Medicare Remains Focus Of Attention To Cut Federal Spending
Grassley to Push Hard in the Senate for his Drug Pricing Bill .Both bills were adopted by the Senate earlier this year and by the House two weeks ago. At a signing ceremony on Wednesday, President Trump said: "This is very strong legislation to end these ‘gag clauses' once and for all … Our citizens deserve to know the lowest price available at our pharmacies, and now that's what they'll be getting." .TSCL is calling on Congress to close this loophole, and endorses the "No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act of 2007" (H.R. 736), introduced by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (CA). The legislation would close the loophole by excluding earnings of any wages for unauthorized work. … Continued
Legislative Update Week Ending July 15 2016
The financial impact of six years of low COLAs isn't immediately apparent to the average person, but "It's a big one, " Cates says. A new analysis for TSCL that compared the increases from 2010 through 2015 against the prior 3% average found that, altogether, the benefits of the typical Social Security recipient will be about ,298 lower by the end of 201In 2015 the average monthly Social Security benefit will be about 3 lower, and ,356 less for the year. .When you buy an immediate annuity, you give up control of a hefty lump-sum of your retirement savings and you can't change your mind and get your money back once you buy it. When you and your beneficiary die, no money goes to your heirs. .Federal records and senior advocates indicate that many observation patients who call Medicare about the billing problem are told there is nothing that Medicare can do to help. Hospitals are not required to tell patients they are under observation. Patients only learn they were receiving observation services when the bill arrives. By then it's too late because hospitals and doctors are prohibited from reclassifying observation patients as inpatients once they've been discharged. … Continued
Although Part D plans are given leeway to vary how they structure their plans here is a breakdown of the standard Medicare Part D plan cost sharing in 2020: .Pressure is on Congress and President Obama to reach a deficit reduction agreement to address rising federal debt. Many analysts expect that cutting annual cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) will be a central part to any agreement. That would not only cut the benefits of more than 53 million Social Security recipients, but those of Railroad Retirement recipients, military and federal worker retirees as well. .With the Medicare physician payment "doc fix" scheduled to cease at the end of February, lawmakers remain divided on where the funding will come from to extend the current level of payments to doctors. If the current "doc fix" expires, physicians' reimbursements will be reduced by a 27 percent rate. .Despite increased efforts by SSA, Mr. Bagdoyan emphasized the need for better program evaluation. He said: "SSA has taken some steps to establish an organizational culture and structure conducive to fraud risk management in its disability programs … But it has yet to comprehensively assess these risks or develop a strategic approach to ensure its anti-fraud activities effectively mitigate these risks." .This week, TSCL's legislative team, which is led by former Congressman David Funderburk and Mrs. Betty Funderburk, met with several Members of Congress and their top staff to discuss issues of critical importance to seniors. The following bills, among others, were discussed this week: the Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (CPI-E) Act (H.R. 1030), the CPI for Seniors Act (H.R. 2154), the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1795), the Notch Fairness Act (H.R. 155), the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 2745), and the Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act (H.R. 574). .Senator Richard Shelby (AL) – Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee – told reporters this week that a shutdown is possible. He said: "I'll just say that I don't think it's a good idea to shut the government down, period. But people are going to posture. And it could happen, it's happened before … I don't believe a shutdown's in my interest, the president's interest, the people's interest, either party's interest … But some people look at it differently." .The majority of seniors aged 65 who get Social Security depend on it for at least 50 percent of their income. Average benefits today only total about ,200 a year. .For most retirees the average Social Security benefit of ,100 is their main source of income. But the sluggish economy has made the federal budget deficit, including that of Social Security, balloon more rapidly than expected, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In 2010, for the first time since 1983, annual costs for Social Security exceed annual revenues, and that won't improve very much in coming years. Instead, it will become a persistent problem. .Can You Tell Me How Recent Law Changes Affect RMDs From My 401(k)?