Legislative Update For Week Ending May 3 2013
The month of August presents constituents with the perfect opportunity to do just that. Both the House and the Senate adjourn for the month, and many Members of Congress travel home to hold town hall meetings. The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) encourages you to make the most of this month by attending town halls and making your voice heard. Below are summaries of three key issues, along with sample questions. Feel free to take them with you to your next meeting. .The main purpose for the Senate's return was to work on confirming to office many of the appointments of the Trump administration. These include leaders of many government departments as well as judicial appointments. .We know from past surveys and email comments that you want the freedom to choose how you receive your Medicare benefits — either through a Medigap supplement and Part D plan, or a Medicare Advantage plan that includes drug coverage. Nobody wants to get a cancellation notice or to give up their doctor, hospital or other important provider because their health plan is closing. Maintaining affordable access to quality healthcare coverage is the key issue for every Medicare beneficiary and for TSCL. Coming up with a plan to pay for all this is the hard part which depends heavily on how quickly we can get our economy up and running full speed again and get people back to work. … Continued
Number Retirees Spent Half Social Security Benefits Healthcare Jumped 7 2014
Emergency 3% COLA, Social Security And Medicare Issues Land on the Congressional Priority List .Deficit hawks on Capitol Hill agree that the current inflation index is inaccurate, but instead of adopting a method that actually measures seniors' spending, many have been advocating for an index that would further trim COLAs. The "chained" CPI has been lauded by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle – including President Obama – as a small technical correction that would factor in the substitution that occurs when the prices of certain goods increase. However, since medical care – a major expense for seniors – cannot be substituted for something cheaper, this index would unfairly affect them. After ten years, adopting the "chained" CPI would result in an monthly benefit cut for the average retired couple, and that loss would continue to compound. .In the past five years the annual adjustment has averaged just 1.4 percent — less than half the 3 percent average of the prior two decades starting in 1990. Retirees and disabled Social Security recipients are reporting that the COLA is doing a poor job of what it's intended to do — protecting the buying power of their Social Security benefits. According to an annual survey performed by TSCL, Social Security benefits have lost 31 percent of their buying power since 2000. … Continued
Benefit formula cuts: Change the benefit formula reducing benefits for new retirees with both high and average earnings. .Rick is also an advocate for all Veteran causes and currently serves as The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) Chairman. .A minimal source of supplemental benefits for seniors with extremely low benefits (Supplemental Security Income, or SSI). .Doc Fix for Medicare Providers – Establish a permanent solution in order to bring greater stability to doctor reimbursements, ensuring continued access. .Why should seniors be saddled with the ripple effect of things they don't even buy? That just doesn't make sense. .He announced that he would meet with the drug companies to discuss his plan, but top company executives subsequently refused to meet with him. The drug companies did develop their own proposal but it was rejected by the President. .The jury is still out on value-based health systems, and whether they can save any significant amount of money remains to be seen. The Congressional Budget Office issued a recent report outlining a number of issues and unintended consequences such as providing an incentive for providers to improve their "quality rankings" by avoiding sicker patients. Critics say that the system places a new burden on primary care doctors that would potentially punish providers financially for patients' bad health habits and behaviors. .IMPORTANT: We Need Your Help .High drug or health plan premiums don't necessarily purchase better coverage. For example, the generic blood pressure medication Lisinopril is one of the most commonly used prescriptions by Medicare beneficiaries. The least expensive Part D plan in my area charges According to experts, the risk of catching the coronavirus on a plane is relatively low if the airline is following the procedures laid out by public health experts: enforcing mask compliance, spacing out available seats and screening for sick passengers. .As we have previously written, there is a bill that has passed out of the Senate Finance Committee called the Grassley-Wyden bill but Senator McConnell also refuses to bring that bill to the floor for consideration. The Grassley-Wyden bill is co-sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR). .One of the uncertain Democrats is Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey. His state is home to many big-name pharmaceutical companies and he voted against a measure to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices in the Senate Finance Committee in 2019. .The Additional Child Tax Credit currently amounts to ,000 per child and a filer can receive a refund even if no income tax was withheld or paid. According to the Treasury Inspector General, the average amount per return in 2010 was ,800, but 9,000 taxpayers claimed a total of ,000 or more by filing for previous year tax periods. The following table illustrates the huge growth in payments to illegals. .This week, The Senior Citizens League was pleased to see support grow for four key bills that would improve retirement security in America if adopted. .It's not what the government tracks that causes your Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to grow so slowly. It's what the government isn't tracking that's keeping your COLAs so low. It may surprise you, as it did us at TSCL, to recently learn that COLAs are calculated using methodology that doesn't directly measure what you pay out-of-pocket for health insurance premiums. Add to that the fact that the consumer price index (CPI) the government uses to calculate COLAs (CPI-W) represents the spending habits of younger urban wage earners and clerical workers — or the spending habits of only 29% of the U.S. population. That's certainly not going to reflect the inflation experienced by most Social Security recipients. .As part of our continuing efforts to find ways to lower the costs of prescription drugs, TSCL supports the idea that people should ask their doctors if taking a generic is available and appropriate for their specific ailment. .Since you are still working and still under your full retirement age, you might consider reporting your estimated income to Social Security for 2019, and possibly for the months prior to turning your full retirement age next year. However, that would mean that your Social Security benefits would be withheld for even more months, and you might not receive any Social Security benefits at all in 201At the end of the year, you would have to notify Social Security of what you actually earned for 2019, and the calculation would be revised. If too much was withheld, you would get a refund. If not enough was withheld, you would have to pay the difference. Once you turn your full retirement age then, you will be able to earn as much as you want, and not be subject to Social Security earnings restriction rules for new earnings after turning age 66. .This week, talks to repeal and replace the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula continued, but lawmakers revealed that a temporary "doc fix" might be necessary. In addition, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for a new piece of legislation, and one key bill gained support. copay for Tier 1 generics, and the monthly premium is just .50 in the zip code used in this search. The most expensive plan charges a co-pay of .19, and the plan has a monthly premium of .30 — a difference of ,055.88 for the entire year counting premiums!