Legislative Update Week Ending December 1 2017
Recently I got a notice that my bank account was overdrawn. When I checked with the bank, my Social Security direct deposit was never received. I called the local Social Security office and learned that a request in my name was made to switch from my direct deposit account to a prepaid debit card. I never authorized this. How safe are the direct deposits and what can I do to get my money back? .This week, TSCL announced its support for two bills that would prevent a spike in next year's Medicare premiums and deductibles for approximately 30 percent of enrollees. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (OR) introduced the Protecting Medicare Beneficiaries Act (S. 2148) on Wednesday with the support of nine original cosponsors. Rep. Dina Titus (NV-1) introduced similar legislation in the House called the Medicare Premium Fairness Act (H.R. 3696). .However, current benefits, as we will learn today, are inadequate, unfair, and in many cases discriminatory, because of systemic economic inequities. … Continued
H R 456 Consumer Price Index For Elderly Consumers Cpi E Act
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." .Last week TSCL was contacted by the office of Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Wash.) seeking our endorsement of legislation he is introducing titled the "Social Security Stabilization and Enhancement Act." Rep. DeFazio says this bill is a fix for the looming Social Security Trust Fund insolvency. .In addition, since 1992 there has been a significant change to the government's bottom line. For the government fiscal year ending September 30, 2000, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported a surplus of 6 billion- billion of which comes from non Social Security revenues. The CBO estimates the 10-year non-Social Security surplus to be about .1 trillion. … Continued
Cruise passengers who are not fully vaccinated are more likely to get COVID-19, which spreads person-to-person, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships. .However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) refused to bring the bill up in the Senate for debate or a vote. As a result, Congressional leaders have been struggling over the past few weeks to come up with legislation to deal with those issues to help those Americans who have been hurt so badly by the virus and the horrible economy that has resulted. .Conference Committee Announces Compromise .To remedy this problem, TSCL supports Social Security "caregiving credits." These credits would be applied to a worker's Social Security earnings record to make up for years when people took time out of their working careers, and earned little or zero income, because they were caring for children, spouses, or older family members. .Homeowners: Are You Covered For The Next Disaster? Maybe Not .In a statement issued early this week, America's Health Insurance Plans, an advocacy organization for insurers, wrote: "Reports from leading industry analysts show broad consensus that the CMS proposal, if finalized, would result in Medicare Advantage payment cuts of at least 4 percent in 2015 and likely much higher once other changes are factored in." But in a statement of their own, representatives from CMS countered: "The proposed changes for 2015 for Medicare Advantage are smaller than those implemented in 2014 – a year in which CMS expects to exceed its 5 percent enrollment growth projection." They went on to claim that the 2015 MA cut will actually result in lower premiums and better care for seniors. .Fraud, waste and abuse are costing taxpayers and seniors an estimated billion a year, but Medicare fails to recover overpayments about 80 percent of the time. The Inspector General recently said that of the 6,287,546 in overpayments identified through the 30-month period ending March 31, 2009, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported collecting only ,168,50But it gets even worse. The OIG said that it could not verify that the ,168,502 had been collected as reported because CMS did not have an adequate system for documenting overpayment collections. .Given that disabled beneficiaries would receive on average 0,000 prior to transferring to Social Security benefits, even the smallest error in determining eligibility can result in significant overpayments. TSCL believes that the government should make every effort to perform timely continuing disability reviews (CDRs) to ensure that benefits are only paid out to those who are eligible. The Social Security Administration estimates that every spent on medical CDRs yields about in SSA program savings over ten years. Currently the CDR backlog stands at 1.2 million. SSA's goal for FY2013 is 435,000 CDRs based on the current level of funding. .For updates on our efforts, visit the Legislative News section of our website, or our new page on Facebook.