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Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 7-27-12

President Obama Woos Older Voters in Florida
In a recent campaign speech to a seniors audience in West Palm Beach, President Barack Obama laid out his platform for older Americans, pointing out the clear differences between his vision for the country and Mitt Romney’s. “You should retire with dignity and respect, and you should be able to provide your children, and hopefully your grandchildren, with opportunities that you might not even have imagined that they’re going to do even better than you did,” said Obama.  Alliance activists Bill Cea, Mark and Martha Boston, and Frank Angel attended the event.

New Senate Report on “Retirement Crisis”
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today released a new report noting that, “for most of the middle class, the dream of a secure retirement is slipping out of reach.”  Harkin, chair of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, said what he terms a “retirement crisis” is rooted in the breakdown of private pensions, personal savings, and Social Security.  He recommends a two-pronged approach to the problem: improvements to Social Security that will increase benefits and the program’s long-term finances, and universal access to a new private pension plan that pools savings in way that both reduces risk and relieves the burden on employers, particularly small businesses.

The new Senate report finds that there is a collective $6.6 trillion gap between what people have saved for retirement and what they need.  The study notes that half of Americans have less than $10,000 in savings, and only one in five private sector workers have a defined pension plan.  “Workers and retirees should be terribly disturbed by the findings in Senator Harkin’s report,” said Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle, who recently joined 100 other Alliance members in a conference call with Senator Harkin to discuss his legislation, The Rebuild America Act (S. 2252).  For more information on the new report, visit and for an Alliance fact sheet on Rebuild America Act,

Alliance Members Say: Let’s Not Be the Last Generation to Retire
The Alliance’s Let’s Not Be the Last Generation to Retire campaign is underway, with events this week on Capitol Hill and in Arizona, Florida, Maine, Ohio, Vermont, and Washington.   Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling joined nine U.S. House members at a press conference to celebrate Monday’s 47th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid.  Easterling said that these programs have, “been tremendous successes.  But if the wrong candidates win this November, all that we have accomplished could become a thing of the past.”  To join your fellow Alliance members at an event near you, visit

Health Law Saves $3.9 Billion on Prescriptions for People with Medicare
As a result of the Affordable Care Act, over 5.2 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved over $3.9 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced this week.  The federal agency said that in the first half of 2012, over 1 million people with Medicare saved a total of $687 million on prescription drugs in “doughnut hole” coverage gap for an average of $629 in savings this year.

Since the law was enacted, seniors and people with disabilities have had several opportunities to save on prescription drugs.  In 2010, people with Medicare who hit the doughnut hole received a one-time $250 rebate. These rebates totaled $946 million for 2010.  In 2011, people with Medicare began receiving a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 7 percent coverage of generic drugs in the doughnut hole. Last year, these discounts totaled over $2.3 billion in savings.  This year, Medicare coverage for generic drugs in the coverage gap has risen to 14 percent. For the first six months of the year, people with Medicare have saved $687 million.

Wisconsin Alliance President to Tell Democratic Leaders of Need for Social Security and Medicare
Wisconsin Alliance President Leon Burzynski will testify tomorrow before the Democratic National Convention Platform Drafting Committee.  At the panel’s meeting in Minneapolis, Burzynski will, on behalf of the Alliance, urge the Democratic Party to “include a strong, forceful platform plank that is unconditionally committed to preserving, protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare.”

For members of the Alliance, Burzynski will say, “Social Security and Medicare are rooted in old-fashioned American values.  They embody the advice we give to our younger generations:  work hard, save some money for the long-term, and when you are older, you will be able to relax after decades of hard work.  But to Mitt Romney and the Bain Capitals of the world, Social Security and Medicare are just two more funds that can be privatized and raided for their own personal gain.” Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling was recently appointed as member of the party’s Platform Committee.

CT Alliance Activist Named to State Panel
Kevin Lynch, former president of the Connecticut Alliance and a former Regional Board member was recently appointed by leaders of the state’s General Assembly to a new 16-person Aging in Place Task Force.  Connecticut, like all states with an aging population, is facing increased challenges associated with helping older residents remain in their communities.  “Kevin Lynch was an outstanding pick for this new panel.  Connecticut seniors are in good hands with such a knowledgeable and passionate advocate on their side,” said Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Ruben J. Burks.

More Photos from Biden Event
Check out the Alliance’s Flickr site for more photos from Alliance members recent visit with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House.  Alliance members from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC spent a morning at the White House, hearing the Vice President and key Administration leaders discuss seniors issues.  Three retiree activists with the Alliance spoke on a White House panel: Missouri’s Judith Parker, New York’s Stu Leibowitz, and Maryland’s Carolyn Caulk-Smith.  Click here to see the photos.

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