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The Latest News on Social Security and Medicare

Washington is a place where policy debates too often prioritize dollars spent over people benefited. Congressional fixation on austerity has often made our nation penny-wise and pound-foolish at a time when well-placed investments would benefit not only our citizenry but also the federal budget bottom line. This is especially true when you look at the case of insufficient funding for Alzheimer’s research and the rapidly growing impact this disease has on federal programs like Medicare, the nation’s largest health insurer, which handles more than 1 billion claims per year for 52 million beneficiaries; and Medicaid, the nation’s primary payer for long-term care services and supports.

U.S. Representative John Larson (D-CT) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal will be joined by Max Richtman, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare to discuss the Social Security 2100 Act on Monday March 30, 2015 in West Hartford.  

Contrary to claims by supporters, on both sides of the aisle, this ‘doc fix’ does not impact only ‘wealthy seniors’. Millions of beneficiaries who depend on a Medigap plan to help pay their health care bills – no matter their income -- will be hit with higher costs. Given that 46% of all Medigap policy holders had incomes of $30,000 or less, it’s clear this deal impacts far more than the wealthy, as the bill’s proponents have claimed.  What’s more, Medicare beneficiaries will be forced to contribute nearly $60 billion in premiums over the next decade to replace the SGR.

Legislation introduced in the House by Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) would create a Social Security Commission designed to fast-track reforms and insulate Members of Congress from the public backlash over harmful benefit cuts that co-sponsor Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) says the commission will consider, including: raising the retirement age, means testing and the Chained CPI.

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I urge you to oppose H. Con. Res. 27, the House Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolution, currently being considered by the House of Representatives. This budget, introduced by House Committee on the Budget Chairman Tom Price, would be devastating to today's seniors and future retirees, people with disabilities, spouses, survivors and children due to the proposed changes it makes to Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and Supplemental Security Income.

In a letter sent to the House of Representatives today, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare President/CEO, Max Richtman, applauded efforts to permanently replace the flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used to determine Medicare payments to physicians and other providers.  However, the National Committee expressed strong opposition to plans to pay for nearly half of the offsets in the bill by increasing costs for Medicare beneficiaries. 

Once again, the House GOP’s budget would privatize Medicare with a voucher plan, leaving seniors and the disabled – some of our most vulnerable Americans – hostage to the whims of private insurance companies.  Over time, this will end traditional Medicare and make it harder for seniors to choose their own doctor.  Vouchers willnot keep up with the increasing cost of health insurance… that is why seniors will pay more. 

During the last year, 2 million signatures have been collected from members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare on letters and petitions urging Congress to reject attempts to target Social Security and Medicare benefits for cuts.

On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I want to thank Chairman Sam Johnson and Ranking Member Xavier Becerra for holding this hearing entitled “Maintaining the Disability Insurance Trust Fund’s Solvency.” I am honored to appear before the Committee today.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) advises Americans to keep their Social Security card in a safe place.  At the same time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tells their beneficiaries to carry their Medicare card – which includes their Social Security number – with them at all times.  What is a Medicare beneficiary to do?  And what should the government do about this conflict?
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