Legislators, Alliance Members Rebuke Those Voting to Repeal Health Care Reform
On Wednesday, supporters of President Obama’s health care law and the Democratic leadership from the House of Representatives gathered at the Capitol building for a press conference to hold the Republicans accountable for voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Alliance Regional Board Member and retired social studies teacher Bill Cea spoke on behalf of the Alliance, saying of the Affordable Care Act, “Not only is this good for your health, but it is also good public policy.”
The press conference was organized by the Democratic House leadership: Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) and Assistant Leader James Clyburn (SC). The three legislators had strong words for their Republican colleagues, who voted to repeal the ACA, 244-185. Five Democrats joined the full Republican caucus in voting in favor of repeal; no GOP lawmakers crossed the aisle. For a complete tally of the vote, go to http://1.usa.gov/NhMJ0k. Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle, in a strong rebuke of the Republican vote, said, “This was the 33rd vote congressional Republicans have held to repeal this law, a law that in the past two years has been approved by both houses of Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. It is time to move on. Political gamesmanship will not help a single retiree, worker, or student live a better, healthier life.” Click on http://bit.ly/Oda5Qw for pictures of the event, including members of the Alliance’s Regional Board standing with Democratic leaders in support of health care reform. Click on http://bit.ly/LSMwOn for video of Mr. Cea’s remarks.
Easterling Named to DNC Platform Committee
Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance, was named to the 2012 Democratic National Committee platform committee in advance of the national convention. The committee will vote on a platform in Detroit on August 10-12 to present to convention delegates in Charlotte on September 3rd. The platform will include a range of issues to restore the middle class and protect current and future retirees.
“I am honored to have been selected as a member of the DNC platform committee,” said Ms. Easterling. “I pledge to ensure that the needs of retirees are well represented on the platform, and to continue full protection of the Medicare and Social Security programs.”
Republicans Try, Fail to Show Democratic Medicare Cuts
Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget was sharply criticized for cutting hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicare. Now that the ACA has been upheld by the Supreme Court, Republicans have turned that same criticism against the Democrats. They make the false claim that the ACA will cut Medicare by $500 billion. The law actually saves $500 billion by reducing waste and fraud in Medicare, not by cutting benefits to seniors. Much of the savings would come from lower subsidies for private insurers selling Medicare Advantage plans. The insurers could not cut basic Medicare benefits.
Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance, said, “Republicans are simply trying to distract seniors from their own record. They have voted for the Ryan budget multiple times. This budget, not the Affordable Care Act, will devastate Medicare with unreasonable cuts. The health care law will extend Medicare’s solvency and strengthen benefits for seniors.”
Southern Governors Buck Medicaid Expansion, Will Leave Poor Uninsured
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision allowing states to opt out of the Medicaid provisions of the ACA, five southern governors have chosen to abstain from expanding the program in their states. Among those refusing are Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) and Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), whose states account for about 20 percent of all potential Medicaid beneficiaries under the ACA. The other states denying the expansion are Louisiana, South Carolina, and Mississippi. These governors’ choices leave millions without the health care they need in a time of economic uncertainty.
“It is outrageous that these state leaders can make a decision that denies health care coverage to millions at little cost to the state,” said Mr. Coyle. “This is another reason why we must make our voices heard at the polls in November.”
Washington Post: Voter ID Laws Far More Likely to Hurt Legitimate Voters
Voter ID laws, which have been passed in more than two dozen states, have come under increasing scrutiny as the November election nears. These laws require that all citizens provide government issued IDs, such as a driver’s license, when they go to vote on Election Day. Several states that have passed voter ID laws are facing challenges in federal court. The Justice Department is arguing that voter ID laws are trying to solve a problem that does not really exist, and that these laws discriminate against minorities, seniors and the impoverished who often do not own government issued ID. The Washington Post affirmed this week that numbers suggest the legitimate votes rejected by the laws are far more numerous than are the cases of fraud that advocates of the rules say they are trying to prevent (http://wapo.st/N94qyW).
Alliance Members Protest Rhode Island General Treasurer in D.C.
Alliance activists, along with protestors from AFSCME, NEA, and AFT, demonstrated against Rhode Island General Treasurer Gina Raimondo outside her fundraiser on K Street in Washington on Tuesday. The activists protested the deep cuts to Rhode Island’s public pensions that Raimondo championed. Last year, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed and Governor Lincoln Chaffee signed the Retirement Security Act, which slashed benefits for current and future retirees. It also limited cost-of-living increases and raised the retirement age. Raimondo is “credited” as the single driving force behind these devastating cuts.
Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans Elects a New President
The Iowa Alliance held its convention this week in Des Moines, electing Jan Laue as its new State President. Rich Fiesta, Director of the Department of Government and Political Affairs for the national Alliance, was among those who addressed the group.
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