June 21, 2013

Initial List of Members of Congress Joining July 2 Human Chain Events is Revealed

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. This National Day of Action will showcase the broad base of Americans who support protecting and enhancing retirement security, not dismantling Social Security inch by inch.

Members of the U.S. Senate and House who are planning to join the July 2 events, as of today, are: Sens. Kay Hagan in Raleigh, NC; Tom Harkin in Des Moines, Iowa; and Sheldon Whitehouse in Providence, RI; as well as Reps. Jim Langevin (RI), also in Providence;Michelle Lujan Grisham in Albuquerque, NM; and Maxine Waters in Los Angeles, CA. To find an event near you, go to http://tinyurl.com/ndah9ea. To view the Alliance webpage for July 2, which includes both a map and a link to find an event, go to http://tinyurl.com/pd8pbsz. To join the events over Facebook, and invite your friends to do the same, go to http://on.fb.me/13QpMbH.

103 House Members, 20 Senators Co-Sponsor Resolutions Rejecting Chained CPI
103 Members of the U.S House have co-sponsored H. Con. Res. 34, the House Resolution rejecting the Chained CPI that was introduced by Rep. Cicilline (D-RI). To see who those co-sponsors are (as of June 17), go to http://tinyurl.com/ob7yqed. In addition, twenty U.S. Senators have now co-sponsored S. Con. Res. 15, a Senate Resolution introduced by Senators Harkin (D-IA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Whitehouse (D-RI), rejecting the Chained CPI. To see that list of co-sponsors as of June 17, go to http://tinyurl.com/o4465ot. The Resolutions express the sense of Congress that the Chained Consumer Price Index should not be used to calculate cost of living adjustments for Social Security.

“Alliance members have been instrumental in drumming up support for additional co-sponsors, and we thank you for that,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.

Help Sen. Bernie Sanders Address Poverty among Seniors
Last month, Sen. Sanders, chairman of the subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced S. 1028, the Older Americans Act (OAA) Amendments of 2013. This legislation would reauthorize and strengthen the OAA, which supports Meals on Wheels and other critical programs for seniors. This past Wednesday, Sanders held a hearing to discuss the role of the OAA in addressing poverty and hunger among seniors. The hearing took place as the HELP Committee attempts to pass the reauthorization of the OAA before the August recess.

The HELP Committee is marking up S. 1028, now cosponsored by 17 Senators (http://tinyurl.com/ocalyj9), in the coming weeks. Contact your Senators, especially those on the HELP Committee (http://www.help.senate.gov), to share your support of S. 1028 as it moves through the Committee. To read Sen. Sanders’ related piece this week in Politico, “Keep Meals on Wheels Going,” go to http://tinyurl.com/o9q2neu.

Vote in the Alliance’s Social Security Bumper Sticker Poll!
The Alliance is preparing to put our message on bumpers across the country – but we would like your input on what we should say about Social Security first. Please participate in our online poll to choose the bumper sticker we use. Go to http://tinyurl.com/pjcyra2 to vote on Facebook!

Generic Drugs, Consumers Win in Supreme Court Ruling
This past Monday, the Supreme Court sided with the Federal Trade Commission in a case challenging “pay-for-delay” and other payment agreements that pharmaceutical companies make with rival companies to keep cheaper generic versions of drugs off the market. The Court ruled that regulators can challenge deals between brand-name drug companies and generic rivals that delay cheaper medicines from going on sale, which can increase costs to consumers by billions of dollars. However, the Court’s 5-3 vote denied the Federal Trade Commission’s request to declare “pay-for-delay” deals illegal. The case centered around drug company Solvay’s agreement with four generic companies to suspend sales of the generic versions of Androgel, a gel for men with low testosterone. For more information, read a New York Times article here:http://nyti.ms/19VYRQy.

“Seniors and consumers should celebrate the decision,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “However, while it is great that regulators can challenge these unholy deals to keep generic drugs off the market, it would have been even better if the deals had been ruled illegal altogether.”

ACLU of Indiana Files Suit to Keep Seniors and the Disabled in Their Homes
Last Friday, the ACLU of Indiana filed a suit against the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), saying that changes to the Medicaid Waiver program put Hoosiers “at grave risk of immediate and irreparable harm.” The suit challenges the way in which the agency operates two of its Medicaid waiver programs, the Community Integration and Habilitation Waiver (CIH) and the Aged and Disabled Waiver (A&D). The programs serve thousands of Hoosiers, offering services that enable people to live in their communities even though their disabling conditions would otherwise require that they be institutionalized. To read more on this story, go tohttp://tinyurl.com/qc7a86r.

“I am glad the ACLU filed this case,” said Elmer Blankenship, President of the Indiana Alliance. “People in Indiana who could and should be living at home are being placed in institutions.”

Did You Know…

The average age at which current U.S. retirees say they actually retired is now 61, up from 59 a decade ago and 57 in the early 1990s. Conversely, 37% of non-retirees expect to retire after age 65, up from 14% in 1995 (http://tinyurl.com/cmzysvf).

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