Legislative Update For Week Ending February 22 2019
Senator Richard Shelby (AL) – Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee – told reporters this week that a shutdown is possible. He said: "I'll just say that I don't think it's a good idea to shut the government down, period. But people are going to posture. And it could happen, it's happened before … I don't believe a shutdown's in my interest, the president's interest, the people's interest, either party's interest … But some people look at it differently." .The CPI-W gives less weight to medical care and housing costs — two categories that have climbed by more than 7 percent and almost 5 percent, respectively, over the past 12 months — and more weight to gasoline, which has deeply plunged over the past year. Older Americans tend to use more medical services and spend more of their budgets on housing than younger workers. Because the CPI-W excludes the spending patterns of people over the age of 62, it does not include things like rising Medicare premiums, which are one of the fastest growing costs in retirement. .TSCL has been concerned that the coronavirus pandemic could accelerate the impending insolvency of the Medicare Trust Fund. With record numbers of Americans out of work, fewer payroll taxes are coming in to fund Medicare spending. At the same time, the number of beneficiaries is rising and, earlier this year, Congress accessed Medicare's reserves to fund COVID-19 relief efforts. … Continued
2014 Legislative Update For Week Ending March 14 2014
The Senate was not in session and is scheduled to return on January 25th. .The SSA and the AARP say, however, the Notch affects only those born during the five-year period of 1917 through 192Those born during that period were covered by a special transitional benefit formula, the purpose of which was to provide a 5-year phase-in for the new 1977 benefit formula. .To date the government has no comprehensive estimate of the costs of such policies on the Social Security Trust Fund, or the cost of benefits based on illegal work. Nevertheless, Congress is studying a number of changes to Social Security that would cut the benefits of both future and current U.S. senior citizen beneficiaries who worked and paid into Social Security legally. … Continued
New research, however, suggests that Medigap substantially increases Medicare spending, because seniors with the policies are insulated from costs. Those with polices tend to receive more medical care than people who are required to pay some or all of the costs of their care out-of-pocket. According to the CBO, a 2010 study found that Medicare beneficiaries responded to increases in their cost sharing by reducing visits to physicians and use of prescription drugs. "Making seniors pay higher initial Medigap cost-sharing affects both senior budgets, and senior health — especially if seniors forego necessary care," Cates notes. .But bigger deficit reduction would be possible if Social Security taxes were made more equitable. Under current law, high-income earners — people with earnings higher than Social Security's taxable maximum of 7,000— pay nothing on earnings over that amount. In other words, someone earning ,117,000 pays no Social Security taxes on the one million above 7,000. Yet workers earning less than 7,000 pay Social Security taxes on every dime of their wages. The CBO estimates that simply raising the taxable maximum to 7,500 would bring in 0 billion in new Social Security revenues through 202Taxing all earnings would eliminate up to 90 percent of Social Security's funding problems. .The Social Security Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing to discuss the problems facing seniors and the vital roll Social Security plays in the well-being of America's seniors. .However, taking this action would cause at least two difficulties for the President. Signing legislation to reduce Medicare spending on the drugs would generate official budget savings that Congress could have applied to other health-care legislation -- bills to expand insurance coverage or reduce other drug spending, for example. Executive action taken before a bill's passage would remove a key bargaining chip, and likely reduce the scope of a health-care bill expected in the coming months. .More than 50% of older households surveyed by the National Institute on Aging say that they have at least one adult child living within 10 miles. But retirement housing and care plans can go awry when an adult child needs to relocate — most often because of a job. .TSCL is working to convince Congress to enact a bill that provides an emergency COLA. The organization supports the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act (S. 2251, H.R. 4144), which would provide Social Security beneficiaries with a one-time emergency COLA of 3.9 percent. For the average retiree, the emergency COLA would amount to around 0 dollars. To learn more, visit . .Benefit Bulletin: September 2021 Most Look Forward to Boost; Low-Income Retirees Worry Benefits Could be Trimmed .Because of the advanced ages of Notch Babies, the cost of correcting the Notch is falling every day. TSCL estimates (in 2006) that the cost of Notch Reform would be about billion, or slightly less than .75 billion per year over the next four years. The billion could be financed without taking additional money from the Social Security Trust Fund. This could be done through cutting wasteful pork barrel spending and reducing fraud and abuse in government programs. In fiscal year 2006 alone, lawmakers spent about billion in pork-barrel projects (8). That doesn't include what the government lost to improper payments, fraud, and abuse. The Government Accountability Office estimated that for fiscal year 2005 government agencies improperly spent more than billion (9). .TSCL continues to work with Members of Congress for stronger protections of Social Security. TSCL supports legislation that would ban the payment of benefits based on illegal work — H.R. 787, "No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act," introduced by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (CA-46), and S.95, legislation to prevent Social Security credit from being earned without legal status, introduced by Senator David Vitter (LA).