Legislative Update Week Ending October 17 2014
As a member of Congress, I have sought to protect Social Security and have advocated for seniors. From writing to President Obama urging him to exclude chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) from his 2015 budget to drafting legislation to help seniors save on tax deductions for medical expenses — I have fought to ensure Congress does not try to balance the budget on the backs of seniors. .We want to begin this week's update by reminding you to seriously consider seeing your health care provider if you have been putting it off because of the pandemic. That is especially true if you have a serious health condition and you need treatment or close monitoring. .We are no longer physically able to work, so we're concerned that current Social Security and Medicare benefits and future COLAs will be cut via D.C. shenanigans and slight-of-hand legislation, thus making our financial situation worse. … Continued
Legislative Update Week Ending April 28 2017
TSCL would like to thank the following for taking time out of their busy schedules to discuss the issues that matter most to our members and supporters: Rep. Paul Cook (CA-8), Rep. John Lewis (GA-5), Justin Lawson (Legislative Assistant for Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA-35)), Claire Cozad (Legislative Assistant for Rep. Paul Cook (CA-8)), Kalina Bakalov (Legislative Assistant for Rep. Tammy Duckworth (IL-8)), and Thomas Dorney (Legislative Assistant for Rep. John Lewis (GA-5)). .First, one new cosponsor – Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) – signed on to the Patient Right to Know Act (S. 2554), bringing the total up to seven. If adopted, this bipartisan bill would ensure that pharmacists are never prohibited from telling patients when their prescriptions would be cheaper out-of-pocket than through their insurance coverage. .The drugs that would be affected by any Trump action are among the costliest taken by Americans. They include innovative therapies for cancer, immune disease and other disorders. The industry says that Part B pharmaceutical spending makes up just 3% of overall Medicare costs. … Continued
Because Medicare doesn't negotiate drug prices, there are huge variations in cost for the same drug between drug plans, and even between pharmacies in the same plan. The difference in drug prices between the lowest and highest costing plans and pharmacies can be in the hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. The high cost of drugs are the single biggest reason that people don't fill a prescription! But the most frequent reason that a drug costs so much more in the highest costing plan is lack of coverage by the drug plan —the drug is not listed on the plan's formulary. Sometimes, the pharmacy is not in the plan's preferred "network", and even preferred pharmacies can have significantly higher costs. For example, the lowest cost plan for Sovaldi, a drug used to treat Hepatitis C, charges ,600 in co-insurance (for a one-year treatment). The highest cost drug plan charges 0,800, the full cost of the drug, because Sovaldi is not on the plan formulary. The lowest cost plan for Advair Diskus, which is used to control and prevent symptoms of pulmonary disease, charges a co-pay of .33 per month from a mail order pharmacy, or the highest cost plan charges 6.62 per month because the drug is not on the plan's formulary. .(Washington, DC) – The Social Security Administration has announced that the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will increase benefits by 2.0 percent for 201While the increase is the highest in five years, it won't be enough to offset dramatically higher Medicare Part B premium increases for millions of beneficiaries, warns The Senior Citizens League. ."The bill has been fiercely opposed by Republicans and the branded pharmaceutical industry, which would likely lose revenue if the bill passed, leading to 40 fewer new drugs coming to the market in the U.S. over the next two decades, according to the CBO estimate. .Finally, one new cosponsor – Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) – signed on to the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1795) this week, bringing the total up to one hundred and fourteen. If signed into law, the bill would repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) – two federal provisions that unfairly reduce the earned Social Security benefits of millions of state and local government employees each year. .Medicaid is the largest payer of long-term support services such as home care for the elderly, but states are not required to participate in the home and community-based program. .How much are you spending on prescription drugs? Please tell us by taking our 2019 Senior Survey. .The Part D initial coverage limit is ,960 this year. "That includes what both the beneficiary and the drug plan must pay, " explains TSCL's Chairman Ed Cates. Once in the doughnut hole, beneficiaries are on the hook for 65% of the cost of generic drugs, or 45% of the cost of brand name drugs. Medicare beneficiaries must spend a total of ,700 out of pocket in drug costs for the year, before catastrophic coverage kicks in. "Even then there's still some additional smaller co-insurance payments," Cates adds. .Their attention will now turn to other important issues, and TSCL will be in the forefront of efforts to make sure the continued viability of Social Security and Medicare are on the top of the lists, as well as the need to lower the costs of prescription drugs. .The following Members of Congress, among others, will hold town halls this week: Sen. Michael Crapo (ID), Sen. Jerry Moran (KS), Sen. Mike Lee (UT), Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-3), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), and Rep. Donna Edwards (MD-4).