Legislative Update Week Ending August 12 2016
This week, one new cosponsor, Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (PA-8) signed on to the Public Servant Retirement Protection Act (H.R. 2797), bringing the cosponsor total up to eight. If signed into law, H.R. 2797 would repeal the windfall elimination provision (WEP) from the Social Security Act and establish a new formula for equalizing benefits for those with non-covered earnings. TSCL is very supportive of the Public Servant Retirement Protection Act since it would go a long way in granting dedicated public servants the retirement security they deserve. We were pleased to see one new cosponsor sign on this week, and we hope that support continues to grow in the coming months. .Sources: "The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2016," U.S. Census Bureau, September 201"How Many Seniors Are Living in Poverty? National and State Estimates Under the Official and Supplement Poverty Measures in 2016," Kaiser Family Foundation, March 2, 2018. .Get an annual check up. Case in point: I recently helped a senior who hadn't seen a doctor in years, despite being a smoker. It took some urging, but she finally got a physical. She was shocked to learn that her blood pressure was high — dangerously so — and wound up driving straight to the pharmacy with a prescription for blood pressure medication. Visits to the doctor are far less expensive when you get there under your own steam rather than via an ambulance gurney. Starting this year, Medicare covers a yearly annual "wellness" exam and you pay nothing, if your doctor "accepts assignment" or the amount Medicare pays for the service. Do this before I have to nag you, too. … Continued
Hospitals Told To Stop Hiding Their Prices From Patients
The federal government could, for example, invoke a never-before-used power called "march-in rights," through which it can override a patent holder's rights if it doesn't make its medicines "available to the public on reasonable terms." (Unfortunately, in already-signed agreements with BARDA, some drug makers have explicitly watered down or eliminated that proviso.) .Rather than working on bipartisan legislation to solve the rural healthcare crisis, many of my colleagues have instead chosen the fantasy of "free" healthcare for all. In reality, "Medicare-for-all," as they call it – would put more than 1,000 rural U.S. hospitals in 46 states "at high risk of closure" among other devastating consequences, according to experts. .At Wednesday's hearing, Charles Jeszeck – Director of Education, Workforce, and Income Security at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) – unveiled the findings of a study requested by the Aging Committee's leaders back in March of 201The study examined the extent to which older Americans understand the rules that impact their future benefits when making claiming decisions, and the quality of the information provided by the agency and its field offices around the country. … Continued
Lawmakers at Wednesday's Budget Committee hearing discussed potential solutions to the solvency challenge, including the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 860), introduced by Congressman John Larson (CT-1) and cosponsored by more than 200 House lawmakers. Congressman Larson, who testified before the committee members on Wednesday, outlined his Social Security reform proposal in detail. .A study by the Health Care Cost Institute found that people receiving observation and other outpatient services in the hospital paid four times more out-of-pocket than inpatients in 2012— an average of per inpatient versus 9 for outpatients. Under Medicare, outpatients usually have co-payments or co-insurance for each service from doctors, test, prescription drug, and other hospital services. .(Photo: iStockphoto) .TSCL enthusiastically supports the five bills listed above and we were pleased to see support grow for them on Capitol Hill this week. For more information, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website. To thank your representative for becoming a cosponsor or to request their support for legislation, visit our "Contact Congress" page. .In 2017, there was a tiny 0.3% COLA and raising Sally's benefit from ,000 to ,00But in 2017 the Medicare Part B premium took a stiff jump to Once again, because the COLA was so low, Sally's share of the Medicare premium was adjusted downward so that her Social Security benefit would not be reduced. However, virtually all of her .00 per month COLA was put toward the increased Part B premium, and today Sally pays a monthly Part B premium of 7.90. .I know from meeting with friends and neighbors across my district that Americans are ready for the truth. They are ready for solutions. And they are ready for leadership. We must not be afraid to speak – and act – boldly on their behalf. .According to a report in BGov News, "… younger seniors have shown a greater appetite for vaccines than their older peers. Initially, the opposite was true, as governments sent inoculation teams into nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Recently, the numbers have flipped, adding support to the idea that some elderly residents -- especially those outside structured-living arrangements -- are simply having trouble navigating the system." ."Social Security benefits simply are not adequate when people with a Social Security benefit of even as much as ,288 per month are at risk of having their entire COLA used to cover rising Part B premiums," says Mary Johnson, Social Security and Medicare policy analyst for The Senior Citizens League. "That is what happened in 2018, and that left nothing to cover all other rising household costs," Johnson explains. ."The response we received from our supporters voicing their concerns through our petitions was extraordinary," said TSCL Executive Director Shannon Benton. "That message was loud and clear: Congress couldn't help but feel the fighting spirit and resolve of our supporters across the country."