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Public Policy: Medicare

The Senate majority leadership intends to schedule a vote on a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution sometime in June. On April 12, by a margin of 233 to 184, the House majority leadership failed to muster the 2/3 vote (290) needed to pass the proposed constitutional amendment.


As I began to write this column, the stock market was in the midst of another sell-off, this time in response to the announced departure of Trump economic adviser Gary Cohn and fears of an impending trade war. The Dow has dropped more than 300 points (or 1.3 %) – and it’s only lunchtime. In February, wage inflation and concerns that the Fed would raise interest rates spooked the market, kicking off a month of volatility not seen since the crash of 2008, when Americans’ retirement funds lost trillions of dollars in value.


H.R. 1625, the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill, favorably responds to a March 14 letter sent by the National Committee to House and Senate Appropriations Committee members urging them to prioritize funding for federal programs and agencies vitally important to older Americans.  H.R. 1625 passed the House on March 22nd and was approved by the Senate and signed into law by the President on March 23rd.  What follows are funding levels for these programs for the remainder of FY 2018.


The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has long advocated for the removal of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) from Medicare cards. Thankfully, legislation calling for this change was enacted in 2015 and is now scheduled to be implemented starting this spring.


On February 12, 2018, President Trump submitted his Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget recommendations to Congress.  This budget would drastically cut programs that benefit America’s oldest — including many vulnerable — citizens.  The President’s spending plan calls for deep reductions to Social Security Disability Insurance, breaking his promise not to touch Social Security.  It also includes cuts in Medicare, another program he promised not to touch.



Strengthening Social Security & Medicare, Opposing Privatization and Defending the Affordable Care Act are some of the issues at the top of NCPSSM’s 2018 Legislative Agenda. 


Congressional deliberations about how to reduce federal Medicare spending, or how to pay for other priorities, include proposals for further means testing Medicare - that is, requiring higher-income beneficiaries to pay more of Medicare's costs.


Tax legislation approved by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017 (P.L. 115-97) will inevitably lead to the unraveling of working and middle-class programs to pay for massive tax cuts for the very wealthy and profitable corporations.  The following is a summary of how the new law will undermine the retirement and health security commitments made to generations of Americans.


Tax legislation approved by the Congress and signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017 (P.L. 115-97) will leave Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security vulnerable to benefit cuts because of its dramatic $1.5 trillion increase in the public debt – an increase that will have to be offset in the future.  

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Seniors Dodge Devastation of Balanced Budget Amendment

The Balanced Budget Amendment introduced by House Republicans went down to defeat Thursday night by a vote of 233-184, falling fall short of the 2/3 majority required to advance the measure to the Senate. The amendment’s demise was a relief for our nation’s seniors, because it threatened the earned benefits they have contributed to during their entire working lives.

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