Retirees are facing frightening new threats this week in two major U.S. cities - Detroit and Cincinnati. The first involves the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, the largest filing by a local government in U.S. history. Because Michigan's constitution says that public pensions “shall not be diminished or impaired,” Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina had ruled last week that the bankruptcy filing violates the state constitution by jeopardizing the pensions of Detroit retirees.
"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
Extreme summer heat causes thousands of heat-related illnesses in the U.S. each year, and kills more people than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes combined. With the dramatic heat wave currently gripping so much of the U.S., seniors have been especially vulnerable recently.
On July 2nd, the Alliance’s Human Chains events, designed to stop the chained CPI cut to Social Security benefits, took place in more than 50 cities and included more than 2,800 participants. Alliance members raised awareness of the chained CPI to many people who had never heard of it and led an effort to send over 108,000 emails to members of Congress.
The Alliance will be hosting more than 45 “Human Chain against the Chained CPI” events on July 2.
Politicians continue to press for the Chained CPI cut to Social Security benefits as a way to reduce the deficit. However, an average earner retiring at age 65 would lose over $6,000 over 15 years if the chained CPI were adopted. On Tuesday July 2nd, the Alliance is mobilizing people in more than 40 cities across the country to form a Human Chain against the Chained CPI.
The Alliance and our allies continue to plan events around the country for the July 2nd “Human Chain against the Chained CPI” National Day of Action. The day is devoted to stopping the chained CPI benefit cut to Social Security.
According to a new study in the journal Health Affairs, states would save money by accepting the Medicaid expansion in President Obama's health care law. The study finds that fourteen of the states that have rejected the expansion will spend a combined $1 billion more on uncompensated care, and give up $8.4 billion in payments from the federal government. In addition, 3.6 million Americans who would have received coverage in the expansion will remain uninsured.
The Social Security and Medicare Trustees issued their annual reports on the state of the two programs’ finances today. Social Security, according to its Trustees, has a $2.7 trillion surplus, enough to fully meet the demands of a growing retiree cohort through 2033 – the same as last year. With no action from Congress, it would cover most benefits through 2087. The Trustees report for Medicare noted that its Trust Fund, which covers hospital care, can fully pay benefits through 2026 – two years later than forecast last year. The Medicare trustees report shows reduced cost growth; this is further proof in many experts’ eyes that health care reform is working for seniors.
On Monday, the Alliance released its annual report detailing the voting record of every U.S. Senator and Representative on key issues affecting current and future retirees.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) recently introduced the Strengthen Social Security Act, S.567. Instead of offering a cold, calculated benefit cut like the chained CPI, this bill would actually increase Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA’s) by an average of $800!