April 20, 2012

Buffett Rule, CEO PayWatch Website Address Economic Unfairness

The “Buffett Rule” - the Democratic-authored effort to impose a minimum tax on millionaires - failed on a largely partisan Senate vote on Monday. The 51 to 45 procedural vote fell short by 9 votes, since 60 are needed to cut off debate.

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April 13, 2012

Wall Street Journal Gives Lay of the Land on Senior Vote in 2012

The battle for seniors in 2012 is being fought in large part over Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) House Republican budget, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal.

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April 05, 2012

Parts of Wisconsin's Controversial Anti-Collective Bargaining Law are Struck Down

Two parts of the controversial Wisconsin law that severely curbs collecting bargaining rights were overturned last Friday by a federal judge, giving a partial victory to union members, retirees, and activists who have struggled to retain their rights.

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March 30, 2012

Seniors, Others Await Fate of Health Reform as Supreme Court Hears Arguments

Seniors were among the many supporters and opponents of the 2010 health care law keeping a close eye on the Supreme Court this week, as the court heard oral arguments on the case to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

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March 23, 2012

Alliance Draws Attention to Benefits for Seniors on Affordable Care Act Anniversary

The Alliance marked today’s two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by holding 26 community events around the country, spotlighting new Medicare benefits and educating seniors on where elected officials and candidates stand on health reform. “The Affordable Care Act is helping seniors across the nation better afford to see a doctor and fill a prescription.  The 3.6 million seniors with the highest drug costs have already saved an average of $600 on their prescriptions.  Thirty-two million seniors have received free, life-saving tests for chronic diseases.  The law is closing the ‘doughnut hole’ coverage gap in Medicare Part D, an egregious example of pharmaceutical company profits being placed ahead of the health care needs of our seniors,” said Barbara J. Easterling, the Alliance’s President. To read her full statement, go to http://bit.ly/AaJ8xJ.


In St. Louis, Missouri Alliance members were joined for an event featuring the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius. The Nevada Alliance held roundtables and press conferences in Henderson and Las Vegas. The North Carolina Alliance held a roundtable in Wendell, NC. Additional events included four educational events with seniors and students in Arizona; press conferences in Cape Coral, Florida; Dallas; Indianapolis; Pittsburgh; and across Wisconsin. The New York State Alliance held a press event in Albany.


Roundtables also took place in Denver, as well as in Des Moines, and Waterloo, Iowa. The Illinois Alliance protested at Rep. Aaron Schock’s office in Peoria, and the New Mexico Alliance held truth squads and presentations across New Mexico. The Washington State Alliance hosted cancer screenings in Gig Harbor, as well as additional events in Spokane and Renton, WA. The Oregon Alliance held an educational event at Rep. Kurt Schrader’s office. Other state chapters also celebrated the anniversary by helping to educate seniors about the benefits available to them through the ACA.


Bob Meeks, an Alliance member from Brandon, Florida, joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn for a press conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday. “In 2011, my monthly drug costs of $1200 a month went to between $600 and $800 a month while I was in the doughnut hole.  This has been a huge help to me and my wife,” said Mr. Meeks of the ACA.


Easterling Commemorates Anniversary with Speech, Conference Call with Reporters

On Monday, Ms. Easterling held a teleconference call with reporters and Reps. John Larson (CT), Xavier Becerra (CA), Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Doris Matsui (CA), talking about the benefits of health care reform for seniors. Easterling traveled to Boca Raton, Florida on Wednesday to discuss health care with the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Retirees Chapter of New York City.


Obama, Romney Differ on Plan to Cut Medicare, Medicaid

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sharply disagreed this week on a budget proposal by U.S. House Republicans that would dramatically change Medicare and Medicaid while lowering taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans.  The GOP presidential candidate praised it as “bold and exciting,” while a White House spokesperson called it, “a recipe for destroying Medicare as we know it… it is not a plan that this President could support.”  MD/DC Alliance president Frank Stella spoke at a Tuesday rally against the plan, and Alliance Executive Board member Bill Cea is joining Vice President Joe Biden today at an event in Florida to highlight the Administration’s opposition. Read some of Biden’s remarks explaining what’s at stake at http://bit.ly/GIY9Ws.


“Under the proposal, seniors would be given vouchers to either buy health coverage in the costly private insurance market, or purchase it from a Medicare program that would be made more expensive by the exodus of younger, healthier retirees,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.  The plan would also cut spending on Medicaid and turn it over to cash-strapped states, jeopardizing the only way over 70 percent of seniors are able to afford long-term or nursing home care.  The budget plan, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), was approved by the House Budget Committee on Wednesday and is expected to be voted on by the full House next week.  Also, on the same day that Romney endorsed the Ryan plan, one of his top economic advisors, Greg Mankiw, was forced to apologize for a joke he shared on his blog about deporting seniors to lower Social Security and Medicare costs. For the Alliance’s latest fact sheet on the Ryan budget, go to http://bit.ly/GTNEyL.


New Congressional Voting Record Now Available on the Web

The Alliance’s 2011 Voting Record is now available at http://bit.ly/kpet7N. The annual report details the voting record of every U.S. Senator and Representative on key issues affecting current and future retirees. This year's voting record examines the roll calls on issues such as health care repeal; the Paul Ryan budget; and a balanced budget amendment. Check next week’s Friday Alert for a breakdown of the findings.


Oregon Alliance Holds its Convention

Approximately 50 retirees attended the 9th annual conference of the Oregon Alliance, held March 10 in Portland. Scott Blau was elected president; Linda DeLucia was elected first vice president; Roz Gieze was elected trustee; and Jim Davis was elected member at-large. Resolutions addressed campaign finance reform and called for Congress to reauthorize the Older Americans Act. The Alliance also issued a special award to past president Verna Porter.


Pennsylvania Alliance Mourns Loss of Two Leaders

The Pennsylvania Alliance is mourning the recent deaths of two leaders, Ray Myers and Kate Brennan. Mr. Myers was a founding Board member of PARA, and continued in leadership roles for the state chapter even while serving as national President of the Communications Workers’ Retired Members Council.  Ms. Brennan, also a PARA Board member, was a retired university professor who helped bring the Alliance to college campuses to educate students on health care and retiree issues.  “Ray and Kate were dedicated, passionate activists.  We honor their memories whenever we stand up for social and economic justice,” said Ms. Easterling.

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March 16, 2012

Health Care Reform Marks its Two-Year Anniversary

Next week – March 23 - marks two years since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law and made health care reform a reality. The Alliance is planning almost 30 events across the country to commemorate the anniversary - and the benefits for seniors that come with it.

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March 09, 2012

Romney Wins Six States on Super Tuesday, but Questions Remain

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney won six of the ten states that voted on Tuesday in the race to become the Republican nominee for President. Romney won Ohio, Virginia, Alaska, Massachusetts, Vermont and Idaho, but political analysts focused sharply on his slim margin of victory, 38% - 37%, over the second-place finisher in Ohio, former Sen. Rick Santorum (PA).

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March 02, 2012

Citing Polarization, Sen. Olympia Snowe Announces Her Retirement

Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) announced on Tuesday that she will not seek re-election and will instead retire after over 30 years in Congress. The announcement came as a surprise to many, especially since she was heavily favored to win re-election. She cited unproductivity and polarization in Washington as the main reasons for her sudden retirement.

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February 24, 2012

New Rule Would Provide Home Health Workers with Minimum Wage

The Alliance’s friends at American Rights at Work remind us that even in 2012, millions of workers are without minimum wage protections.  More shocking is that 2.5 million of these unprotected workers are those who provide critical care to seniors and the disabled in their homes.

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February 17, 2012

Coyle Concerned About Proposed Means-Testing for Medicare

President Obama released his FY 2013 budget on Monday. While his administration does not propose changes to Social Security, there are several Medicare proposals which could cause beneficiaries to pay increased out-of-pocket expenses over time. One proposal would increase the number and share of beneficiaries who pay a higher, income-related premium.

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