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The Latest News on Social Security and Medicare

Strengthening Social Security & Medicare, Opposing Privatization, Defending Affordable Care Act top NCPSSM’s 2017 Legislative Agenda.


The Senate leadership has taken the first dangerous step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act.  Repeal of the ACA will pull the plug on the 30 million Americans who now depend on it for health care --- not to mention the 57 million seniors and disabled who benefit every day from the ACA’s improvements to Medicare.  


I am writing on behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare to oppose Subsection (o) of Section 3 and Subsection (b) of Section 2 of House Resolution 5, a resolution adopting rules for the House of Representatives for the 115th Congress.


Here we are, eleven years later, facing another existential threat to our health and retirement income security. But this time the threat is worse, the peril more palpable. The millions of workers, retirees, the disabled and their families who depend on Social Security and Medicare have cause for grave concern.  


The first salvo in the War on the Working Class has been fired by House Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-TX).  At the tail end of the lame duck Congress, Rep. Johnson has introduced legislation that would slash earned Social Security benefits.  His Social Security Reform Act of 2016 would irreparably harm the nearly 60 million Americans who currently depend on Social Security as well as future beneficiaries. 


As you move forward from the celebration to the hard work of transition, I would ask you to consider that while many Americans may want our nation’s political structure to change, numerous bi-partisan polls and surveys have shown that Americans do not support changes in vital programs like Social Security and Medicare which target already modest benefits.


Well, that didn’t take long.  Just days after the election and already the GOP has confirmed, what we’ve been warning for months.  Destroying traditional Medicare in favor of a privatized CouponCare system is at the top of the Republican agenda.  In fact, they want it to happen as soon as next year. 


Donald Trump made a lot of promises to the American people during the Presidential campaign.  For seniors, who supported him overwhelmingly, none was more important that his promise “not to touch” middle-class benefits in Social Security and Medicare.  There’s no doubt his political calculus during this campaign accurately tapped in to a core middle-class value.


Rather than focusing on the candidate’s plans for improving Social Security and Medicare’s long-term solvency, strengthening benefits and tackling the retirement crisis looming for millions of workers and retirees, last night’s viewers were stuck with the same old crisis calls that ‘entitlements’ are bankrupting America.


Today’s announcement that there will be a tiny .3%  Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase next year means that 40 million seniors who rely on their Social Security to get by will once again find their expenses outpacing their Social Security benefit.  This continues the trend of historically low cost-of-living adjustments for seniors. Over the past eight years, the current COLA formula has led to average increases of just over 1%, with three of those years seeing no increase at all.  For the average senior, the 2017 COLA will mean an extra $4.00 per month which would barely cover the average cost of one Lipitor pill, a prescription drug frequently prescribed to seniors.  

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Congress: Stop Squeezing the Social Security Administration

We have written extensively in this space about cuts to the Social Security Administration budget negatively impacting customer service for beneficiaries. This week, as Mary Beth Franklin reports in Investment News, the SSA announced that it would stop mailing paper statements to Social Security beneficiaries under 60 “due to serious budget constraints.” Beneficiaries over 60 who do not have an online “My Social Security” account will continue to receive paper statements (for the time being, anyway).

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