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From the monthly archives: June 2012

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'June 2012'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.

The Supreme Court Ruling and Seniors - Day Two Follow Up


Here are some highlights of the Supreme Court new coverage and our joint analysis prepared in partnership with the National Senior Citizens Law Center on the rulings impact on seniors. 

Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Care Act – What Does This Mean for Seniors? - National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare and the National Senior Citizens Law Center Analysis

What the Health Care Ruling Means for Medicare – New York Times New Oldage Blog

"This is great news for seniors on Medicare," Paul Nathanson, executive director of the National Senior Citizens Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy group, said in a conference call on Thursday after the Supreme Court issued its ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act.

Because several key provisions involving Medicare kicked in soon after Congress passed the bill in 2010, many beneficiaries won't see big changes in their coverage now. But those improvements could have evaporated had the law been overturned, so the ruling generated sighs of relief among advocacy organizations for older adults.

This means the annual free wellness exam will continue (about 2.2 million people took advantage of it last year, according to AARP), along with the first "Welcome to Medicare" visit, which will remain free, with no out-of-pocket costs.

A number of preventive services, including mammograms, bone scans and depression and diabetes screenings, used to involve deductibles and co-pays; under the Affordable Care Act, they no longer do.

And the gradual closing of the dread "doughnut hole" gap in Part D drug coverage by 2020 will proceed, bolstered by discounts that have already lowered drug costs. "The average Medicare beneficiary will continue to save an average $650 a year," Max Richtman, who leads the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, said in Thursday's teleconference. "That's real money, especially for seniors."

States With Largest Uninsured Populations May Be More Likely to Opt Out of Medicaid - CQ Healthbeat

Max Richman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, said that advocates will do “whatever we can” at the state and local level to persuade states to opt into the expansion. Others were not as sure.

“While we are pleased that the court’s ruling preserves existing Medicaid coverage, we are worried that the low-income people in any state that may reject the Medicaid expansion will bear the costs of that decision,” said Jane Perkins, legal director of the National Health Law Program. “If a state chooses not to participate in the expansion, poor people will suffer.”

Alan Weil, executive director for the National Academy for State Health Policy, declined to predict which states will opt out.“All that’s clear now is that states will have a debate over this issue they thought they didn’t have any choice on,” he said. “But it’s still a very attractive option for states.”A Senate GOP aide agreed with Weil’s assessment. “Congress threw a lot of money at the states in the expansion,” the aide said.“They may still take it.”

Supreme Court Gives America’s Senior Citizens Longer, Healthier Lives - Senior Journal

Helpful in getting senior citizens who oppose Obamacare to take a second look are statements issued today by many well-informed senior advocates.

For seniors the legislation has already put in place lower drug costs, more free preventive health care screening and an annual consultation with a physician to discuss their personal health plan. And, for all Americans it should mean an end to out-of-control increases in medical costs.”

Medicare, Medicaid and the Supreme Court Ruling

Here are just a few photos from our grassroots activists who were at the Supreme Court today’s health care reform ruling…and the craziness that comes with it. It’s an historic day and one America’s seniors in Medicare should celebrate.




We’ve already heralded the preservation of billions of dollars in benefits and countless provisions to cut waste, fraud and abuse that have extended Medicare’s solvency. While we are concerned about the Medicaid restrictions in this ruling, we will now start our work with state legislatures and members of Congress to ensure America doesn’t end up a nation with Red state and Blue state Medicaid programs.  We believe all states should adopt this Medicaid expansion, making them Green states using federal healthcare dollars to build an improved Medicaid system for seniors in need.

If you’d like a better idea of what today’s ruling really means for seniors in Medicare and Medicaid here’s a new analysis prepared by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the National Senior Citizens Law Center .

Court Ruling Means Seniors Can Keep New Medicare Benefits

 Seniors have plenty to celebrate today as the Supreme Court has upheld health care reform and all the benefits it brings to Americans in Medicare. 

“Health care reform is vital for the economic health of our nation and the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  Today’s decision helps move our nation forward while also protecting America’s elderly, poor, sick, and uninsured by preserving billions of dollars in benefits and countless provisions to cut waste, fraud and abuse that extend these programs’ solvency.” Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO
“The Supreme Court’s decision is the most important safety net related decision since the Social Security Act was upheld by the Court in 1937.  It validates Congress’ clear intent to improve seniors’ health and well-being and uphold all of the provisions important to all older adults.”  Paul Nathanson, National Senior Citizens Law Center Executive Director

Virtually every American family will be touched by today’s ruling but here's a reminder of just some of the benefits this ruling preserves for America’s elderly :

·            Seniors will continue to receive prescription drug savings through brand name and generic discounts

·            The Part D prescription drug coverage gap known as the ‘donut hole’ will continue to be phased out

·            Covered annual wellness visits for beneficiaries will continue to be provided in Medicare

·            Seniors will pay less for preventive services. Under the ACA, Medicare will fully cover screenings like mammograms, pap smears, bone mass measurements, depression screening, diabetes screening, HIV screening and obesity screenings

·            8 years has been added to Medicare’s solvency thanks to the Affordable Care Act

Unfortunately, the future of an estimated 3.3 million uninsured young seniors, ages 50-64, who would have received health coverage under Medicaid and many of the 16 million older adults and individuals with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for long-term services and supports, is less certain with this ruling as the Court has limited the government’s ability to penalize states who do not participate in the expansion of Medicaid. That means some states could limit their expansion to seniors. We'll have more details on what the Medicaid ruling really means for seniors nationwide.

Message Delivered - Don't Cut Social Security & Medicare

About 100 senior activists will return to their hometowns from Washington DC tomorrow energized and committed to ensure our political leaders don’t lose sight of the millions of Americans and their families who depend on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.These seniors have spent the past three days at policy briefings, lobbying Congress and ultimately meeting today with White House staff at the Senior Community Leaders Summit.  White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew told the group “Social Security is the most successful government program we’ve had” while Gene Sperling, the Director of the National Economic Council said, “We never looked at Social Security as a way to reduce the deficit.”

In addition to  the White House Q & A five seniors were also given the opportunity to tell their personal stories.  Their words provide some real-life context to a Washington debate that all-too-often focuses on balance sheets and let’s make a deal politics rather than the real-world impact these decisions will have on virtually every American family. At the White House today, Florida’s Carol Berman urged the administration to protect Social Security and Medicare, not cut benefits:

“I lived on the edge of financial disaster for a long time just because my husband needed long-term care.  Social Security and Medicare were the lifelines I needed to come through that very difficult time. They are lifelines future generations will also need and they should be protected and strengthened – not cut or privatized”

Margaret Metzler, from San Jose, is among the millions of America seniors who want to work but can’t find a job.  She says she’s found herself too old to be marketable in this economy yet too young to qualify for Social Security.  She told the White House:

“That’s why I’m so tired of politicians in Washington saying with great conviction that we should all be working longer as if just “saying it” will create jobs for seniors, incentivize employers to hire or retain older workers, and create an American economy ready to handle millions of older workers like me who would need to stay on the job until 69 or 70 to get their full benefits, if the retirement age is raised.  Not to mention, what will this mean to our younger workers if generations of older workers have to remain in their jobs longer?”

Retired Nashua New Hampshire Police Sergeant Fred Robinson summed up how many of these Senior Community leaders feel about Washington proposals to cut benefits or privatize Social Security and Medicare:

“I am a typical American retiree.  I’m not rich or living high on the hog – I’m not looking for benefits for myself at the expense of my children and grandchildren.  In fact, because I care about their futures I won’t sit idly by and watch American’s most successful anti-poverty programs be dismantled through benefit cuts or privatization.” 

As one participant said about today's White House meeting, " I think we got through to them".   Now these seniors will bring that message  home to their communities and to the candidates running for office nationwide.



Seniors Tell Washington -- Don't Cut Social Security & Medicare Benefits

More than 100 older Americans and activists from across the nation have converged on Washington this week to urge Congress and the White House to protect not cut Social Security and Medicare benefits.  Today these senior activists took their personal stories directly to their Members of Congress during a full day of training sessions and Capitol Hill lobbying.

Tomorrow the group will attend the White House Senior Community Leaders Summit on Tuesday, June 26th. We here at the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare sponsored this summit to provide a unique opportunity for participants to share directly with the Administration their personal experiences with and outlook on the Affordable Care Act, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The summit will include policy briefings, panel discussions, and a question and answer session on proposals that would impact these vital federal programs which touch the lives of virtually every American family. The message from America’s seniors today has been clear... Washington should not cut Social Security and Medicare benefits to pay for fiscal failures these programs did not create. 



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