Legislative Update Week Ending September 12 2014
For information about town hall meetings near you in the final days of the week-long recess, call the local offices of your elected officials. You can find contact information for your Members of Congress right here. .Congressman Bill Pascrell (D- N.J.) was very blunt when he said that all the talk about fixing Social Security is just platitudes. While both sides of the aisle know it needs to be fixed and say they want to fix it, nothing is really being done. .To find contact information for your Members of Congress, to learn about important issues affecting seniors, or to sign a petition to Congress, visit the ACTION CENTER of our website. … Continued
Congressional Corner We Have To Do A Better Job On The Cola
Members of the House and Senate remained in their home states and districts this week as the August recess continued. They are expected to return to Capitol Hill on Monday, September 9th. Until then, many Members of Congress will attend local events and hold town hall meetings. The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) urges its members and supporters to attend town halls in the coming weeks, since they are an excellent opportunity for constituents to voice their concerns and have their most pressing questions answered. .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. .Many expected immigration reform to be a focal point of the President's speech, however, his remarks on the topic were vague and very brief. In one short paragraph, he said, "Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same … So let's get immigration reform done this year." TSCL has some serious concerns about comprehensive immigration reform, since it would further strain the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. We strongly feel that any efforts to reform the system should include loophole-closing legislation that would prevent immigrants from receiving benefits based on a history of illegal work. … Continued
Experts estimate that fraud, waste, and abuse within Medicare costs more than billion each year. What efforts do you support to ramp up prevention? .(Washington, DC) – The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) is calling on Congressional leadership to lift the federal budget debt ceiling and prevent a default on the federal debt — including the debt held by the Social Security Trust Fund. "Congressional inaction on the debt ceiling is a growing concern, " said TSCL in a letter to House and Senate budget leaders. "In prior debates to lift the debt ceiling, Social Security benefits have been used as a bargaining chip, and retirees have seen unexpected benefit cuts," the letter states. .While Ponzi relied on keeping his financing scheme secret, Social Security's financing is well known. The Social Security trustees issue a detailed report every year that outlines the projected financing and outlays and funding problems of the program. .Congress managed to pass a short-term fix to prevent a 19% benefit cut that was due to hit disabled Social Security beneficiaries by the end of this year. The legislation heads off the cut by temporarily transferring some payroll tax revenues over the next three years, expanding measures to better ensure medical eligibility for benefits, and by preventing improper payments due to fraudulent work. The stronger eligibility and anti-fraud provisions are strongly supported by TSCL, incorporating several recommendations that TSCL presented last fall to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. The legislation: .But when hold harmless is triggered more widely than usual, as we expect to be the case in 2021, there is no provision of law with which to finance the unpaid portion of Medicare Part B premium increases of the roughly 43 million who are protected by the provision. In the past, Congress has chosen to allow this cost burden to shift to the 30 percent of beneficiaries who are not held harmless. Because the cost is spread over far fewer people, instead of all beneficiaries, those who are not protected by hold harmless pay a far larger share of the costs, thus the huge Part B premium jumps. .This week, President Obama released his fiscal 2015 budget blueprint. In addition, The Senior Citizens League's (TSCL's) Board of Trustees traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with four lawmakers and their top aides, and TSCL saw . .The Social Security Administration recently announced that the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will raise benefits by 2.8% for 201The average retirement benefit of ,400 will increase by .20 per month, to ,439.20. The Medicare Part B premium increase for 2019 will be 5.50 per month — just .50 per month more than the 4 in 201The COLA, the highest in 7 years, and a low Medicare Part B premium increase, should mean most retirees can finally expect a modest boost in net Social Security benefits. .Social Security Subcommittee Examines Information Technology .This week, House and Senate lawmakers returned to Washington to resume the "lame duck" session of Congress and continued working towards a deal to keep the federal government operating past next Friday. In addition, The Senior Citizens League saw four key bills gain support in the House and Senate.