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The Latest News on Social Security and Medicare

November is National Caregiver Month.  Caregiving is especially important to women because they disproportionately provide and receive caregiving. It is estimated that 60 percent of all caregivers are women and 65 percent of all care recipients are women.


The 2016 COLA represents the third time in the last six years that benefits have remained flat.  In the 40 years that the COLA has been available for Social Security beneficiaries, 2010, 2011 and 2016 are the only years the benefit has not been increased to preserve the purchasing power of seniors.


On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to endorse your bill, S. 2251, the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act (SAVE Benefits Act).  Your legislation would offer Social Security beneficiaries a one-time emergency benefit payment equal to a 3.9 percent pay raise in response to no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2016.


On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to urge you to cosponsor H. Res. 393, a resolution expressing support for protecting and expanding Social Security while fairly and responsibly securing the program’s long-term future.


At the risk of damning by faint praise, the newly negotiated budget deal certainly could have been a lot worse. The good news is Democrats in Congress and the White House were able to stop a 52% premium increase from hitting millions of seniors in Medicare next year.  They also negotiated a re-allocation (originally blocked by the GOP) for the Social Security disability program that prevents a massive benefit cut in 2016 for Americans with disabilities.  In this current Congressional atmosphere of hostage-taking and never-ending threats to benefits, these victories are significant.


Today’s announcement that there will be no Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase next year, for only the third time in 40 years, means that millions of seniors who rely on their Social Security to get by will once again find their expenses outpacing their Social Security benefit.  For 30% of Medicare beneficiaries, Part B premiums are now projected to increase next year by 52%—up to $159.30 per month from $104.90. This increase will be also accompanied by an increase in the Part B deductible—up to $223 from $147.  


The economic impact of this retirement deficit is far-reaching and could imperil generations of Americans.  That’s why the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, in partnership with the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University, are hosting a thought leadership symposium on the critical issue of Retirement Security.


The undersigned organizations share a commitment to advancing the health and economic security of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. We are writing to urge you to advance a solution to mitigate projected increases to Medicare Part B premiums and the Part B deductible in 2016. According to the 2015 Medicare Trustees Report, Part B premiums will increase by 52%—up to $159.30 per month from $104.90—for 30% of beneficiaries. The trustees also predict that this increase will be accompanied by a hike in the Part B deductible—up to $223 from $147.


This fall, must-pass legislation will provide opportunities for Congress and the President to strengthen and/or harm the economic and health security of over 50 million older Americans.  Before they leave for recess in December, Congress faces bill approval deadlines to avoid a government shutdown, a default, and to extend transportation funding and certain tax breaks. As part of the annual appropriations process, a deal will be sought to mitigate the full return of the “sequester” – automatic across-the-board limitations on defense and non-defense discretionary spending.  Some or all of the bills that must be passed by the end of the year could be combined into a single legislative vehicle if a larger agreement can be made between the President and Congressional leaders.     

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I write to endorse S. 2023, “The Prescription Drug Affordability Act.”  The National Committee thanks you for your leadership in introducing this legislation. This bill offers a comprehensive response to the pressing issue of sharply rising drug costs, which threatens consumer access to affordable medicines and strains the financing of Medicare and Medicaid.

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