"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, former 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
NY Gov. Candidate Astorino: Let Seniors Eat Soup, and They Won’t Need Dentures
This past Monday, Republican/Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino formed an exploratory Committee to run for New York Governor against Andrew Cuomo (D). The New York Daily News covered it by reporting on an interview that Mr. Astorino gave in 2011. During a “Capital Tonight” conversation, Astorino said that Medicaid should not pay for dentures for seniors. Asked by interviewer Liz Benjamin how seniors would be able to chew, Astorino said, “Soup is good.”
In response to the article, Dennis Tracey, President of the New York State Alliance for Retired Americans, said, “Telling seniors who depend on Medicaid to ‘go eat soup’ is insulting and degrading to senior citizens everywhere. This kind of thoughtless comment ignores that there are countless senior citizens who depend on Medicaid for all kinds of critical health issues, from prescription drugs to dentures.” Mr. Tracey continued, “To mock these real issues shows that Rob Astorino not only doesn't care about the needs of seniors, but that he thinks our best use is being the butt of a political joke. Mr. Astorino should immediately apologize.” To see video footage of Astorino’s original remarks, go to http://tinyurl.com/q4zgjvq. Monday’s Daily News article is at http://tinyurl.com/nwk254m.
Harvard-CUNY Study: Governors’ Refusal of Medicaid Funds May Kill up to 17,000
Using mortality rate statistics from other states’ previous efforts to expand Medicaid, a Harvard – City University of New York study has found that between 7,000 and 17,000 Americans are likely to die due to 25 states’ refusal to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. More at http://tinyurl.com/pgdpchx. For an Alliance fact sheet with Medicaid information for 2014, go to http://tinyurl.com/oz43huc.
Affordable Senior Health Insurance to Supplement Medicare
Are you a union retiree or spouse? Did you know you are eligible for affordable supplemental insurance to Medicare exclusively endorsed by the Alliance? The Union Retiree Health Plan offers several options to fit your budget and is proud to announce the program’s most competitive rates ever! The Open Enrollment Period is currently in effect through March 31, 2014! During this period, Medicare-eligible union retirees and spouses are guaranteed acceptance without waiting periods, regardless of preexisting health conditions. If you are not one of the thousands of your fellow members currently benefiting from the Union Retiree Health Plan, now is the best time to enroll! Already enrolled? Tell your friends! Enrollment is easy. For more information, please call 1-855-733-0557 today!
Vote to Extend Benefits for the Long-Term Unemployed Fails in Senate
On Thursday, the Senate again failed to approve an extension of emergency unemployment insurance, 40 days after the benefit was allowed to lapse. One vote prevented 1.7 million long-term unemployed Americans from receiving a desperately needed lifeline. Republicans opposed the bill even after Democrats met their demands that it be fully paid for and only three months in duration. For a tally of the 58-40 procedural vote, go to http://tinyurl.com/pnsjnd9. Sixty votes were needed. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) switched his vote to “nay” in the end, enabling him to bring the vote up again in the future. More at http://tinyurl.com/qbj234b. “Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) had said, ‘If [Senate Majority Leader Reid] gave us an offset, I’d be a yes.’ However, he did not keep his word,” noted Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.
Republicans in House Discuss Tying Debt Limit to Medicare
This week, House Republican leaders have tried to craft a debt-limit package that could pass with only Republican support. Now, according to Politico, Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and others are considering “attaching a whole laundry list of provisions to the debt ceiling that do precious little to decrease the deficit but would instead serve only to attract enough Democratic support to move the legislation on to the Senate.”
One option being widely discussed is attaching a nine-month patch of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) to the debt-limit increase. The SGR, or “doc fix,” is the formula by which the federal government reimburses doctors who treat Medicare patients. Such a move would enable doctors to continue treating Medicare patients without seeing a cut to their payments. However, Medicare beneficiaries could see their costs go up. Also in the mix is a proposal to reverse recent cuts to the cost-of-living adjustment for some military retirees’ pensions. Top Republicans think that could attract Democratic support, but Senate insiders say Boehner is mistaken. The debt ceiling likely needs to be hiked by the end of February to avoid a default. More at http://tinyurl.com/pqhpean.
“Compassionate Allowances” Speed up Social Security Disability Claims
Acting Social Security Commissioner Carolyn W. Colvin has announced that 25 conditions would be added to the Compassionate Allowance program, bringing to 225 the number of conditions covered. The program allows individuals with the most serious disabilities to be pushed through the process of applying for, and receiving, benefits at a much faster rate. For many, applying for Social Security benefits can take months, but the Compassionate Allowance program cuts this wait to days. You can see the list of conditions added, including a dozen cancers, at http://tinyurl.com/pgrmuso.
“We welcome the expansion of the Compassionate Allowance program, and the relief it will provide to countless Americans who don’t have the luxury of waiting to get their benefits,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.
Come to the Alliance’s Convention, April 28 – May 1, 2014, at Bally's Hotel Las Vegas
Join us in Las Vegas as we sharpen our organizing and communications skills for the 2014 elections and beyond! Liz Shuler, Alliance Executive Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO; J. David Cox, President of the American Federation of Government Employees; and Linda Chavez-Thompson, former Executive Vice-President of the AFL-CIO, are confirmed speakers. Alliance members will elect a president and secretary-treasurer, and community members will elect six community-based board members and the executive vice-president for community affairs. Alliance members whose dues are paid and are in good standing as of February 27, 2014 are eligible to be a voting delegate. Hotel reservations must be made by March 21, 2014. Questions? Contact Joni Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-637-5377. Ready to register? Download a registration form at http://tinyurl.com/nqnz97a or register on-line at http://tinyurl.com/prl8box.