Retirees Friday Alert
The U.S. House approved a plan to provide tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and corporations on Thursday by a vote of 227-205. If H.R.1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, becomes law, the deficit will explode by more than $1.4 trillion and automatic spending cuts will kick in. For starters, there will be a $25 billion cut from Medicare, and more from Medicaid. In addition, eliminating the medical expense deduction will make it harder for families with high medical expenses, many of whom are seniors, to make ends meet.
HEADLINES: 2018 Social Security COLA will be 2.0%: Not Enough to Offset Medicare Part B Premiums; House Slashes Medicare to Fund Children’s Health Insurance Program; President Trump Signs Health Care Executive Order, Ends Affordable Care Act Subsidies; CNN: Investigation Finds Drug May Be Inappropriately Prescribed Pill to Nursing Home Residents; Nebraska Alliance Elects Officers, Wisconsin Alliance Draws Gubernatorial Candidates.
09/29/2017 - Senate Republicans announced that they will not vote this week on their latest proposal to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The bill, sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), would have placed an age tax on older Americans, eliminated protections for people with pre-existing conditions and resulted in at least 32 million Americans losing affordable health care.
During Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate, Donald Trump answered a question about raising the minimum wage by saying that wages are too high. Rather than taking on Trump, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson helped reinforce that message by stating their own opposition to a minimum wage hike.
On Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced S. 2251, the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act. The bill would provide a one-time payment in 2016 to Social Security beneficiaries, veterans, and others of $581, or 3.9% of the average Social Security retirement benefit.
Congressional leaders and the White House announced on Monday that they had reached a deal to avert default and keep the government funded. Outgoing House Speaker John Boehner helped arrange the deal, which also cleared the way for new Speaker Paul Ryan to become the new Speaker without having to worry about clashes over the debt limit and budget issues until 2017.
The November 3 deadline for raising the federal debt limit is fast approaching, bringing with it the risk of a U.S. credit default if Congress fails to act. Democrats in Congress have drawn an early line in the sand, saying they will reject any effort by Republicans to cut earned Social Security and Medicare benefits as part of this fall's budget talks, according to Politico and a source familiar with the discussions. This means that Republican leaders in the U.S. House will likely have to rely on Democratic votes to increase the debt limit without any policy concessions.
October 09, 2015
After five years of secret negotiations, representatives from 12 countries came to an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Monday. If implemented, the deal would allow drug companies to lock in patent protections on critical medications for seniors, making it more difficult to get generics on the market. It could also open drug subsidy programs under Medicare and Medicaid to challenges in secret international tribunals. The Alliance has already begun focusing on plans to stop the TPP, including passing resolutions at the local level; preparing activists for the fight ahead; and educating members on the issue.
International trade ministers met this week in Atlanta and the Wall Street Journal reported that they continue to be divided over provisions related to prescription drugs and how long companies will be able to keep lower-cost generics off the market. Americans already pay the highest prices in the industrialized world for prescription drugs and if the TPP is passed the Alliance and other senior and consumer groups are deeply concerned that the situation will be worse.
“The Alliance team is closely monitoring this issue, and will take appropriate action to ensure that Alliance members’ voices are heard, as should anyone who relies on Medicare or prescription drugs,” said Robert Roach, Jr., President of the Alliance. “We know that free trade deals, especially when they’ve been negotiated in secret, often end up being a bad deal for older Americans and working people.”