After nearly two years of Social Security field offices being closed for all but “dire needs,” the Social Security Administration indicated today that there is progress toward re-opening. Acting SSA Commissioner Kilolo Kijakazi announced in a press release that the agency and its three main labor unions have reached agreement on a re-opening plan.
Medicare Part B beneficiaries have seen their monthly premiums jump to from $148.50 to $170.10 this year – one of the biggest increases in recent history. Many seniors on fixed incomes who welcomed this year’s 5.9% Social Security COLA were dismayed to find that $21 of it will be consumed by the Medicare premium bump. But this week brought some potentially encouraging news.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has set a self-imposed deadline of January 17th – Martin Luther King Day – to pass sweeping voting rights legislation. This will be a heavy lift given opposition from Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to adjusting the filibuster, an essential step in passing voting rights legislation without Republican votes. Nevertheless, President Biden and Hill Democrats feel compelled to try, given that the voting rights of millions of Americans – including and especially seniors – are very much at stake with the 2022 midterm elections approaching.
Seniors and their loved ones may be alarmed to learn that there is an insidious, but largely unpublicized effort underway to gradually privatize Medicare. According to recent reporting, some traditional Medicare patients are now being placed in for-profit managed care plans without even knowing, thanks to a Trump administration policy that is still in effect.
The National Committee is urging President Biden to mitigate the announced $21 monthly increase in Medicare Part B premiums. President and CEO Max Richtman sent a letter to the White House this week asking President Biden to intervene before the premium hike takes effect in 2022.