Social Security Medicare Questions June 2013
On Thursday, lawmakers in the House and Senate advanced a two-week stopgap measure to keep the federal government operating past Friday, December 7th. President Trump had not yet signed it into law at the time of writing this week's legislative update, but he is expected to do so before the midnight deadline. As a result, lawmakers have an extra fourteen days to reach a deal to avoid another government shutdown on December 21st. .On Thursday, TSCL announced its support for the Elder Protection and Abuse Prevention Act (S. 1019 and H.R. 3090). Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT) introduced the bill in the Senate, and Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17) introduced the companion in the House. If signed into law, the bill would expand the federal definition of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It would also incorporate elder abuse prevention trainings, screenings, and reporting protocols into all senior service access points that receive federal funding under the bill. .The other big variable in health care is insuring against the risk of a big tab for long-term care. This is an area where we just don't have very good options right now. The market for private long-term care insurance doesn't function very well -- the cost of coverage has been soaring, and the number of insurance companies in the market has been shrinking. Medicaid is the country's biggest payer for nursing home bills, but you need to spend down to poverty levels to qualify and most often your care choices are limited. The other options are "self-insuring" paying out of pocket if you're very affluent, or if like many older senior Americans, you rely on family members for help. … Continued
Legislative Update For Week Ending November 1 2013 2
Both bills were adopted by the Senate earlier this year and by the House two weeks ago. At a signing ceremony on Wednesday, President Trump said: "This is very strong legislation to end these ‘gag clauses' once and for all … Our citizens deserve to know the lowest price available at our pharmacies, and now that's what they'll be getting." .Both bills are now awaiting the signature of President Donald Trump. He is expected to sign them into law in the very near future. The Senior Citizens League is pleased that lawmakers successfully advanced legislation that will protect the American public from "gag clauses" that result in higher out-of-pocket costs at pharmacies. .Under both measures, the poverty rate increases with age, and was higher for people in relatively poor health. … Continued
However, you don't need to read the 265-page report to understand why Medicare is going broke. Last year, Medicare spent 3 billion, but only took in 6 billion—leaving a billion deficit in just one year. With 10,000 new individuals becoming eligible each day, it's only going to get worse. .The Social Security hold harmless provision prevents reductions in net Social Security benefits, when the dollar amount of an individual's Medicare Part B increase is greater than the dollar amount of their COLA. In 2019, Barbara may finally see a small boost of about per month after the deduction for her Part B premiums. .TSCL is gearing up to fight legislation that would cut the current rate of COLA growth any further. To the contrary seniors need a COLA that more adequately protects the buying power of Social Security, and TSCL supports H.R. 776, the Guaranteed 3% COLA Act, introduced by Representative Eliot Engel (NY-17). Why not take a few minutes now to send your Representative an email explaining how you need a Social Security COLA you can rely on? Be sure to ask your Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 776, the Guaranteed 3% COLA Act. .In addition, one new cosponsor – Rep. John Larson (CT-1) – signed on to the Strengthening Social Security Act (H.R. 3118), bringing the total up fifty-eight. If signed into law, the bill would reform the Social Security program in three ways: it would adjust the benefit formula, resulting in more generous monthly benefits; it would adopt the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E), resulting in more accurate cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs), and it would lift the cap on income subject to the payroll tax. It would extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund responsibly, without cutting benefits for seniors. .On Tuesday, The Senior Citizens League released new data that shows nearly 80 percent of older Americans believe Medicare should cover dental, vision, and hearing services. Under current law, the Medicare program is prohibited from covering these critical services, and many older Americans living on fixed incomes cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for costly care and assistive technologies like eyeglasses or hearing aids. .Members of the Finance Committee seemed receptive to Blum's suggestions on Wednesday, but it remains to be seen whether they will act in the coming months. Thus far, one of the greatest hurdles for lawmakers has been coming up with an offset to cover the cost of the repeal – the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the price tag will be nearly 0 billion over ten years. TSCL is hopeful that lawmakers will repeal and replace the SGR by the end of this year in order to preserve seniors' access to quality medical care. As the discussions evolve over the coming months, we will continue to post updates here in the Legislative News section of our website. .This week, lawmakers released the text of legislation that will comprehensively reform the tax code if adopted, and The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) delivered letters to Capitol Hill outlining three tax-related changes that would strengthen the Social Security program. In addition, TSCL endorsed two new bills that would reduce prescription drug costs, and several key bills gained support. .What cost increases should you keep an eye on in 2015? Prescription drugs! To learn more see "Unprecedented Generic Drug Price Spikes Wreaking Havoc." .Eliminating the tax on Social Security benefits that currently applies to individuals with incomes as low as ,000 and married couples with incomes less than ,000.