• Notch Bulletin August 2011 Advisor

    The plan that Simpson and Bowles outlined this week includes 0 billion in federal health care spending cuts, including a number of Medicare modifications like raising the eligibility age, increasing means testing for high earners, and reducing payments to providers. Simpson and Bowles also recommended the adoption of the "chained" CPI for the calculation of Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). The two wrote in a joint statement this week: "This plan begins where the president and the Speaker left off. It's more health care than the Democrats would like, and more revenue that Republicans support. But in our view, it is the minimum size necessary to put the debt on a clear downward path." .This week, four new cosponsors signed on to the bipartisan Equal Treatment of Public Servants Act (H.R. 711), bringing the total up to 11The new cosponsors are Reps. Don Young (AK-1), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), and Erik Paulsen (MN-3). .After a much-anticipated election and an action-packed lame-duck session, the 113th Congress has officially begun and The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) is gearing up for a busy year. Although the November election did not drastically alter the makeup on Capitol Hill, TSCL is expecting many new successes and challenges to arise. With the election finally behind them, lawmakers are able to focus on some of the complex policy issues that sit high on their agendas, like deficit reduction, immigration reform, and comprehensive tax reform. … Continued

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    My husband recently lost his job in a company re-organization. I was getting my healthcare benefits through his employer. He is 64 and I'm 6I'm still working, but coverage through my employer is much higher than we paid previously. Can you explain our options at this point? Neither one of us has started Social Security. .Recently we received the following from one of our readers: .Sen. Barbara Mikulski (MD), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, stated earlier this week, "What I hope to be able to do is keep the government open, to avoid a government shutdown, to do no harm, and to be as boring as possible." The House planned to vote on a package that would simply extend current funding levels through mid-December on Thursday, and the Senate was set on taking it up next week. … Continued

For details, or to see if your Members of Congress will hold town hall meetings over the holiday recess, contact their offices. You can find contact information for all Members of Congress in the ACTION CENTER of our website. .Mid-Term Elections Shift Balance of Power .New Medicare enrollees, higher -income beneficiaries, people age 65 and older who have not started Social Security benefits (about 11% of beneficiaries).[5] .Our legislative team was pleased to see the Protecting Seniors' Access to Medicare Act advance out of the Ways and Means Committee this week, and we will be sure to monitor its progress as it moves to the House floor. Leaders expect it to be taken up during the week of June 15th, and it is expected to pass there with bipartisan support as well. For updates on the status of H.R. 1190, visit the Legislative News section of our website. .TSCL is hopeful that lawmakers will successfully repeal and replace the SGR by the end of this year since doing so would bring increased stability to the Medicare program for both doctors and patients. However, we are opposed to offsets that would reduce Medicare benefits or require seniors to pay more for their health care, and we firmly believe that beneficiaries should not be penalized for the poor policy-making decisions that were made by Congress more than a decade ago. .White House officials and public health leaders said they don't expect a vaccine to be widely available until March or April, which means wearing masks and other non-pharmaceutical measures will likely be the only option to reduce the spread of the virus until the end of February. .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. .A Word of Warning .Finally, one new cosponsor – Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-7) – signed on to Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky's (IL-9) Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act (H.R. 1776). The cosponsor total is now up to seventeen in the House. If adopted, it would take several steps to reduce prescription drug costs. It would require the federal government to negotiate lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries, allow individuals to import prescriptions from Canada, accelerate the closing of the Part D "doughnut hole," and cap monthly out-of-pocket drug expenses at 0, among other things.