Congressional Corner Its Bigger Than Martin Shkreli
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced earlier this month that the House will soon take up surprise billing legislation. TSCL waits with anticipation on legislation to end surprise billing practices as it is something we support and want to see stopped at the hospital doors. .If signed into law, H.R. 711 would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) – a provision of the Social Security Act that unfairly reduces the earned benefits of millions of public employees by as much as one-half each year. H.R. 711 would establish a new formula for the non-covered earnings of teachers, police officers, and other public servants, and it would modify the WEP for current retirees who are affected by it. .Unfortunately, this has become standard operating procedure in Congress, regardless of who's in power. And even shutting down the government for a period of time is no longer seen to be the drastic action it once was. … Continued
Legislative Update July 2012
We encourage you to tell incumbent Members of Congress who are running for re-election what you expect from the lawmakers who represent you. Outline the changes you support for Social Security and ask the candidates if they are willing to end the tax breaks for the wealthy so that all working Americans can enjoy a more secure retirement. .In 2016 your Part B premium would be 1.80 per month if your family income is under 0,000. (If income is higher beneficiaries pay higher Medicare Part B and Part D premiums.) In addition you will need to decide whether to purchase a Medigap supplement and enroll in a Part D plan for drug coverage, or to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D coverage. .For more than three decades the government has quietly made numerous changes to how the cost of living is defined and measured — asserting that the changes make the CPI more accurate. The general public for the most part is unaware of the changes, and more importantly the financial impact on benefits has never been publically disclosed. … Continued
The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) will be monitoring CR discussions in the Senate in the coming hours and days, and we will post updates on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, we will continue to monitor ongoing budget discussions since they are expected to include plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As was noted in a recent legislation update, repealing the law would impact the Medicare program in several ways. For instance, progress that has been made to close the prescription drug "doughnut hole" would be reversed, and the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund that finances Medicare Part A would lose an important stream of funding that the law created. The Trust Fund could face immediate depletion if eliminated. .GAO found that many individuals do not fully understand that their benefits will continue to grow the longer they wait to collect them. In addition, GAO found that many field offices are not consistently providing the information individuals need to make informed decisions. As a result, many older Americans may begin collecting Social Security benefits earlier than necessary without knowing the financial consequences. .TSCL agrees that lawmakers must take action soon to stabilize the individual health insurance market and to bring down skyrocketing prescription drug prices. In the coming months, our legislative team will continue to monitor and support legislation like the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act (S. 771, H.R. 1776), which would reduce costs and improve care for older Americans. For updates on this bill and others like it, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website or follow TSCL on Twitter. .It remains to be seen how the CR debate will unfold in the coming weeks, but TSCL will monitor it closely since another government shutdown could have serious effects on Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. For updates as the situation develops, visit the Legislative News section of our website. .The news was dominated by the pandemic and the beginning of the vaccination roll-out, the drama over President Trump's veto of the National Defense Authorization Act as well as his threatened veto of the government funding/economic stimulus bill, and his continued attempts to try and overturn the election results. .The Senior Citizens League regularly tracks and estimates the projected annual COLA increase with the release of monthly consumer price index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Inflation data through August are confirming that the COLA will be in the vicinity of 0.2%, forecast by the Social Security Trustees, and that would trigger the "hold harmless" provision," Gibbons says. ."The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry." That was authored by 18th century poet Robert Burns, and served as the inspiration for the title of John Steinbeck's book, Of Mice and Men, but aptly describes the economic situation facing today's seniors. .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. .Sources: "Phone Scammers and ‘Tele-doctors' Charged With Preying On Seniors in Fraud Case," Victoria Knight, NPR Health News, October 7, 201"U.S. Thwarts Medicare Genetic Testing Scam," Associated Press, September 29, 2019.