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. The events are planned for Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin and range from educational forums with experts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to protests at the offices of Members of Congress who opposed this law. While the whole week will celebrate the anniversary, Monday, March 19 is a day for all seniors to celebrate the ways that the ACA is improving their own lives.
If you would like to participate in an anniversary event, please use the contact information at:http://bit.ly/FO8HSE. “When we hear people bad-mouth the new health law by derisively calling it ‘Obamacare,’ say, ‘Damn right! Obama cares for seniors – that is why his new law is closing the doughnut hole, lowering the cost of prescription drug costs, and helping seniors better afford their doctor visits and medical tests,’” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.
On March 26th through March 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of the minimum coverage provision and other components of the Affordable Care Act. “Congress knew what it was doing when it wrote the law. Several lower-court judges, including many conservatives, have found health care reform to be constitutional,” said Mr. Coyle.
Washington Post Finds Conservative Seniors Group “60 Plus” Less Than Honest
The 60 Plus Association, a conservative seniors group, is spending $3.5 million on television advertisements accusing five Democratic senators of voting to ration Medicare services. The ads feature musician Pat Boone. Historically, many critics have referred to “60 Plus” as a front group for the pharmaceutical industry. The group’s targets are potentially vulnerable Democrats in states with large populations of senior citizens: Sens. Bill Nelson (Fla.), Jon Tester (Mont.),Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio). “The Washington Post refers to the ads as, ‘More “Mediscare” Hooey, GOP Version,’ and I agree wholeheartedly,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.
Rep. Paul Ryan’s Plan to Cut Spending Faces a Logic Test – and Fails
The Center for American Progress writes that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is targeting seniors as he purports to help lower-income households; his proposals include slashing $771 billion from Medicaid over ten years. To see how Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, plans to take from seniors , poor children, and people with disabilities to give to the wealthy, go tohttp://bit.ly/wCa0bx.
Romney: No Medicare for Me
Mitt Romney, a leading candidate to secure the Republican nomination for President, turned 65 on Monday, making him eligible for Medicare. But his campaign said that he will not enroll in it, choosing instead to keep his private insurance. “Mitt Romney can afford private insurance, but for millions of seniors, Medicare is the only way they can afford to see a doctor and fill a prescription,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “He can do what he wants with his own health care, but he shouldn’t try to take Medicare away from those whose lives depend on it.”
Voter ID Laws Face Legal, Public Relations Hurdles in Texas, Wisc., and Penn.
The Obama administration on Monday blocked a new law in Texas requiring voters to show photo identification before they can cast a ballot, citing a concern that it could harm Hispanic voters who lack such documents. The Justice Department said that the requirements for potential voters in Texas could lead to them paying high fees for copies of legal documents such as birth certificates. Additionally, nearly one-third of the counties in the state do not have offices where potential voters can obtain a driver’s license or state identification card, and some residents live more than 100 miles away from such locations, the Justice Department said.
A Dane County, Wisconsin judge also struck down that state’s new voter ID law on Monday – the second judge in Wisconsin in a week to block the requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls. The latest ruling goes further than the one issued last week, because it permanently invalidates the law for violating the state constitution.
In addition, a new voter ID law in Pennsylvania is drawing flak because it wouldn’t allow disabled veterans to use a photo ID issued by the Veterans Administration if it is not stamped with an expiration date (http://bit.ly/w52kkS). Governor Tom Corbett (R) signed the bill into law on Wednesday; a legal challenge looms.
Alliance Acts to Improve Transportation and Housing
Smiling transit workers and retirees greeted commuters on Tuesday morning as they emerged from Metro stations in downtown Washington, D.C., drawing attention to potential problems related to proposed cuts in transportation spending. A horse and buggy clip-clopped down the city streets nearby, symbolizing a past the transit workers warn may become the future if cuts in funding for mass transit across the country take effect. The cuts range from fare increases in metro D.C. to reduced routes, 25 percent fare increases and layoffs in Detroit. To see photos from the event, including Maryland/DC Alliance President Frank Stella, go tohttp://tbd.ly/wndOcS. The Amalgamated Transit Union organized the event.
Mr. Coyle and Ms. Easterling were in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on Saturday for the Board of Directors Meeting of the Elderly Housing Development & Operations Corporation.
Alliance Members in the South, Northeast Can Still Register for Regional Meetings
While the Alliance’s regional meetings in the West and Midwest have already taken place, it is not too late to register for the Southern Regional Meeting in Orlando that begins on April 30, or the Northeast Regional Meeting, which begins in Philadelphia on May 14. For more information, or to register, go to http://www.retiredamericans.org/state-by-state/2012_Regional_Meetings.