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The Latest News on Social Security and Medicare

The economic impact of this retirement deficit is far-reaching and could imperil generations of Americans.  That’s why the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, in partnership with the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and The Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake University, are hosting a thought leadership symposium on the critical issue of Retirement Security.


The undersigned organizations share a commitment to advancing the health and economic security of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. We are writing to urge you to advance a solution to mitigate projected increases to Medicare Part B premiums and the Part B deductible in 2016. According to the 2015 Medicare Trustees Report, Part B premiums will increase by 52%—up to $159.30 per month from $104.90—for 30% of beneficiaries. The trustees also predict that this increase will be accompanied by a hike in the Part B deductible—up to $223 from $147.


This fall, must-pass legislation will provide opportunities for Congress and the President to strengthen and/or harm the economic and health security of over 50 million older Americans.  Before they leave for recess in December, Congress faces bill approval deadlines to avoid a government shutdown, a default, and to extend transportation funding and certain tax breaks. As part of the annual appropriations process, a deal will be sought to mitigate the full return of the “sequester” – automatic across-the-board limitations on defense and non-defense discretionary spending.  Some or all of the bills that must be passed by the end of the year could be combined into a single legislative vehicle if a larger agreement can be made between the President and Congressional leaders.     


On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I write to endorse S. 2023, “The Prescription Drug Affordability Act.”  The National Committee thanks you for your leadership in introducing this legislation. This bill offers a comprehensive response to the pressing issue of sharply rising drug costs, which threatens consumer access to affordable medicines and strains the financing of Medicare and Medicaid.


President Franklin Delano Roosevelt remains one of America’s most popular Presidents for good reason. FDR successfully led us through a world war and a depression.  His legacy lives today in many ways but especially in the creation of one of America’s most successful income security programs...Social Security.


Take a look at Social Security's positive economic impact on state and local jurisdictions. 


In my current position and as a former staff director of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, I especially appreciate the opportunity to testify today as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Medicare program.  I commend Senator Claire McCaskill, Ranking Member of the Aging Committee, for holding this field hearing on strengthening Medicare for the next 50 years.  


The 2015 Medicare Trustees Report shows that Medicare solvency remains greatly improved since passage of health care reform with the Hospital Trust Fund paying full benefits until 2030 and the increase in per enrollee spending continuing to be lower than overall health spending. Implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other changes in the health care system, including payment and delivery system reforms that emphasize coordinated care especially for people with multiple chronic conditions, incentives that are reducing the rate of hospital readmissions, and a slowdown in payments to hospitals and private Medicare plans, are improving Medicare’s financing. At the same time, millions of Medicare beneficiaries are receiving preventive screenings and wellness visits without copayments and increased help with their prescription drug costs. 


Since its inception, Social Security has been the foundation on which America’s retirement security rests.  It has demonstrated its strength by paying benefits without interruption in good times and bad, during periods of recession and disaster and during recovery and healing.  The program’s durability is demonstrated yet again in this year’s Trustees Report. The report is good news for working Americans and for seniors.


Dropping the Social Security cuts from the highway bill is the right thing to do for the millions of Americans who expect their Social Security contributions to stay in the program. Using Social Security as Congress’ ATM to fund unrelated programs takes earned benefits away from retirees, people with disabilities and their families already living on modest incomes.

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