No Lie Affordable Care Act Not So Affordable
Mr. Kluck and The Senior Citizens League's legislative team met with several congressional offices — including the offices of House Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Phil Roe (TN-1) and House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman John Larson (CT-1) — to discuss goals and strategies for the 116th Congress, which officially began on January 3rd, 2019. .The reserves held in the Social Security Trust Fund are special non-marketable bonds, or I.O.Us — money that the U.S. Treasury owes to the Social Security Trust Fund for revenues borrowed during years since the late 1980's when more payroll taxes were received than needed to pay benefits. "The federal government used those excess funds received in the past for other spending and replaced the funds with I.O.Us," Johnson explains. Since 2010 however, more has been paid out in benefits than revenues received. The reserves held by the Trust Fund are not actual cash revenues but bonds, so the funds that those I.O.U.s represent must be borrowed. Medicare benefits must also be provided for, which has led to major budget clashes in Congress in recent years. .Source: "Audits Of Some Medicare Advantage Plans Reveal Pervasive Overcharging," Fred Schulte, Center For Public Integrity," NPR, August 29, 201"Medicare Advantage: Fundamental Improvements Needed in CMS's Effort to Recover Substantial Amounts of Improper Payments, Government Accountability Office, April 2016. … Continued
Legislative Update October 2018
Overpayments are recovered by several means. If the beneficiary is still alive, the overpayment may be sent back to the Social Security Administration, or the Administration will withhold benefits until the amount is paid in full. Other means include seizing tax refunds, wage garnishments, settlements and civil suits. When beneficiaries can't afford to repay the overpayment, a lesser withholding amount can be requested, or beneficiaries can contact Social Security to set up a monthly installment plan to repay the amount. Those who don't agree that they have been overpaid can appeal. Learn more about overpayments at SocialSecurity.gov. .There are, however, a number of ways that unauthorized workers can, and do, become entitled to benefits based on illegal work (see our "FAHow "Undocumented" Workers Are Becoming Entitled To Social Security" from the May 2012, Volume 17, Number 4 issue of The Social Security & Medicare Advisor. Despite a 2004 law forbidding illegals from claiming Social Security benefits, they are able to do so if at some point their status changes and they receive work authorization — as would happen under an amnesty. With work authorization, noncitizens can file a claim for Social Security benefits. Under current law when determining entitlement for benefits, Social Security uses all earnings for calculating the primary benefit amount, even if the earnings were for unauthorized work using fraudulent documents. All the individual needs to do is to supply evidence of the earnings, such as old W2s, and earnings in the ESF file would be "reinstated" to the account of the claimant. .Genetic testing is not routinely used by doctors to screen for cancer. Here's how the scam works— The "target" (that's anyone close to age 65 and up) might receive automated phone calls, often multiple times a week, or may be approached in-person by a "recruiter." The recruiter, who may present herself as a "certified Medicare counselor," convinces the target to take a genetic test promising that Medicare pays the full cost. The patient, however, often never receives a report, or the report may be incomprehensible. … Continued
According to the president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, "The bill throws a lifeline to caregivers by continuing the pause in the 2% Medicare sequester, and making adjustments to buffer the impact of an ill-conceived change in physician payments during a pandemic." .Members of Congress remained in their home states and districts this week for Tuesday's mid-term elections. They are expected to return to Capitol Hill to begin the "lame duck" session on Wednesday, November 12th, following the Veterans Day holiday. .In coming years, growing program cost pressures could mean that some illegals may benefit from the use of invalid and fraudulent Social Security numbers at the expense of others who worked and paid into the system legally. TSCL's new 2014 Senior Survey found that 87 percent of respondents favor prohibiting payment of Social Security benefits calculated on earnings from unauthorized work by illegal immigrants. TSCL supports legislation that would prohibit earnings under invalid and fraudulent Social Security numbers from use in determining entitlement to Social Security benefits. .The following Members of Congress, among others, will hold town halls this weekend: Sens. Jim Risch (ID), Pat Roberts (KS), Deb Fischer (NE), Tom Coburn (OK), and Charles Grassley (IA), and Reps. Mark Amodei (NV-2), Lou Barletta (PA-11), Dan Benishek (MI-1), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Tim Huelskamp (KS-1), Bill Johnson (OH-6), Derek Kilmer (WA-6), Mark Meadows (NC-11), Markwayne Mullin (OK-2), Kristi Noem (SD), Todd Rokita (IN-4), Keith Rothfus (PA-12), Rob Woodall (GA-7), Joe Barton (TX-6), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Mike Coffman (CO-6), Jim Gerlach (PA-6), Dennis Heck (WA-10), Beto O'Rourke (TX-16), and Mark Takano (CA-41). .The government negotiates prescription drug prices for veterans and Medicaid beneficiaries, but it is barred from negotiating lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, seniors enrolled in Part D often pay much higher prices than other Americans for their prescription drugs. What are you doing to correct this unfair policy? .Sources: 0.3% COLA Announced, The Social Security Administration, October 19, 201"Long Term Impact of Low COLA Growth," Mary Johnson, TSCL, August 31, 2016. .My Husband Had a stroke at 6Would He Qualify For Social Security Disability? .Out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs was the fastest rising expense of retirees from 2000 to 2019, according to a recent study of retiree costs by TSCL. While the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increased Social Security benefits by 50 percent over the period, out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs rose more than five times faster — 253%. .The revenues from taxation of benefits are earmarked for funding Social Security and Medicare benefits. "Those revenues take on new importance in 2020, as the coronavirus takes a significant toll on Social Security and Medicare payroll tax revenues with more than 40 million people out of work," Johnson says.