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Showing posts from August, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 8-31-12

Republican Platform Calls for Sweeping Changes to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
Delegates to this week’s Republican National Convention approved a party platform calling for sweeping changes to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Pledging to “save Medicare by modernizing it,” the platform supports vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s plan to push seniors toward vouchers to buy health coverage from private insurance companies.  The platform would also raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67.  Medicaid, which is the only way that 70 percent of seniors can afford long-term and nursing home care, would be cut under the GOP plan, with much of the program turned over to individual states.

Social Security, the platform contends, “is long overdue for major change… to restore trust in the system.” While the actual platform language on Social Security is vague, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have long supported lowering benefits, raising the retirement age, and moving toward a priva…

Retiree Leader Critical of GOP Platform

Wall Street, Insurance Companies Would Profit at Expense of Seniors
The following statement was issued today by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to the 2012 Republican Party Platform.

“In a platform badly out of touch with the needs of workers and retirees, the Republican Party is seeking to enrich Wall Street and the big health insurance companies at the expense of retirees who are trying to pay their bills and stay healthy.  The platform is a perfect fit for the most anti-senior ticket ever to be nominated by a major political party.

“The platform would reverse nearly 50 years of Medicare success by cutting benefits, delaying retirees’ eligibility, and pushing seniors toward expensive, inadequate coverage from private health insurance companies.  According to a recent analysis by the New York Times, the Romney-Ryan plan would raise out-of-pocket costs for seniors by an average of $342 per year, drain eight years’ of solvency from th…

President Obama: "They Drove Our Economy Into A Ditch"

It's Time to Wake Up

We are constantly being bombarded with the rhetoric that Americans are fed up with big government. It sounds great, but when you dig deeper and ask folks for specifics, it is obvious that this view is more theoretical than reality. 
A poll recently released from Hofstra University, which surveyed suburban voters unveiled that the majority of Americans are adamantly opposed to cutting benefits or regulations when the talk turns to specifics. * More than seven in ten suburban residents say that they favor cutting federal spending in general. But when you get specific, 87 percent oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits. And 65 percent support increasing government spending on infrastructure and public works projects. * A majority, 51 percent, says government regulation of business usually “does more harm than good.” But when you get specific, nearly two thirds of them say the environment should be protected by doing-- “whatever it takes.” Even when you add into the equation tha…

Are You Listening?

I know we all have been inundated with television and radio commercials from both parties in an effort to persuade us to vote one way or the other this November.

But, have you been listening to the debate? I have, and the message seems pretty clear. One party believes in going back to the trickle down policies of the past, that favors enriching the few at the expense of the majority and the other wants to build an economy that works for all.

We have tried the old trickle down economic plan before. The idea is to have less governmental controls over business and the wealthy to allow them to make more money. In return, those who have will turn around and share their wealth with those less fortunate.

In a benevolent society that may work. But history has taught us that in the dog-eat-dog world that exists in business and politics today, those less fortunate will be left behind while those who have prospered continue to live a life that you and I can only dream of.

Sisters and Brothers, th…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 8-24-12

Alliance Responds to Argument That Obama Raided $716 Billion from Medicare
A new ad, paid for by the Mitt Romney campaign, has a narrator saying, “Some think Obamacare is the same as free health care. But nothing is free. Obama is raiding $716 billion from Medicare, changing the program forever. Taxing wheelchairs and pacemakers! Raising taxes on families making less than $120,000! Free health care comes at a very high price. The Romney-Ryan plan will restore Medicare funding and protect and strengthen the program for the next generation.”

Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance, responded, “The $716 billion savings in Medicare under the Affordable Care Act do not affect benefits for seniors and beneficiaries. They do reduce overpayments and provider reimbursements - excluding doctors - and they curb waste, fraud and abuse. When Romney says he will reverse the changes to Medicare under health reform, he means he will reinstitute overpayments to insurance companies and protec…

Retirees Have Reason To Be Worried

By Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans

I recently read an article profiling Mitt Romney’s top economic advisers.  One thing they all have in common is they all support privatizing Social Security. With Mitt Romney having friends like these, workers and retirees have every reason to be worried.

Social Security – which turned 77 this summer – would, under their plan, become a collection of private accounts tied to the roulette wheel of the stock market. With all the chaos and scandal on Wall Street, this would be a terrible gamble for workers and retirees – many of whom have already lost much of their savings and seen their home values drop because of unchecked greed and speculation in the financial industry.

Privatizing Social Security is like the house guest that just won’t leave. President George W. Bush tried but was stopped in 2005. Even in the face of wild gyrations on Wall Street and scandals such as Bernie Madoff, AIG, and Lehman Brothers, right…

Still Out of Control

Veteran says "Four More Years"

"One Term More"

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 8-17-12

Mitt Romney Chooses Paul Ryan as His Running Mate
On Saturday morning, Mitt Romney unveiled U.S. Representative and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his choice for running mate in his quest to become U.S. President. Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle was quick to react to the choice of Ryan, who has made clear his plan to end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system - shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors. Ryan also seeks to raise the retirement age, privatize Social Security and cut benefits under that program.

“Paul Ryan would make older workers, who have trouble finding health insurance in the private marketplace, wait until they reach age 67 to qualify for Medicare benefits,” Mr. Coyle said. “Imagine combining this with Mitt Romney’s plan to require Americans in all sectors, including physically demanding jobs, to work until age 70 before they can be eligible for the Social Security benefits they have earned. The…

Romney/Ryan Budget Threatens Vitality of Medicare

Medicare works for many reasons, one of them being that its volume of beneficiaries gives it better bargaining power when negotiating rates with providers. This feature keeps costs down for both the government and the beneficiary. Under the Ryan 2013 plan, private insurers would cherry pick the younger, healthier and less expensive beneficiaries. Leaving Medicare with a disproportianate share of the oldest, sickest and costliest beneficiaries would drive up costs for the program and set it on an unsustainable path.

Source: Alliance for Retired Americans

Romney Wants to Voucherize Medicare

Paul Ryan's 2013 budget replaces Medicare's guaranteed benefits with a "premium support" payment that beneficiaries would use towards the cost of private insurance or traditional Medicare starting in 2023. The amount of this voucher would be based on the second cheapest available plan in the area. There is no guarantee that this payment would actually cover enough of a premium's cost to actually make health care affordable. In fact, it is more than likely that beneficiaries would be left with increased out of pocket costs, because Ryan's plan caps the amount of the voucher at GDP + 0.5 percent, far below the growth in health insurance costs in recent years. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that new beneficiaries could pay more than $1,200 more by 2030 and more than $5,900 more by 2050 under this scenario.

Source: Alliance for Retired Americans

Ryan Republican Budget, FY 2013

On March 20, 2012, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Republican Wisconsin) released the GOP budget proposal for 2013. As feared, it is the plan that would harm the middle class while providing a windfall for millionaires. Ryan's budget makes deep, lasting cuts to many domestic programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, nutrition and housing programs. Meanwhile, it increases defense spending by $228 billion through 2022. The Ryan budget would also repeal the affordable care act (ACA), leaving 34 million people without health insurance coverage.

While the budget gives the appearance of eliminating certain tax breaks for the wealthy, it then uses those very savings to fund other tax cuts.

Most alarming perhaps are its proposals to end Medicare as we know it. And while his plans for Social Security are not as direct, don't be fooled: Ryan is still on a mission to privatize Social Security in ways that would leave the program and its critical Trust Fund on life suppor…

Romney and Ryan - The Go Back Team

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 8-10-12

Coyle Slams "Morning Joe" for Social Security Falsehoods
Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance, issued a response this week to a Monday segment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe filled with half-truths and outright lies about Social Security’s future.  In the segment, host Joe Scarborough perpetuated the myth that Social Security adds to the deficit, when in reality the Social Security Trust Fund has a $2.7 trillion surplus.   Mr. Coyle pointed out that Mr. Scarborough had failed to acknowledge what life was like without Social Security: that the senior poverty rate is half what it used to be, or that before Social Security we were a nation where people worked until the day they died.

The letter also referred to a misleading discussion of the worker-retiree ratio, which has remained the same (3:1) for over 30 years. In his letter, Mr. Coyle urged MSNBC to seek more balanced coverage of Social Security, one of America’s greatest success stories. To read the full letter, go …

Medicare is not free

I don't visit many other blogs but one of my favorites is Masson's Blog which you'll see in my Blog List over on the right hand side of this page.

In response to his latest posted blog, one comment from a reader really made me chuckle. He stated, "Medicare is for the aged. It is basically free health insurance, (with deductibles)."

Retirees on Medicare will certainly get a chuckle out of that nonsense.

Medicare Part A is hospital insurance and is paid with his payroll taxes and collected by Social Security.

Medicare Part B is for medical insurance and is paid to the government at a cost of about $100 per month or so and it pays 80% of the covered expenses.

Medicare Supplement is purchased by the retiree at various premium prices and covers the 20% of covered expenses that Medicare doesn't pay.

Medicare Part D is for prescription drug costs and also have various prices for coverage through about 50 or so companies in Indiana.

There is a nasty deal called Medic…


GOP: Lack of Insurance Revokes Sanctity of Life
Posted: 08/06/2012 8:40 am

In the case of fetuses and rich people, Republicans insist on the sanctity of life. But in the case of destitute people, infants who imprudently choose working-poor parents and struggling young adults -- basically all riffraff unable to afford health insurance -- the GOP says there's nothing sacred about their stinking lives.

Let 'em die. The uninsured should be left to rot. To the GOP, lack of insurance revokes sanctity of life. A GOP audience at a Republican presidential candidate debate clapped and cheered that morality. More recently, GOP leaders said insuring all Americansshould not be the nation's objective.
Instead, the Republican goal is guaranteeing Americans retain the freedom to forgo health insurance.

To the GOP, "freedom" to be uninsured is more important than public health, which could be endangered…

Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert 8-3-12

Medicare and Medicaid Birthday Events Cover 23 States!
The Alliance celebrated the 47th Birthday of Medicare and Medicaid on July 30, and 50 “Let’s Not Be the Last Generation to Retire” summer campaign events have now taken place since July 22. Alliance chapters in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland/DC, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin have held Medicare and Medicaid birthday events recently.

Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance, celebrated Medicare and Medicaid’s Anniversary with a column in Huffington Post, calling attention to Republican threats to the programs’ continued success. “Medicare – along with Medicaid and Social Security -- has made life better for generations of retirees, but if the wrong candidates win this November, this could all become a thing of the past,” cautioned Ms. Easterling. “Befo…

Hoosier Seniors Get Preventive Services

Covering preventive services with no deductible or co-pay
In 2011, 736,054 people with Medicare in Indiana received free preventive services – such as mammograms and colonoscopies – or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor. And in the first five months of 2012, 321,140 people with Medicare received free preventive services. Because of the new Affordable Care law, 54 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 1,160,000 in Indiana.

And Republicans want to repeal it? Why?