Social Security's 76th Anniversary is this Sunday

August 12, 2011

On July 30, the Alliance celebrated the 46th Anniversary of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. This Sunday, August 14, we will be celebrating the 76th Anniversary of Social Security, and Alliance members have been working to educate other members and the public on the importance of these programs. Check out the latest and greatest photos from Medicare and Social Security anniversary events here: http://bit.ly/nLT71O, or to watch a slideshow, click here: http://bit.ly/qbLLtk! Check out the Washington Alliance as they march through downtown Seattle with a band here:  http://bit.ly/qu3DrT. More great coverage from their weekend rally is at http://bit.ly/nU9EM8. This week, the Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania Alliance all hosted Social Security birthday celebrations. For the complete list of 27 Social Security events, including those still to come, go to http://bit.ly/ovlyE1.

Super Committee Named to Tackle National Debt
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) announced her appointments to the bipartisan congressional “super committee” on Thursday, tapping Democratic Reps. Chris Van Hollen (MD), Xavier Becerra (CA) and James Clyburn (SC) to join nine other lawmakers tasked with reducing the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion by Thanksgiving. Those selections round out the bipartisan, 12-person group. House Speaker John Boehner (OH) tapped House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (TX) to serve as co-chair of the committee. He also appointed House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (MI), and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (MI) to the committee. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) appointed Sens. Jon Kyl (AZ), Pat Toomey (PA) and Rob Portman (OH). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) named Sen. Patty Murray (WA) to co-chair the committee, and also appointed Sens. Max Baucus (MT) and John Kerry (MA). “Cuts to the Social Security and Medicare programs coming from the ‘super committee’ are major concerns for seniors,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. According to Politico, the debt ceiling agreement could also jeopardize billions of dollars in initiatives from the health care reform law if the super committee can’t come up with required spending cuts. The funds for prevention programs and community health centers; grants to help states set up insurance exchanges and co-ops; and money to help states review insurance rates could be triggered across the board if the panel can’t find enough cuts this fall.

Tea Party Sees Chance to Cut Medicare
Since the passage of the debt ceiling deal, the tea party and its supporters have named Medicare their prime target, and they view the “super committee” as the means to slash it. While Medicare benefits cannot be touched by the committee, reshaping the program is very much on the table, and it is expected to be one of the most debated topics. Tea partiers support the approach outlined under the Paul Ryan Budget, which was released earlier this year. The Ryan budget turns Medicare into a voucher program by combining private insurance with government subsidies, ultimately raising costs for seniors. Recently, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) spoke in favor of it, saying, “Americans must come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.” Widespread Republican support for the Ryan plan comes despite a special election upset by Democrats in New York in May and recent polls showing wide public support for taxing the wealthy over cutting programs. “If ending Medicare as we know it is what the tea party thinks America wants, then they are seriously misguided,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.

Nevada Gatherings: Alliance State Convention in Reno, SOAR in Las Vegas
The Nevada Alliance will be hosting its 2011 convention on August 21-23 at the Reno Grand Sierra Resort. The convention theme is Protecting and Preserving Social Security and Medicare. To RSVP, please contact Nevada Alliance President Scotty Watts at nvnara65@yahoo.com or (775) 267-4411. Yesterday and today, Ms. Easterling has been in Las Vegas to address the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees international conference.

Support Striking Verizon Workers
As of midnight last Sunday, more than 45,000 Verizon Communications Inc. workers from New England to Virginia — members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the Electrical Workers (IBEW) — went on strike to stop the company’s attacks on the middle class. The Verizon workers are in the fight of their lives, and it has broad implications for the entire economy. Please act now and demand that Verizon’s CEO, Lowell McAdam, stop attacking the middle class. In the past four years alone, the company made more than $19 billion in profits and compensated its top five executives more than a quarter of a billion dollars. Yet this highly profitable company is insisting on $1 billion in concessions from the 45,000 workers - or $20,000 for every family. Verizon is also trying to outsource more jobs, demand workers pay more for benefits, and undermine workers’ retirement security. Click on http://bit.ly/rul7QT to let Verizon know you stand in solidarity with the workers.

Alliance’s September Legislative Conference is Just over Two Weeks Away
Be sure to join us at the Alliance’s 10th anniversary Legislative Conference, Celebrating Our Past, Fighting for Your Future, on September 6-9, 2011 in Washington, D.C.! Robby Mook, Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has been added as a speaker. Other confirmed speakers include: Grammy winning singer and social activist Judy Collins; U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); DNC Chair and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL); Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; Director of NAACP’s Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy Hilary Shelton; and Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Robert Adler. Workshops include the latest Medicare information and Building Coalition Partners. To see more speakers, to register, or if you have any questions, please call Event Coordinator Joni Jones at 202-637-5377 or e-mail jjones@retiredamericans.org. On the web, visit http://bit.ly/pjVbXy or http://bit.ly/hQro1V.

Did You Know…
Employers' share of workers' health care costs fell 6% in 2010 (CNN).


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