Legislative Update Week Ending June 3 2016
Questions have swirled around the accuracy of many of the more than 100 tests available, often imported from around the world by little-known distributors, that were rushed onto the market as the outbreak exploded. U.S. regulators initially allowed them and required little evidence from manufacturers, then subsequently put some requirements in place as criticism of the approach mounted. .Investigate national and community charitable programs and organizations. An excellent guide to Prescription Drug Assistance Programs is available from The American Cancer Society. Even if you don't have cancer, the information is pertinent to all drug assistance programs. For more information call 1-800-ACS-2345 or download the publication at http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/FindingandPayingforTreatment/ManagingInsuranceIssues/PrescriptionDrugAssistancePrograms/index .Survey participants also support making changes to modestly increase benefits by using a senior CPI, the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), to determine the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA), and to provide a boost of about per month. TSCL is meeting with Members of Congress to enact these changes. With 73% of survey participants reporting that their household expenses in 2015 rose by more than a month, while average Social Security benefits are stuck around ,250 due to low or no COLAs, TSCL is making a strong case that older Americans need a raise! … Continued
Legislative Update Week Ending June 24 2016
Obama's new policy for illegal immigrants was recently announced and implemented without Congressional approval. Now questions are growing about the potential for widespread fraud — and with good reason, it seems. Less than two months after the government announced some 800,000 illegal immigrants would qualify for work authorization under the program, immigration policy analysts now say that more than twice that number, nearly 1.8 million, will qualify. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security appears to be accepting a surprisingly wide variety of evidence and supporting documents from applicants, hoping to prove that they qualify to stay in the U.S. and for temporary work authorization. .How Should Congress Strengthen Social Security and Medicare? .The Congressional Budget Office recently released a report noting that Medicare could save 500 billion dollars if the eligibility age was raised from 65 to 6The figure would mean five percent savings, enticing Americans to work longer and causing the size of the labor force and total output of the economy to increase by one percent. According to the report, "Many of the people who lose access to Medicare would pay higher premiums for health insurance, pay more out of pocket for health care, or both." … Continued
Medicare health plans also have new rules about co-pays and co-insurance. Copayments can vary drastically between MA plans, but through 2018, individual plans were required to offer all enrollees in the plan's service area access to the same benefits at the same level of cost - sharing. In 2019, MA plans have the option of imposing tiers for the cost - sharing of contracted providers, as an incentive to encourage enrollees to seek care from specific providers. Plans that utilize tiered cost-sharing must disclose tiered co-pays and co-insurance amounts to enrollees and providers, ensure that services at each tier of cost-sharing are available to all enrollees, and ensure that all enrollees are charged the same amount for the same service from the same provider. .This week, Members of Congress remained in their home states and districts for the month-long August recess. .The Covid-19 pandemic has both heightened the urgency of reining in pharmaceutical costs yet also made it harder for lawmakers to act. Drug makers say limiting their profits could hamper efforts to create a vaccine against the virus, but medicines to treat it come with significant price tags. Gilead Sciences, Inc., set the price for its widely used Remdesivir at ,340 for a five-day treatment. .The Notch Fairness Act, which was introduced by Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-7) in March, would provide compensation to Notch babies, or those born between the years 1917 and 192Just years before they were set to retire, these individuals learned that they would have significantly lower benefits than they originally anticipated. TSCL feels that this is an inequity that was brought about because of the Social Security Act Amendments enacted and signed into law in 1977. .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). .As we have previously written, there is a bill that has passed out of the Senate Finance Committee called the Grassley-Wyden bill but Senator McConnell also refuses to bring that bill to the floor for consideration. The Grassley-Wyden bill is co-sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, Ron Wyden (D-OR). ."The last thing struggling Americans need right now is a secret panel designed to slash their earned benefits and further undermine their economic security," House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said in a statement. "I wholeheartedly object to the TRUST Act and will fight against its nefarious inclusion in any upcoming relief package." .The ,400 stimulus checks will help millions of retirees to cope at a time when Social Security checks don't buy as much due to low COLAs while food and energy costs are climbing. The Senior Citizens League supports boosting Social Security benefits and tying the annual COLA to a consumer price index that more closely reflects the spending patterns of older Americans. To learn more and participate in surveys visit . .The Senior Citizens League endorses legislation introduced by Representative Ted Deutch (FL-22) that would exempt Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from any federal balanced budget requirement. "We believe that a constitutional amendment is not needed to address the problems these programs face," Johnson says. "What we do need is strong program financing to ensure retirement and healthcare benefits for all." What do you think? Take The Senior Citizens League's 2018 Senior Survey at .