Legislative Update For The Week Ending August 26 2011 Feed
"Even though Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket drug costs are the fastest growing and biggest financial challenge in retirement, that growth is not accounted for in the annual COLA," Johnson says. The consumer price index used to calculate the COLA for retirees reflects the spending pattern of young urban workers, and explicitly excludes people over the age 6But younger workers don't get Medicare, and spend a much lower portion of their incomes on healthcare. .On housing, the President instructed key officials to "consider" whether there should be a ban on evictions. He also insists that state governments pick up the tab for some of the unemployment aid. But there are serious questions about whether states have the finances to pay the additional amount. .One of our purposes in visiting with those offices was to find out why they do not support the bill and to see if there is any hope that some compromise to the bill could be reached. The main reason they do not support the Grassley-Wyden bill is because it has a provision that they believe would, in essence, result in government price-setting of drug prices and would be a first step toward a one-payer (meaning government) health care system. Each office mentioned other bills that they might support but there is not one bill that the Republican majority is currently in favor of and that might have a chance to pass. It was also stated that because this is an election year there is a very short timeline for action to be taken. … Continued
Legislative Update For Week Ending December 9 2011
Shopping for housing after an emergency. Your retirement housing is one of the most important investments you will ever make. It's important to start your search of retirement living options while you or the family member you are helping can optimally participate. Be realistic about care needs. Often families discover that a facility does not offer the level of services that may later be required and need to move again. .(Washington, DC) – Low inflation in recent years may be helping younger workers cut costs at the gas pump, but it isn't translating into lower costs for older and retired Americans, says The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). According to a recent study by TSCL, Social Security beneficiaries have lost 23 percent of their buying power since 2000. And another year of low cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) is in store for 2017, according to a new TSCL analysis of consumer price index (CPI) data through August 2016. .No further information about the bill is available at this point but as soon as it is TSCL will review it to determine whether we will support it. … Continued
The federal government negotiates prescription drug prices for Medicaid and for veterans, but it is barred from negotiating lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, senior citizens enrolled in Part D often pay much higher prices for their prescriptions. What are you doing to correct this unfair policy? .Foster testified before our committee that changes included in the health care law will cut funding for hospitals, skilled nursing homes, diagnostic labs and many other services by more than half the levels under prior law. In addition, future Medicare payments will be considerably below the current relative level. These rates would cause a significant number of providers to leave the market. .According to an article in The Hill, a Washington, D.C., newspaper that covers legislative matters in Congress, it just might happen. .This Part B premium cost - shifting includes shifting those higher costs to state Medicaid budgets that pay the Part B premiums for low-income Medicare beneficiaries — which account for about 19 percent of all Medicare recipients. If this would occur in 2021, this would add yet another fiscal shock to state budgets that are already strained beyond anticipated budgets due to the coronavirus pandemic. .Allowing individuals to import prescription drugs from abroad. Many Medicare beneficiaries spend thousands of dollars every month on lifesaving medications under the Part D program. The bipartisan Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act (S. 61) would allow these individuals import their prescription drugs from approved pharmacies in Canada, where medicines are often half the cost. This critical bill would improve access to affordable medication for older Americans, and it would bring down costs nationwide by increasing competition in the American marketplace. .There are two types of U.S. debt: debt held by the public, like U.S. savings bonds, and debt held by government accounts. The Social Security Trust Fund is the single biggest government account holding U.S. debt, with the federal government owing the Trust Fund about .8 trillion. Since 2010, the program has paid out more in benefits than it receives in cash revenues, requiring the U.S. treasury to borrow to pay the interest due on the non-marketable bonds or I.O.U.s held by the Trust Funds — money that is needed to pay the benefits of current beneficiaries. According to a recent TSCL poll, 95 percent of older voters say that money owed to the Social Security Trust Fund should be repaid in full. ."Higher gasoline and transportation prices in particular are behind the high COLA estimate for 2022, because those expenditures are given greater weight or importance in the consumer price index (CPI) that's used to calculate the COLA. That works to the advantage of retired and disabled beneficiaries for the COLA payable in January of 202That has not been the case for many of the past 12 years when cheap gasoline, and other falling prices dragged down the COLA. Since 2010, COLAs have averaged just 1.4%. Inflation was so low that no COLA was payable at all in 2010, 2011, and 201In 2017 the COLA was almost zero, just 0.3 percentage point. .Eighty percent of the nation's active pharmaceutical ingredients come from overseas — and China is its No. 2 supplier, behind only Canada. .In a letter of support for the bill, Ed Cates – TSCL's Chairman – wrote: "As you know, Social Security beneficiaries today are struggling to keep up with rising costs. Our research shows that seniors have lost over 20 percent of their purchasing power since 2000, and last year, their benefits increased by while their expenses jumped by nearly 0. These are clear signs that the COLA is growing too slowly."