Legislative Update November 2010 Advisor Feed
Cost-of-living increases are based on the nation's general rate of inflation, and the prices for the goods and services used to calculate inflation have barely budged. .The proposal is not new. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan supported a similar proposal in the late 1990s. In fact, it's one of a series of technical changes to the CPI recommended by the Boskin Commission in 1996 — which said that the CPI overstates inflation and that the COLA overpays seniors by about 1.1%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics busily instituted a number of those changes from 1995 through 2000 that, by my estimates, have already cut the rate of growth in the CPI and average Social Security benefits, compared to previous CPI measurement methodology by about 5 annually over the past ten years. If Congress were to adopt the chained CPI to calculate COLA starting with the COLA payable in 2012, that would additionally cut the growth in average benefits by about ,429 over the next ten years. .Despite our nation's recent partisan political divisions, two surveys by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) found high levels of consensus on five proposals that would strengthen Social Security and Medicare funding and benefits. The proposals would decrease Medicare out - of - pocket costs on prescription drugs for beneficiaries and provide modestly higher, and more adequate, Social Security benefits. "There are more areas of agreement from retirees of different political persuasions than many might believe," says Mary Johnson, a Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. … Continued
Legislation To Stop Medicare Cuts Passes In Senate
The House of Representatives, on the other hand, did not come back to town and go into session because of the continuing coronavirus emergency. No official date has been set for the return of the House, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they will probably return sometime next week. .TSCL is working to convince Congress to enact a bill that provides an emergency COLA. The organization supports the Seniors and Veterans Emergency (SAVE) Benefits Act (S. 2251, H.R. 4144), which would provide Social Security beneficiaries with a one-time emergency COLA of 3.9 percent. For the average retiree, the emergency COLA would amount to around 0 dollars. To learn more, visit . .The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) will be monitoring CR discussions in the Senate in the coming hours and days, and we will post updates on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, we will continue to monitor ongoing budget discussions since they are expected to include plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. As was noted in a recent legislation update, repealing the law would impact the Medicare program in several ways. For instance, progress that has been made to close the prescription drug "doughnut hole" would be reversed, and the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund that finances Medicare Part A would lose an important stream of funding that the law created. The Trust Fund could face immediate depletion if eliminated. … Continued
The irony is that when Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) because Senate Majority Leader in 2015 he said the Senate must return to "regular order," which means getting its work done in an orderly fashion and on time. .Members of Congress remained in their home states and districts to continue the summer recess this week. They are expected to return to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, September 6th. In the meantime, most Members of Congress will be holding town hall meetings in their home states and districts, presenting constituents with excellent opportunities to have their most pressing questions answered. TSCL encourages its members and supporters to attend these events and to voice their concerns about important Social Security and Medicare issues like inadequate cost-of-living adjustments and skyrocketing prescription drug prices. .This week, TSCL endorsed one new bill sponsored by Congressman Eliot Engel (NY-16) – the Guaranteed 3 Percent COLA for Seniors Act (H.R. 3588). If signed into law, the bill would base Social Security cost-of-living adjustments on an inflation index specifically for seniors, and it would guarantee a minimum increase of 3 percent each year. .What do you think? Should health and drug plans be responsible for removing illegals from Medicare rolls? Take a poll on the TSCL homepage today! .Plan for health changes as you age. What are the chances of developing a chronic condition, like asthma, diabetes or high blood pressure later in life? It's a good idea to set aside a portion of your retirement savings for healthcare emergencies and health changes as you age. One way to figure this is by using the out-of-pocket maximum limits on your health plan and Part D coverage. For example, having an emergency healthcare account of at least ,450 set aside for a senior in reasonable health in 2013 is a smart idea. If you are in a health plan that has a maximum annual out-of-pocket limit, you will want to try to have at least that much set aside every year (that may be about ,700 in 2013, for example). Your Part D out-of-pocket maximum in 2013 is ,750. .Medicare's therapy cap on rehabilitation services, such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, has a long and sordid history in Washington D.C. The therapy cap sought to keep the Medicare budget under control but often hurt patients who need care after traumatic medical events. In practice, this cap limits access to Medicare - covered rehabilitation services. Patients are faced with either footing the bill for additional expensive care out of their own pocket or purchasing additional supplementary coverage if they can afford it. ."UnitedHealth Culls Doctors from Medicare Advantage Plans," Melinda Beck, Wall Street Journal, November 16, 2013. .Financial losses in real estate and retirement accounts of the Great Recession of 2008 have left today's retirees and Baby Boomers with far less home equity and assets to draw from in retirement, even though seniors are living longer. Retirements are spanning 25 and even thirty years, but today's seniors are going into retirement with little savings. A recent Harris poll found that 22 percent of retirees age 65 and older say they have none of their retirement savings left. These people are completely dependent on Social Security and other family members. .According to the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation, the average Medicare Part D plan premium increase for 2016 is likely to be the largest since 200In addition, Medicare Part B premiums will increase more than 16 percent, from 4.90 to 1.80 per month, for about one in three beneficiaries next year, and that's after legislation that reduced the increase.