Legislative Update Week Ending June 2 2017
It's also important to note that airplanes' high-powered filtration systems aren't sufficient on their own to prevent outbreaks. If an airline isn't keeping middle seats open or vigilantly enforcing mask use, flying can actually be rather dangerous. Currently, the domestic airlines keeping middle seats open include Delta, Hawaiian, Southwest and JetBlue. .This has led National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Ned Sharpless to worry that the trend of patients and physicians postponing essential cancer care will swap the ongoing pandemic for another public health crisis in the form of increased cancer cases and deaths. An NCI analysis estimated, for instance, that pandemic-related delays in breast and colon cancer diagnoses and treatment could lead to 10,000 more deaths over the next decade. "We're very worried about the consequences of … delaying therapy on our patients," Sharpless said. .The explosive cost of specialty drugs, that offer major treatment advances for people with life-threatening diseases, is not only threatening access to these treatments, but threatens to drain retirement savings, and leave widows and widowers in poverty after the death of a spouse. Unlike Medicare Advantage plans, and health insurance plans covering working-age adults, Medicare Part D has no annual out-of-pocket maximum to protect people with the highest drug costs. … Continued
Update For Week Ending September 11 2021
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. .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. .First, one new cosponsor – Representative Mike Bishop (MI-8) – signed on to the Audiology Patient Choice Act (H.R. 2276), bringing the total up to thirty-three. If adopted, H.R. 2276 would improve Medicare coverage for hearing services that are performed by licensed audiologists. Under current law, audiologists are not recognized as providers of health-related hearing services, and the Medicare program will only reimburse them for their services when patients are referred by physicians or nurse practitioners. … Continued
Social Security and Medicare benefits are paid for through payroll tax deductions from workers and their employers. Even after starting to receive benefits, close to 56 percent of retirees continue to pay into the programs through income taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits. Medicare beneficiaries also pay premiums for Part B doctors and hospital outpatient insurance. Both programs are relied upon by tens of millions of older Americans for income and healthcare benefits. "According to the most recent surveys by The Senior Citizens League the public wants their lawmakers to protect these programs, but not by cutting benefits." Johnson notes. .Our surveys are the key means to educate the public on issues, and for Members of Congress, to gauge how people think. Survey results can turn up the heat during an election year. This month, TSCL launches our annual 2020 Senior Survey, and we urge you to participate. This is our most important survey of the year, and your responses count. .If you have been fully vaccinated: .In addition, one new cosponsor – Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) – signed on to the Strengthening Social Security Act (H.R. 3118). The cosponsor total is now up to thirty-eight. If signed into law, the bill would reform the Social Security program in three ways: it would adjust the benefit formula, resulting in more generous monthly benefits; it would adopt the CPI-E, resulting in more accurate COLAs; and it would lift the cap on income subject to the payroll tax. H.R. 3118 would extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund responsibly, without cutting benefits for seniors. .The President ordered a payroll tax deferral, not a cut, meaning the taxes will not be collected for a while but they will still be due at a later date. However, some observers have suggested that rather than give employees the additional money and then try to collect it back from them at the end of the year, employers will simply hold onto the money so that the employees would never see it in their paychecks. .To learn more about your enrollment deadlines for Medicare visit www.Medicare.gov. .Yet according Sara Zeff Geber, PhD, author of Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, very few childless adults reside in assisted living or continuous care communities today. That's because it's the adult children, who are the primary caregivers, who help make the decision when mom and/or dad needs more care than can be safely provided at home. It's the adult children who assist with the tasks of helping parents shop for the right senior housing, help with the downsizing and moving, and assist with the complicated transaction of selling a parent's home and financing senior housing. .The alternative to this approach is control by a board of unelected bureaucrats known as the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). This board will consist of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats empowered to make decisions about what kind of care people on Medicare can receive. I am greatly concerned that this board is being given way too much authority to determine what benefits are covered and how much physicians are paid. This commission's sole intention will be to determine whether Medicare is spending more than is budgeted and, if so, to offer "fixes" to cut back on Medicare spending that would then be fast-tracked with very little opportunity for Congressional input. President Obama's former Budget Director Peter Orszag called IPAB "the single biggest yielding of power to an independent entity since the creation of the federal reserve." I believe the best way to control costs in Medicare is to increase choice and competition, not cede control of health care decisions to a board of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. .Early this week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it would immediately remove the text requirement from the online account login process. TSCL first voiced concerns about the new security policy two weeks ago, when we learned of the change. Senior policy analyst Jessie Gibbons told Karen Damato of Money: "We're concerned that the abrupt change will cause a lot of confusion and frustration among older Americans, many of whom don't have reliable access to text-enabled cell phones."