Loading...
Blog2019-11-06T16:57:30-04:00
212, 2022

The Warnock-Walker Runoff Isn’t Just About the Size of the Democrats’ Senate Majority

By |December 2nd, 2022|Election 2022, GOP, Medicare, Senate, Social Insurance|

(photo from www.warnockforgeorgia.com)

While it’s true that a runoff win by Senator Raphael Warnock would give the Democrats a 51-50 majority, there is more at stake for voters – especially seniors.  They need Senator Warnock to remain in the Senate to fight for their vital Social Security and Medicare benefits – and to continue advocating for lower prescription drug prices.  That’s why the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has endorsed Rev. Warnock for re-election as a “champion for seniors.”

He proved this during his first two years in office. Senator Warnock introduced legislation to cap seniors’ out-of-pocket drugs costs at $2,000 per year and limit insulin costs to $35 a month.  Both provisions became part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which became law in late summer. He has been a fierce advocate for expanding Medicaid in Georgia, one of the holdout states that has refused to implement coverage for lower-income workers. Expanding Medicaid improves health outcomes for everyone – especially communities of color.

Mindful of the need to boost seniors’ benefits and put Social Security on a sound financial path, Senator Warnock cosponsored the Social Security Expansion Act. During the fall campaign, he pledged to fight GOP efforts to privatize seniors’ earned benefits. Senator Warnock is – and will continue to be – a key defender of Social Security and Medicare.

Perhaps at no other time since the Great Depression have seniors’ earned benefits been so crucial. The pandemic took a heavy toll on seniors – both physically and financially. Before and during this crisis, Social Security and Medicare have functioned as social insurance lifelines, which is, of course, their original purpose.

Without Social Security, the poverty rate in Georgia would be a whopping 44%.  For Black and Latino seniors – who are especially reliant on Social Security for income – the poverty rate would approach or exceed 50% without their earned benefits.

Despite the crucial role that Medicare and Social Security play in seniors’ lives, Republicans insist that both programs must be “reformed” – which really means cut and privatized.  High-profile members of Herschel Walker’s party, including Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) have proposed subjecting seniors’ earned benefits to an up or down vote every five years and placing both programs at the mercy of annual budget battles. Herschel Walker campaigned with Sen. Scott in October and would be a rubber stamp for any GOP plans to undermine Social Security and Medicare.

Sen. Rick Scott (L) and Herschel Walker (R)

Republicans have been crystal clear about their intentions. The House Republican Study Committee’s 2022 budget blueprint called for raising the retirement age to 70 (a huge benefit cut), reducing COLAs, and cutting benefits for “high earners,” an odd characterization since the cuts eventually could extend to workers earning $40,000 per year.

Seniors have suffered enough during the pandemic and post-pandemic economy. With inflation running over 7% this year and health care costs soaring, they depend on their Social Security and Medicare benefits now more than ever. Older Georgians need Democrats in Congress to continue fighting for lower prescription drug prices and better access to affordable health care. Voters should reject the pernicious policies of Hershel Walker’s party, which seems to care more about their wealthy and powerful patrons than working people – and re-elect Senator Raphael Warnock.


3011, 2022

Bloomberg Analysis Frames Social Security and Medicare as Debt Reduction Issues. That’s Misleading.  

By |November 30th, 2022|Equal Time, GOP, Medicare, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Social Insurance, Social Security|

Fiscal conservatives continue to promote the narrative that Social Security and Medicare must be “reformed” to reduce the federal debt, which basically means cutting seniors’ earned benefits. The latest foray in this propaganda campaign came in the form of an ‘analysis’ piece from Bloomberg’s Karl W. Smith, published last week in the Washington Post.

“The financial stakes are high. Rapidly rising interest rates means now is the time to act, before the burden of servicing the debt to fund these programs becomes a major barrier to deficit reduction.” – Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg/Washington Post, 11/21/22

The focus on deficits and debt reduction is misleading. Social Security and Medicare Part A are self-funded by workers’ payroll contributions and do not contribute to the debt.  In fact, the biggest driver of the federal debt is ‘tax expenditures,’ with the 2017 Trump/GOP tax cuts as a prime example.

But conservatives claiming to be concerned about the debt never object to tax cuts for the wealthy and profitable corporations. Yet, they frame Social Security and Medicare as contributors to the debt and deficit instead of what they are:  programs that provide financial and health security for tens of millions of older Americans.

The go-to solution, for Smith and others, is benefit cuts:

“The GOP wants to mitigate these costs by, among other things, raising the eligibility age for Medicare to match the Social Security retirement age, which is 67 for those born after 1960. In addition, Republicans would reduce Social Security benefits for those whose income was on the high end over their lifetimes and raise premiums for Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes.” – Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg/Washington Post, 11/21/22

Raising the eligibility age for Medicare would leave tens of millions of seniors without insurance. (Republicans have also proposed changing the Social Security full retirement age from 67 to 70.) These are benefit reductions, plain and simple.  Meanwhile, means testing Social Security in the way that Smith suggests would change the fundamental nature of the program, which has been working just fine for more than 80 years as a compact between workers and the federal government.  In fact, a recent means testing proposal would have reduced Social Security benefits for people with average annual earnings of only $49,000.

It’s true that Social Security and Medicare face financing challenges that Congress must address. The Social Security Trustees project that, absent congressional action, the old age and disability trust fund will become depleted in 2035, with the Medicare Part A trust fund at risk of running out in 2028. Democrats have proposed (and in the case of Medicare, enacted) legislation to bring more revenue into both programs. But most Republicans refuse to consider revenue-based solutions, preferring to cut benefits.  (Key members of the GOP proposed several drastic measures that would undermine Social Security and Medicare during the mid-term campaign season.)

Exhortations to cut benefits are part of a well-funded, right-leaning ideological movement to oppose government social programs, no matter how successful or popular. Not surprisingly, the author of the Bloomberg/Post analysis is previous Vice President of the Tax Foundation, whose “major funders include the conservative Koch Family Foundation and the foundation of the late Richard Scaife, a billionaire known as ‘the funding father of the right,’” according to Mother Jones.

Smith observes that “Republicans hoped that Americans would deliver a clear repudiation of President Biden’s economic policies when they went to the polls (in November).”  But those hopes were dashed. Instead, voters in many states and districts rejected Republican, supply-side economics.  Members of Congress would be wiser to listen to the voters – who support Social Security and Medicare by large, bipartisan majorities – than to columnists who preach austerity for the programs that protect our most vulnerable citizens.


1811, 2022

Speaker Pelosi’s Legacy Includes Historic Legislation for Seniors

By |November 18th, 2022|Congress|

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who declared Thursday that she will not seek a leadership position in the next Congress, has been lauded as a master of legislative procedure, a unifier of her caucus, a skilled tactician – and as someone who broke the “marble ceiling” for women in the halls of Congress.

“Nancy Pelosi steps down as the most accomplished congressional leader of her era, and probably the most successful House speaker of all time in terms of legislative impact.” – Washington Post, 11/17/22

No small part of Pelosi’s legislative legacy are the many bills that Pelosi, 82, shepherded through Congress to improve older Americans’ health and well-being. In her valedictory speech on the House floor, she wove seniors’ programs into a grand vision of congressional legacy:

“In this room, our colleagues across history have abolished slavery; granted women the right to vote; established Social Security and Medicare; offered a hand to the weak, care to the sick, education to the young and hope to the many.” – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 11/17/22 

Speaker Pelosi guided the Inflation Reduction Act through the House, which finally allows Medicare to negotiate prices with drug-makers (although the number of drugs subject to negotiation is limited).  The Inflation Reduction Act also capped Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket drug costs at $2,000 per year and limited their insulin costs to $35 a month – long-awaited steps to reduce seniors’ health care costs.  

In 2010, Speaker Pelosi was indispensable to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, which has provided health coverage to tens of millions of Americans who would otherwise be uninsured – including many “near seniors” previously priced out of the market. The ACA also benefitted Medicare patients.  It included wellness check-ups at no cost and eliminated cost-sharing for most preventive services.

As Speaker Pelosi remarked upon the 10th anniversary of the ACA in 2020:

“The Affordable Care Act stands today among the greatest pillars of American health and financial security: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act.” – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 3/23/20 

Her stepping down as leader of the Democratic party in the House represents a passing of the torch to younger leaders. “The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus that I so deeply respect. And I am grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”

The presumed frontrunners for a new leadership slate include Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for Speaker, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) for Minority Whip, and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) for House Democratic Caucus chair.   NCPSSM President and CEO Max Richtman says that the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare “looks forward to a close working relationship on issues vital to America’s seniors with whomever emerges as the next Democratic leadership team in the U.S. House.”


911, 2022

NCPSSM-Endorsed Candidates Prevail in Mid-Terms

By |November 9th, 2022|Congress, Democrats, Election 2022, Medicare, President Biden, Republicans, Retirement, Senate, Social Security|

 

As the country awaits full election results, The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare congratulates the many seniors’ champions who prevailed in key races across the nation.  More than 70 of the candidates who the National Committee enthusiastically endorsed have emerged victorious in crucial House and the Senate contests.

“These wins represent a resounding rejection of MAGA-nomics by voters in bellwether districts and states.  While clearly concerned about inflation, these voters have said  ‘No’ to more tax cuts for the wealthy and powerful corporations – and no to cuts in workers’ Social Security and Medicare benefits, including reducing COLAs or raising the eligibility ages for both programs.” – Max Richtman, NCPSSM President and CEO, 11/9/22

Here are a few of the candidates NCPSSM endorsed who won election to the 118th Congress:

Sen.-elect Jon Fetterman (PA)

Sen. Mark Kelly (AZ)*

Sen. Michael Bennett (CO)

Sen. Maggie Hassan (NH)

Rep. Dan Kildee (MI)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH)

Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA)

Rep.-elect Seth Magaziner (RI)

 *not called yet

Current projections are that Republicans will win a slim House majority, while control of the Senate hinges on the outcome of races that have yet to be called – and possibly on a runoff race in Georgia. A House majority would give Republicans an opportunity to try to force through some of their proposals that jeopardize Americans’ earned benefits.

Key Republican leaders have threatened to use the inevitable battle over raising the nation’s debt limit in 2023 to compel the White House and Democrats to accept cuts to Social Security and Medicare. “The debt ceiling wrangling will be the biggest risk,” says Maria Freese, senior policy analyst at NCPSSM.

During the 2022 campaign, President Biden promised to fight any attempts to undermine seniors’ earned benefits, but Freese says that he will be under “tremendous pressure” from the GOP to make a deal, in order to forestall the nation from defaulting on its debts.

“If Republicans do control the House, seniors will be counting on President Biden to be a bulwark against harmful changes to Social Security and Medicare, beginning with the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations.  As the President said, ‘GOP leaders have vowed to crash the economy by putting the U.S. in default unless we yield to their demand to cut Social Security and Medicare.’”  – Max Richtman, 11/09/22

In his first post-election news conference on November 9th, President Biden pledged once again to defend the nation’s two most important social insurance programs:

“Under no circumstances will I agree to cut or make fundamental changes to Social Security and Medicare. It’s not on the table. I will NOT do that.” – President Biden, 11/9/22

During the mid-term campaign, key Republicans said they want to “save” Social Security and Medicare, but their proposals beg the question:  at what cost to the very people who depend on those programs?  The 2022 House Republican Study Committee blueprint called for raising the retirement age to 70, reducing COLAs, and cutting benefits for “high earners,” an odd characterization since the cuts eventually could extend to workers earning $40,000 per year.

“Anyone who says they’re going to ‘save’ Social Security but refuses to bring more revenue into the program is really talking benefit cuts for the heart of the middle class,” says Freese.

NCPSSM President and CEO Max Richtman calls on seniors and their families not to take anything for granted – and continue to remind their elected representatives that they insist Social Security and Medicare be protected:

“There are multiple ways to reach out to members of Congress – to remind our elected leaders that after a deadly pandemic that took a huge toll on seniors, the soaring cost of retirement, and ongoing wealth inequality, Americans depend on Social Security and Medicare to retire with dignity now more than ever.”   – Max Richtman, 11/09/22

 


411, 2022

NCPSSM Makes Final Endorsements of 2022 Cycle, Emphasizing GOP Threats to Social Security and Medicare

By |November 4th, 2022|Congress, Election 2022, Medicare, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, President Biden, privatization, Republicans, Senate|

As the midterm campaign draws to a close with the future of Social Security and Medicare possibly at stake, NCPSSM has been completing its final round of candidate endorsement events around the country.  Today in Charlotte, North Carolina, NCPSSM legislative director and PAC coordinator Dan Adcock formally endorsed Democrat Cheri Beasley for U.S. Senate in one of the pivotal swing state races of this election cycle.

Adcock presented Beasley with the National Committee’s signature boxing gloves, symbolizing that she is a “champion” for seniors in North Carolina.  Beasley, the former Chief Justice of North Carolina’s Supreme Court, is running against Republican congressman Ted Budd for the seat currently held by GOP Sen. Richard Burr. The outcome of this race could determine who controls the Senate come January.

“Cheri Beasley will protect and improve Social Security. Her opponent voted for a budget proposal that would have cut COLAs and raised the retirement age to 70. Cheri Beasley will protect and improve Medicare. Ted Budd voted to privatize Medicare for the benefit of insurance companies.” – NCPSSM legislative director and PAC coordinator Dan Adcock, Charlotte, NC, 11/4/22

The National Committee has endorsed nearly 100 candidates across the U.S. for House and Senate this year. On Thursday, NCPSSM president Max Richtman was in Bay City, MI, endorsing Rep. Dan Kildee (D-IL) for re-election to the U.S. House, pronouncing him the “Rocky Balboa” for older Michiganders.

“Every step of the way, Dan Kildee has made the right call. He voted dozens of times to protect the Affordable Care Act while Republicans were hellbent on overturning it, stripping Michiganders with pre-existing conditions of their health care coverage and kicking millions off of Medicaid. And since Representative Kildee first took office, he has been a leader in the fight to improve Social Security and Medicare and reduce health care costs.” – Max Richtman, 11/3/22

Richtman also commended Rep. Kildee for his leadership on the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee, saying it’s important that he remain in that role to help protect senior’s earned benefits.

On Saturday, Richtman will be in Ohio to throw the National Committee’s support behind U.S. Rep Tim Ryan (D-OH) in his bid to defeat Republican J.D. Vance for the seat being vacated by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).  While key Republicans have proposed harmful proposals for seniors’ earned benefits, Vance appears to have moderated his stance about Social Security and Medicare since running for this seat:

“His Democratic opponent, Rep. Tim Ryan, has criticized Vance for a 2010 blog post that described Social Security and Medicare among the largest drivers of the deficit. But Vance has since downplayed the need for changes to the programs.” – Bloomberg Government, 10/31/22 

Meanwhile, Rep. Ryan has been a staunch ally of seniors in the U.S. Congress and earned a 100% rating on NCPSSM’s legislative scorecard.  He has fought back against efforts to cut and privatize Social Security and Medicare – and “has supported legislation that would put more money in seniors’ pockets by increasing benefits, cutting taxes, and ensuring that Social Security keeps up with the rising cost of living.” Ryan also supports strengthening and expanding Medicare.

The mid-term election has become an existential threat for the nation’s two main social insurance programs for seniors, with Republicans openly proposing to cut, privatize, or jeopardize Social Security and Medicare.  President Biden couldn’t have put it more plainly during a speech in Florida this week:

“You’ve been paying into (these programs) your whole life. You earned it. Now these guys want to take it away. Who in the hell do they think they are?” – President Biden, 11/1/22

NCPSSM has been calling on senior voters to cast ballots in their own interest, emphasizing that the GOP is not worthy of their trust on these issues – and that Republicans have no productive plans for addressing high priority items like inflation and gas prices. As Los Angeles Times Michael Hiltzik columnist recently wrote in a piece entitled, Republicans Keep Harping on Inflation, But Don’t Have Any Answers for It: “Proposals to diminish seniors’ benefits in any way would make it even harder for older Americans to cope with today’s economic difficulties.”

On Tuesday, voters will have an opportunity to protect their financial and health security – or take a risky step toward losing the programs that have ensured those very things for generations.


The Warnock-Walker Runoff Isn’t Just About the Size of the Democrats’ Senate Majority

By |December 2nd, 2022|Election 2022, GOP, Medicare, Senate, Social Insurance|

(photo from www.warnockforgeorgia.com)

While it’s true that a runoff win by Senator Raphael Warnock would give the Democrats a 51-50 majority, there is more at stake for voters – especially seniors.  They need Senator Warnock to remain in the Senate to fight for their vital Social Security and Medicare benefits – and to continue advocating for lower prescription drug prices.  That’s why the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has endorsed Rev. Warnock for re-election as a “champion for seniors.”

He proved this during his first two years in office. Senator Warnock introduced legislation to cap seniors’ out-of-pocket drugs costs at $2,000 per year and limit insulin costs to $35 a month.  Both provisions became part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which became law in late summer. He has been a fierce advocate for expanding Medicaid in Georgia, one of the holdout states that has refused to implement coverage for lower-income workers. Expanding Medicaid improves health outcomes for everyone – especially communities of color.

Mindful of the need to boost seniors’ benefits and put Social Security on a sound financial path, Senator Warnock cosponsored the Social Security Expansion Act. During the fall campaign, he pledged to fight GOP efforts to privatize seniors’ earned benefits. Senator Warnock is – and will continue to be – a key defender of Social Security and Medicare.

Perhaps at no other time since the Great Depression have seniors’ earned benefits been so crucial. The pandemic took a heavy toll on seniors – both physically and financially. Before and during this crisis, Social Security and Medicare have functioned as social insurance lifelines, which is, of course, their original purpose.

Without Social Security, the poverty rate in Georgia would be a whopping 44%.  For Black and Latino seniors – who are especially reliant on Social Security for income – the poverty rate would approach or exceed 50% without their earned benefits.

Despite the crucial role that Medicare and Social Security play in seniors’ lives, Republicans insist that both programs must be “reformed” – which really means cut and privatized.  High-profile members of Herschel Walker’s party, including Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) have proposed subjecting seniors’ earned benefits to an up or down vote every five years and placing both programs at the mercy of annual budget battles. Herschel Walker campaigned with Sen. Scott in October and would be a rubber stamp for any GOP plans to undermine Social Security and Medicare.

Sen. Rick Scott (L) and Herschel Walker (R)

Republicans have been crystal clear about their intentions. The House Republican Study Committee’s 2022 budget blueprint called for raising the retirement age to 70 (a huge benefit cut), reducing COLAs, and cutting benefits for “high earners,” an odd characterization since the cuts eventually could extend to workers earning $40,000 per year.

Seniors have suffered enough during the pandemic and post-pandemic economy. With inflation running over 7% this year and health care costs soaring, they depend on their Social Security and Medicare benefits now more than ever. Older Georgians need Democrats in Congress to continue fighting for lower prescription drug prices and better access to affordable health care. Voters should reject the pernicious policies of Hershel Walker’s party, which seems to care more about their wealthy and powerful patrons than working people – and re-elect Senator Raphael Warnock.


Bloomberg Analysis Frames Social Security and Medicare as Debt Reduction Issues. That’s Misleading.  

By |November 30th, 2022|Equal Time, GOP, Medicare, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Social Insurance, Social Security|

Fiscal conservatives continue to promote the narrative that Social Security and Medicare must be “reformed” to reduce the federal debt, which basically means cutting seniors’ earned benefits. The latest foray in this propaganda campaign came in the form of an ‘analysis’ piece from Bloomberg’s Karl W. Smith, published last week in the Washington Post.

“The financial stakes are high. Rapidly rising interest rates means now is the time to act, before the burden of servicing the debt to fund these programs becomes a major barrier to deficit reduction.” – Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg/Washington Post, 11/21/22

The focus on deficits and debt reduction is misleading. Social Security and Medicare Part A are self-funded by workers’ payroll contributions and do not contribute to the debt.  In fact, the biggest driver of the federal debt is ‘tax expenditures,’ with the 2017 Trump/GOP tax cuts as a prime example.

But conservatives claiming to be concerned about the debt never object to tax cuts for the wealthy and profitable corporations. Yet, they frame Social Security and Medicare as contributors to the debt and deficit instead of what they are:  programs that provide financial and health security for tens of millions of older Americans.

The go-to solution, for Smith and others, is benefit cuts:

“The GOP wants to mitigate these costs by, among other things, raising the eligibility age for Medicare to match the Social Security retirement age, which is 67 for those born after 1960. In addition, Republicans would reduce Social Security benefits for those whose income was on the high end over their lifetimes and raise premiums for Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes.” – Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg/Washington Post, 11/21/22

Raising the eligibility age for Medicare would leave tens of millions of seniors without insurance. (Republicans have also proposed changing the Social Security full retirement age from 67 to 70.) These are benefit reductions, plain and simple.  Meanwhile, means testing Social Security in the way that Smith suggests would change the fundamental nature of the program, which has been working just fine for more than 80 years as a compact between workers and the federal government.  In fact, a recent means testing proposal would have reduced Social Security benefits for people with average annual earnings of only $49,000.

It’s true that Social Security and Medicare face financing challenges that Congress must address. The Social Security Trustees project that, absent congressional action, the old age and disability trust fund will become depleted in 2035, with the Medicare Part A trust fund at risk of running out in 2028. Democrats have proposed (and in the case of Medicare, enacted) legislation to bring more revenue into both programs. But most Republicans refuse to consider revenue-based solutions, preferring to cut benefits.  (Key members of the GOP proposed several drastic measures that would undermine Social Security and Medicare during the mid-term campaign season.)

Exhortations to cut benefits are part of a well-funded, right-leaning ideological movement to oppose government social programs, no matter how successful or popular. Not surprisingly, the author of the Bloomberg/Post analysis is previous Vice President of the Tax Foundation, whose “major funders include the conservative Koch Family Foundation and the foundation of the late Richard Scaife, a billionaire known as ‘the funding father of the right,’” according to Mother Jones.

Smith observes that “Republicans hoped that Americans would deliver a clear repudiation of President Biden’s economic policies when they went to the polls (in November).”  But those hopes were dashed. Instead, voters in many states and districts rejected Republican, supply-side economics.  Members of Congress would be wiser to listen to the voters – who support Social Security and Medicare by large, bipartisan majorities – than to columnists who preach austerity for the programs that protect our most vulnerable citizens.


Speaker Pelosi’s Legacy Includes Historic Legislation for Seniors

By |November 18th, 2022|Congress|

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who declared Thursday that she will not seek a leadership position in the next Congress, has been lauded as a master of legislative procedure, a unifier of her caucus, a skilled tactician – and as someone who broke the “marble ceiling” for women in the halls of Congress.

“Nancy Pelosi steps down as the most accomplished congressional leader of her era, and probably the most successful House speaker of all time in terms of legislative impact.” – Washington Post, 11/17/22

No small part of Pelosi’s legislative legacy are the many bills that Pelosi, 82, shepherded through Congress to improve older Americans’ health and well-being. In her valedictory speech on the House floor, she wove seniors’ programs into a grand vision of congressional legacy:

“In this room, our colleagues across history have abolished slavery; granted women the right to vote; established Social Security and Medicare; offered a hand to the weak, care to the sick, education to the young and hope to the many.” – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 11/17/22 

Speaker Pelosi guided the Inflation Reduction Act through the House, which finally allows Medicare to negotiate prices with drug-makers (although the number of drugs subject to negotiation is limited).  The Inflation Reduction Act also capped Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket drug costs at $2,000 per year and limited their insulin costs to $35 a month – long-awaited steps to reduce seniors’ health care costs.  

In 2010, Speaker Pelosi was indispensable to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, which has provided health coverage to tens of millions of Americans who would otherwise be uninsured – including many “near seniors” previously priced out of the market. The ACA also benefitted Medicare patients.  It included wellness check-ups at no cost and eliminated cost-sharing for most preventive services.

As Speaker Pelosi remarked upon the 10th anniversary of the ACA in 2020:

“The Affordable Care Act stands today among the greatest pillars of American health and financial security: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Affordable Care Act.” – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 3/23/20 

Her stepping down as leader of the Democratic party in the House represents a passing of the torch to younger leaders. “The hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus that I so deeply respect. And I am grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility.”

The presumed frontrunners for a new leadership slate include Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for Speaker, Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA) for Minority Whip, and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) for House Democratic Caucus chair.   NCPSSM President and CEO Max Richtman says that the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare “looks forward to a close working relationship on issues vital to America’s seniors with whomever emerges as the next Democratic leadership team in the U.S. House.”


NCPSSM-Endorsed Candidates Prevail in Mid-Terms

By |November 9th, 2022|Congress, Democrats, Election 2022, Medicare, President Biden, Republicans, Retirement, Senate, Social Security|

 

As the country awaits full election results, The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare congratulates the many seniors’ champions who prevailed in key races across the nation.  More than 70 of the candidates who the National Committee enthusiastically endorsed have emerged victorious in crucial House and the Senate contests.

“These wins represent a resounding rejection of MAGA-nomics by voters in bellwether districts and states.  While clearly concerned about inflation, these voters have said  ‘No’ to more tax cuts for the wealthy and powerful corporations – and no to cuts in workers’ Social Security and Medicare benefits, including reducing COLAs or raising the eligibility ages for both programs.” – Max Richtman, NCPSSM President and CEO, 11/9/22

Here are a few of the candidates NCPSSM endorsed who won election to the 118th Congress:

Sen.-elect Jon Fetterman (PA)

Sen. Mark Kelly (AZ)*

Sen. Michael Bennett (CO)

Sen. Maggie Hassan (NH)

Rep. Dan Kildee (MI)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH)

Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA)

Rep.-elect Seth Magaziner (RI)

 *not called yet

Current projections are that Republicans will win a slim House majority, while control of the Senate hinges on the outcome of races that have yet to be called – and possibly on a runoff race in Georgia. A House majority would give Republicans an opportunity to try to force through some of their proposals that jeopardize Americans’ earned benefits.

Key Republican leaders have threatened to use the inevitable battle over raising the nation’s debt limit in 2023 to compel the White House and Democrats to accept cuts to Social Security and Medicare. “The debt ceiling wrangling will be the biggest risk,” says Maria Freese, senior policy analyst at NCPSSM.

During the 2022 campaign, President Biden promised to fight any attempts to undermine seniors’ earned benefits, but Freese says that he will be under “tremendous pressure” from the GOP to make a deal, in order to forestall the nation from defaulting on its debts.

“If Republicans do control the House, seniors will be counting on President Biden to be a bulwark against harmful changes to Social Security and Medicare, beginning with the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations.  As the President said, ‘GOP leaders have vowed to crash the economy by putting the U.S. in default unless we yield to their demand to cut Social Security and Medicare.’”  – Max Richtman, 11/09/22

In his first post-election news conference on November 9th, President Biden pledged once again to defend the nation’s two most important social insurance programs:

“Under no circumstances will I agree to cut or make fundamental changes to Social Security and Medicare. It’s not on the table. I will NOT do that.” – President Biden, 11/9/22

During the mid-term campaign, key Republicans said they want to “save” Social Security and Medicare, but their proposals beg the question:  at what cost to the very people who depend on those programs?  The 2022 House Republican Study Committee blueprint called for raising the retirement age to 70, reducing COLAs, and cutting benefits for “high earners,” an odd characterization since the cuts eventually could extend to workers earning $40,000 per year.

“Anyone who says they’re going to ‘save’ Social Security but refuses to bring more revenue into the program is really talking benefit cuts for the heart of the middle class,” says Freese.

NCPSSM President and CEO Max Richtman calls on seniors and their families not to take anything for granted – and continue to remind their elected representatives that they insist Social Security and Medicare be protected:

“There are multiple ways to reach out to members of Congress – to remind our elected leaders that after a deadly pandemic that took a huge toll on seniors, the soaring cost of retirement, and ongoing wealth inequality, Americans depend on Social Security and Medicare to retire with dignity now more than ever.”   – Max Richtman, 11/09/22

 


NCPSSM Makes Final Endorsements of 2022 Cycle, Emphasizing GOP Threats to Social Security and Medicare

By |November 4th, 2022|Congress, Election 2022, Medicare, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, President Biden, privatization, Republicans, Senate|

As the midterm campaign draws to a close with the future of Social Security and Medicare possibly at stake, NCPSSM has been completing its final round of candidate endorsement events around the country.  Today in Charlotte, North Carolina, NCPSSM legislative director and PAC coordinator Dan Adcock formally endorsed Democrat Cheri Beasley for U.S. Senate in one of the pivotal swing state races of this election cycle.

Adcock presented Beasley with the National Committee’s signature boxing gloves, symbolizing that she is a “champion” for seniors in North Carolina.  Beasley, the former Chief Justice of North Carolina’s Supreme Court, is running against Republican congressman Ted Budd for the seat currently held by GOP Sen. Richard Burr. The outcome of this race could determine who controls the Senate come January.

“Cheri Beasley will protect and improve Social Security. Her opponent voted for a budget proposal that would have cut COLAs and raised the retirement age to 70. Cheri Beasley will protect and improve Medicare. Ted Budd voted to privatize Medicare for the benefit of insurance companies.” – NCPSSM legislative director and PAC coordinator Dan Adcock, Charlotte, NC, 11/4/22

The National Committee has endorsed nearly 100 candidates across the U.S. for House and Senate this year. On Thursday, NCPSSM president Max Richtman was in Bay City, MI, endorsing Rep. Dan Kildee (D-IL) for re-election to the U.S. House, pronouncing him the “Rocky Balboa” for older Michiganders.

“Every step of the way, Dan Kildee has made the right call. He voted dozens of times to protect the Affordable Care Act while Republicans were hellbent on overturning it, stripping Michiganders with pre-existing conditions of their health care coverage and kicking millions off of Medicaid. And since Representative Kildee first took office, he has been a leader in the fight to improve Social Security and Medicare and reduce health care costs.” – Max Richtman, 11/3/22

Richtman also commended Rep. Kildee for his leadership on the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee, saying it’s important that he remain in that role to help protect senior’s earned benefits.

On Saturday, Richtman will be in Ohio to throw the National Committee’s support behind U.S. Rep Tim Ryan (D-OH) in his bid to defeat Republican J.D. Vance for the seat being vacated by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).  While key Republicans have proposed harmful proposals for seniors’ earned benefits, Vance appears to have moderated his stance about Social Security and Medicare since running for this seat:

“His Democratic opponent, Rep. Tim Ryan, has criticized Vance for a 2010 blog post that described Social Security and Medicare among the largest drivers of the deficit. But Vance has since downplayed the need for changes to the programs.” – Bloomberg Government, 10/31/22 

Meanwhile, Rep. Ryan has been a staunch ally of seniors in the U.S. Congress and earned a 100% rating on NCPSSM’s legislative scorecard.  He has fought back against efforts to cut and privatize Social Security and Medicare – and “has supported legislation that would put more money in seniors’ pockets by increasing benefits, cutting taxes, and ensuring that Social Security keeps up with the rising cost of living.” Ryan also supports strengthening and expanding Medicare.

The mid-term election has become an existential threat for the nation’s two main social insurance programs for seniors, with Republicans openly proposing to cut, privatize, or jeopardize Social Security and Medicare.  President Biden couldn’t have put it more plainly during a speech in Florida this week:

“You’ve been paying into (these programs) your whole life. You earned it. Now these guys want to take it away. Who in the hell do they think they are?” – President Biden, 11/1/22

NCPSSM has been calling on senior voters to cast ballots in their own interest, emphasizing that the GOP is not worthy of their trust on these issues – and that Republicans have no productive plans for addressing high priority items like inflation and gas prices. As Los Angeles Times Michael Hiltzik columnist recently wrote in a piece entitled, Republicans Keep Harping on Inflation, But Don’t Have Any Answers for It: “Proposals to diminish seniors’ benefits in any way would make it even harder for older Americans to cope with today’s economic difficulties.”

On Tuesday, voters will have an opportunity to protect their financial and health security – or take a risky step toward losing the programs that have ensured those very things for generations.



Go to Top