• Legislative Update For Week Ending June 12 2019

    Generations have watched big-government, socialist systems fail, one after another, in countries experimenting with soviet-style, centralized planning. Medicare-for-all would be no different, leading to longer wait times and lowered standards of care at an unsustainable cost to the American taxpayer. .Medicare Has a Tele-Scam Problem Telephone scammers are bilking Medicare out of billions of dollars, and bombarding millions of older U.S. consumers with multiple daily automated phone calls for everything from "free" back braces to genetic tests. While Medicare scams have been with us for decades, what's new is the use of automated calling technology, and the massive international scale. Medicare Advantage Insurers Overcharged Medicare By Nearly Billion Medicare Advantage plans have overcharged Medicare by almost billion in recent years, but so far officials have only recovered a small fraction of that money. The federal government has announced it is stepping up efforts to recover those funds and TSCL is closely watching to see that it does. .TSCL recently released an analysis of the proposal that estimates the chained CPI would cut the growth in average benefits of ,100 today by ,634 over the course of a 25-year retirement, and that assumes that the economy becomes more stable soon. The reductions in COLA growth compound over time, and are the deepest when seniors are the oldest and sickest. By the time seniors are in their late 80s or 90s, when they are most likely to have chronic health problems, monthly benefits would be about 5 lower using the chained CPI. … Continued

  • Legislative Update September 2012

    Two Bills Gain New Cosponsors .The increased amounts are phased out for incomes over 0,000 for married couples filing jointly and qualifying widows or widowers, 2,500 for heads of household, and ,000 for all other taxpayers. .While more than 47 million citizens of the United States are Medicare beneficiaries, each day 10,000 newly eligible citizens enroll in the Medicare program. And, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund — the fund that pays the Medicare bills — is projected to become exhausted in 202On top of this, the Department of Justice estimates that billion is lost each year from fraud in the Medicare program. … Continued

Critics of mandatory arbitration say the agreements stack the deck against long term care residents and consumers. Unlike civil suits which go to court, arbitration is private, and there's no judge or jury. There are no rules of evidence that arbitrators have to follow under the law, and there's no oversight. Critics also contend that consumers are less likely to win their cases in private arbitration and, if they do win, they tend to get much less money than they would in court. .There is widespread support among older Americans for a benefit boost. TSCL surveys have found that 83% of survey participants think Congress should increase Social Security benefits by about 2% of the average benefit, roughly per month (0) in 202Sixty-two percent of survey participants also favor a more generous annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) by tying the annual inflation adjustment to the Consumer-Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E), and 50% favor enacting a guarantee that COLAs would never be lower than 3%. .Regarding Medicare, the budget blueprint calls for increased means testing for Parts B and D, and it would increase out-of-pocket spending for new beneficiaries by charging them co-payments for home health services, and by adding a surcharge to certain Medigap plans. TSCL fears that these added costs for beneficiaries could result in some unforeseen consequences. .Since he was first elected to Congress in 2010, Congressman Mulvaney – a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus – has been vocal about his support for reforming the Social Security and Medicare programs. In a 2011 interview, he told reporters: "We have to end Medicare as we know it. We have to fix it." He has endorsed several proposals that would privatize the Medicare program by adopting a "premium support" model, and on Tuesday, he endorsed plans to increase means-testing within the program. Both of those proposals are opposed by TSCL since they would result in higher out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries. .Should lawmakers fail to reach an agreement before midnight on Friday, April 28th, a federal government shutdown will occur. TSCL hopes that Congress will avert a shutdown since Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries would see negative impacts if one were to occur. We will be monitoring the negotiations closely in the coming hours and days and will post progress updates on Twitter. .This week, TSCL announced its support for three new bills: the Social Security Safety Dividend Act (H.R. 67), the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act (S. 41, H.R. 242), and the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act (S. 64). .Senate Committee Discusses Drug Costs .Catastrophic Coverage Period: When your total out-of-pocket spending reaches ,350, you hit the catastrophic stage of coverage. Your co-insurance drops to 5% coinsurance or co-pays of .60 generic, .95 brand, whichever is higher. You remain in the Catastrophic coverage period until December 31, 2020. .There are new federal rules that require hospitals to post their pricing information online in order to give patients the information they need to make decisions about their health care. But it turns out that some large hospital systems have been using codes that prevent that information from appearing in online search results.