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Alliance Friday Alert 10-4-13

Activists at U.S. Capitol Warn: “Don’t Use Shutdown to Cut Benefits for Seniors”;
Rolling Stone Explains How Wall Street Wins at Public Workers’ Expense;
Video Explains Affordable Care Act as it Applies to Seniors;
Arizona Alliance Convention is Held in Phoenix;
California Alliance Holds its 10th Annual Convention

Activists at U.S. Capitol Warn: “Don’t Use Shutdown to Cut Benefits for Seniors”
Scores of seniors came to the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, joined hands with Members of Congress, and formed a human chain in opposition to the Chained CPI formula and all benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Congressional Progressive Caucus hosted the demonstration, as Alliance members joined with Social Security Works and other allies. The event was emceed by Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison (D-MN). Other Members of Congress at the event included Reps. Cheri Bustos (IL); David Cicilline (RI); Yvette Clarke (NY); John Conyers (MI); Elijah Cummings (MD); Rosa DeLauro (CT); Alan Grayson (FL); Mike Honda (CA); Steven Horsford (NV); Barbara Lee (CA); Sheila Jackson Lee (TX); Alan Lowenthal (CA); Daniel Maffei (NY); Carolyn Maloney (NY); Jerrold Nadler (NY);  Mark Pocan (WI); Jan Schakowsky (IL); Mark Takano (CA); and Paul Tonko (NY). Politico wrote about the event at

“Congratulations to everyone who made today a success or got this event started by hosting a human chain event on July 2nd,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance.

“Seniors sent a message today: We are standing up for our hard-earned benefits and will not allow a government shutdown to force cuts to our Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid!” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance. “But today was also a part of a timely revolt against Republicans' hostage taking strategy. Whether shutting down the government to protest Obamacare or using a debt crisis to force the Chained CPI on seniors, Americans have had enough,” Coyle continued.

Go to to see video of Rep. Ellison from the day’s event. Group shots from the day’s demonstration, including video footage of Rep. Honda saying, “Cut the Crap, Scrap the Cap,” are at Go to for video of the entire event. Click on and to see Facebook photos.

Rolling Stone Explains How Wall Street Wins at Public Workers’ Expense
Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine writes, “All across America, Wall Street is grabbing money meant for public workers.” The piece explains how Rhode Island was used as a test case for the rest of the country, “at the behest of powerful out-of-state financiers with dreams of pushing pension reform down the throats of taxpayers and public workers from coast to coast.”

“This scathing, much-talked-about article explains how Wall Street benefits, while public workers are losing their pension funds,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. Read the piece at:

Video Explains Affordable Care Act as it Applies to Seniors
Kaiser Health News’s Mary Agnes Carey appeared on the PBS Newshour last Thursday night to answer questions from seniors uncertain of how the Affordable Care Act will affect older Americans and what changes are coming for Medicare recipients. That video is available at

On Tuesday, the online health insurance marketplaces — the centerpiece of President Obama’s health-care law — opened for business despite the government shutdown. The plan is for millions of Americans to go online to compare health plans, find out if they’re eligible for federal help with premiums and buy coverage. The Obama Administration acknowledged that the debut was not flawless - with some computer glitches - but officials expect the kinks to be ironed out soon.

An exchange is a Web site designed to make it easy to find health coverage. Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries aren’t eligible for them. Those who are in the country illegally are barred from them, and most workers at bigger companies that provide health coverage won’t use them.

Each state will have an exchange. Some states are running their own; the rest are either partnering with the federal government or relying on the federal government to operate theirs. Exchanges are designed for the uninsured, people who buy their own coverage, and those whose employer-provided coverage is too expensive or lacks important benefits. Initial open enrollment is Oct. 1 through March 31. Those who are eligible can find an exchange at

Arizona Alliance Convention is Held in Phoenix
Seventy-five Arizona Alliance members attended the group’s state convention at the new Painters' Union Hall in Phoenix on Monday. Sam Wercinski, with the Arizona Advocacy Network, showed the Bill Moyers film "The United States of ALEC" and then led a discussion surrounding ALEC's influence in politics. Rich Fiesta, Director of the Department of Government and Political Affairs for the Alliance, gave an invigorating talk about the political landscape for the 2014 election cycle and administered the Oath of Office for the new board. Alex Lawson from Social Security Works trained the attendees on messaging and winning words. Karen Gilgoff from AFSCME’s retirees also shared her expertise. The following officers were elected: Doug Hart, President; John Campbell, 1st Vice President; Bill Engler, 2nd Vice President; Dan Pollard, Treasurer; and Tino Torres, Recording Secretary. To see photos on Facebook, go to

California Alliance Holds its 10th Annual Convention
The California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) celebrated their 10th anniversary on Oct 1st and 2nd as part of their 10th Annual Convention, held in Sacramento.  Over 250 delegates attended from around the state.  Keynote speakers included Ms. Easterling; Dr. William Vega from the USC Roybal Institute on Aging; Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones; California Secretary of Labor Marty Morgenstern, and Lenny Goldberg, Executive Director of the California Tax Reform Association.  Workshops included Becoming an Empowered Elder and The Affordable Care Act and Seniors. Over 200 phone calls were made at a phone bank regarding the protection of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to the state Congressional delegation. New board members were elected and installed; President Nan Brasmer was reelected, as was Secretary Dawn Bronsema.

For a printable version of this document, go to


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