"Raising the retirement age would inflict further hardship among a group of workers who are likely to face health and economic problems in their 60s." –Doug Hart, President, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans
"Of all the lies and confusion that still surround the Affordable Care Act, perhaps the greatest is that it is bad for seniors." - Dave Meinell, President, Missouri Alliance for Retired Americans
"My father died when I was three. Because of Social Security (survivors) benefits, my Mom, my younger sister and I survived." – Diane Fleming, DC Alliance Member
"We fear that Congress will balance the budget on the backs of the 98 percent, which is working Montanans and retired Montanans. We simply cannot afford these devastating cuts to vital services such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," –John Forkan, President, Montana Alliance for Retired Americans
"Along with national parks and Social Security, Medicare is one of the best ideas we Americans have ever devised." -Tim Cunningham, New Mexico Alliance Member
"Seniors have earned and deserve their Social Security checks, and they shouldn't have to go to Congress every 10 years and beg for the program to be renewed." –James Parent, Alliance for Retired Americans Regional Board Member
"Today's retirees paid Medicare and Social Security taxes in every paycheck we ever earned. Now that we are retired, these programs help us to be able to stay healthy and pay our bills. They are the promise we make to people who worked hard all their lives, and we need to keep that promise for today’s workers." –Tony Fransetta, President, Florida Alliance for Retired Americans
"Today's seniors want to lower the budget deficit. We do not want a large debt to be the legacy we leave to future generations, but we should not punish people who have paid Social Security taxes all their lives." –Jim Moore, President, North Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans
"Social Security should remain what it has been for 77 years – a solid, reliable way that generations of workers have been able to retire with dignity, economic security, and peace of mind." –Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The fight for Social Security and Medicare is part of a larger fight for justice and fairness"—Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
"The health insurance reform helps not just seniors, but also middle-class families and young Americans, who are just starting to see the benefits. Don’t let Republicans take all that away." –Don Rowen, President Emeritus, Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans
"Honoring the promise of Social Security and Medicare should not be a partisan issue. Honoring the contributions that we make throughout our working years so that we may feed and clothe ourselves, keep a roof over our heads and those of our family, there is no reason for that to be a hotly contested partisan issue." –Edward Coyle, Executive Director, Alliance for Retired Americans
"We need to make sure that people who need Social Security to make ends meet will have it, and not fall victim to ill-informed and unnecessary cuts to these vital programs."
–Barbara J. Easterling, President, Alliance for Retired Americans
Obama, Alliance Activists Defend Social Security Against Threats
August 20, 2010
Obama, Alliance Activists Defend Social Security Against Threats
From the White House to cities and towns across the country, supporters of Social Security honored its 75th birthday this week and pledged to fight benefit cuts, an increase in the retirement age, or a privatized system tied to the volatile stock market.
President Obama devoted his weekly radio address to lauding the success of Social Security and arguing that privatization, which is currently being advocated by some Republican congressional candidates, is “an ill-conceived idea that would add trillions of dollars to our budget deficit while tying your benefits to the whims of Wall Street traders and the ups and downs of the stock market.” On Thursday he reinforced this point by saying that Social Security “will not be privatized as long as I’m president.”
Alliance activists continued their month-long Social Security event national campaign, this week holding Social Security birthday parties in: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington. The events served a social role, as well educating area workers and retirees on these emerging threats. Video footage from Seattle’s celebration and rally with Senator Patty Murray and Rep. Jim McDermott on Monday is well-worth a watch here. Photos from events nationwide can be accessed on the Alliance website or here.
Writing in the leading blog Huffington Post, Alliance president Barbara J. Easterling commented on House Minority Leader John Boehner’s support for increasing the retirement age to 70. “Can you imagine working until 70? In jobs like construction, manufacturing, and the service sector, I just don't see how you can,” Easterling wrote. Also this week, noted Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman dismissed the argument that the retirement age should increase because of longer life expectancy. According to Krugman, “that’s only true for affluent, white-collar workers… but much less for lower-income workers.”
More Doughnut Hole Rebate Checks Go out to Seniors
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently announced that the third round of one-time, tax-free $250 rebate checks has been mailed to eligible Medicare beneficiaries whose drug costs are so high they have reached the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole.” Experts estimate that more than a quarter of Part D enrollees fall into the doughnut hole and often stop following their drug regimen as a result of the added cost burden.
Across the country, more than 750,000 Medicare beneficiaries have already received checks this year, and more beneficiaries will be receiving checks in the coming months as they enter the coverage gap. “This is yet another example of how the new health law is good for seniors,” said Ruben Burks, Alliance Secretary-Treasurer.
The doughnut hole will be closed partially in 2010 through the $250 one-time checks for beneficiaries who enter the gap. In 2011, the Affordable Care Act takes an additional step for Medicare beneficiaries in the donut hole by providing them with a 50% discount on their brand name medications. Every year from 2011 to 2020, the Affordable Care Act will take progressive steps to close the doughnut hole, until ultimately it is closed altogether.
New Health Law Means No-Cost Mammograms, Preventive Services for Seniors
Beginning in January of 2011, seniors enrolled in Medicare can receive no-cost preventive services, including breast cancer screenings and colonoscopies and annual check-ups under the the federal health reform law provisions. Presently, seniors enrolled in traditional Medicare pay 20% of the cost for most preventive care. More here. According to The Washington Post/Kaiser Health News, cost is a real "stumbling block" for accessing preventive care. A 2008 study found that a $12 mammogram co-payment in Medicare's managed-care plans resulted in eight to 11 percent fewer women receiving screenings compared to those with no co-payment. Another study found that a co-pay increase of $10 for doctor office visits results in a 20% decline in appointments with seniors.
Vivian Stovall, President of the Colorado Alliance for Retired Americans, said, “There is a lot in this new health law for seniors. Education definitely needs to be done so that seniors know what is available to them. Fortunately, the Alliance is 100% dedicated to this. Next week, for example, I will go to a senior facility where many retirees are living on $699 per month, much of it from Social Security – that’s all they have. Many of them don’t know about the new health provisions, but if they do, I think they will benefit greatly.” Informative fact sheets on the new health law can be found at http://www.retiredamericans.org/issues/health-care-reform, including a synopsis of when new benefits become available.
Alliance on the Road
Easterling will be in Detroit tomorrow to speak to a national meeting of the American Postal Workers Union. She will discuss health care, Social Security and seniors’ reliance on a strong postal service, including six-day mail delivery.
Something On Your Mind? Write Letter, Win Pen.
With all the talk of Social Security cuts these days, have you considered writing a letter to your local newspaper? Letters to the Editor are widely-read and are a great chance to make your voice heard. Under the Alliance’s Retirees with the Write Stuff campaign, if you write a letter on any retiree issue and it is published, send us a copy and will we mail you a U.S. union-made Retirees with the Write Stuff pen. Recent winners include: Bob Biel, Sam Burnett, Shirley Gauger, Al Hamai, Win Heimer, and Carol Ring. Click here for more information or email ARACommunications@retiredamericans.org.