Legislative Update Week Ending May 1 2015
People frequently say they are "not ready" to move into a senior living facility, but the thoughtful solo adults who cherish their independence might be convinced that, by making decisions ahead of time when they are still healthy, is how one preserves that autonomy. Waiting until a health crisis could mean winding up where someone else decides she or he needs to be. .If you have questions about your coverage, Medicare beneficiaries can get free one-on-one counseling from State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselors by contacting your local Area Agency on Aging or senior center. The programs go by different names depending on your location, but SHIP contact info can be found at https://www.shiptacenter.org. .Want more information on the 2015 COLA Announcement? Read TSCL's latest press release … Continued
Category Issues Medicare Part D Bills
With many seniors spending 30 or more years living in retirement, a COLA that keeps up with rising costs is essential protection for making retirement savings last, and for preventing seniors from falling into poverty. Yet over the past five years, Social Security benefits have grown on average about 1.4% per year — less than half the average rate of growth in previous years. Recent projections by the Congressional Budget Office for 2015 suggest another low COLA of 1.6% next year. .Originally, Members of Congress planned to quickly debate and approve the CR last week so that they could turn their focus towards the November 4th elections. However, President Obama made a last-minute request to authorize extra military funding for the training of rebels in Syria, and the discussion grew complicated. After much discussion behind closed doors, leaders in the House and Senate agreed to attach an amendment to the CR to provide the military with the necessary funds to complete the training mission. .Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-4) introduced H.R. 1031 on March 7, 201It has since been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on the Budget. … Continued
Members of the House adjourned for a week-long recess on Monday, but budget talks continued for the lawmakers that sit on the bicameral conference committee. While many have reportedly been meeting behind closed doors, Sen. Bernard Sanders (VT) took his message public in a news conference that announced his opposition to including entitlement cuts in a budget package. He said this week, "On these issues, Congress is way out of touch. The American people do not want to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid." .In a normal year the two-week period around Christmas and New Years Day is a slow news period. But, as with so much else, that was not true this year. .Graves can't understand why the pricing is going unchecked by the federal government. "This needs to be investigated," she says. "People who don't have good Part D coverage or the money to pay for their drugs would be forced to go without," she protests. "It's GREED, GREED, GREED!" .Is there an information number for the Veterans Administration? .Finally, one new cosponsor – Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH-3) – signed on to the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1795) this week, bringing the total up to ninety-four. If signed into law, the bill would repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) – two provisions that unfairly reduce the earned Social Security benefits of millions of state and local government employees each year. .Although many older Americans continue to face challenges as they approach retirement, Congress can and should do more to ensure that no retiring American needs to worry about making ends meet. .The following article is from "Kaiser Health News": .Sources: "Miami Actor, Cable Station Founder, Arrested In Medicare Fraud Takedown," Jay Weaver, The Miami Herald, May 14, 2013. .TSCL's all-volunteer Board of Trustees and legislative team look forward to working with both new and veteran lawmakers this year on the issues that matter the most to our members and supporters. We will work tirelessly throughout the 114th Congress to ensure that Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries receive the retirement security they have earned and deserve.