Issues Prescription Drug Policies Faqs
Finally, one new cosponsor – Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-3) – signed on to the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1795) this week, bringing the total up to ninety-four. If signed into law, the bill would repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) – two provisions that unfairly reduce the earned Social Security benefits of millions of state and local government employees each year. .2014 Annual Survey of Senior Costs, Mary Johnson, The Senior Citizens League, March 2014. .Each year, due to a faulty formula that's used to determine Medicare's reimbursement rates, doctors are threatened with sizable pay cuts. This year, if Congress fails to act, doctors will face a 25 percent cut. Lawmakers consistently override scheduled pay cuts with temporary "fixes," but many doctors have grown tired of the ritual and have stopped treating Medicare patients. The estimated cost of repealing the formula has recently dropped dramatically, and many are hoping to replace it in the coming months. Doing so would provide much-needed stability for Medicare beneficiaries. … Continued
Ask Advisor July 2015
The Neal bill was passed by the Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday of this week. It would ban surprise billing using an arbitration process favored by hospitals and specialty physician groups but opposed by insurers, employers and labor unions. Neal's legislation would send all the disputes that can't be settled between the parties to arbitration but require mediators to consider median contracted rates used by health plans, with the mediators prohibited from considering "usual and customary charges," also known as "billed charges." .Legislation to help state is urgently needed because some of them are already cutting Medicaid. States are required by law to balance their budgets and Medicaid is one of the largest items in the budgets of many states. And of course, cuts to Medicaid hurt some of the most vulnerable seniors as well as others who could not otherwise afford the health care they need. .Two years ago, President Obama bypassed Congress to halt the deportations of almost 5 million unauthorized immigrants. The Supreme Court recently tied on a ruling that allowed a lower court's ruling to stand, barring Obama's executive action. Do you believe President Obama overstepped his constitutional limits? … Continued
After the hearing TSCL contacted Chairman Larson's office to ask why he hasn't reintroduced his Social Security 2100 bill yet and we look forward to hearing from him about this. We have been urging him to do so for weeks now and we hope he will do it now. .Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its warning for cruise travel for the first time since several outbreaks on ships brought the industry to a halt last year. .Do you have a plan to manage aging parents, siblings, or the needs of children or grandchildren? Do family commitments require your time, attention or other resources, including finances? If something were to happen to you, how would that impact other family members? If children or grandchildren come to you asking for loans or childcare, how does that impact your retirement finances and how will you manage that? ."The bill has been fiercely opposed by Republicans and the branded pharmaceutical industry, which would likely lose revenue if the bill passed, leading to 40 fewer new drugs coming to the market in the U.S. over the next two decades, according to the CBO estimate. .In June, the Medicare trustees estimated that Part B premiums will rise only .50 in 2019, from 4 to 5.50. However, according to a recent survey conducted by The Senior Citizens League, roughly 25 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries are currently paying less than 4 per month due to a special "hold harmless" provision of law. Their Part B premium hikes will be much larger than .50, offsetting a larger portion of the 2019 COLA. .The witnesses at this hearing defended a number of payment provisions that may expire if Congress doesn't act soon, including add-on payments for mental health and ambulance services, and hold harmless payments for rural hospitals. When looked at separately the costs of these provisions seem minor, but if each of them were to expire at the end of this year, the federal government would save billion. The potential savings attracted most at the hearing, but Ranking Member Pete Stark (CA) reminded the Subcommittee that many of the provisions "ensure critical access to needy Medicare beneficiaries." .How much are you spending on prescriptions? Be sure to take TSCL's 2019 Senior Survey and let us know. TSCL is working with Members of Congress to enact legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and supports bills that would cap or reduce out-of-pocket spending. .In his opening statement, Dr. Conway said, "This proposal is part of the Administration's broader strategy to encourage better care, smarter spending, and healthier people by paying for what works, unlocking health care data, and finding new ways to coordinate and integrate care to improve quality." .The Social Security Safety Dividend Act (H.R. 67), introduced in the House by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), would give Social Security beneficiaries a 0 payment during years in which no cost-of-living adjustment is payable. If signed into law, it would provide much-needed financial support to older Americans in years like 2016, when there was no COLA. In a letter of endorsement, Art Cooper – TSCL's Chairman – wrote: "Years of record-low COLAs will have a devastating impact on the long-term adequacy of Social Security benefits for more than 59 million beneficiaries … Your bill would go a long way in ensuring the retirement security older Americans have earned and deserve."