefit grows over time, lower COLAs mean less Social Security income than retirees might have planned for. That in turn means spending through retirement savings more quickly than planned. … Continued

How many members does TSCL have? .In May, I introduced bipartisan legislation with Rep. Joe Heck (NV-R). Our plan, the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act (H.R.5707), ends the broken physician reimbursement system and replaces it with a new, long-term plan that will treat physicians fairly, improve patient outcomes, and reduce costs in Medicare. It also sets us on a long-term path toward greater quality, value, and fiscal responsibility in Medicare and will save billions for taxpayers over the long run. This bill has been endorsed by the Fleet Reserve Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, the American Geriatrics Society, and other leading organizations. .Medicare pays the plans a pre-determined monthly amount for each enrollee. Higher rates are paid for sicker patients, and lower amounts for people in good health. The "risk adjustment" policy is intended to avoid the problem of plans cutting corners on healthcare to boost profits. But the audits found pervasive problems with many plans overstating the severity of enrollees' medical conditions, with little documentation of the medical conditions being claimed. .TSCL is gearing up to fight legislation that would cut the current rate of COLA growth. "People who depend on Social Security need a COLA that more adequately protects the buying power of their benefits," says Hyland. TSCL believes seniors would receive higher and more adequate benefits by using an index that more closely tracks senior spending, like the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). TSCL supports The Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E) Act, H.R. 798 introduced by Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4), and H.R.456 introduced by Charles Gonzalez (TX-20). Learn more by visiting TSCL on the web at . .Eliminating income taxes on Social Security benefits. Millions of middle-income Social Security recipients currently pay income taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits. According to a recent survey of TSCL's members, 56 percent of older households pay taxes on their benefits, and that number is projected to rise in the coming years. Eliminating this income tax would provide millions of middle-income beneficiaries with much-needed tax relief. .Senator Richard Shelby (AL) – Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee – told reporters this week that a shutdown is possible. He said: "I'll just say that I don't think it's a good idea to shut the government down, period. But people are going to posture. And it could happen, it's happened before … I don't believe a shutdown's in my interest, the president's interest, the people's interest, either party's interest … But some people look at it differently." .Seventy-eight percent of older voters participating in TSCL's survey say they support raising payroll taxes, eliminating the taxable maximum wage cap so that everyone pays Social Security taxes on all earnings over 8,500. Unlike low - and middle - income wage earners, the highest earners today only pay taxes on the first 8,500 in earnings and enjoy a huge Social Security tax break on all on wages over that amount. A clear majority — 62% of survey participants — also favors very gradually increasing the payroll tax rate by 1% each for workers and employers. Taken together, both changes would provide enough financing to keep the program solvent for more than 50 years. .Recently one of our readers asked "Is there a percentage as to how much less NOTCH BABIES receive monthly?" Although not many studies exist, according to one study of average earners born from 1917 through 1926, the disparity in benefits with other retirees seems to average about 26%. .What is the range of the Notch years?