• Q A October 2019

    If signed into law, H.R. 242 would require the federal government to negotiate lower drug prices on behalf of Medicare Part D beneficiaries. Currently, Medicare is prohibited from doing so despite the fact that other federal health programs are required to. If adopted, H.R. 242 would go a long way in reducing the costs of lifesaving medications for millions of Part D beneficiaries, and it would result in lower spending on prescription drugs for the Medicare program. .For those planning retirement however, it is the estimated dollar amount in Social Security benefits, not the replacement rate, that what one uses to determine a retirement budget, or how much more one will need to save for retirement. When one retires, it is the actual benefit amount, not the replacement rate that one must live on. One of the most frequent requests for services received by Social Security Administration is for an estimate of benefits. While no promises of benefits are made, millions of estimates are made annually. If the rules are changed abruptly, as they were for those born during the Notch period, this leaves no time to save for the shortfalls in benefits (if they can be foreseen ahead of time). .But a COVID-19 vaccine will have an actual price tag. And given the prevailing business-centric model of American drug pricing, it could well be budget breaking, perhaps making it unavailable to many. … Continued

  • Legislative Update For Week Ending March 7 2014

    This week, Members of Congress returned to Capitol Hill from the month-long summer recess to begin working on legislation that would avert a government shutdown on October 1st – the start of the 2014 fiscal year. Lawmakers have agreed that they would like to pass a stopgap bill to extend funding for federal programs through December 15th. They feel that a temporary measure will grant them the time needed to work out a more substantial fiscal package before the end of this year. .Poor oral health makes serious medical conditions more difficult to treat. Researchers have found links between gum disease and other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory, and Alzheimer's disease. Improved oral care on the other hand, can reduce medical costs in patients with inflammatory diseases, according to research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. To improve health outcomes for beneficiaries and reduce Medicare spending on diabetes and other inflammatory diseases, Medicare needs to cover routine dental care. More than 81% of participants in our 2019 Senior Survey agree. .In places where state officials claimed that in-person inspections have taken place, the reports found no issues in most cases, even as Covid-19 claimed more than 31,000 deaths in nursing homes. Less than 3 percent of the more than 5,700 inspection surveys the federal government released this month had any infection control deficiencies, according to a report on Thursday by the Center for Medicare Advocacy, a nonprofit patient activist group. … Continued

On Tuesday evening, President Obama gave his fifth State of the Union Address before both chambers of Congress. To The Senior Citizens League's (TSCL's) surprise, the sixty-five minute speech included no mention of Social Security or Medicare, but the President did speak briefly about immigration reform and a new retirement savings plan called "myRA." .This week, congressional leaders and President Donald Trump put an end to the partial federal government shutdown by approving a short-term CR that will reopen the government until Friday, February 15th. .A new fraud scheme designed to target seniors appears almost daily. In many cases, seniors have watched their entire life savings disappear in scams that are specifically designed to target their assets. .He announced that he would meet with the drug companies to discuss his plan, but top company executives subsequently refused to meet with him. The drug companies did develop their own proposal but it was rejected by the President. .While President Obama spent much of his speech to the nation discussing economic policies, he did take the time to direct a message to legislators in attendance. The President pleaded that lawmakers send him immigration reform legislation that would enable illegal immigrants to earn their citizenship so he could "sign it right away." President Obama said he is "prepared to make reforms" that would "rein in the long-term costs" of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid programs. .Although Part D plans are given leeway to vary how they structure their plans here is a breakdown of the standard Medicare Part D plan cost sharing in 2020: .Essential Drugs Need to be made in the U.S. .Judge Rules Hospitals Must Disclose Prices .Generic drugs account for 84% of drugs sold nationally, but only 12% of spending.