Weekly Update For Week Ending October 17 2020
For more information, or to see if your Members of Congress have scheduled town halls before the November elections, call their local offices..Drug companies deserve a reasonable profit for taking on this urgent task of creating a COVID-19 vaccine. But we deserve a return, too. .Finally, one new cosponsor – Representative Mark Pocan (WI-2) – signed on to the CHANGE Act (H.R. 4957), bringing the total to twenty-one. If adopted, this bill would direct CMS to create programs that would promote early identification of Alzheimer's disease, improve support for family caregivers, and provide continuous care for those battling many forms of dementia. … Continued
Category Legislative News Page 47
This week, lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill and resumed work on a stopgap funding measure for fiscal year 2015, which begins on October 1st. In addition, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) saw support grow for three key bills. .(Washington, DC) – Low inflation in recent years may be helping younger workers cut costs at the gas pump, but it isn't translating into lower costs for older and retired Americans, says The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). According to a recent study by TSCL, Social Security beneficiaries have lost 23 percent of their buying power since 2000. And another year of low cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) is in store for 2017, according to a new TSCL analysis of consumer price index (CPI) data through August 2016. .This failure of the COLA to keep up with rising Medicare Part B premiums and other retiree costs is creating a dilemma that is growing in magnitude, not only for older Americans, but also for the nation's safety net programs like Medicaid. A majority of Social Security recipients depend on their benefits for more than half of their income, and almost half of all retirees have only limited or no retirement savings at all. The lack of adequate growth in benefits over the past eight years is pushing modest income seniors into poverty, forcing even those who started out as middle-income retiree households to rely on Medicaid for help paying Medicare costs, rental subsidies, fuel assistance, food pantries and senior meals programs. … Continued
One of the options to address Social Security that appears to have widespread support is increasing the Social Security retirement age. Raising the age at which people would be eligible for unreduced Social Security benefits has been discussed by policy "wonks" for years, but has largely remained out of the discussion with the general public. However, this summer two high-ranking Members of Congress spotlighted the topic in a rare public airing that was discussed in the media and the general public. Within a week of each other, Rep. John Boehner (OH-8), the House Minority Leader, and Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD-5), the House Majority Leader, both advocated raising the Social Security retirement age. .Could you tell me the advantages and disadvantages of life insurance once we start Social Security? Doesn't Social Security pay widow's benefits? Do we really need life insurance if we have a (401)k and IRA savings? .TSCL is working for legislation that would provide an emergency COLA. The Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act (S. 2251, H.R. 4144) introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Representative Tammy Duckworth (IL-8), would provide Social Security beneficiaries with a one-time emergency COLA of 3.9 percent. For the average retiree, the emergency COLA would amount to around 0 dollars. To learn more, visit . .The House of Representatives did not return to Washington but on Friday they held a vote on a resolution about whether to start conducting official votes by using proxies. To do so would end more than 200 years of precedent and now allow lawmakers serve as proxies for colleagues quarantined or otherwise stuck at home during the pandemic. .Last week President Biden's administration unveiled its plan to lower prescription drug prices that includes a number of aggressive proposals but that are basically the same proposals that Democrats have pushed for years, many of which Democrats in Congress are currently working on to include in upcoming legislation. The plan would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers, a longstanding pledge from Biden, Democratic lawmakers, and every Democratic presidential candidate in 2020. It also would limit yearly price increases, allow the importation of drugs from Canada, and place a cap on out-of-pocket spending for Medicare beneficiaries .Social Security Administration data indicate that, since 2000, the ESF grew at an unprecedented pace. According to TSCL's new report since 2000, the SSA has received, on average, 8.8 million suspicious wage reports annually. Cumulative wages in the ESF since 1980 now total more than .2 trillion, unadjusted for inflation. Wages are of importance because Social Security benefits are based on an individual's earnings record, not the taxes paid in. .Both House and Senate tax reform bills index the individual tax brackets and the standard deduction to the slowly-growing "chained" Consumer Price Index (CPI). This change will result in tax increases for most individuals over time because they will reach higher tax brackets faster than they would under current law. It also increases the probability that lawmakers will apply the inadequate "chained" CPI as a cost-saving measure to other government indexes that grow with inflation, like the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). .Implementing Medicaid cuts is proving even harder than getting the cuts enacted into law. In Connecticut for example, the state General Assembly recently voted overwhelmingly to reverse healthcare program cuts that they had passed just a few months before. Connecticut's 2017 budget agreement lowered the Medicaid program's income eligibility limits last year. The cuts, originally planned to go into effect January 1, would have kicked an estimated 86,000 older and disabled people off Medicare Savings Programs which pays Part B premiums and out -of - pocket costs, and moved another 27,000 to a second level of the program that provides less financial assistance. But, by January 8, 2018, the cuts were reversed by an overwhelming 130-3 vote, despite lingering concerns over financing. .TSCL has been getting a steady stream of email from those of you who might potentially be affected by a sizable benefit cut when you. Ask the Advisor: June 2021 What Is Congress Doing to Prevent My Benefits From Being Reduced?