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News2015-06-03T18:03:23-04:00

Manchin Pulls the Football Away from Schumer – and Medicare

July 15th, 2022|Comments Off on Manchin Pulls the Football Away from Schumer – and Medicare

Senator Joe Manchin has once again pulled the proverbial football away from Chuck Schumer just before the kick. After negotiating with the Senate Majority Leader over a pared-back version of the Build Back Better bill, Sen. Manchin has once again withdrawn his support - not for the entire plan, but for key components that would have helped seniors. He declared on Thursday that he would not support any new tax provisions.  One of these provisions would have closed a loophole, compelling the wealthy to pay a 3.8% investment tax.  The revenue would have been directed to the Medicare Part A trust fund, which is currently projected to run dry in 2028. 

Schumer-Manchin Negotiations May Yield Some Wins for Seniors

July 13th, 2022|Comments Off on Schumer-Manchin Negotiations May Yield Some Wins for Seniors

The negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) over a new budget reconciliation deal have been great fodder for political journalists, but they are also incredibly important to American seniors.  Senators Schumer and Manchin are haggling over a pared-down version of the Build Back Better legislation, which the West Virginia Senator effectively killed earlier this year, designed to pass with only Democratic votes via the reconciliation process. The new package reportedly retains some crucial items for older Americans:  prescription drug pricing reform and Medicare solvency.

House Members Urge CMS to Expand Medicare Dental Coverage

July 6th, 2022|Comments Off on House Members Urge CMS to Expand Medicare Dental Coverage

More than 100 members of the U.S. House have sent a letter to the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in an effort to expand Medicare dental coverage. (Traditional Medicare only covers “medically necessary” dental care in a narrowly defined way that excludes not only routine care, but many illness-related treatments.)  The members implored CMS administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to broaden the definition of “medically necessary” to cover many more types of dental care.

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Social Security Trust Fund Projected to Endure for an Additional Year, Trustees Say

Social Security’s trust fund received a one-year reprieve in the 2022 Social Security Trustees report, released late Thursday afternoon.  The Trustees project that the combined disability and retirement trust fund will become depleted in 2035 – one year later than predicted last time – if Congress doesn’t take preventative action. When the trust fund becomes insolvent, the Trustees say, Social Security will only be able to pay 80% of scheduled benefits.

Social Security Trustees Project Trust Fund Depletion in 2035

The takeaway from the latest Social Security Trustees report is this:  Congress must strengthen the program’s finances without delay. The Trustees project that the combined Social Security retirement and disability trust fund will become depleted by 2035.

All House Dems Should Cosponsor Social Security 2100 Bill

If you are represented by a Democrat in the U.S. House, chances are that your member of Congress has already cosponsored a piece of landmark legislation to boost and strengthen Social Security: Rep. John Larson’s Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust. In fact, the bill currently has 202 Democratic cosponsors (and zero Republicans). But some Democrats have not signed on as cosponsors.

SSA Woefully Underfunded, Struggling to Provide Customer Service, Witnesses Tell Congress

Witness after witness at Tuesday’s Congressional hearing on Social Security Administration (SSA) customer service testified that the agency is in dire need of additional resources in order to properly serve the public.  The hearing was held by the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee, chaired by Rep. John Larson (D-CT), with testimony from a variety of witnesses from SSA and advocacy groups. 

The Part D Prescription Drug Bait and Switch

Medicare Part D prescription drug beneficiaries can be in for a rude surprise after they sign up for coverage.   In an article this week in Kaiser Health News, Susan Jaffe writes that the price of a drug may jump within a month of a patient enrolling in the Part D drug plan

Medicare Advantage Slammed in New HHS Inspector General’s Report

We have been sounding alarm bells for many years about Medicare Advantage (MA), the privately-run health plans for seniors that are growing in popularity as an alternative to traditional Medicare. This week, an eye-opening report by the Inspector General’s office at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed some key criticisms by the National Committee and other seniors’ advocates - namely, that MA plans are denying legitimate claims and refusing to authorize reasonable medical procedures.

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