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Senior Citizen Politics 2009 - 2008

Political News and Information for Senior Citizens & Baby Boomers

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Many Questions Remain on Expanding Medicare to Buy-In for Younger Americans

Expanded Medicare program could help cover the 4.3 million uninsured Americans in the 55 to 64 age group

Dec. 10, 2009 - The proposal to expand Medicare to include people aged 55 and older as part of an alternative to creating the public option may have expanded support for the Senate version of the overhaul bill, the Los Angeles Times reports. Read more...

Senior Citizen Hot Button Issue - Drug Importation - Takes Center Stage in Senate

Senate bill sponsored by North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan and Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, draws fire from drugmakers

Dec. 10, 2009 - Debate on a proposal that would make it easier to bring prescription drugs into the country from abroad is taking center stage on the Senate floor as part of the health care reform debate. Read more...

Democrats' Idea to Expand Medicare for Younger Americans Raises Industry Hackles

Details fluid but people aged 55 to 64 who were uninsured or could not afford employer-sponsored health insurance would be allowed to enroll in Medicare

By Julie Appleby and Mary Agnes Carey, KHN Staff Writers

Dec. 9, 2009 - Hospitals, doctors and insurers are mounting a full-blown attack on a proposal to allow people under 65 to join Medicare – an idea that's gaining new momentum among Senate Democrats as they scramble to pick up the 60 votes needed to pass the sprawling health care legislation. Read more...

Video by Senior Citizen Advocates Explains Benefits of Senate Health Care Reform Bill

Senate Aging Committee Chair Sen. Herb Kohl organized, chaired presentation


Paul Precht, Director for Policy and Communications, Medicare Rights Center


Dec. 2, 2009 – Four panelists knowledgeable about the issues of the health care reform debate in Congress spoke on the effects the bill on the Senate floor will have on senior citizens. An online video of their presentations and the Q&A that followed is now available. Read more...Watch Video

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Congress Targets Senior Abuse in Elder Justice Act as Part of Health Care Reform

‘As part of health care overhaul legislation, lawmakers are taking steps that would for the first time establish a federal beachhead in fighting elder abuse’

Produced in collaboration by the Los Angeles Times and Kaiser Health News

Nov. 23, 2009 - When it comes to political, social or health causes, elder abuse has not had the star power of some other movements focusing on the rights of vulnerable people. Last month, actress Nicole Kidman headlined a congressional hearing on violence against women, and stars of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" appeared at a Capitol Hill rally for child-abuse victims. An event sponsored by a coalition of elder abuse groups, meanwhile, featured ordinary senior citizens, recounting in sometimes aching detail how they or their loved ones had been physically and emotionally abused or financially exploited. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Seven Major Advocacy Groups Join in Letter Urging Senators to Allow Health Care Debate

Urge Senators to vote against any filibuster that would prevent the debate from moving forward

Nov. 20, 2009 - On the eve of a key vote this Saturday about health insurance reform, seven major national organizations today sent a joint letter to all Senators urging them "to vote against any filibuster that would prevent the health insurance debate from moving forward." Read more...

AARP Finds Member Support for Health Care Reform Provisions; Older Members Hardest to Sell

‘Strong majorities reported that many of the bill’s key provisions were convincing reasons to support the legislation;’ AARP launching TV ads today

Nov. 17, 2009 – A new poll of AARP members released yesterday found “strong support across party and ideological lines for elements of health care reform” in the current bill in the House of Representatives. But, it also shows, as have other polls, that senior citizens are a tougher sell on health care reform than are younger Americans. Read more...

House Hands Health Care Challenge Off to Senate Which Faces Christmas Deadline

Public option in a House bill is opposed by a handful of moderate Senate Democrats, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent backed by insurance

By Liz Halloran, NPR News

Nov. 9, 2009 - Democrats have little time to savor the narrow passage of their historic heath care overhaul in the House of Representatives as attention turns to the deeply divided U.S. Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid's challenge is to corral enough votes to bring a companion bill to the floor of his chamber before a White House-imposed Christmas deadline. Read more...

Most Key Players in Senior Citizen Health Care Back House Plan Headed to Senate

AARP, AMA, American Heart Association, Council on Aging back HR 3962; insurance execs oppose

Nov. 9, 2009 - The narrow 220-215 margin of victory for the House Democrats' health reform bill late Saturday foreshadows a potentially tougher fight in the Senate. Yet, as it came time to vote on Saturday, most of the large groups that usually advocate for senior citizens’ health care issues had jumped on board. Insurance companies were about the only organization opponents. Read more...

House Finally Unveils Health Care Reform Bill; Expands Coverage to 36 Million Americans

Has 'public option' preferred by moderates, raises Medicaid eligibility levels to 150% of the federal poverty level, guarantees that 96% of Americans have coverage

Oct. 29, 2009 - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday morning unveiled a House health care reform plan that is expected to cost about $894 billion and "provide insurance to up to 36 million people by broadly expanding Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for the poor, and by offering subsidies to moderate-income Americans to buy insurance either from private carriers or a new government-run plan," the The New York Times reports. Read more...

GOP Defeat of Bill to Fix Problem in Medicare Physician Pay Devastating to Doctors, Seniors

Doctors face 21% pay cut from Medicare in 2010; same annual quandary Democrats tried to fix; senior citizens many find it harder to get a doctor; AMA issues new list of states with problems

By Tucker Sutherland, editor & publisher

Oct. 22, 2009 – An annual event for years has been the threat of a Medicare pay cut for doctors, caused by an automatic payment formula for physicians that takes in annual data and spits out a demand that doctors’ pay must be cut. This is followed by the physicians' lobbyists and medical associations rushing to Washington, campaign cash in hand, to get the Congress to magically transform the pay cut into a pay hike. - which they always do. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Senators Introduce Elder Abuse Victims Act to Combat Exploitation of Senior Citizens

Bill defines elder abuse as knowing infliction of physical or psychological harm, or the knowing deprivation of goods or services that are necessary to meet essential needs or to avoid physical or psychological harmCompanion bill introduced earlier in the House by Rep Joe Sestak (D-PA) was passed by a vote of 397 to just 25

Oct. 22, 2009 – A group of Senators, frequently active in legislation supporting senior citizen issues, today introduced the Elder Abuse Victims Act, a bill , they say, that will improve the law enforcement community's ability to target and combat abuse and exploitation of senior citizens. Read more...

Senior Citizens Lead Swing to Support Government-Run Health Care Plan; U.S. Now Supports It

Independents and seniors, two groups crucial to the debate, have warmed to the idea of a public option, and are particularly supportive

Oct. 20, 2009 – Senior citizens and independents have swung to favor a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers, according to a new Washington Post-ABC poll showing support for the government-run plan to complete with private insurance has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public. Read more...

Senate Postpones Vote on Fixing Medicare Doc Pay; Medicare Officials Easy Up on Insurers

More details emerging on changes to Medicare in health care reform proposals

Oct. 19, 2009 - Senate Democrats have postponed a scheduled cloture vote today on a bill that would make permanent changes to scheduled rate cuts to Medicare reimbursement for doctors and hospitals. Meanwhile, doctors worry about the cuts and lawmakers worry that the fix could break budget goals. Read more...

Senior Citizens League Pushes Bill Giving Seniors $415 Increase in Social Security for 2010

House bill proposes a 3% pay hike for seniors – the average COLA increase over last 10 years

Oct. 16, 2009 – Despite strong Congressional support and the backing of President Obama for a $250 payment to senior citizens in 2010 to compensate for the lack of an increase in Social Security, The Senior Citizens League is not giving up on its support for a House bill that would give the average beneficiary an additional $415.20 in Social Security payments, a boost of $34.60 per month in 2010. Read more...

Social Security News

Social Security Makes It Official: No COLA Increase for Seniors in 2010 Due to No Inflation

SSA calls for passage of $250 payment to each senior citizen as recommended by President Obama

Oct. 15, 2009 – Social Security made it official this morning. Over 57 million Americans will  not see an automatic Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) added to their Social Security payments for 2010. More than 36 million of these are senior citizens. The COLA is automatically determined each year to cover inflation, but, since the economic crash back in 2008 inflation has gone flat in the struggling economy. Read more...

President Wants Congress to Give Each Senior Citizen $250 to Offset No Social Security COLA

Obama wants additional $250 Economic Recovery Payment paid to seniors, veterans and people with disabilities

Oct. 15, 2009 - President Obama yesterday announced his support for an additional $250 Economic Recovery Payment to the seniors, veterans and people with disabilities who are struggling to make ends meet with retirement savings that have not fully recovered from their losses over the first year of the recession. Read more...


Senate Health Reform Bill Has Amendment Protecting Some Medicare Advantage Patients

Sen. Olympia Snowe – almost a senior citizen at 62 – is in spotlight after casting lone GOP ‘yes’ vote; Sen. Joe Lieberman jumps ship

Oct. 14, 2009 - An amendment to the Senate Finance Committee bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., would allow most Medicare Advantage patients in southern Florida to keep their current benefits. 

Dems Get Boost from Another Republican Backing Health Reform: Former Bush Medicare Chief

Key leader in Bush effort for Medicare drug program, former CMS chief Scully, joins growing list of GOP speaking up for health refrom

Oct. 9, 2009 - Former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services chief Thomas Scully is the latest Republican to throw his support behind health care reform. He supports the approach taken by the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Montana Democrat Max Baucus. Read more...

Powerful Congressional Leaders Offer New Legislation to Protect Older Workers

Judiciary Committee opens hearing on how ‘bare majority’ of Supreme Court has made it more difficult to prove age discrimination in workplace

Oct. 7, 2009 – Older workers received good news yesterday of a Congressional challenge to a Supreme Court decision in June of this year that many say encourages age discrimination in the workplace. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Congressman George Miller (D-CA), introduced legislation they say restores vital civil rights protections for older workers in the face of the Supreme Court’s decision. Read more...

Senior Citizens Lead Decline in Opposition to National Health Care Reform

New Associated Press poll finds opposition by seniors dropped from 59 to 42 percent in a month; nation now evenly split

Oct. 7, 2009 – The Associated Press is reporting a new poll shows a “significant” change in attitude about health care reform by senior citizens. Their opposition has dropped by 16 percentage points – from 59% in September to 43% in October. Read more...

For One Senior, Medicaid Provides Model Care

Doctor suggested signing up for Medicaid to pay the $80,000 a year bill for her long-term care

By Jeff Brady, NPR News

Oct. 5, 2009 - Lela Petersen thinks about health care a lot these days. She's a small business owner who pays $1,150 a month to an HMO, covering her and her husband. Petersen doesn't have any other option, but her 94-year-old mother, Gracie Scarrow, is another story. Read more...

Administration Provides Information Online for Senior Citizens on Health Insurance Reform

Vice President Joe Biden and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius presented report at meeting with seniors

Oct. 1, 2009 – In an effort to clear up some of the confusion about how senior citizens could be affected by health care reform, Vice President Joe Biden and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently hosted a meeting for seniors and released a report by HHS that outlines how reform issues may help older Americans and answers key questions. Read more...

Senate Aging Committee Chair Says GOA Report Shows Severe Leakage of 401(k) Funds

Sen. Kohl calls committee hearing October 21 on 401(k) reforms suggested by GOA report he requested

Sept. 28, 2009 – A report requested from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) finds severe leakage from workers’ 401(k) retirement savings and suggests action Congress can take to plug the leaks. Kohl, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, has called a hearing on October 21, and says he will introduce new legislation to strengthen the 401(k) system. Read more...

Massachusetts' Health Reform Requiring Health Insurance for Most Citizens is Highly Popular

79% want to continue health reform legislation making this the only state were nearly all are insured; poll did find concerns about the future

Sept. 28, 2009 - Massachusetts is currently facing the impact of a severe recession, state budgetary and fiscal problems, and continued rising health care costs. Despite this difficult environment, a new poll finds that 79% want the state's health reform legislation, making it the only state where nearly all of the population has health insurance, to continue. Read more...

Fireworks Surround Efforts in Finance Committee to Add Drug Discount

Some of the money would have been used to close a gap in Medicare coverage of prescription drugs for seniors

Sept. 25, 2009 - The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday defeated an amendment that sought to squeeze more money out of pharmaceutical companies to help pay for the costs of changing the health care system. The panel's vote was a victory for President Obama and Finance Chairman Max Baucus. Read more...

Social Security News

House Passes Bill to Stop 2010 Increase in Medicare Part B Costs, Helping Seniors Cope


Congresswoman Dina Titus, Democrat from Nevada’s Third District, spoke on the House floor on the Medicare Premium Fairness Act, which she introduced.


Action stops insurance increase for about 27% of senior citizens, others protected already; Seniors won’t see COLA for 2010

Sept. 25, 2009 – Senior citizens may have a little financial relief on the way in 2010 as they prepare to make ends meet without a cost-of-living increase in their Social Security check. The House of Representatives yesterday overwhelmingly approved a bill that will prevent an increase in the Medicare Part B insurance by making $567 million available to pay the additional cost in 2010. Read more, see video...

Social Security News

Bills Hit Congress to Help Senior Citizens Deal with Lack of Social Security COLA in 2010

Proposal by Democrats Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter DeFazio getting most of the attention


Sen. Bernie Sanders talks on the Senate floor in support of his legislation.


Sept. 24, 2009 – Although it has been obvious for months that senior citizens were not going to get a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in their Social Security checks for 2010, due to the recession and high gasoline prices that hit last year, members of Congress are now jumping on the bandwagon to do something about it. At least four new bills in the House and one in the Senate propose providing some increase in benefits to seniors. Read more, Watch video...

Social Security News

House Gets Bill to Stop Medicare Part B Premium Increase as Seniors Face No COLA in 2010

An increase in the Medicare premiums would effectively reduce Social Security income for seniors

Sept. 24, 2009 – A bill sponsored by Rep. Dina Titus, a Nevada Democrat,  aimed at protecting senior citizens and others with disabilities from increases in their 2010 Medicare Part B premiums was introduced in the House of Representatives today, after receiving a nod from the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Medicare Makes Patients Happy, But Can It Last?


President Lyndon B. Johnson signing Medicare into law as his wife watches.


Many of the nation's most satisfied health care consumers are recipients of an existing government health plan: Medicare

By Julie Rovner, NPR News

Sept. 22, 2009 - Whether or not to create a new government-run health plan may be the biggest source of discord in the ongoing debate over a health overhaul. At the same time, however, many of the nation's most satisfied health care consumers are recipients of an existing government health plan: Medicare. Read more, see video...

Changes Made in Senate Health Care Reform Bill That Impact Senior Citizens

Sen. Baucus presents amended version of Finance Committee bill; changes in Medicare, Medicaid provisions

Sept. 22, 2009 – A number of modifications were added to the Chairman’s Mark of the America’s Healthy Future Act today by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and many of these changes could directly impact senior citizens. Read more...

Chairman Baucus Releases Health Care Reform Proposal from Senate Finance Committee

CBO says it will not add to federal deficit: to be fully paid for mostly through quality, efficiency, prevention and adjustments in federal health programs

Sept. 16, 2009 – Since the day President Barack Obama said he was going to ask the Congress to take the lead in developing a plan for health care reform, it has been widely assumed that the most important proposal would come from the Senate Finance Committee. It did today. Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) introduced America’s Healthy Future Act, saying it would lower costs and provide quality, affordable health care coverage. Read more....links to bill summary and full text.

Senate Aging Committee Chair Joins Moderate Democrats to Meet with Obama on Health Care

Sen. Herb Kohl, Chairman, Senate Special Committee on AgingSen. Herb Kohl stresses need for health care reform to reduce the cost of health care in U.S.

Sept. 11, 2009 – The chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), joined the Moderate Democrat Working Group to meet yesterday with President Barack Obama. He emphasized the need for health care reform to reign in the rising costs of health care, while maintaining quality and expanding access. Read more...

Senior Citizens Most Likely to be Confused by Health Care Debate, Young ‘Invincibles’ Quiet

One myth seniors can lay to rest: No proposal calls for rationing health care for older Americans

Sept. 11, 2009 - Invincibles, the "strong and healthy young adults who have no experience with wallet-crippling illness and feel they have no need for coverage," may be "the most likely to be affected by the reform effort" outlined by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, The Baltimore Sun reports. Read more...

Health Care Reform Reaching Pick: Obama Speaks Tonight, Finance Chair Ready to Go

Senator Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, ready to push ahead without Republicans

By Dan Robinson, Voice of America

Sept. 9, 2009 - When he addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday night, President Barack Obama will face difficult hurdles in persuading skeptical members of his own Democratic Party as well as minority Republicans to support his vision of how to move the country forward on health care reform. Read more...

New HHS Report Highlights Need for Health Insurance Reform for Older Women

Chronic conditions drive health care spending in the U.S. for all ages but highest among senior women

Sept. 8, 2009 – Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a report on the importance of health insurance reform for older women (ages 55-64) and senior women (ages 65 and older). One of the most striking points in the report is the cost of caring for Americans with chronic conditions, which are most often women, because they live longer. Read more...

Health Insurance: How Much More Should Older People (Baby Boomers) Pay?

Lawmakers face balancing act - limit insurers to a small difference in premiums between older and younger people and younger ones likely to pay far more than now; allow larger spread, and boomers may be priced out of coverage. Seniors on Medicare not affected.

By Julie Appleby

Aug. 31, 2009 - Chris Denny, who runs a small marketing firm in Santa Rosa, Calif., buys his own health insurance for $117 a month. An avid gardener, Denny, 27, describes himself as healthy and fit. The same policy, from the same insurer, would cost a 60-year-old man $735 a month... Read more...

Senior’s Health Care Bill of Rights Issued by Republican National Committee

News organizations are analyzing the health reform challenges ahead for the President and suggesting direction change after vacation 

Aug. 24, 2009 – Having found a strong group of voters that can be roused to action, the Republican National Committee is making the battle over health care reform just a little bit uglier with publication of what it calls "The Senior’s Health Care Bill of Rights,” which Democrats say continues frighten senior citizens with statements that fail to tell to truth about the health care reform proposals. Read more...

The Truth About Death Panel in Health Care Reform Bill


ABC's Kate Snow takes a close look at end of life proposal - Click here to view at ABC

Senior Citizen Politics

Many Yelling at Town Halls are Senior Citizens Worried Health Reform Will Hurt Instead Of Help

Democrats have a senior citizen problem, reports Politico; also fighting full-blown myths - attacks claiming reform would create government 'death panels' authorizing euthanasia

Aug. 12, 2009 – Many of those people wildly shouting at the Congressional town halls are senior citizens, who already have a government health plan that they like – Medicare. Yet, they are screaming against reform, possibly because many fear it will endanger the Medicare benefits they happily receive now. Read more...

Newest Senator on Aging Committee, Franken Joins in Medicare Bill to Reform Hospital Pay

Senator Al Franken (D-MN)Senators Klobuchar, Kohl also push Medicare Payment Fairness Act of 2009 to pay hospitals for the quality, not quantity, of care

Aug. 6, 2009 – The newest member of the U.S. Senate and of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging, Al Franken (D-MN), has joined the committee chairman and other senators to introduce legislation to reform the Medicare payment system to reward hospitals for quality, efficient care. Read more...

Hospice Operators Happy with New CMS Pay for 2010 but Fear Cuts in Health Care Reform

Medicare hospice reimbursement cuts now spread out over seven years, instead of just 2 years

Aug. 3, 2009 – A long running battle over the compensation Medicare would pay for hospice care appeared to come to an end last Thursday with the CMS announcement that payments will increase by 1.4 percent in 2010. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization said today that this brings some relief to hospice providers but they still have concerns. Read more...

Senior Citizen Opinions & Analysis

Senior Citizens Must Stand Up to Lies that Health Reform Bill Will Allow Government to Kill Them



Rep. Foxx Suggests Health Care Reform Will Cause Seniors To Be "Put To Death By Their Government" to video in story


Equally Unbelievable

Woman of many faces says health care bill will "pressure the elderly to end their lives prematurely" Link in news story.


Right-wing stoops to new low in attacks on health reform to protect profits of insurance companies

By Tucker Sutherland, editor & publisher,

Aug. 1, 2009 – The political right wing is sinking to new lows in a desperate attempt to protect insurance companies from losing any profits due to health care reform advocated by President Obama. And, they are targeting senior citizens as the voter group most likely to swallow their lie, which is that the legislation will “pressure the elderly to end their lives prematurely.” That is a lie and seniors must not fall for it. Read more, link to video....

Senior Citizen Politics

Senate Bill Creates National Alzheimer’s Office in the White House to Develop Strategic Plan

Senators Martinez, Bayh of Special Committee on Aging join to offer bi-partisan bill

July 29, 2009 - Legislation was introduced today in the U.S. Senate to create an Office of the National Alzheimer's Project within the White House to coordinate all research, clinical care and service toward the prevention, care, and cure of Alzheimer's. Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) joined with Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) to introduce the measure they say is a system to help eliminate the Alzheimer’s disease. Read more...

Senior Citizens Could See Better Access to Mental Health Care in Reform Legislation

American Psychological Association applauds Kennedy, Ros-Lehtinen’s Positive Aging Act Of 2009

July 14, 2009 – One potential benefit for senior citizens in health care reform legislation could be improved access to quality mental health care, according to the American Psychological Association. The group has lauded U.S. Representatives Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) for introducing the Positive Aging Act of 2009. Read more...

Who Will Care for the Elderly and Disabled?

In 2008, there were barely 7,000 geriatricians to treat 38 million seniors; in 2006-2007 just 253 physicians were enrolled in geriatric medicine fellowships

By Howard Gleckman, Senior Research Associate at the Urban Institute

July 20, 2009 - Advocates of including long-term care services in health reform usually focus on two issues: How many Medicaid dollars should be spent on home care and whether to create a national long-term care insurance program, such as Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., has proposed in his CLASS Act. But neither of those reforms would mean much without more and better-qualified health care workers and medical professionals to deliver care. Read more...

'Model' Health Systems Press Case for Medicare Fix in Reform Legislation

"Mayo (Clinic) said it lost about $840 million by treating Medicare patients, money it had to make up by treating privately insured patients."

Debate involving Medicare taking on new urgency amid doubts if the health overhaul will meet Obama's goal of slowing health care costs

By Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News

July 20, 2009 - When talking about his vision for the U.S. health care system, President Barack Obama points to places like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, which are known for providing high-quality, low-cost care. Read more...

Questions Linger Over Pharmaceutical Industry Agreement to Cut Costs for Health Reform

The deal includes $30 billion to lower seniors’ drug costs in Medicare, 23% off drugs for Medicaid

July 1, 2009 - "As details emerge of the pharmaceutical industry's agreement to kick in $80 billion to help pay for health care reform, the deal is facing increasing skepticism from inside and outside the health care industry," Politico reports. Read more...

Democrats Back on Track with Health Care Reform but Questions Still Loom

Long-term care provision in Senate Health Reform Bill corrects problem that Medicare does not cover long-term care

Jun 29, 2009 - Reuters reports that "President Barack Obama's drive to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system may be back on track thanks to Senate efforts to cut the price tag to $1 trillion, but a bipartisan deal on the sweeping proposal still is far from certain ... Read video...

Small (under $200) Donors by Age Group

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Senior Citizens Were More Than Half of McCain’s Small Donors, Just 16% of Obama’s

Obama’s small givers – those giving less than $200 - were disproportionately female (56%) while McCain small donors were 61% male

June 23, 2009 – Senior citizens who contributed less than $200 were only 16 percent of the small donors who contributed to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama. But, these older voters were more than half – 53 percent – of the small donors to the John McCain campaign. Read more...

President Obama Promises Doughnut Hole in Medicare Drug Program Will Get Smaller

President says agreement has been worked out with pharmaceutical industry for 50% discount

June 22, 2009 – President Barack Obama says he will reduce the size of the infamous “doughnut hole” in Medicare Part D, the Medicare prescription drug program, that has placed many senior citizens in the position of not being able to buy prescribed medicines. He made the announcement today and said an agreement had been reached over the weekend with the pharmaceutical industry. Read more...

Social Security News

Sen. Kohl to Offer Senate Aging Committee as Repository for Social Security Reform Ideas

Chairman will make this announcement at hearing Wednesday on Social Security

June 15, 2009 – The Senate Special Committee on Aging will begin gathering suggestions on reforming Social Security, according to a news release from the office of Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), which said the committee chairman will announce his plan at committee hearing on Wednesday. Read more...

Aging Committee Hearing on Protecting U.S. Pensions Draws Legislation from Chair

Sen. Herb Kohl wants improvements in government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation

May 21, 2009 – Following a hearing on Wednesday of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) introduced legislation aimed at “significantly” improving the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC). The hearing looked at the PBGC’s capability to fulfill its mission of insuring the pensions of nearly 44 million Americans. Read more...

Aging Committee Hearing Wednesday Looks at Government’s Ability to Guaranty Pensions

o release investigation of Benefit Guaranty Corporation amidst allegations of mismanagement

May 19, 2009 - On Wednesday, May 20, the Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing to consider whether the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) has the capability to fulfill its mission to insure the pensions of nearly 44 million Americans, at a time when several of the country’s largest automobile companies are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Read more...

Finance Committee Wants Changes in Medicare, Medicaid to Help Pay for Health Care Reform

Washington awash with ideas on the attempt to establish a national health care play

May 19, 2009 – As reported earlier by, the Senate Finance Committee is where the action is taking place to shape health care reform and senior citizens should be watching, because Medicare and Medicaid will see changes. The committee released yesterday a report on financing the plan and included several actions for those programs. Read more...

Likely Options for National Healthcare Plan Taking Shape in Senate Finance Committee

Senior citizens should not think the new plan will leave Medicare and Medicaid untouched; Medicare Rights Center sees some things it likes, and some it doesn't


President Lyndon Johnson signs Medicare & Medicaid into law with Lady Bird looking over his shoulder. July 30, 1965


By Tucker Sutherland, editor & publisher

May 12, 2009 – Senior citizens, with health coverage from Medicare or Medicaid, should not think a new national healthcare plan will not affect them, just because they are already covered by a national health plan. The new plan that is finally approved for all Americans will, most certainly, make changes to Medicare and Medicaid, as we know them today. Probably the most substantive discussions and proposals for the new healthcare plan are taking place in the Senate Finance Committee. Read more...

Buying of Life Insurance from Senior Citizens to Bundle as Investments Gets Scrutiny

Booming ‘Life Settlement’ business lacks consumer protections, federal oversight, Senate Aging Committee hears

April 30, 2009 – Senior citizens buying life insurance policies and then turning them over to investors who paid them a profit to buy the insurance, and life insurances policies bought from seniors and then bundled as investments are some of the problems in the “life settlement market” examined yesterday in a Senate hearing. Read more... link to video...

Life Insurance Policies Bought from Seniors by Investors Draws Aging Committee Focus

Senate Committee hearing on Wednesday to see evidence of lack of protection for senior citizens in life settlements market

April 28, 2009 – The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing tomorrow to learn more about the booming life settlement business - selling your life insurance policy to investors who hold it until you die and reap the profits. Packages of these purchased life insurance policies are now being bundled as investment vehicles. Read more...

More than Half U.S. Voters Used Internet for 2008 Election but Senior Citizens Bucked the Trend

Although 60% of online seniors are political users, only 37% of seniors use internet; Most voters seeking online sites they agree with but not seniors

April 17, 2009 – The 2008 election became the first in which more than half the voting-age population used the internet for political purposes. Only the senior citizens (those age 65 and older) bucked the trend – substantially less than half the seniors were online political users, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Read more...

Senate, House Democrats Push Legislation to Reduce Drug Company Influence on Prescribing

New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of American Medical Association point to need for physicians of unbiased research on drugs

April 2, 2009 – A group of Democratic Senators and House members are renewing their efforts to lower drug prices and improve health care with legislation to provide doctors with unbiased information on prescription drugs. This federal academic detailing program will be based on “independent, scientific research,” the sponsors say. Read more...

Bills Introduced to End Two-Year Wait for Disabled to Get Help from Medicare

Coalition to End the Two-Year Wait for Medicare has 120 organizations in support

March 26, 2009 – Bills introduced yesterday in the House and Senate that are aimed at putting an end to the two-year waiting period that people with disabilities must endure before getting help from Medicare, received a rousing cheer from over 120 organizations in the Coalition to End the Two-Year Wait for Medicare. Read more...

Alzheimer’s Study Group Wants Alzheimer’s Czar in the Federal Government

Gingrich, Sen. Kerrey release National Alzheimer’s Strategic Plan to Senate Aging Committee

March 25, 2009 – The Alzheimer’s Study Group, established by the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, wants an Alzheimer’s Solutions Project Office within the federal government, according to their final report revealed this morning at a hearing of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging. ASG co-chairs, former House Speaker Gingrich and Sen. Bob Kerrey, were among those testifying at the hearing. Read more...

National Alzheimer’s Plan to be Released Wednesday at Senate Aging Committee

Star-studded witness list: Maria Shriver, Newt Gingrich, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Sen. Bob Kerrey

March 24, 2009 – The Senate Special Committee on Aging will host a hearing tomorrow on Alzheimer’s disease that will be packed with witnesses with well known names, including Maria Shriver, Newt Gingrich, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Sen. Bob Kerrey. It can be viewed live by video hookup provided by the committee. Read more...

Silver Alert Bill to Help Find Lost Dementia Victims Reintroduced in U.S. Senate

House passed Silver Alert last month, many state and local governments setting up programs

March 17, 2009 – Legislation was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate last week to create a nationwide network for locating missing senior citizens and other adults. The Silver Alert Act, first introduced last Congress, would create a program modeled after the Amber Alert and provide federal coordination and assistance to local and state law enforcement agencies. Read more...

Special Report on Health Reform and New Website Launch Health Care Initiative

Health and Human Services report features Americans saying healthcare system broken


Americans Talk About Healthcare


March 6, 2009 - Americans expressed serious concerns regarding health care in a new report released yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services. The report, Americans Speak on Health Reform:  Report on Health Care Community Discussions, summarizes comments from the thousands of Americans who hosted and participated in Health Care Community Discussions across the country and highlights the need for immediate action to reform health care, according to a news release from HHS. Read more...see video

Medicare News

Advocacy Group Wants Overhaul of How Medicare Communicates with Senior Citizens


Does this do the job?


Medicare Rights Center sends proposal to new Health & Human Services Secretary

March 3, 2009 – When the new nominee for Health & Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, first sits down at her new desk she will probably find a new proposal to make sweeping changes to the counseling and consumer education programs of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The Medicare Rights Center, a national consumer service organization, made their recommendations public today. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Obama Says Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to be Secretary of HHS, Releases $155 Million for Health Clinics

Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Kathleen SebeliusLeading Health Care Expert Nancy-Ann DeParle to serve as Director of White House Office for Health Reform

March 2, 2009 - Today, President Barack Obama officially announced his intent to nominate Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Sebelius will oversee a department with wide-ranging responsibilities essential to senior citizens, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. She will also be responsible for the implementation of the President's vision for health care. Read more...

Retirement News

Senate Aging Committee Finds ‘Target Date Funds’ Among Obstacles to Secure Retirements

Sen. Kohl sends letters to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, urging an immediate review of target date funds; Hearing Wednesday on Long-Term Care services

March 2, 2009 – The crashing economy is wrecking havoc among retired senior citizens in the U.S. and forcing many on the brink or retirement to reconsider giving up their jobs. Witnesses at a hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging last week offered insight into many of the factors that are affecting retirees and the ability of baby boomers to retire, including the weakened performance of 401(k) funds known as “target date funds,” the instability of housing values, and the challenges of the labor market for older workers. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

UCLA Study Says California's Single Seniors Can't Make Ends Meet

Recession likely to put those living alone at even greater economic risk

Feb. 25, 2009 - Nearly half a million elderly living alone in California cannot make ends meet, according to a new policy brief by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Insight Center for Community Economic Development. These senior citizens, the report says, lack sufficient income to pay for a minimum level of housing, food, health care, transportation and other basic expenses. Read more...

Medicare News

One-Year Moratorium on Cuts in Medicare Hospice Funding Passed in Stimulus Bill

Hospice advocates have been trying to overturn 2008 regulation by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reduce funding

Feb. 20, 2009 - The nation’s hospice community claimed a significant victory this week when President Barack Obama signed the stimulus bill into law. It includes a one-year moratorium on cuts in Medicare funding for the more than 4,700 hospice programs nationwide. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Obama White House Posts Agenda for Senior Citizen Programs; No Taxes for Seniors Earning Under $50M

Strongly opposed to privatizing Social Security, will ask those making over $250,000 to contribute a bit more to Social Security to keep it sound

Feb. 16, 2009 – The White House has posted an “Agenda” on that includes a heading for “Seniors & Social Security,” although it covers more than just the administration’s views on the retirement program. Read more...

Tom Daschle Withdraws from Consideration to be Secretary of Health and Human Services

New York Times, Washington Post editorials may have tipped the scale against him

Feb. 3, 2009 – Tom Daschle asked President Obama to withdraw his name for nomination to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, which was quickly done today around noon. Senate Democrats had been voicing confidence in his confirmation for the post but it was apparently newspaper editorials – those in the New York Times and Washington Post, in particular – that motivated Daschle to withdraw. Read more...

Senators Want Online Posting of Gifts from Drug, Medical Device Industries to Physicians

Bi-partisan bill by Aging Committee's Kohl and Finance Committee's Grassley includes many recommendations of Medicare Payment Advisory Commission

Jan. 26, 2009 – A bill introduced last week to require the makers of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biologics to report all money they give doctors over $100 to Health & Human Services, and for the agency to post these reports online, is an example of what appears to be a trend being pushed by Democrats in Washington to post more of the government’s activity on the Internet. Read more...

Senior Citizen Opinions & Analysis

Obama Does Not Mention Social Security or Medicare in Inaugural; Seniors Should Speak Out

He does ask for public input; New Public Liaison & Intergovernmental Affairs, daily blog seem to be best online places to respond

By Tucker Sutherland, editor & publisher

Jan. 21, 2009 – It was somewhat surprising that President Obama did not mention Social Security or Medicare in his inaugural address yesterday. Hopefully, this is no indication that he is retreating from comments just days ago indicating he would begin almost immediately to work on improving their financial viability. A window did open, as his staff moved into the White House yesterday afternoon, asking for suggestions from the public and senior citizens need to act now to let their voices be heard. Read more...

Senior Citizen Opinions & Analysis

President Obama Appears Poised to Tackle the Future of Senior Citizen Programs Quickly

We can’t kick this can any further down the street, the new president says

By Tucker Sutherland, editor & publisher

Jan. 20, 2009 – It is a momentous day in America and senior citizens, who have seen the most of our history, are the most aware of today’s historic significance. We now live in a different and better country. Americans have handed the mantle of power and leadership to a young, brilliant, man of African descent. So, President Barack Obama has crossed the bar but he must now face one of the most challenging environments ever to greet an incoming president. Senior citizens will be impacted by his leadership in the same way as all Americans on many issues, but will also have a unique set of concerns – primarily involving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Democrats, Obama Likely to Seek Changes to Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug Benefit

Democratic lawmakers 'aiming to change elements' of Medicare prescription drug benefit, such as the so-called "doughnut hole" coverage gap

Dec. 15, 2008 - Democratic lawmakers and President-elect Barack Obama in 2009 likely will seek to reduce reimbursements to private health insurers under Medicare Advantage and make changes to the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Wall Street Journal reports. Read more...

Medicare Rights Center Wants Obama to Act Fast on Medicare Private Plans

MRC issues plan to protect Medicare consumers based on ten key points

Dec. 15, 2008 - Quick action is needed by the incoming Obama Administration to enact basic consumer protections under Medicare private health and drug plans, according to a 50-page memorandum to the Obama transition team issued by the Medicare Rights Center.

Daschle Nominated to Lead HHS, Asks Americans for Health Care Input Online

Key position for health care reform and important to key programs for senior citizens – Medicare and Medicaid

Dec. 11, 2008 - Tom Daschle is "known for speaking softly but acting boldly," President-elect Barack Obama said today in announcing the former Senate Majority Leader as his choice for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and Director of the new White House Office on Health Reform. Daschle, who will head the agency that includes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, immediately asked Americans to give him input about health care Online. Read more...

AARP Gets Hundreds of Millions from Insurance Companies to Endorse Policies report finds part of this goes to pay on $200 million marble and brass-studded headquarters

Dec. 4, 2008 - AARP, already being investigated by the Senate Finance Committee, and exposed by the New York Times for its massive selling of its endorsement to commercial companies, was hit again today. The latest is an article on, that lays bare the story of how the organization collects hundreds of millions of dollars annually from insurance companies who pay for AARP’s endorsement of their policies. Read more...

Medicare’s Hospital Pay Should be Linked to Quality of Care says Finance Committee Leaders

Currently payments for inpatient care are based on quantity - number of surgeries, procedures and services provided by hospital

Nov. 24, 2008 – Under Medicare’s present system payments to hospitals for inpatient care are based solely on the number of surgeries, procedures and services provided, regardless of the quality or health outcomes of the care provided. The leadership of the Senate Finance Committee has released a proposal that would take steps to link Medicare payments to the quality of care patients receive rather than just the number of services a hospital provides. Read more...

Former Senator Tom Daschle Slated to Head Health and Human Services for Obama

The agency includes Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Nov. 19, 2008 – Former Senator Tom Daschle will apparently be the new Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration, a key position for health care reform and important to key programs for senior citizens – Medicare and Medicaid. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is part of HHS. Read more...

AARP May Face Serious Challenges to Its Integrity, Non-Profit Status, Membership Claim

Crack opens with Senate Finance Committee’s ranking member demanding answers to questions about misleading marketing of insurance by AARP

Nov. 19, 2008 – The wheels may be about to come off the AARP train that has pulled millions of older Americans along the path of believing the organization is their benefactor and exists only to protect their welfare. The challenge came quietly in a news release from the office of Senator Charles (Chuck) E. Grassley (R-Iowa) on Nov. 3, the day before the election. As a result the $1.2 billion dollar a year institution has announced some of the insurance products it hypes to members have been taken off the market and it has hired an independent expert to investigate the charges by Sen. Grassley. Read more...

Finance Chair Sen. Baucus Introduces Health Care Plan Involving Medicare, Medicaid

After a year of preparation by panel, Senator’s “Call to Action” details policy options, goals for reform; draws backing of Center for Medicare Advocacy

Nov. 14, 2008 – Health care reform has not been a high priority for many senior citizens, since they are already covered by government plans - Medicare and/or Medicaid. A new plan introduced by one of the most powerful members of the U.S. Senate would have some impact on these programs, however, and seniors should stay informed. Read more...

Bad Election Night for Republicans on Senate’s Special Committee on Aging

Two former GOP chairs gone, Dole hits brick wall, Coleman in run-off; no Democrats faced re-election




Senators Gordon Smith, Larry Craig leaving Senate Aging Committee.

Nov. 7, 2008 - It has been a very bad election year for Republicans on the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging – two of them, past chairmen of the committee – will leave the Senate in January. The immediate past chairman and current minority leader, Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, was defeated on November 4. The Republican chairman who preceded him, Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, is leaving voluntarily after a scandal involving a sex sting in a men’s restroom. Read more...

Senior Citizens Were Only Age Group to Support Sen. McCain for President

Historically Democratic voters, senior citizens mysteriously favored McCain by wide margin

Nov. 5, 2008 – Data from exit polling in yesterday’s presidential election reveals that senior citizens – Americans age 65 and older – were the only age group to support the losing candidate, Sen. John McCann. And, it was by a sizable margin – 53% for McCain and only 45% for the winner, Sen. Barack Obama. It’s not easy to understand but it was clearly indicated in the polling that lead up to the election. Read more...

Advocacy Group Claims Credit for Electing Candidates Opposed to Social Security Privatization

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare sets agenda for next Congress

Nov. 5, 2008 – One senior citizen advocacy group was quick to claim credit today for helping elect a significant number of Congressional candidates who understand the privatization of Social Security and Medicare is not the answer to long-term solvency. Read more...

Senior Citizens Make Sudden Shift to McCain in Gallup Poll as Election Day Arrives

Pew Research finds seniors saying they are Democrats has declined since 2004

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

Nov. 4, 2008 – On the day of an historically presidential election that will see either an African-American win the presidency or a woman win the vice presidency, senior citizens appear to have made a sudden shift to Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, just days before the election. Read more...

Oldest Americans Say Life Has Been Bad Last Five Years and Not Going to Get Much Better

Harris Poll finds more people believe their lives would be better under Obama than under McCain, but not senior citizens

Oct. 28, 2008 – A new survey taken October 16 and 20 by Harris Interactive and released today by The Harris Poll reveals senior citizens as an unhappy lot – they are the most likely age group to think their lives have become worse in the last five years and the least likely to think it is going to get any better. Despite the daily deluge of bad economic news, most Americans disagree with the oldest age group, which Harris calls the “Matures” – those age 62 or older. Read more...

Florida Secretary of State Decides to Cooperate with GAO Study of Voting Access for Aging, Disabled

State with highest percentage of senior citizens had been the only one barring access to polls

Oct. 24, 2008 - Florida Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning has changed his mind and will now encourage county election supervisors to grant the Government Accountability Office access to Florida polling places on Election Day as part of its nationwide study examining voting access for aging and disabled voters. A story in yesterday’s reported Florida was the only state not cooperating with the study and was being asked by U.S. Senators Herb Kohl (D-WI.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to reconsider. Read more...

Where Presidential Campaigns Stand on Senior Citizen Issues Found on Websites

Fairly distinct difference can be found in presentations by Obama and McCain campaigns

Oct. 21, 2008 – Early voting is in high gear across America and some predict more than half of the voters in this U.S. election will take advantage of this opportunity to vote before election day. It is late for any new issues, so, has tried to piece together the proposals each of the major presidential campaigns are offering for senior citizens. Read more...

Last Generation to Attend Segregated Schools Getting More Comfortable with Obama

If race is an issue it is most probably among senior citizens; who say that most of their friends will be hesitant to support a black candidate

By Tucker Sutherland, editor & publisher,

Oct. 20, 2008 – If any voters are likely to vote against Sen. Barack Obama because of race, it will probably be senior citizens, the last generation to attend segregated schools in the U.S. and the only ones old enough to remember the bitter battle over the 1964 Civil Rights Act. At least information from several polls indicates there may be an anti-African American feeling still alive among a few elderly voters – the age group most reluctant to support Obama. Read more...

Senior Citizens are Only Age Group Where a Majority Do Not Like Election Press Coverage

Seniors joined by Republicans and Men as groups rating presidential election press coverage low in Pew survey

Oct. 16, 2008 – New research by the Pew Research Center finds a majority (53%) of Americans rate press coverage of the presidential campaign as excellent or good. Oops, not senior citizens. They are the only age group in which a majority does not rate the press coverage as excellent or good. Read more...

Poll Indicates Old Age is Bigger Burden than Being Black in Elections, But Seniors Disagree

Over half of adults say friends would hesitate to vote for person over 70; oldest adults say over 60% would hesitate to vote for black person

Sept. 25, 2008 – A recent Harris Poll has uncovered two important keys to who wins this year’s presidential race. When the pollsters asked adults if they thought people they know would be hesitant to vote for a person over age 70, a black or a woman, most (52%) said their friends would hesitate to vote for the senior citizen. But, the people polled that were age 63 or older – a key voting block in America – were most likely (61%) to say their friends would be reluctant to vote for the black candidate. Read more...

Social Security Only Consistent Income for Seniors with Retirement Accounts Threatened

Obama, McCain battle over private investment accounts. Administration's failed economic policies have threaten seniors' income security, says Committee to Preserve Social Security, Medicare

Sept. 23, 2009 – With leaders in Washington focusing on a rapid solution to the worst financial crisis since the depression, one advocacy group, worried about retirement accounts and any threats to Social Security, has issued a reminder to those shaping the rescue that “Social Security provides the only consistent source of income for American retirees and their families.” Read more...

Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Put Hold on Cut to Medicare Hospice Reimbursement

National hospice group is also suing the Bush dministration to stop cuts

Sept. 15, 2008 – A bi-partisan bill introduced in the House and Senate has brought smiles to the faces of leaders of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). The bill would prevent the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services from implementing a rule for at least a year that reduces Medicare’s hospice pay rates. The group has also sued the Bush Administration to stop the cuts. Read more...

Senior Citizens Move Closer to Right to Hold Nursing Homes Accountable for Neglect, Abuse

Senate Judiciary Committee passes Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2008

Sept. 12, 2008 – A bill to protect nursing home residents from losing the right to hold long-term care facilities accountable in court for negligent and abusive care was approved yesterday by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bi-partisan bill - the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2008 - is sponsored by Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL). Read more...

Bill to Keep Workers with Criminal Records Out of Long-Term Care System Clears Committee

Sen. Herb Kohl, Sen. Pete Domenici announce progress of their bill

Sept. 10, 2008 – A bill aimed at preventing persons with criminal histories from working in long-term care services moved a step closer to reality yesterday. It was approved by a unanimous voice vote in the Senate Finance Committee. Read more...

Senior Citizens Send Puzzling Signals in Poll on Females' Ability to Lead the Nation

Seniors are least likely to say men have better leadership skills than women, among least likely to say U.S. ready for female leader

Sept. 4, 2008 – With all the attention on women as political leaders, the Pew Research Center has taken a look at how U.S. adults perceive the leadership traits of women and their ability to serve as political leaders. The general public finds women have everything it takes and more of it than men, but are still hesitant to say they are better leaders than men. Senior citizens, as usual, took a slightly different slant than younger people. Read more...

Senior Citizens Most Adamant That Churches Should Not Make Political Endorsements

Pew study finds U.S. moving away from long held views that religious institutions should speak out on political matters

Aug. 25, 2008 - Senior citizens are more likely than younger adults to say churches should refrain from endorsing candidates (75% of those over the age of 65 take this point of view), according to a recent survey by Pew Research Center that also found the U.S. public moving away from long held views that religious institutions should speak out on political matters. Read more...

Where Do The Presidential Candidates Stand on Long-Term Care, Social Security?

Summary of major party candidates' positions on issues that affect seniors and their families


Aug. 25, 2008 - With the elderly population growing by leaps and bounds, families are struggling with long-term care costs and worrying about Social Security. So what are the presidential candidate's plans to address these issues? Below is a summary of the main party candidate's positions on some of the issues that affect seniors and their families. Read more...

Physicians May Have Won Battle Over Medicare Pay Cut but War Still Looms in Future

If Congress based physician fee increases on the rate of medical inflation, it would cost $65 billion over the first five years

July 15, 2008 – Physicians that treat Medicare patients may have won the battle but the war is far from over, when it comes to fighting off legislation at will reduce the pay they receive from the government’s health insurance plan for senior citizens. Congress, after a long battle, okayed legislation last week to stop a ten percent pay cut for this year but even larger cuts are looming in years to come, which some see as a hindrance to seniors in finding medical care. Read more...

Senior Citizens Most Adamant that There is Too Much Hostility, Partisanship in Washington

They say their contemporary, McCain, best to fix it; younger voters say it’s Obama

July 13, 2008 – A large majority in the U.S., 60 percent, believe there is a great deal of hostility and political partisanship in Washington, D.C., but the oldest Americans, those age 63 and older, are adamant on this issue. A recent Harris Interactive survey found 78% of these “Matures” see it as a problem. Read more...

Sen. Kennedy Leaves Sick Bed to Stop Medicare Pay Cut for Physicians, McCain No Show

Kenney helps inspire veto-proof majority to pass bill that failed before July 4

Below Story:

> How each Senator Voted

> What the bill will do

July 9, 2008 – There was no drama lacking today as the Senate managed to pass a bill to stop Medicare from cutting physician’s pay by over 10 percent. There was the unexpected appearance of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who came to help pass the bill and there was the expected lack of appearance and no vote by one Senator – John McCain. Read more...

Democrats Seek One More GOP Vote to Stop Medicare Physician Fee Cut, Target McCain

Physician fee cut also could affect Tricare, the U.S. military health care program; Fewer Texas doctors taking new Medicare patients

July 9, 2008 - Democrats are attempting to convince one additional Republican senator to vote to invoke cloture on a House-passed bill (HR 6331) that would delay a 10.6% reduction to Medicare physician fees that was scheduled to take effect last week, CQ Today reports. Read more...

Medicare Hits Physicians with New Regulations, Cuts $3 Billion From Fee Schedule

Medicare actually pays 80% of the fee schedule rate, while the beneficiary is responsible for the remaining 20%. Nearly 95% of Medicare physicians, however, accept the fee schedule rate as payment in full, according to CMS.

Spending under the 2009 Physician Fee Schedule is projected at $54 billion

June 30, 2008 – While physicians caring for Medicare patients have a 10-day reprieve from a 10 percent pay cut, they did get hit today by new regulations proposed by Medicare, as well as, changes in the agency’s compensation structure that will reduce payments to doctors by about $3 billion. Some question if this will encourage doctors to push more of the bill to the senior citizen patients. Read more...

Docs Get Temporary Relief from Medicare Pay Cut Due Tomorrow

Washington Post says freeze by Health & Human Services could last 10 days

June 30, 2008 - HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Friday said that the agency will maintain the current Medicare payment rate for physicians because Congress was unable to pass legislation to avert a 10.6% cut scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday before lawmakers left for the Fourth of July recess, the Washington Post reports. According to the Post, congressional aides said the freeze to payment rates could last 10 days (Kane, Washington Post, 6/28). Read more...

Republicans, Insurance Lobby Slam Shut Effort to Stop Medicare’s 10% Pay Cut for Physicians

  One Doc Says Enough's Enough - Leaving Practice  

Sen. McCain could have stopped the pay cut but failed to show for the vote; AMA says docs will limit Medicare patients

  McCain No Show - could have made difference.  

June 27, 2008 – The insurance industry lobby, with a lot of help from Republican senators, appears to have managed to cut Medicare’s pay to physicians by more than 10 percent by the end of June. Although approved by a majority of the Senators present, the legislation failed by one vote to reach the 60 needed to close debate and call for the final vote. President Bush had promised to veto the bill that earlier passed the House by a gigantic margin of 355-59, as many Republicans defied the President’s threat. Read more...

Senate Republicans Block Bill That Would Delay Medicare Physician Payment Cut

Sends it back for further negotiations between Republicans and Democrats


Daily Reports


June 13, 2008 - Senate Democrats on Thursday failed to obtain the 60 votes required to invoke cloture and begin debate on a bill (S 3101) that would delay for 18 months a 10.6% reduction in Medicare physician fees scheduled to take effect on July 1 and increase payments by 1.1%, among other provisions, CQ Today reports. Read more...

Senior Citizens Slightly Favor McCain in May Polling Despite Obama Bounce from April

Older Boomers most likely to support McCain after favoring Obama in April; Pew Research finds McCain's Negatives Mostly Political, Obama's More Personal

By Tucker Sutherland, editor,

June 10, 2008 – In the closing days of the Democratic primary, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released poll numbers showing voter preferences in an election between Barack Obama and John McCain as measured in April and May. Senior citizens – age 65 and older – were more likely to favor McCain. In May, however, they were not the age group most committed to the Republican – it was the 50-64 age group of older boomers, which had favored Obama just one month earlier. Read more...

  Gen Dems  

Use the interactive tool at Pew Research Center to track generational differences in political party affiliation over time. Click here...


Medicare Will See Big Changes if Bill Offered in Senate by Finance Chair Baucus Gets Passed

Gives docs pay increase but makes major changes in way program operates

June 9, 2008 – The office of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Friday issued a news release saying the Chairman had “unveiled long-awaited legislation making reforms to Medicare.” That is starting with an understatement. If passed, this bill will change the face of Medicare. The headlines it garnered focused on the move to give back to doctors the pay being cut by Medicare but the meat is in the dozens of other provisions that make significant changes to the program. Read more...

Senate Passes 2009 Budget Ignoring Bush Medicare, Medicaid Cuts; Moves to Restore Docs’ Pay Cut

Paints bleak picture for next president, who will face tough decisions, such as on cutting benefit programs to prepare for the retirement of the baby-boomers

June 5, 2008 – The Senate yesterday approved a new budget for the 2009 fiscal year that ignores the cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that were proposed in the budget proposed by President George Bush. Senators on Finance Committee also moved closer yesterday to agreement on legislation that will stop the 10.6 percent cut in Medicare play for physicians now set to become effective on July 1. The final details focus on funding and the possible increased pay in future years. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Bush To Veto Any Legislation Including Medicare Advantage Cuts

Health and Human Services Secretary tries to stop Democrat bill restoring physician’s pay cut


Daily Reports


May 30, 2008 - HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt in a May 22 letter wrote that President Bush's senior advisers would recommend he veto any legislation that "would result in the loss of access to additional benefits or choices in the Medicare Advantage program," the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Freking, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 5/29). Read more...

FTC Report Shows Drug Companies Still Paying to Keep Generic Drugs From Consumers

'These agreements inflict special pain on the working poor and the elderly, who need effective drugs at affordable prices.'

May 22, 2008 - The Federal Trade Commission yesterday released a report on 33 final settlement legal documents submitted to the FTC by drug manufacturers in fiscal year 2007 with those submitted since fiscal year 2004, finding an increasing use of "pay-for-delay" agreements between brand-name and generic drug manufacturers. For many of the elderly, the sickest and poorest Americans, the low-cost generics can be critical. Read more...

New Senate Bill Aims to Help Senior Citizens, Aging Baby Boomers Stay in Workforce

Retirement trends could create a U.S. labor shortage of 4.8 million workers in 10 years

May 7, 2008 - Although many of today's senior citizens find it is tough to find employment it may get a little easier is a new Senate bill passes. The bi-partisan bill has been introduced in the Senate to prevent projected dramatic declines in the workforce following the retirement of the baby boomers. It will provide incentives and eliminate barriers for older Americans wishing to stay in the workforce longer, and encourage employers to recruit and retain older workers. Read more...

Restoring Medicare Pay Cut to Docs May Get Delayed by Iraq War Spending

AARP says effort to derail new Medicaid regulations also a factor


Daily Reports


May 5, 2008 - Senate action on legislation to delay a 10.6% Medicare physician fee cut might take a back seat to a supplemental spending bill for the Iraq war and a measure to delay new Medicaid regulations, AARP's lead lobbyist said on Friday, CQ HealthBeat reports. Read more...

Martha Stewart Testifies at Senate Aging Hearing for Effort to Add More Healthcare Workers for Senior Citizens

Sen. Kohl promises legislation to expand, train, and support all sectors of the health care workforce, including doctors, nurses, direct care workers, and family caregivers

April 17, 2008 – Martha Stewart headlined a hearing of the Senate's Special Committee on Aging yesterday that may set the wheels in motion to expand the recruitment and training of healthcare workers to meet the needs of the 78 million baby boomers about to join the Medicare ranks, and to help relieve the 44 million Americans serving as the sole source of care for an older family member or loved one. Read more...

Senior Citizens Turn to Local TV for Political News; Most Americans Distrust Media

Harris Poll says for political news people turn to local TV, then cable networks and newspapers

March 11, 2008 – The Harris Poll recently looked at how Americans trust and use the media for political news and found older people – called “Matures” in Harris talk – are much more likely than younger generations to turn to their local television news, while the Baby Boomers chose cable television news. But, among all age groups, Harris found most Americans don’t trust the media. Read more...

Aging Committee Seeks Alternative to Drug Companies Educating Physicians on New Drugs

Hearing Wednesday will explore government program to provide the information

March 10, 2008 – Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) does not like doctors getting their first introduction to a new drug from a pharmaceutical sales representative – he thinks it unfairly influences the physicians. Instead, the chairman of the Senate aging committee wants the government to provide the information. He will hold a hearing on Wednesday to consider this revolutionary alternative. Read more...

One in 9 Senior Citizens Going Hungry Says Report to Senate Aging Committee

Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) says 35 million Americans going hungry, senior citizens are ‘disproportionately affected’

March 10, 2008 – One out of every nine senior citizens in America is going hungry, according to testimony last week at a hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, which was called by the ranking member, Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-OR). Smith said 35 million Americans are going hungry and senior citizens are “disproportionately affected.” Read more...

Senior Citizens Most Adamant Voter Age Group and They Want Hillary Clinton

Young people surging  to vote for Obama, older voters love Hillary

March 5, 2008 – Age is clearly a factor in the battle for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. The older the voter, the more likely he or she will vote for Hillary Clinton. The trends detected by the Pew Research Center in the Super Tuesday elections appeared to hold in yesterday’s elections in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island. Read more...

Aging Committee Hears Surgeons Paid Millions to Promote Medical Devices

Investigator testifies that hip & knee replacement market paid $800 million to doctors over five years

Feb. 27, 2008 – Government investigators found that during the years 2002 through 2006, four manufacturers, which controlled almost 75 percent of the hip and knee replacement market, paid physician consultants over $800 million under the terms of roughly 6,500 consulting agreements, according to Greg Demske, an investigator for Health and Human Services. He testified today at a hearing of the Senate Special Committee on Aging that examined the financial interactions between medical device companies and surgeons. Read more...

Aging Committee Hearing Today Questions Physician Inducements

Investigation reinforces need for physician payment sunshine act

Feb. 27, 2008 – An investigation by the Senate Special Committee on Aging has found “rampant” conflicts of interest in the medical device industry, with surgeons being induced by an assortment of cash, free travel and other gifts to use particular devices. The committee will hold a hearing this today to see if these inducements violate industry ethics or federal laws. Read more...

Age May Be Issue in Presidential General Election with Two of Oldest Candidates

Ronald Reagan holds crown for oldest, John F. Kennedy was youngest elected

By Tucker Sutherland, editor

Feb. 25, 2008 – Back in early February a survey by the Pew Research Center found major concern among voters about a candidate being age 70 or older. Andrew Kohut, President of the Pew Research Center wrote a special analysis published in the New York Times today pointing to the research and saying it could emerge as a real problem for Sen. John McCain, 71, in the general election. Read more...

Bush Solution to Medicare Funding is Shifting More Costs to High Income Seniors

Proposal to Congress responds to mandate for plan to fund program

Feb. 16, 2008 – Reminding Congressional leaders that the “Medicare program is on an unsustainable path,” Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, yesterday presented the Bush Administration’s response to a mandate to solve this problem. Shifting more of the financial burden of the drug program to higher income Americans is the primary change suggested in the proposed legislation. Read more...

Democrats Win Battle to Add Low-Income Senior Citizens to Economic Stimulus Plan

Seniors depending on Social Security to get $300 checks in compromise

Feb. 8, 2008 – It is a done deal – low-income senior citizens and disabled veterans will be included in the government’s play to stimulate the lagging economy. Congress has sent the final bill to the White House for President George Bush’s signature and he said yesterday it was “good legislation.” Read more....

Senate Republicans with McCain Decide to Approve Adding Senior Citizens to Stimulus Plan

Additions to House bill adds 20 million seniors, 250,000 disabled veterans into those to get checks

Feb. 7, 2008 – Democrats overcame the attempt by Republicans in the Senate to block senior citizens from receiving checks as part of the economic stimulus plan with help from Sen. John McCain, who did not vote yesterday when the plan was defeated by one vote. Senators Clinton and Obama voted for the plan yesterday but did not vote today as the Senate elements were added to the House play by a vote of 81 to 16. Read more...see how your senators voted...

Republicans Block 20 Million Senior Citizens from Economic Stimulus Plan

Senate bill needed just one more vote; Sen. McCain dodges vote that could have mattered


McCain Misses Vote on Economic Stimulus

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate John McCain skipped a difficult Senate vote Wednesday on whether to make 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans eligible for rebate checks as part of a proposed economic stimulus package.Read more at Google/Associated Press


Feb. 7, 2008 – The Republicans – by one vote – blocked the passage of the economic stimulus package in the Senate and excluded over 20 million senior citizens and disabled veterans from receiving government checks that will be sent to more affluent Americans in an effort to boost the stalled U.S. economy. Read more..See how each Senator voted...

Senate Should Vote Today to Add Senior Citizens to Stimulus Plan

Majority Leader Reid says amendment to House bill adds 21.5 million seniors

Feb. 6, 2007 – The Senate moved as expected yesterday to take up the economic stimulus plan approved by the House – HR 5140 – and to begin reshaping it to meet the recommendations of the Senate Finance Committee, which voted to add over 20 million senior citizens to the list of those who will receive government checks. Majority Leader Harry Reid offered the key amendments and a vote is expected today. Read more...

Senate Considers House Stimulus Plan Today, Adds 20 Million Senior Citizens Tomorrow

Senate bill to add seniors, disabled to those getting checks

Feb. 5, 2008 – The Senate is expected to vote today on HR 5140, the economic stimulus plan created in the House. It is not expected to get favorable attention in the Senate, which has its own stimulus plan that would include 20 million senior citizens among those to receive checks from the government. The Senate bill should reach the floor on Wednesday and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) says he will then offer a substitute amendment to the House-passed legislation that will incorporate the measures reported by the Finance Committee. Read more...

Senior Citizen Entitlement Programs Take $208 Billion Hit in Bush Budget

President lays out $3.1 trillion budget and again says Congress must solve financial future of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security

Feb. 4, 2008 - Entitlement programs – short for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – will see spending cuts of $208 billion over the next five years, if the budget proposed today by President George W. Bush is approved. The cuts in these programs that primarily affect senior citizens are even larger than earlier estimates. The President, today, repeatedly laid the problem at the feet of Congress, as he did in the State of the Union address. Read more...

Many Senior Citizens in Nursing Homes Will Not Be Voting Super Tuesday

Committee on Aging focuses on voting barriers for senior citizens

Feb. 4, 2008 – Last Thursday, Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) held a hearing on older voters and barriers they face in exercising their right to vote, with a specific focus on states participating in tomorrow’s Super Tuesday primaries. Kohl and Rules Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein also sent a letter requesting that the Election Assistance Commission conduct research on voting within long-term care settings and develop voluntary guidelines to help states facilitate such voting. Read more...

Bush to Raise Medicare Drug Premiums, Cut Medicare $178 Billion in New Budget

Most cuts from decreases in reimbursements to physicians, hospitals and other health care providers

Bush entered office with "budget surpluses projected to stretch years into the future," when he leaves office next year, he "will leave behind a trail of deficits and debt that will sharply constrain his successor."

Feb. 1, 2008 – Senior citizens seemed to be getting punched by the Republicans at every turn. This week the Senate Republicans refused to support a Finance Committee recommendation on the economic stimulus rebate program, because it included checks to 20 million low-income senior citizens. Now, it is reported that President Bush will raise the monthly premiums on Medicare drug plans in his budget on Monday, as well as, cut Medicare spending by $178 billion. Read more...

Republicans Oppose Senior Citizens Sharing in Economic Stimulus Rebates

Vote on Senate Finance Committee’s plan to include low-income seniors delayed

Jan. 31, 2008 - The effort by the Senate Finance Committee to create an economic stimulus plan that would include 20 million senior citizens that are excluded from the House’s plan has quickly run into Republican opposition. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says the Senate will not vote on the proposal until next week, probably Wednesday. Read more...

20 Million Senior Citizens to Get Economic Stimulus Checks in Plan Approved by Finance Committee

House plan excludes senior citizens with earned income of less that $3,000


"...these 20 million seniors have given a lifetime of labor. They have given a lifetime of service. They have paid a lifetime of taxes.

"But the House-passed bill would not give them a stimulus check."

 - Sen. Max Baucus, Chairman


Jan. 31, 2008 - By a vote of 14-7, the Senate Finance Committee last night voted to deliver $500 tax rebates to more than 20 million American senior citizens as part of an economic stimulus plan authored Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.). The Baucus legislation, which is slated for immediate consideration by the full Senate, will boost the American economy with $500 rebates for every American reporting $3000 in wages, Social Security income, or net self-employment income on a 2007 tax return. Read more...

Senator Baucus Demands More Senior Citizens be Included in Economic Stimulus Plan

House bill excludes many senior citizens from rebates due to income limit that does not include Social Security benefit

Jan. 30, 2008 – By late today many senior citizens should have a better idea if they will be included in the government’s plan to stimulate the sinking economy by pouring billions of dollars into the hands of consumers and businesses. The House passed their version on Tuesday and the Senate Finance Committee is meeting on Wednesday afternoon to consider the proposal by Chairman Max Baucus (Democrat of Montana), which includes more senior citizens. Many seniors will not qualify for the House plan because they don’t have enough income. Read more...

Super Tuesday Primaries to be Focus of Aging Committee Hearing on Thursday

Chairman Kohl says topic will be accessibility for senior citizens

Jan. 29, 2008 – During the recent Nevada primary, 45 percent of those voting Republican and 36 percent of Democrats were age 60 or older. Senior citizens have historically been more likely to vote than younger people but there is some concern that the new Voter ID law could hinder the voting of many seniors. Read more...

State of the Union for America's Senior Citizens is Anything But Strong, Says Advocate

Reaction by Barbara B. Kennelly of National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

Jan. 29, 2008 – One head of a senior advocacy group charged after last night’s State of the Union address that "For seven years this Administration has either attacked or neglected the programs that benefit older adults. Tonight's State of the Union address confirms that there will be no aging epiphany in the remainder of President Bush's last year in office. “ Read more...

President Ducks on Solutions for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid in State of Union

Bush says programs cost more than we can afford but Congress must find solutions

Jan. 29, 2008 - Whenever a President gives the State of the Union address, senior citizens listen carefully for what may be proposed regarding the lifelines for many – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Last night, some even feared President Bush would call for spending cuts in Medicare, but it did not happen. He just said the programs are costing more than we can afford and called on Congress to find the solutions. Read more...

Senior Citizen Issues Seldom Mentioned in Campaigns or in Washington

Bush required to send a Medicare savings plan to Congress; will address Medicare paycut for physicians in State of Union

Jan. 22, 2008 – With a challenging presidential race in both parties and power in Washington divided between the two parties, it might be assumed there would be a lot of discussion of issues that are important to senior citizens, the most prolific voters. There has not been much – a brief squabble over funding Social Security between Democrats, a proposal by Sen. John McCain to allow prescription drug reimportation and the annual battle in the Washington over cutting the pay doctors get from Medicare is about it. But things could be getting more interesting. Read more...

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Current Political News for Senior Citizens

Democrats Try Again to Stop Medicare's Physician Pay Cut; Want More Medicaid Funds to Boost Economy

Doctors’ 10% pay cut now scheduled for July 1; Medicaid funds to help states maintain eligibility levels

Jan. 17, 2008 – With Congress back in full swing after the holiday break, Medicare and Medicaid are back on the congressional agenda. Democrats stopped a 10 percent cut in physician pay by Medicare in December but only by agreeing to delay it for six months. Now they are working on a longer-term solution. Democratic also want to include an increase in the matching funds states receive for Medicaid as part of an economic stimulus package, according to


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