The Alliance continues its involvement in the implementation process of the health care reform that President Obama signed into law in March.
"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
At a special event on Tuesday, June 8, Alliance members are invited to ask the President health care questions by telephone.
On Tuesday, Democrat Mark Critz defeated Tim Burns (R), 53% - 45%, in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District, winning a special election and a seat in Congress.
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) lost his bid for a 15th term Tuesday in a primary defeat. He is the first House member to lose a reelection bid in the 2010 campaign, and his defeat comes just days after Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) was knocked off the November ballot in Utah's convention process.
On Tuesday, the Alliance marked Older Americans Month by releasing its latest voting record, a new report detailing the 2009 votes of every U.S. Senator and Representative on key issues affecting current and future retirees.
Alliance Members Protest Across the Country as Fiscal Commission Meets in DC
On Tuesday in Washington, DC, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform met for the first time. Erskine Bowles, former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, and retired Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY), co-chair the Commission.
Alliance Seeks Open Government as Fiscal Commission Holds Its First Meeting
Two important summit meetings will be held in Washington next week to discuss ways of reducing the federal deficit. The first will be President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which holds its first meeting on Tuesday, April 27. In advance of the meeting, the Alliance sent a letter on Thursday to Bruce Reed, Executive Director of the Commission.
New Health Reform Law Extends Election Period to Change Part D Plan
The new health reform law changes and extends the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D plans. Anyone interested in switching plans should keep in mind the new enrollment period is now October 15 - December 7.
Note that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides for a Special Enrollment Period for contract violation if a prescription drug plan (PDP) violated a provision of its contract under Part D in relation to the individual. Violations include: failure to provide on a timely basis benefits available under the plan; failure to provide benefits in accordance with quality standards; or the PDP sponsor (or its agent) materially misrepresenting the PDP when marketing the PDP. The enrollment period begins when CMS determines that a violation has occurred.
For other details on the new health reform bill, what it does, especially for seniors, and when provisions go into place, check out fact sheet here: http://bit.ly/ccGLay.
2010 Campaigns Heating Up: Retirees Must Know the Facts
Political developments in three states this week were a reminder of how retirees - expected to be the largest voting bloc this fall - must be well versed on the issues and where the candidates stand. Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling traveled to Arkansas to endorse Lt. Gov. Bill Halter for the U.S. Senate and rebut television ads that falsely claim he supports Social Security privatization. Noting that Halter ran the Social Security Administration under President Clinton and has consistently worked to help retirees, Easterling said, "Bill Halter is a great friend of Social Security and Medicare. He is a great friend to seniors." Write-up here: http://bit.ly/bA0D7P.
In the first U.S. House election since health reform was signed into law, voters in a heavily-senior Florida congressional district elected Democrat Ted Deutch by a 2-1 margin over his Republican opponent to fill a vacant seat. In Missouri, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, criticized a provision in the new health law that prohibits adults from being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Video here: http://bit.ly/ce5t5S. In May, both Pennsylvania and Hawaii will be holding closely contested special elections to fill vacant U.S. House seats. "More than ever, we must be a nation of politically savvy seniors," Easterling commented.
CEO Pay at the Big Health Insurance Companies: Enough to Make You Sick
According to new data from the AFL-CIO
Barbara Easterling, Ruben Burks Re-elected as Leaders of the Alliance
The Alliance's 2010 national convention took place in Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday through Thursday of this week. On Wednesday, Barbara J. Easterling, who has been President of the Alliance since February of 2009, was re-elected to a four-year term. Prior to joining the Alliance, Ms. Easterling had served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Communications Workers of America. "You have helped improve the lives of millions of current and future retirees," said Ms. Easterling to those in attendance. "We have more work to do. I know none of you will rest, and neither will I," she continued. Ruben Burks, who has been Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance since it was launched in 2001, was elected to another four-year term. Mr. Burks was once the Secretary-Treasurer of the United Auto Workers. "Thank you for re-electing me. I will do everything I can do to help this unique and wonderful organization," he said. More than 400 Alliance members watched and cheered as the two took their oaths. Six non-union members were elected to the Community Advocacy Network (CAN) Board on Tuesday: Julie Harbin of South Carolina; Rosario Holguin and Mary Magill of California; Rev. Louis B. Jones of Maryland/Washington, DC; Suleika Cabrera-Drinane of New York; and John Jensen of Nebraska. President Emeritus George J. Kourpias administered the oaths, and Hawaii Alliance President Al Hamai served as Parliamentarian during the convention. For photos from this week, go to http://bit.ly/bsqo0Y.
Congratulations to Award Winners Harry Reid, Scott Watts, and Bill Holayter!
The Alliance presented its Leadership Award to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on Monday. "This award is especially meaningful because the first recipient was Sen. Ted Kennedy," said Sen. Reid.
The Alliance's President's Award was bestowed upon Scott Watts, President of the Nevada Alliance, and Executive Board member William J. Holayter of Washington State. "I'm going to cherish this moment," said Mr. Watts.