March 2013 Indianapolis Business Journal
This week, The Senior Citizens League was pleased to see support grow for three key bills that would strengthen and protect the Social Security and Medicare programs. .It's important to compare your prescription drug costs based on the drugs you actually take under Part D and Medicare Advantage plans since that expense for most people is their most significant cost, next to premiums. You can compare Medicare Part D drug plans and Medicare Advantage online at www.Medicare.gov by clicking on the link for "find drug and health plans." You can do a general search based on your zip code, and the drugs you input. .Payroll taxes, and the taxes that people pay on a portion of their Social Security benefits, are two major sources of program funding. The Social Security Trust Fund also receives interest payments from the U.S. Treasury for the money that the federal government has borrowed when the program was in surplus. In fact, the … Continued
Category Legislative News Page 56
But New Co-Pay "Tiers" May Raise Some Costs .When he first ran for office, candidate Trump promised he would not make any attempt to cut Social Security or Medicare while he is President. But in an interview this week with CNBC's Joe Kernan, and definitely something we will be keeping a close eye on, President Trump mentioned in a news conference that cutting entitlements (Social Security and Medicare) is not off the table. .Tuesday's hearing made it clear that the Joint Committee has an enormous amount of work to do in a very short amount of time and in a very politically-charged environment. Adding to the pressure, Elmendorf told the Committee Members that if they wish to have their proposal scored by the CBO before voting on it, they'll need to submit it by early November, giving them less than two months to reach a compromise. Despite the tough circumstances, most Members seemed up to the challenge and will to, as one Committee Member put it, "go big, go long, and go smart." … Continued
The Senate-passed bill includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, which experts predict will result in a loss of health insurance coverage for 4 million individuals, many of whom are older Americans who are not yet eligible for Medicare. Those who remain insured through the individual market are expected to see premium increases of 10 percent or more – a hike that would make health insurance unaffordable for many. Most House Republicans have said they support a repeal of the mandate, and it is expected to be included in the final version of the bill. .In the meantime, many Members of Congress will be attending local events and hosting town hall meetings in their home states and districts. The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) encourages its members and supporters to attend these events and to ask questions about their Social Security and Medicare benefits, such as the following … .How Can We Cope With Debt In Retirement? .Should Congress hand over accountability for decisions about Medicare cuts to an unelected board? That's what lawmakers did in 2010 when they passed the Affordable Care Act. The law included a controversial provision to create a Medicare cost-cutting board, known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). .At the hearing, the witnesses explained the intricacies of the prescription drug price-setting process and the drivers of rising costs. Doctor Anderson told the committee members, "Drug pricing is extremely complex … When a company has a monopoly, it sets the price that maximizes its profit and that's not the price that allows all people to get access to the drug." Doctor Howard urged Congress to "create incentives that reward providers who use medicines and technology to deliver care as efficiently as possible, while also empowering patients with the information they need to identify high-quality providers." .(Washington, DC) A new analysis from The Senior Citizens League takes a look at what the Social Security Trust Fund might collect in payroll tax revenues from just a few of the highest paid U.S. workers. "In a sampling of just 20 CEOs from the Fortune top 80 companies, the analysis found that total base salaries and performance pay not currently taxed for Social Security is expected to total 1.5 million in 2018, averaging more than million per CEO sampled," stated Mary Johnson, a Social Security policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. .Most Committee Members seemed to agree with him but as the hearing went on, it became clear just how difficult the task will become under strict time constraints and in a politically-charged environment. Most Members shifted their focus toward reforming the corporate code, since it will likely be more politically feasible. Co-chair Jeb Hensarling (TX) stated, "Fundamental tax reform, even if limited to American businesses, can result in both revenues for economic growth and jobs for the American people." By lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent and by eliminating loopholes, Hensarling said that 2.1 million jobs would be created over ten years. .TSCL agrees that doing away with the payroll tax cap would be a fair and responsible solution to the Social Security program's solvency issues. As the negotiations evolve over the coming months, we will continue to monitor them closely, and we will provide updates here in the Legislative News section of our website. .According to the Center for Public Integrity, one of the nation's oldest nonpartisan investigative news services, home visits have risen sharply at many Medicare Advantage health plans. While visiting nurses and doctors don't offer any treatment during these visits, they do report exam findings to the patient's primary care doctor. Insurers say the free annual physicals offer a new benefit to help certain health plan enrollees stay fit and in their homes as long as possible. But critics, including some Members of Congress, are concerned the visits may be padding Medicare's bill.