• Notch Bulletin Not Even A Lump Sum Death Benefit

    Since enactment 84 years ago, Social Security has been the most reliable source of retirement income that most retirees have. That said, our current Social Security program has a funding imbalance that's creeping forward. In 2018 the Congressional Budget Office reported that Social Security's total benefit costs exceeded its total income, including (for the first time) the "interest" income on the special obligations bonds, or I.O.U.s that are held by the trust fund. According to the Social Security Trustees, from here forward, Social Security benefits will be financed with a combination of payroll taxes, revenues from the taxation of Social Security income, "interest" income from the special obligation bonds, and net redemptions of those bonds, until the reserves held from the Trust Funds are depleted. .In a statement that was released shortly after the bill's introduction, Sen. Blumenthal stated, "The seniors who spent a lifetime working to make our country stronger deserve peace of mind that their retirement years will not be marked by suffering." TSCL could not agree more, and we look forward to working with Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. Cartwright in the coming months to help build support for their bill, and to help pass it into law. .Direct federally funded community health centers to pass discounts they now get for insulin and EpiPens directly to low-income patients. … Continued

  • Why Isnt There Any Cola Next Year When Medicare Costs Are Spiking

    Check to see if Eliquis is covered by your drug plan and the cost sharing for the tier in which it is listed. Many drug plans have five tiers covering preferred generics, generics, preferred brands, non-preferred brands and specialty drugs. Check to see where Eliquis fits in on these tiers (probably preferred or non-preferred brand). It's not uncommon for insurers to move a drug from preferred brand to non-preferred brand status, causing you to pay more out-of-pocket. For example, your plan in 2019 may have charged a co-pay of for preferred brands, but if Eliquis was moved into a non-preferred tier in 2020 you might have to pay 50% co-insurance or about 5.00. .In addition, the AHCA would repeal a tax created by the ACA that serves as a critical funding stream for Medicare's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund. Cutting the tax would accelerate the insolvency of the Medicare Part A Trust Fund, and in a matter of a few years, it would become exhausted. In a Washington Post opinion piece, former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Andy Slavitt wrote, "That's clearly no accident: The program would wind up right where ‘entitlement hawks' such as House Speaker Paul D Ryan (R-Wis.) want it – in crisis. If this bill became law, the speaker would finally be positioned to change Medicare to a voucher program." .As a country, we need to be ready to fix this problem once our economy recovers by making reforms that strengthen both programs. Once this occurs, more money will flow back into the trust funds to bolster their coffers. To address this issue I introduced H.R. 1517, the Social Security and Medicare Lock-Box Act, which would establish separate surplus accounts for both the Social Security and Medicare Part A trust fund and help protect against anyone in Washington from spending those resources on unrelated projects. Washington may be broken but legislation like H.R. 1517 will help ensure retirees' hard-earned tax dollars are protected and our promise to seniors is kept. … Continued

Legislation passed in 1983 required all Members of Congress to pay into Social Security. That said, like all high-income workers, they only pay Social Security up to the maximum taxable wage, which in 2012 is 0,100. Thus Members of Congress pay no Social Security taxes on the additional ,900 they receive as salary. Since Members of Congress are high-income earners, they are also in line for the maximum tax break due to the payroll tax cut extension. The payroll tax rate has temporarily been cut by 2%, meaning Members of Congress will save ,002 in 2012. .In 1977 Social Security was going bankrupt because of a flawed benefit formula that raised benefits too quickly. That year Congress passed legislation which changed the way benefits were calculated starting with retirees who were born in 1917 and became eligible for benefits in 197The changes were major and the transition between the old and new method of calculating benefits did not work as anticipated. .Policy experts question how patients will make up postponed care (some services can't be made up) and the degree to which delays in getting care will have adverse health consequences. Both of these concerns suggest that another type of surge for hospitals—the aftermath of postponed care — may be coming next. Cutting hospital reimbursements now could potentially limit access to care when Medicare beneficiaries need it the most. .It is times like these when Social Security benefits are increasingly important, when "the best laid plans" are going awry for millions of seniors. As Congress considers changes to the Social Security system, TSCL is urging Congress to make the need for adequate and stable benefits a priority. .Rep. Phil Roe (TN), who served as a witness at the Energy and Commerce hearing, introduced legislation in January to repeal the IPAB. The bill currently has bipartisan support and more than 160 cosponsors. While some, including President Obama and his Fiscal Commission, have proposed strengthening the authority of the IPAB, most at this week's hearings expressed their support for legislation that would eliminate it. .Nutritious food through the Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP). .Following the meeting at the White House, Congressman Welch told reporters: "It simply makes no sense for Medicare to buy wholesale and pay retail prices. As a businessman, President Trump understands that. I hope he helps us enact our legislation to provide urgently needed relief to consumers and taxpayers." In addition, Congressman Cummings said, "We had a productive meeting today … The President committed to reviewing our proposal, and he seemed enthusiastic about the idea." .The CPI-E regularly puts the spending inflation for seniors at two-tenths of a percentage point higher than the rate at which the CPI-W increases. That may seem like an insignificant amount, but over a twenty-five-year retirement, COLAs do compound significantly. We estimate that a senior who filed for Social Security benefits around thirty years ago would have received nearly ,000 more in retirement if the CPI-E had been used to calculate COLAs. .Currently, the funding for Social Security and Medicare programs comes from specific taxes for each program that are levied on the income of every working American. Once collected by the Internal Revenue Service, they pay for current beneficiaries. In years prior to the 2008 recession, more money was collected for Social Security and Medicare than was paid out to seniors. The surpluses were directed to their respective trust funds; however, they were never safeguarded and as result the accounts were raided of cash intended to help our seniors and replaced with Government I.O.U.s.