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 team would end guaranteed benefits on both Social Security and Medicare.” To read Mr. Coyle’s full statement, go to http://bit.ly/RIwiwT.
The Congressional Budget Office projects that under the Ryan budget, federal Medicare expenditures on behalf of an average new beneficiary would be $400 to $700 (6 to 11 percent) less in 2023, and $5,900 to $8,000 (35 to 42 percent) less in 2050 than under current law. On Wednesday in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Romney said, “Paul Ryan and my plan for Medicare I think is the same, if not identical.” (http://bit.ly/RVMBox)
According to Bloomberg News (http://bloom.bg/MYk9Dv), Ryan’s plan to overhaul Medicaid, the health care program for the poor that funds nursing-home care and other benefits for 6 million U.S. seniors, would dramatically affect today’s seniors. Ryan calls for $800 billion in cuts to that program over the next decade, leaving it up to the states that administer Medicaid to decide how to allocate the program’s spending among seniors, poor children and the other beneficiaries. Ryan’s Medicaid plan would even eliminate the ban on spousal impoverishment - legislation from 1988 that forced states to grant Medicaid coverage based on the financial condition of the patient and allowed the spouses of patients to protect enough assets and income to live with some degree of comfort and dignity. To see the Alliance’s new Paul Ryan web page, go to http://bit.ly/PoCA28.
Biden Guarantees There will be No Changes to Social Security!
Showing a contrast to the Romney-Ryan plan, Vice President Joe Biden spoke for the Obama Administration on Tuesday, telling cafe patrons in Virginia that he could “guarantee” that he and President Obama would allow no changes to Social Security (http://nbcnews.to/RMEESA).
Social Security celebrated its 77th birthday on Tuesday. To commemorate the occasion, Alliance activists across the country held birthday celebrations in local communities, educational briefings at senior centers, and protests outside offices of lawmakers who have voted against the needs of local retirees. Seniors celebrated the program they rely on for modest benefits when they need them most. “How ironic that just as seniors celebrate Social Security’s birthday, Mitt Romney has named in Paul Ryan a running mate who wants to decimate the program,” noted Mr. Coyle. To read Mr. Coyle’s full statement from Tuesday, go to http://bit.ly/SsXuvx.
“Social Security is a family protection program -- protecting retired workers, disabled workers and their surviving family members,” added Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. Alliance chapters in 24 states held an anniversary event. For pictures from the Social Security celebrations, go to http://bit.ly/PuuM0s (or view slideshow at http://bit.ly/N6Zvew). For pictures of all the summer actions from the “Let’s Not Be the Last Generation to Retire” campaign, go to http://bit.ly/OloKwy, or see the slideshow at http://bit.ly/MB1QTi).
Easterling Weighs in on Democratic Party’s Platform on Social Security, Medicare
Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance, was in Detroit this past weekend in her role as a member of the Democratic National Committee’s platform committee. The platform committee approved language on Social Security and Medicare to read, “We believe every American deserves a secure, healthy and dignified retirement. America’s seniors have earned their Medicare and Social Security through a lifetime of hard work and personal responsibility. President Obama is committed to preserving that promise for this and future generations.” The next step in the process is a vote on the platform at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC the week of Sept. 3.
Ms. Easterling traveled to Helena, Montana and addressed the founding convention of the Montana Alliance on Thursday. “You are our 33rd state chapter,” Ms. Easterling told the attendees. “When we stand up for seniors in Montana and around the country, we are part of the larger fight for social and economic justice.” Visit the Montana Alliance's new Facebook page at: http://on.fb.me/RkTlim.
Judge Refuses to stop Pennsylvania Voter ID Law; Part of Florida Law Rejected
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has declined to issue an injunction to stop the state’s tough new voter ID law. The law, which has now been cleared to take effect before the November election, has been criticized for its disproportional impact on seniors and minority voters, many of whom do not have access to the transportation or the funds required to obtain the required identification. The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the plaintiffs in the case, including the Alliance, has vowed to appeal the decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. In June, Pennsylvania state House Republican leader Mike Turzai celebrated the law because it would, “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
On Thursday, a federal court rejected part of Florida's new election law that would have restricted the number of early voting days across the state. The court said the new law cannot take effect in five counties where the African-American vote could be key in November. Monroe, Collier, Hendry, Hardee and Hillsborough Counties can now continue to vote early for twelve days, rather than having the number of days cut back to eight, as will occur in all other Florida counties. Florida Public Radio reported that the ruling affects only the five counties that are covered by the federal Voting Rights Act. Because of a history of discrimination in those areas of the state, Florida must receive Justice Department or federal court approval to change voting laws there.
For a printable version of this document, go to http://bit.ly/PzxwKc.