Legislative Update For Week Ending June 7 2013
To help older Americans withstand the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide more adequate retirement benefits, The Senior Citizens League supports legislation that would provide a boost in Social Security benefits for all retirees, and would tie annual cost of living adjustments to a more representative seniors' consumer price index, the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). To learn more about efforts to strengthen Social Security benefits, visit . .In addition, two new cosponsors – Congressmen Jim Langevin (RI-2) and Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (MP) – signed on to the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act (H.R. 3302), which was recently introduced by Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22). If adopted, his bill would base the COLA on the CPI-E and cover the cost by removing the Social Security payroll tax cap for high earners. H.R. 3302 now has nine cosponsors in the House. .In the days and weeks ahead, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) will closely monitor the movement of S. Con. Res. 3 since a repeal of the Affordable Care Act will impact older Americans in several ways. For instance, progress that has been made to close the Medicare Part D prescription drug "doughnut hole" will be reversed, and the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund that finances Medicare Part A will lose a critical stream of funding created by the law. Throughout the 115th Congress, TSCL's legislative team will continue to advocate on Capitol Hill for legislation that would reduce any negative impacts on the Medicare program. … Continued
S 20 Social Security Lock Box Act
What is the ,000 Lump-Sum Settlement? .Second, two new cosponsors – Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) and Representative Abby Finkenauer (IA-1) – signed on to the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 860), bringing the total up to 20This bill, if adopted, would comprehensively strengthen and reform the Social Security program. .Members in the House have decided to offset the bill with a five-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate. Those in the Senate have acknowledged that its chances of passing through their chamber are slim. Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, said of the House's approach: "The House passes a law – they're very good at legislation – but it dies in the Senate. The Senate won't even bring it up." Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) has said, "We're going to move forward in our own way." … Continued
TSCL's annual survey of senior costs indicates that Social Security benefits have lost more than 34% of their buying power since 2000 because the current inflation measure, the Consumer Price Index for Workers (CPI-W) doesn't accurately account for the larger share of income that seniors spend on healthcare. .Rep. Paul Ryan said this week that he would also like to consider reforms to the Medicare program at that time. At an event on Monday, he stated, "There are other issues, like Medicare reform-based issues, that we'd like to enter into this to try and help pay for this … Sometimes you find if you have a problem that's small and intractable, if you make it a little bigger it's actually easier to solve, and that's kind of the way we're looking at the full-time doc fix." .To learn more about issues facing Social Security and Medicare, visit our weekly legislative updates, which provide information on upcoming town hall meetings. .Of course, members of the subcommittee also spoke, including the opening remarks of the subcommittee chairman John Larson (D- Conn.). Here are a few of his comments: .The estimate of the COLA is updated every month, with the release of new CPI data, so our COLA estimates can change from month to month during the year. Based on the data through August we estimate that the 2022 COLA will be 6% to 6.1%. The actual COLA for 2022 will be announced October 13, 2021. .Long-term solvency of the Social Security program is essential. In 2010, due largely to the economic downturn and a stagnant recovery, the Social Security Trustees estimated that the trust funds ran a cash deficit of billion and had to begin redeeming the U.S. government bonds held in the trust funds. Although the Social Security Trustees predict the trust funds will remain solvent, and that benefits can be paid in full until 2037, that assumes an unprecedented level of transfers from the general revenues. Leading economists, in the U.S. and worldwide, have said that the level of debt this would require risks undermining the stability of our economy. .There's a heated debate over the extent to which illegal immigrant workers obtain Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Recently the Social Security Office of Inspector General reported that improper Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments (due to errors, fraud and abuse) totaled .5 billion in fiscal year 2009 while improper SSI payments totaled billion. But just how much of that money is going to illegal immigrants seems to be anybody's guess. .A new study by the Journal of the American Medical Association says that the Medicare Part D program could have saved roughly .7 billion in 2017 if doctors and patients had actively opted for generic drugs instead of brand name drugs. .In an ironic twist, the proposal runs counter to Republicans' belief in the free market system and Congressional Republicans have long opposed it, while Democrats, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have long advocated it.