2017 Cola Prediction
Many expected immigration reform to be a focal point of the President's speech, however, his remarks on the topic were vague and very brief. In one short paragraph, he said, "Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same … So let's get immigration reform done this year." TSCL has some serious concerns about comprehensive immigration reform, since it would further strain the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. We strongly feel that any efforts to reform the system should include loophole-closing legislation that would prevent immigrants from receiving benefits based on a history of illegal work. .TSCL strongly supports legislation that would provide 70 million Americans with a one-time emergency COLA payment of 3.9% (0). The Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act (S.2251) was introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren, and a companion bill was introduced in the House by Representative Alan Grayson, H.R. 4012. .TREA Senior Citizens League (TSCL) was formed in 1993 to protect "earned" Social Security and Medicare benefits. Many TSCL members are affected by the Notch, and rank Notch Reform as their top legislative priority. TSCL is the only national senior citizens action organization to continue to lobby for Notch Reform. To date, TSCL has 1.3 million members and supporters who participate in a number of grassroots lobbying and public education campaigns. … Continued
H R 3588 Guaranteed 3 Cola Act
GOP offers Super-Committee concession while seniors see increased poverty levels. .Gather your medical expense records from the past year to three years, if you have them. Organization of these records not only helps you figure out your household budget, but keeping it all in one place helps you compile the amount to claim as medical expenses at tax time. Since expenses vary so much with your health, going back three years can help you get a better idea of average annual cost. .Of the more than 1,200 people who participated, 766 sent in comments. Most described their personal challenges in meeting their healthcare expenses. In what may be a sign of the times, a surprising number indicated they are working far longer than they ever thought they would, even into their late 70's and 80's, because they don't have enough to live on after paying their healthcare costs. Even seniors who do have good Medicare supplemental and drug coverage described how they keep costs in check by asking their doctor to prescribe generics, filling prescriptions for 90 days, splitting pills, and sticking to preferred pharmacies. … Continued
Social Security recipients will receive the highest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 5 years, effective January 1st. The Social Security Administration recently announced a COLA of 2%. While the boost is critically needed for almost 61.5 million beneficiaries to maintain their purchasing power, the 2% COLA extends a disturbing 8-year pattern of low COLAs that have been far below the 4% average established in the decade prior to 2010 and the Great Recession. .Britain, France, and Italy generally have the lowest prescription drug prices, while Canada, Germany and Japan tend to have higher prices, the data showed. .This week, House Republicans revived the AHCA after lawmakers affiliated with the Freedom Caucus endorsed a new version of it. A new amendment put forth by Congressman Tom MacArthur (NJ-3) would allow states to opt out of the ACA's essential health benefits mandate and allow them to do away with a provision that prevents insurers from charging sick individuals more for their coverage. .The sharp drop in benefits was unexpectedly steep and unduly harsh for those born from 1917 through 192According to economist Haldi, the decline in average benefit payments "was a highly unusual phenomenon, because benefits normally would be expected to increase slightly from one year to the next for people similarly situated. (7)" .Second, six new cosponsors signed on to the Standardizing Electronic Prior Authorization for Safe Prescribing Act (H.R. 4841), bringing the total up to twenty-six cosponsors. The new cosponsors are: Representative Adam Schiff (CA-28), Representative Joe Kennedy (MA-4), Representative Greg Walden (OR-2), Representative Kevin Kramer (ND-1), Representative Dan Webster (FL-11), and Representative Don Bacon (NE-2). If adopted, H.R. 4841 would allow for and standardize electronic prior authorization for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. .The measure's inclusion in the stimulus is likely to be a point of contention between Republicans and Democrats as they work to hash out a compromise this week that will address state and local funding, money for schools and extending expiring unemployment payments. .Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Ky.) came under attack for criticizing state aid and suggesting some declare bankruptcy. He subsequently said he would consider such relief but not to address problems pre-dating the coronavirus crisis. McConnell insists that the next bill must contain language limiting liability for businesses as the economy reopens. .In the weeks ahead, The Senior Citizens League will continue to advocate tirelessly for the adoption of the CPI-E Act (H.R. 1251). We will also be keeping a close eye on the 2019 Social Security COLA announcement that is set to occur next Thursday, on October 11th. For updates, follow TSCL on Twitter or visit the Legislative News section of our website. .The calculation of the COLA is based on the percentage of difference in the average third quarter change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Clerical Workers and Wage Earners (CPI-W) from one year to the next. In late August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina knocked out petroleum production, causing gasoline and other consumer prices to surge in September. The CPI-W shot up an astonishing 1.5 percent between August and September of that year. But since Katrina, the CPI-W has increased .042 percent on average from August to September. "Even if costs were to rise as much as they did after Katrina, the COLA for 2018 would still be about 2 percent," Johnson says.