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The Latest News on Social Security and Medicare

This year’s projections come as no surprise to anyone who understands how Social Security and Medicare work. In fact, historically, the solvency date for the Social Security Trust Fund has fluctuated from a depletion date as distant as 2048 in the 1988 report to as soon as 2029 predicted in 1994 and 1997. On Medicare, each year since passage of the Affordable Care Act, the Trustees have reported the program’s improving solvency, this year adding an additional four years until 2030.  We should build on that success and continue reducing the high cost of health care system-wide, not just in Medicare.

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I want to thank Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Hatch for holding this hearing entitled “Social Security: A Fresh Look at Workers’ Disability Insurance.”

In yet another in an endless string of commission proposals, H.R. 4786, the “Social Security Commission Act of 2014,” introduced by Representatives John Delaney (D-MD) and Tom Cole (R-OK) targets Social Security for “reform.” This time, the task would be delegated to a “Commission on Long Term Solvency,” made up of 13 members appointed variously by the President and the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Today’s Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn could have devastating effects on America’s home health system by driving down already low wages and reducing the basic rights of workers in one of our nation’s fastest growing job sectors – home health services. 

One year ago tomorrow, the Supreme Court issued its landmark Windsor ruling in the Defense of Marriage Act providing benefits to legally married same-sex married couples.  Since then, federal agencies such as the Social Security Administration have been working to define benefits eligibility for millions of Americans. 

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to express our support for your bill, the “Seniors Access to Social Security Act of 2014,” which directs the Commissioner of Social Security to continue to make Social Security number (SSN) printouts and benefit verification letters available at the agency’s local field offices for at least an additional year.

The National Committee is committed to protecting and improving Social Security.  Social Security is a program that touches the lives of virtually all Americans.  More than many other federal programs, Social Security does exactly what it was designed to do by providing basic income protection to 38 million retired people, 9 million people with disabilities, as well as to 6.2 million widows, widowers and the surviving children of deceased workers. 

Each year, Americans for Democratic Action, the organization co-founded by Eleanor Roosevelt to keep FDR’s New Deal dream alive, honors their former counsel Winn Newman with an award in his name. The Winn Newman Equality award honors those who, like Winn, are fighting for equality in America.  The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare’s President, Max Richtman, has been chosen as the 2014 Winn Newman honoree. 

Each year 58 million Americans use the purchasing power of their Social Security benefits to pump billions of dollars into their local businesses and state economies. Families spend $816 billion in Social Security benefits nationwide each year.  When Americans use the purchasing power of those benefits, they are supporting local businesses and state economies with billions of dollars they simply wouldn’t have without Social Security.   State and local lawmakers who value Social Security’s economic impact are joining the national movement to Boost Social Security Now.

The Older Americans Act helps millions of American families each year thru a variety of programs. It’s critical that Congress reauthorize this vital program.
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