Immigration Reform Battle Moves Into New Year
Eight new Members of Congress signed on to the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1332) this week, bringing the cosponsor total up to 11If signed into law, the Social Security Fairness Act would repeal the government pension offset (GPO) and the windfall elimination provision (WEP) of the Social Security Act. .Finally, two new cosponsors – Senator Cory Booker (NJ) and Senator Deb Fischer (NE) – signed on to the bipartisan CREATES Act (S. 974), bringing the total up to thirty in the Senate. If adopted, the bill would increase competition in the prescription drug industry by encouraging generic and biosimilar drug manufacturers to introduce their products to the market more quickly. .Rep. Allyson Schwartz's (PA-13) Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act (H.R. 574) also gained support this week. One new cosponsor – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-1) – signed on, bringing the total up to thirty-four. If signed into law, Rep. Schwartz's bill would repeal and replace the SGR, bringing increased stability to the Medicare program for both physicians and beneficiaries. … Continued
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In addition, U.S. Customs may be trying to clamp down on prescription drugs being shipped to American consumers from Canadian pharmacies. Although "reimportation" of prescription drugs from abroad continues to be illegal, Customs and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials have only intermittently seized shipments of Canadian drugs in the past. Canadian mail order pharmacies and drug-buying programs run by senior advocates reported earlier this year that the number of seizures has more than quadrupled recently. .TSCL offers its supporters an unconditional refund of their most recent donation if they are dissatisfied with our position or performance. .TSCL strongly supports The PRIME Act, bipartisan legislation that would prevent the loss of billions in Medicare dollars every year. The PRIME act would make it more difficult to misuse Medicare provider billing information used in prescriber fraud. The legislation also requires the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and law enforcement to take steps to curb the use of stolen physician identities. … Continued
SSA Reports Massive DI Overpayments .However, leaders in the House postponed the vote and the discussion grew complicated after President Obama made a last-minute request to include funding for the training of Syrian rebels in the CR. "This is substantive policy change … Of course I would rather pass a clean, simple CR," said Rep. Mike Rogers (MI-8), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, following the President's request. ."Opting out" of a former employer's coverage on occasion might be able to save you money, but it requires careful cost comparisons and sound guidance. Never make any change without first getting the unbiased advice from a trained Medicare benefits counselor. The service is provided free of charge through your State Health Insurance Program and is available at many local Agencies on Aging. Check your local yellow pages. .TSCL supports these bills enthusiastically, and we were pleased to see support grow for them this week. For more information, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website. .Inflation has been at historic lows in recent years and seniors received a 1.7 percent COLA this year. "For every 0 worth of expenses seniors could afford in 2000, they can afford just today," says study author and Advisor editor Mary Johnson. .The diagnostics are designed to pick up signs that the human immune system has successfully fought the novel infection, a step many scientists believe will confer some measure of immunity. The AMA said given the uncertainties surrounding the tests -- including about their accuracy -- medical and safety decisions should not be made based on those assumptions. .Five years after IPAB's creation, it still has no appointed members and, due to record-low growth in healthcare costs, it hasn't been triggered to make recommendations to Congress yet. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, says she doesn't expect it to be triggered until 201But hundreds of lawmakers have serious concerns about the prospect of the board since it would be comprised of unelected and unaccountable appointees. They are hoping to pass legislation that would do away with it by the end of this year. .The Senior Citizens League was pleased to see support grow for these three bills this week, and we thank the new cosponsors for their support. In the months ahead, we will continue to advocate for the passage of the Social Security Fairness Act, the Social Security 2100 Act, and the Fair COLA for Seniors Act, and we urge Congress to enact them this year. .An extremely low COLA (including the 1.3% that we are forecasting for 2021) could trigger a special provision of law that can cause Part B premiums to spike. That's especially true when combined with the higher than forecast Medicare outlays due to COVID-19, and the need to replenish program reserves.