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Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert May 4, 2012

Alliance Members Prepare for 2012 Elections at Southern Regional Meeting
Over 70 Alliance members from southern states gathered this week in Orlando for workshops and presentations to help educate and mobilize retirees for this fall’s elections.  Retiree activists participated in training sessions to learn the latest developments on Social Security and Medicare; how to use the media and new on-line communications tools to reach seniors in their community; and how to strengthen their grassroots organizing and fund-raising efforts.

Speakers included Florida Alliance President Tony Fransetta, national Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks, Executive Director Edward F. Coyle, and Government and Political Affairs Director Rich Fiesta, who outlined 2012 electoral issues and strategies and the importance of the senior vote; Ben Belton from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Trishala Deb from Caring Across Generations, and Krystal Knight from the Medicare Rights Center, who discussed improving health care for current and future retirees; Steve Walker from the Democratic National Committee, who cited the party’s accomplishments for seniors; Cindy Smalls of the AFL-CIO, who discussed new state voting laws that could suppress turnout; and Nolan Harrison III of the National Football Players Association, who spoke of his union’s solidarity across the broad labor movement and announced that the group has formally affiliated with the Alliance.

Alliance members elected four activists to the group’s Regional Board – Martina “Marty” Alvarado, Bill Cea, Emmett Sheppard, and Kenneth Stevens.  Check out photos of the meeting at

Sign-Up Today for Alliance’s Northeast Regional Meeting
Join fellow retiree activists May 14-16 in Philadelphia for Training Seniors to Win, the 2012 Northeast Regional Meeting of the Alliance for Retired Americans.  The training workshops and presentations will be an excellent opportunity to strengthen your skills as an activist.  For more information, please call 202/637-5377 or visit

Romney Assails Obama Support for Labor
On the eve of International Workers Day, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama’s support for the American labor movement, with a campaign spokeswoman saying that the President has, “chosen to put the interests of big labor ahead of the interests of America's workers and job creators.”  In response, the AFL-CIO released a new video, Mr. 1%, [] that compiles Mr. Romney’s policy stances and public statements on workers and the economy, including quotes such as “I like to fire people,” “let Detroit go bankrupt,” and “corporations are people.”

Mr. Obama spoke this week at a meeting of the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department and expressed his strong opposition to the so-called “Right to Work” laws that have either passed or are under consideration in a number of states.  “I believe the economy is stronger when collective bargaining rights are protected,” the president said [].

Earlier this week, the Romney campaign told The Hill newspaper that former National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) member Peter Schaumber is no longer advising the campaign [].  Recent media accounts have alleged that Schaumber inappropriately received confidential information from a current NLRB member regarding a pending matter before the board.  “Mitt Romney and his partners at Bain Capital have destroyed workers lives by buying up companies, slashing jobs and retiree benefits, and then selling off what is left behind.  For workers and retirees, the contrast between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama could not be more clear,” said Ruben J. Burks, the Alliance’s Secretary-Treasurer.

Rep. Ryan Says Budget Plan “Saves the American Dream”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee, said last weekend that his budget proposal, which dramatically slashes Medicare and Medicaid, “saves the American Dream” through fiscal austerity []. The proposal, which passed the House earlier this year, would cut health care for senior citizens in order to pay for more tax breaks for big corporations and for the wealthiest Americans. Seniors on Medicare would be given inadequate vouchers to either buy health coverage in the costly, unfair private insurance market, or purchase coverage from a Medicare program that would be badly weakened by the exodus of younger, healthier retirees. Moreover, the budget plan would turn Medicaid over to cash-strapped states, gutting a program that is the only way over 70 percent of seniors can afford long-term or nursing home care.  “The Ryan budget would destroy the American Dream by jeopardizing seniors’ health care and economic security in what should be their golden years,” said Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling.  Please share the Alliance’s new fact sheet on the Ryan plan by visiting

Affordable Care Act Has Saved Seniors $3.4 Billion on Prescriptions
A new report out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says that the 2010 Affordable Care Act has helped seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare save a total of $3.4 billion on prescription drugs from the enactment of the law through March of 2012 [].  According to CMS, in the first three months of 2012 alone, more than 220,000 people saved an average of $837 on the prescription drugs they purchased after they hit the prescription drug donut hole, for a total of $184.5 million in savings. The federal agency noted that in 2010 and 2011, more than 5.1 million people with Medicare saved over $3.2 billion on prescription drugs. “This is yet another reminder that President Obama’s health law is good for seniors.  But too many seniors do not know this – we must redouble our efforts to educate our friends and neighbors,” said Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle, who encourages Alliance members to widely share the organization’s latest fact sheet on the issue

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