• Majority Of Retirees Say Cola Should Be Top Priority For Congress

    Officials in Canada said at that time that this would not be an effective approach to reducing drug prices in the U.S. since the Canadian market is small, representing only 2% of global pharmaceutical sales, compared to 44% south of the border. .When it comes to generic drugs, a "substantial portion" of U.S. imports come either directly from China or third countries such as India, which use active ingredients sourced from China. .This week, lawmakers in the House adjourned for a week-long recess, while those in the Senate heard from Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who was recently nominated by President Obama to serve as the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Meanwhile, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) saw . … Continued

  • Legislative Update Week Ending June 17 2016

    In the weeks ahead, TSCL will keep a close eye on the issue, and we will advocate for solutions that will improve access without jeopardizing online security. For progress updates, visit the Legislative News section of our website or follow us on Twitter. .In addition, the agreements allow workers who split their careers in two or more nations to combine or "totalize" work credits from both countries. That allows them to become eligible for retirement benefits proportional to the amount of credits earned in either country. Although the U.S. has 24 such totalization agreements, most are with countries like the U.K. and Canada that have economies similar to ours. At issue in totalization with Mexico is whether millions of immigrants who have worked in this country without legal work authorization, along with their family dependents, would become eligible for U.S. Social Security benefits under the agreement. .At the time of writing this week's update, the House had not yet voted on the measure, but its passage is expected in that chamber by Friday. The committees of jurisdiction will then begin working on legislation to repeal the health care law. Through the budget reconciliation process, the Affordable Care Act is expected to be repealed by as early as February, and lawmakers hope to have a replacement plan signed into law soon after. … Continued

One of the options to address Social Security that appears to have widespread support is increasing the Social Security retirement age. Raising the age at which people would be eligible for unreduced Social Security benefits has been discussed by policy "wonks" for years, but has largely remained out of the discussion with the general public. However, this summer two high-ranking Members of Congress spotlighted the topic in a rare public airing that was discussed in the media and the general public. Within a week of each other, Rep. John Boehner (OH-8), the House Minority Leader, and Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD-5), the House Majority Leader, both advocated raising the Social Security retirement age. .We are no longer physically able to work, so we're concerned that current Social Security and Medicare benefits and future COLAs will be cut via D.C. shenanigans and slight-of-hand legislation, thus making our financial situation worse. .The FAIR Social Security Act (H.R. 1984), introduced by Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-4). This bill would make COLAs more accurate by basing them on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). In a letter to his colleagues in Congress, Rep. DeFazio wrote: "Defying all common sense, COLAs are currently calculated based on the cost of goods that aren't purchased in large numbers by seniors … Social Security COLAs should be based on accuracy, not austerity." According to his office, adopting the CPI-E would amount to a monthly benefit increase at the age of 80 for the average retiree, and an increase of per month at the age of 90. .Is the annual amount of coverage capped? Dental plans often cover only a certain amount of dental services, up to a cap such as 0 to ,500 per year. The cost of preventive services such as cleanings and X-rays is generally not subtracted from the maximum, but it's important that you find out. If you think you will be needing pricey services soon, then look for the plan that offers the highest amount of coverage at the lowest cost. .Immigration Reform .Medicare and many state Medicaid programs are in the process of transitioning to value-based medicine that would change the way government healthcare programs pay for care. Doctors and healthcare providers are given incentives to improve health and to reduce the incidence of chronic disease — in order to lower spending on healthcare and provide better care at a lower cost. There's emphasis on giving providers single payments for a "bundle of services" instead of paying for each service, checkup or X-ray. This reimbursement system differs from traditional fee-for-service Medicare, as well as Medicare Advantage plans' "capitated" payments, in which providers are paid more for sick patients, regardless of health outcomes. .This week, CMS announced that its cuts to the Medicare Advantage program will total 1.9 percent next year, which is significantly lower than most analysts expected. However, the amount has not been finalized yet, and some say that the figure fails to consider all factors that will affect reimbursements. They expect to see a final rate in the range of 4 to 7 percent. .That is why a bipartisan coalition in the House recently proposed two new bills to prevent "price gouging" for "taxpayer funded COVID-19 drugs" to ensure affordable pricing. .For more information, or to see if your Members of Congress have scheduled town halls before the November elections, call their local offices.