• 2016 Legislative Update Week Ending August 5 2016

    Unlike the experience of the general public who access state or federal health care exchanges to choose coverage, the choices offered to Members of Congress are dramatically different than those from many other parts of the nation. For 2017, Members had 57 plan options in "Gold" plans alone on the DC shop exchange. In many areas of the nation, particularly rural ones, Gold plans aren't even available. Unlike the Silver and Bronze level plans, Gold plans have lower deductibles, and cover 80% of costs with patients paying only 20%. Silver plans, for example, typically come with deductibles ranging from ,500 - ,000, and pay 70% of costs while patients pay the other 30%. And in some areas of the country, people are happy if they have a choice of more than six silver plans. Certain parts of the country have only one. .Many social and economic factors work against women who are family caregivers and mothers that can lower their Social Security benefits. The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) believes that lawmakers can and should be doing more to improve this. .Finally, one new cosponsor – Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT) – signed on to the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act (S. 99), bringing the cosponsor total up to eight. If adopted, this bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prescription drug prices on behalf of Medicare Part D beneficiaries. … Continued

  • 2016 Legislative Update For Week Ending February 5 2016

    Republicans and Democrats across the ideological spectrum agree that the payment system must be repealed and that the rate of growth in health care spending in the United States is unsustainable. But, even with strong bipartisan support, political hurdles still remain. I believe we must set aside politics and work together to enact a fiscally responsible and permanent solution to solve this problem. We owe it to American seniors to end this perennial threat to Medicare once and for all. .Please take time to participate in TSCL's much anticipated Senior Survey. TSCL's surveys have helped burst the all too common perception that Social Security benefit cuts are inevitable in order to achieve program solvency. TSCL surveys indicate that there is little support among older adults for proposals that would cut Social Security or Medicare benefits, or to replace these programs with private versions. TSCL will fight attempts to cut benefits, and that includes cutting COLAs reducing Social Security benefits or increasing Medicare costs. .Unless something is done, TSCL calculates there may be no COLA for next year. … Continued

The Social Security Fairness Act — Under current law, millions of teachers, police officers, and other retired public servants see their Social Security benefits cut by hundreds of dollars due to two unfair provisions of the Social Security Act: the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision. TSCL has been advocating for the repeal of these two provisions for several years, and in our December meeting with the bill's sponsor, Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13) said he will continue to work tirelessly towards its passage in the 116th .How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Affecting the Finances of Older Households .Call your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) and ask for free counseling from a Medicare counselor. You can find local contact info here: Many of these programs operate through local agencies on aging or senior services departments. Counselors can help you over the phone from home. .Likewise, AstraZeneca, a top competitor, has received a BARDA promise of up to .2 billion for commercializing a product derived from research at the University of Oxford. .However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you do not have symptoms. .You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings. . A divorced spouse can receive Social Security benefits on the account of an ex-wife (or husband) just the same as a surviving widower or widow. To qualify, your marriage must have lasted 10 years or more, and you did not remarry prior to age 60. You can receive a widower's benefit while you delay claiming your own retirement benefit to allow it to grow until age 70. You may claim your own retirement benefit, anytime it is higher than what you receive in survivors benefits up to age 70. .More than 42.4% of people 65 and older had incomes below 200% of poverty under the Supplemental Poverty Measure, compared to 30.4% under the official measure. .In response to the OIG's findings, Representative Sam Johnson (TX-3) – Chair of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee – said: "Overpayments are bad for everyone – they are bad for the beneficiary and they are bad for the taxpayer. With the disability program going broke next year, it is especially troubling that Social Security is failing to protect precious taxpayer dollars."