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Senior Citizen Politics Archives 2011-10

Political News and Information for Senior Citizens & Baby Boomers

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Links to Political Archives of SeniorJournal.com

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2009-08

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2007-06

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2005-00

 

Senior Citizen Politics

Wyden-Ryan Plan Could Neutralize Medicare in 2012 Election: Analysis

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., unveiled new Medicare plan, would give seniors a fixed amount of money to buy private insurance or pay for traditional Medicare - plus video from GOP debate on Gingrich position

By Marilyn Werber Serafini, KHN Staff Writer

Dec. 16, 2011 - Even with just two congressional supporters, a new Medicare overhaul plan could have big implications for next year’s congressional election. Indeed, it could neutralize a political problem that has been plaguing Republicans since April, argues Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. Read more, see video...

Rep. Ryan Joins with Democratic Senator Wayden to Take Another Shot at Medicare Reform

Senior advocates say it is still a voucher system and only winners would be private insurance companies

Dec. 15, 2011 – Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who proposed converting Medicare to a system where senior citizens were given vouchers to buy health care protection, has joined with an Oregon Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden, to propose a new idea for changing the government health care program. Senior advocates don’t seem to like the new plan better than Ryan’s first. Read more...

CMS to Make Drug-Makers Disclose Dealings with Physicians: Senators Prompt Action

Senators Kohl, Grassley force action by agency on their bill which also includes other medical device-makers and teaching hospitals

Dec. 15, 2011 – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services yesterday issued a rule that will make public the often questionable financial relationships between drug and device manufacturers and certain health care providers. The action caused Sen. Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, to postpone a hearing scheduled today aimed at getting this long-delayed Physician Payments Sunshine Act implemented. Read more...

Medicaid News

Administration Ties Medicaid Private Care to Performance; More Control to States

Latest signal Feds will give broad leeway to states to expand Medicaid to private managed care if they meet performance measures

By Phil Galewitz,KHN Staff Writer

Dec 14, 2011 - The managed care industry's growing role in Medicaid got a boost Monday when the Obama administration approved Texas' plan to shift one million additional recipients into private health plans by 2013. Read more...

Social Security News

Sen. Casey to Close Social Security Loopholes Allowing Philly Basement Case

Basement case suspects held 4 mentally disabled captives while taking their SSA benefits

Dec. 2, 2011 - A bill introduced in the Senate this week will close loopholes in the Social Security system that allowed suspects in the Philadelphia basement case to bilk their captives of their Social Security benefits and avoid police for years. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) says his bill... Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Health Programs Facing Cutbacks After Super Committee’s Failure

Cuts to Medicare limited to hospitals and other medical providers, would not exceed 2%; Congress must act before year end to stop a scheduled 27% physician pay cut by Medicare

By Marilyn Werber Serafini and Mary Agnes Carey,
KHN Staff Writers

Nov. 22, 2011 - The failure of the congressional super committee could mean automatic budget cuts totaling billions of dollars for everything from Medicare to biomedical research, starting in 2013. But some health care interests stand to fare better than others. Read more...

Medicare News

Affluent Seniors Could Take a Hit on Medicare in Deficit Reduction Deal

Conservatives argue that federal government shouldn’t help finance health care benefits for the rich

By Mary Agnes Carey & Marilyn Werber Serafini, KHN Staff Writers

Nov. 14, 2011 - In the scramble to come up with a deficit-reduction deal by Thanksgiving, members of Capitol Hill's super committee appear to have one group squarely in their cross hairs: high-income Medicare beneficiaries. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Republican Voters, Party Leaders Disagree Over Cuts to Social Security, Medicare

AARP surveys find Iowa, Florida GOP primary voters dead set against cuts to senior citizen programs to balance budget

Nov. 11, 2011 – An obvious and perhaps disastrous disconnect seems to have developed between Republican voters – senior citizens in particular - and their national party, including their presidential candidates. AARP has just released polls from Florida and Iowa showing a vast majority of GOP voters oppose cutting Social Security or Medicare benefits to reduce the deficit – solutions the leadership is suggesting. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Medicare Changes are Part of Super Committee Republicans Deal On Tax Revenues

Health On The Hill interviews Kaiser Health News Reporter Mary Agnes Carey - video and transcript

Nov. 9, 2011 - With the deadline for a recommendation from the budget-cutting super committee drawing near, Republicans are turning their attention to Medicare. They are suggesting raising the age to join, increasing fees for some, cutting pay to healthcare providers and for drugs. Jackie Judd discusses these issues with Mary Agnes Carey, who covers the super committee of Kaiser Health News. Read more, see video...

Medicare News

Physicians Take Another Big Medicare Pay Hit; Opens Annual Congressional Battle

Obama administration has consistently fought to change 1997 law that causes annual lobbying effort by medical groups

Nov. 2, 2011 - The annual big-dollar battle over the rate of pay for physicians kicked off yesterday with a rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that set the rates for 2012 – the cut was slightly less than expected but still a gigantic 27.4 percent. The CMS rule was mandated to follow current law, although the administration is firmly against the cuts. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Speaker Boehner Moves the Target for Super Budget Cutters to Social Security

Republicans say 'no' to tax hikes but will consider Medicare price increases

Nov. 1, 2011 – Many senior citizens bolstered by advertising and lobbying efforts by AARP and other advocacy groups to protect Social Security and Medicare, may have been lulled into a sleep by the secretive discussions of the super panel considering how to balance the U.S. budget. The gloves came off yesterday, however, as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appeared to move the bulls eye squarely on to Social Security and other senior entitlement programs. Read more...

New Office of Older Americans in Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to be Led by Skip Humphrey

Task is improving the financial decision-making of seniors and preventing unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices targeted at senior citizens

Oct. 19, 2011 - The newly established Office of Older Americans in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has its first leader - Hubert H. (“Skip”) Humphrey III. The former Attorney General of Minnesota has worked on behalf of senior citizens as president of the Minnesota AARP and was recently on the AARP’s national board. Read more...

Senate Committee to Hear About Seniors Hit Hard by Recession from NCOA

Hearing to Focus on Aftermath of Recession on Older Adults and Ways to Provide Economic Assistance

Oct. 17, 2011 - The National Council on Aging will provide testimony tomorrow on behalf of senior citizens and their increasing economic insecurity. Testifying will be NCOA's senior vice president of economic security, Sandra Nathan, PhD, to define the issue with stories of what seniors are facing around the country... Read more...

Medicare News

GAO Finds Abuse in Medicare Drug Program, Mostly Younger Patients Admitted for Disabilities

Less than 30% by senior citizens: of 170,000 prescribed drugs from 5 or more docs in 2008, about 120,000 (71%) were eligible for Medicare Part D based on a disability - see hearing video

Oct. 5, 2011 – Prescription drug abuse in Medicare Part D is a serious and growing public health problem, according to a Government Accountability Office report presented yesterday to a senate subcommittee hearing. The report points out, however, that over 70 percent of the abuse is not by senior citizens in the program but by younger Americans in Medicare based on a disability. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Gerontology Experts Hit Washington to Stump for Senior Issues, Funding

Gerontological Society organizes first Take Action Week to push funding for aging research; renewal of Older Americans Act

Sept. 27, 2011 – Many of America’s experts on aging are in the nation’s capital this week to urge elected officials to secure funding for aging research and education, as well as reauthorize the Older Americans Act. This Take Action Week is organized by The Gerontological Society of America. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

How Obama Plans To Cut Medicare, Medicaid Costs By $320 Billion

Biggest cut to Medicare requires drug companies to lower their rates, saving Medicare an estimated $135 billion over 10 years- watch videos

By Phil Galewitz, KHN Staff Writer

Sept. 19, 2011 - In his plan to trim the federal deficit, President Barack Obama Monday proposed $320 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, largely by changing how the federal government pays health providers, slashing payments to drug companies, and dramatically changing the way it splits the costs of Medicaid with the states, according to a fact sheet the White House released today. Read more, see videos...

GOP Won’t Touch Medicare Drug Plan

9/19/11 - Republicans want to pull the plug on the health care overhaul they call "Obamacare," blaming it in part for the United States' ballooning budget deficit.

But they're quiet when it comes to the Medicare drug benefit — another massive health care entitlement, with unfunded future costs over $7 trillion.

Arguably, it could be driving up the deficit more than President Barack Obama's ambitious health care plan is. Read at AP/Yahoo\

Senior Citizen Politics

Medicare Advantage Premiums Dropping 4%, Enrollment Up Despite Dire GOP Predictions

Republicans, insurance companies predicted high prices, less benefits after Obama health law

By Phil Galewitz, KHN Staff Writer

Sept. 16, 2011 - Dire predictions by insurers and Republicans that the 2010 health law would cause private Medicare health plans to raise prices and lower benefits on beneficiaries have turned out to be a false alarm — at least for now. Read more...

Medicare News

State Insurance Chiefs Tell Congress Don’t Make Seniors Pay More for Medicare Medigap Policies

 ‘…will also cause serious confusion for seniors with fixed incomes who rely on Medigap insurance to protect them...’

By Susan Jaffee, Kaiser Health News

Sept. 16, 2011 - State insurance commissioners are preparing some stern words of advice for members of Congress trying to reduce the federal deficit: don’t touch Medicare supplemental insurance. Read more...

Medicare News

Medigap Changes Meet Resistance from States, Insurers, Consumer Advocates

Some seniors may forego medically necessary care because they can't afford it -- even though they have a Medigap policy

By Susan Jaffe

Aug. 30, 2011 - A provision of the 2010 federal health law seeking to increase Medicare beneficiaries’ share of health care costs is meeting resistance from an unlikely group of 33 state insurance regulators, health insurers and consumer advocates charged with revising Medigap insurance policies that cover most out-of-pocket expenses. Read more...

Debt commission members rake in health money

9/7/11 - Doctors, drugmakers, hospitals and health insurers have spent millions over the years wooing lawmakers who now are on the powerful congressional panel charged with finding a formula to control deficits and debt, a new analysis finds. Those very same industries would get hit hard if the supercommittee succeeds. Read more By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, AP

Senior Citizen Politics

Problem for Super Committee is Cost of Health Care: Former GOP Senator Danforth

Listen or read transcript of Kaiser Health News interview where former senator tells it like it is

Aug. 24, 2011 - Editor’s Note: Many say “Medicare is broken.” It has become a mantra for the Republicans, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who have been trying to convert the program to private insurance supported by vouchers paid to seniors. The real problem is that “Health care is broken,” not Medicare. Medicare is in trouble because of the out-of-control cost increases by drug companies and healthcare providers. Former GOP senator, John “Jack” Danforth, tells it like it is to Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News. Read more...

Group Fighting to Save Senior Citizen Benefits in Social Security, Medicare Finds An Angel - Maybe

GOP appointee to Super Committee, Rep. Fred Upton, says senior benefits should not be cut for those in program

Aug. 20, 2011 – The group that organized earlier this year to protect the Social Security and Medicare benefits of senior citizens –the Strengthen Social Security Campaign – thinks they have found a possible critical ally in a Republican appointee to the new super committee charged with making a big dent in the deficit. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) says that current Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries should not face any reductions in benefits, according to the SSSC. Read more...

Analysis: Medicare, Liberals And The Lesser Of Two Evils

Fear is that cuts would leave the elderly without adequate financial protection or access to medical care

By Jonathan Cohn

Aug. 15, 2011 - Why does the debt ceiling deal give liberals so much heartburn? Many reasons, obviously. But a big one is the possibility that it will trigger automatic cuts to Medicare, the jewel of the Great Society and the program on which virtually every senior citizen depends for health insurance. Read more...

Senate Aging Committee Chair Calls for More Screening, Oversight of Guardians

Sen. Kohl releases GAO report showing need for strong screening of those making financial decisions for incapacitated seniors, others

Aug. 11, 2011 – There is a greater need for screening and oversight of guardians appointed to make financial decisions for senior citizens and other adults that are incapacitated – primarily on Social Security - says Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Read more...

Medicare ‘Not Just A Seniors’ Issue’ - Pollster Finds

An even more important political issue now than in the past

By Stephanie Stapleton, Capsules – The KHN Blog

Aug. 8, 2011 - Even though the health insurance program for senior citizens and the disabled survived the initial phase of the debt-ceiling deal without suffering cuts, Medicare is likely to be a target in the next round. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Debt Deal 'Super' Committee's Impact On Health Spending Explained

Q&A: How congressional super committee's deliberations could influence Medicare and Medicaid

By Mary Agnes Carey and Phil Galewitz, KHN Staff Writers

Aug. 4, 2011 - The deal President Barack Obama and Congress struck this week to raise the nation's debt ceiling has prompted many questions about how a special "super committee" established by the law will affect federal health care programs. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Health Care Providers Scurry to Prepare for Medicare Budget Cuts to Come with Debt Deal

Social Security and Medicaid exempted from budget cuts - see video below

Aug. 2, 2011 - The Senate passed and President Obama quickly signed this afternoon the battered bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and begin efforts to reduce the deficit. At least one of the programs that primarily impacts senior citizens – Medicare – is certain to feel the budget axe in at least the second round of the $2 trillion in deficit reductions. Read more, see video...

Senior Citizen Politics

Medicare, Medicaid Appear to Have Escaped Budget Cuts This Round: Health on the Hill

KHN Senior Correspondent Mary Agnes Carey has been investigating to understand why

July 28, 2011 - Neither the Boehner nor the Reid plans include cuts to Medicare or Medicaid. KHN’s Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about why that happened and what could bring these entitlements back into the deficit-reduction conversation. Read more...

Public Wants Debt Ceiling Compromise, Expects a Deal Before Deadline: Pew Research

 GOP Widely Viewed as "More Extreme in Its Positions"

 ●  Earlier Pew Poll Finds Obama Draws More Confidence

July 26, 2011 - The public overwhelmingly favors a compromise in the debt ceiling standoff. And even as negotiations aimed at resolving the issue show little progress, a majority thinks that Barack Obama and congressional Republicans will reach a deal before the Aug. 2 deadline on a possible government default, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Sen. Kohl Launches Efforts to Cut Prescription Drug Costs at Aging Committee Hearing

Policies must change or prescription drug costs will continue to rise and increase deficit

July 22, 2011 - U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, yesterday released several policy proposals for lowering drug costs for senior citizens, other consumers and Medicare at a hearing investigating ways to significantly cut prescription drug costs without while maintaining the quality of medical care. Read more...

'Gang Of Six' Plan Includes Deep Health Care Cuts; Making Social Security Solvent

Seniors, advocates focus on health care cuts; Social Security actions draw little concern - plan summary below

Jul 21, 2011 – The now famous Gang of Six plan to reduce the budget and clear the deck for raising the U.S. debt limit is raising the concern of senior citizens and their advocacy groups because of the deep reductions proposed for Medicare and Medicaid. These cuts will impact hospital payments, although, the plan does offer a permanent fix to the annual battle of over physician payments. Read more, plan summary....

Obama Backs 'Gang Of Six' Plan That Includes Medicare, Social Security Cuts

Senate leaders, others working on backup plan to allow Obama to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for a much smaller package of spending cuts

July 20, 2011 - The Senate's "Gang of Six" unveiled its 10-year, $3.7 trillion deficit reduction plan Tuesday and received a warm, bipartisan reception in the Senate and at the White House. Meanwhile, in the House, GOP lawmakers, in a largely symbolic vote, passed their "cut, cap and balance" measure, which the White House has called "unacceptable." Read more...

Senior Citizen Advocates Warn About Cuts to Entitlements in Last Minute Deal

National Association of Agencies on Aging take their message to Capitol Hill to stop cuts to Medicaid and Medicare

By Juan E. Gastelum

July 20, 2011 - With officials from both parties considering cuts to entitlement programs as part of a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling, advocates for seniors are taking their message to Capitol Hill Wednesday to press Congress about the impact of potential cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. Read more...

Senior League Flatly Opposes Social Security Cuts for Those 50+, But Cites Alternatives

Proposals include raising payroll tax cap, raising retirement age, adding public workers

July 18, 2011 – The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) makes clear its opposition to benefit cuts in Social Security that would impact any Americans age 50 or older, but says there are alternatives to reduce the budget in less painful ways. Read more...

President Obama Calls for 'Meaningful Changes' To Medicare, Medicaid (Video)

‘we have an obligation to make sure that we make those changes that are required to make it sustainable over the long term’

July 12, 2011 - In his news conference yesterday, President Barack Obama discussed the debt ceiling, the deficit, negotiating with Republicans and paid particular attention to entitlements including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Below is a video of the comments on entitlements. Read more...

Medicaid News

HHS Offers States New Ways to Improve Care, Lower Costs For Medicaid

Initiatives focus on 'Dual Eligibles,' people receiving Medicare and Medicaid benefits; often most expensive patients to cover

July 11, 2011 - Health and Human Services (HHS) Friday announced three new initiatives to help states improve the quality and lower the cost of care for the approximately nine million Americans who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid (Medicare-Medicaid enrollees, sometimes referred to as “dual eligibles”). Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Lieberman-Coburn Medicare Proposal Could Stress Strapped Senior Citizens: NPR Blog

Half of seniors had income under $22,000 in 2010; 25% had income under $13,000; just 5% had incomes above $85,000.

By Julie Rovner, NPR Health Blog

June 29, 2011 - Can seniors afford to pay more for Medicare? Medicare patients would pay more - in some cases much more - under a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate today (Tuesday 6/29). But can they really afford it? Read more...

Senate Proposal to Raise Medicare Eligibility Age Draws Quick Democrat Opposition

Proposal by Senators Coburn, Lieberman would increase eligible age to 67, save $600 billion

June 29, 2011 - As negotiations over raising the nation's debt ceiling continue, two senators - Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn. - advanced a new plan to produce the amount of savings from the Medicare program need to meet the debt reduction target. The approach, though, which includes raising the eligibility age to 67, was swiftly rejected by top Democrats. Read more...

AARP Fights Back Against Charges of Giving In on Cuts to Social Security; Launches TV Ad

CEO reaffirms opposition to cutting Social Security, asks seniors to pledge help in fight; AARP kicks off TV ad urging protection for SS and Medicare

June 20, 2011 – The Wall Street Journal stirred up a storm last week when it quoted in a news story AARP’s policy director John Rother saying the senior advocacy group was dropping its objection to cutting Social Security benefits. AARP CEO A. Barry Rand fired back that the report was inaccurate and that AARP has not changed its position on Social Security. Read more, see video

Seniors Most Reluctant to Support Government Help with Birth Control But A Majority Do

Seniors in usual “most negative” spot on birth control help but surprisingly strong majority say it’s ok

June 10, 2011 - A recent survey of Americans by Thomson Reuters and NPR with questions on birth control pills and family planning came out like most surveys do with senior citizens being the most negative age group. There was a little surprise in this one, however, that found a majority of those age 65 and older with positive attitudes on birth control and government help with family planning. Read more...

Senior Citizens Not In Step with Majority of Americans Wanting Homosexuality Accepted

Pew Research finds seniors also don't like the idea of gays and lesbians raising children

May 16, 2011 - A majority of Americans (58%) say homosexuality should be accepted by society and only about a third (35%) think gays and lesbians raising children is a bad thing for society. Senior citizens, however, skew the results as the only adult age group with less than a majority for accepting homosexuality and a massive 62% don’t think it is good for homosexuals to raise children, reports the Pew Recent Center. Read more

Medicare News

Gloomier-Than-Expected Forecast for Medicare: Trustees Say Out of Money in 2024

Sluggish economy hurting but health reform helping save money for critical senior citizen program - see links to other news reports, news release from CMS below story

May 16, 2011 - Medicare will start running out of money in 2024 -- five years earlier than projected last year — as a result of the sluggish economic recovery, the program’s trustees reported Friday. Read More...

Social Security News

Social Security Trustees Project Trust Fund Exhaustion One Year Sooner

Senior citizen advocacy groups not alarmed by 2036 deadline, see time for fix

May 15, 2011 - The Social Security Board of Trustees late Friday (May 13, 2011) released its annual report on the financial health of the Social Security Trust Funds and said they will be exhausted in 2036, one year earlier than projected last year.  one year sooner than projected last year. Most senior advocacy groups were not alarmed (see comments below news report). Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

AARP Offers Detailed Response to Republicans’ Questioning of Non-Profit Tax Status

GOP trio on House Ways and Means see ‘conflict between AARP’s drive for profits, the best interests of its members’ - see video response

May 11, 2011 – It was no April Fool’s joke when AARP leaders went before the House Ways and Means subcommittees on health and oversight last April 1 to respond to charges by Republican leaders of the committees that there is a “conflict between AARP’s drive for profits, the best interests of its members and the organization’s tax-exempt status." It was the beginning of a detailed response by AARP to the allegations. Read more, see video...

Don’t Make Harmful Cuts to Social Security,  Medicare to Get Deal on Debt Ceiling: AARP

Organization launches campaign to preserve health and retirement security of older Americans - See TV commercial

May 6, 2011 - With the national debate heating up on raising the debt ceiling, AARP announced a new campaign Wednesday to fight against proposals with arbitrary limits, caps or triggers that would result in harmful cuts to critical Social Security and Medicare benefits that millions of Americans have earned through a lifetime of hard work. Read more...

Senior Citizen Alerts

Treasury Retiring Paper Check for Social Security, Other Benefits; Saves $1 Billion

Seniors, others currently receiving federal benefits by paper check must switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013.

April 27, 2011 – Starting on May 1, the U.S. Treasury will switch to an electronic payment method for Baby Boomers and others signing on for Social Security, veterans’ affairs payments or other benefits. Senior citizens and others currently receiving their federal benefits by paper check must switch to direct deposit by March 1, 2013. The move is projected to save taxpayers $1 billion over ten years. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Obama Budget Plan Cuts Deficit by $4 Trillion, Strengthens Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security

Around two-thirds of budget is spent on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and national security - watch video

April 13, 2011 - President Barack Obama on Wednesday shared his plans to cut the deficit by $4 trillion in 12 years, which, according to a fact sheet distributed by the White House, includes saving $480 billion in health care costs by 2023. Obama proposes holding Medicare cost growth down by strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board and making Medicaid more flexible without using block grants. And, about the other program vital to senior citizens, Social Security, his fact sheet said, “No current beneficiary should see the basic benefit reduced; nor will we accept an approach that slashes benefits for future generations.” Read more....

Partnership for Patients to Improve Care, Lower Costs Introduced by Obama Administration

Potential savings of $50 billion for Medicare plus billions for Medicaid by improving hospital care

April 12, 2011 – The Obama administration today announced the Partnership for Patients, a national partnership aimed at saving $35 billion in health care costs – up to $10 billion for Medicare – and saving 60,000 lives by stopping millions of preventable injuries and complications in patient care over the next three years. Read more...

Republican Congressmen Launch Attack on AARP, Challenge Non-Profit Status

House Ways & Means members release investigative report, send letter to IRS

April 11, 2011 - Three Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee have launched an attack on AARP, including the release of a report focusing on the massive amount of money the organization earns from insurance companies, and sending a letter last Friday to the Internal Revenue Service asking for an investigation of AARP’s non-profit tax status. Read more...

President to Outline Strategy to Make Entitlements More Secure for Senior Citizens

President Obama lays out his budget reduction plan on Wednesday, to change course for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security

April 11, 2011 – Still reeling from the Republican proposal to severely cut Medicare and Medicaid and to push Medicare toward a private insurance program, senior citizens are now bracing for cost reduction proposals for entitlement programs expected on Wednesday from President Barack Obama. Read more...

Senior Citizen Opinions & Analysis

GOP Plan Replaces Medicare’s Guaranteed Benefits with ‘Premium Support’ Payment

Budget does not address root of high Medicare costs -rising costs in the entire health care sector

By Joe Baker, President, Medicare Rights Center

April 5, 2011 – The math of the proposed House budget, introduced today by Budget Committee Chairman Ryan, is really quite simple - Medicare consumers (those over 65 and people with disabilities) pay more for health care and the federal government pays a lot less. The proposal ends Medicare as we know it today, replacing Medicare’s guaranteed benefits with a “premium support” payment or voucher that consumers can use to buy private insurance. Read more...

Medicare News

Politics Heat Up In Response to GOP Budget's Medicare, Medicaid Proposals

Newspapers: 'politically risk', 'little chance', 'converts Medicare to premium support program', 'you'll need to pay a bigger share'

April 5, 2011 - The blueprint advanced today by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., would attempt to rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid while squeezing $6.2 trillion dollars from the nation's deficit over the next 10 years. Newspapers seem to see a frisky political battle ahead judging from today's coverage. Read more...

Medicare News

Understanding Rep. Ryan's Plan for Medicare Based on Premium Support

September poll found 69 percent of senior citizens - people older than 65 - opposed vouchers for Medicare - see video

By Kaiser Health News Staff

April 5, 2011 - House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left many details to Congress when he unveiled his plan today to make major changes to Medicare as part of a fiscal 2012 budget resolution. He says his overall objective is to convert Medicare into a premium support program for which the government will spend a specific amount for beneficiaries' care, a fundamental shift from the current fee-for-service program. Read more, see video discussion..

Medicare News

Medicare, Medicaid Are Targets in GOP's 'Path to Prosperity' That Shifts More Costs to Seniors

Democrats say it cuts medical care to the “most vulnerable Americans”

April 5, 2011 – The Republicans sent shock waves through millions of older Americans that depend on Medicare or Medicaid with their 2012 budget proposal today that is named “Path to Prosperity,” which appears to shift more of the cost of healthcare back to the senior citizens. Democrats immediately challenged the plan, saying it would result in medical care cuts to the nation’s most vulnerable Americans. Read more...

Medicare News

GOP Proposals on Medicare Could Shift Costs to Senior Citizens, other Beneficiaries

This is week when Republicans show their hand for cutting Medicare, Medicaid; yesterday House Budget  Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis) gave a glimpse of what's to come; GOP hits elderly in states, too

Republicans Also Slash States' Spending on Elderly

AARP Says Texas Dishonors Elders

By Mary Agnes Carey, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer

April 4, 2011 - Amid the buzz about a possible government shutdown over this year's budget looms a more difficult question: What to do about entitlement programs, especially Medicare? Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Senate Leader Reid to Help Kickoff Nationwide Effort to Protect Social Security

National advocacy group plans week of activities, new radio spots, use of social media

March 28, 2011 – A news conference and rally featuring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be held in Washington today to kickoff a nationwide mobilization effort by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. It is part of the group's “Hands Off Our Social Security Campaign.” Read more...

Senior Citizen Opinions & Analysis

No More Senior Moments On The Health Law That Moves Into Year Two

Senior citizens should lead the way in granting Affordable Care Act the time in needs to prove its worth

Judith L. Lichtman, Senior Adviser and former President of the National Partnership for Women & Families

March 25, 2011 -This week, my mother turns 97 and the Affordable Care Act turns one. I am 70. If the polls are to be believed, Mom and I are exceptions in our age group because we support the new health reform law. That's a triumph of fear over fact - and it's terribly sad. Read more...

Senior Citizen Opinions & Analysis

The Donald Berwick Predicament: Draws High Praise as Head of CMS but Won’t Be Confirmed

‘Universally regarded… thoughtful guy who is not partisan;’ endorsed by two former GOP heads of CMS but GOP senators say 'No'

By Harold Pollack and Christopher Lillis, M.D., Kaiser Health News

March 14, 2011 - Dr. Donald Berwick runs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. He now serves under a recess appointment that will expire at the end of this year. And, although the president could take the politically risky step of extending his tenure with another recess appointment, officially naming him to run the agency for the long haul would require Senate confirmation. News reports suggest that this won't happen. Berwick may not even receive a hearing. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Putting Senior Citizens Back to Work Popular Way to Help Social Security Medicare

Even senior citizens like this idea and the idea for increasing eligibility age says Harris Poll

March 9, 2011 – Persuading you (senior citizens) to go back to work, or continue to work, is a popular idea with most Americans for making Medicare and Social Security more financially viable, according to a new Harris Poll. But, guess which age group likes this idea the most – older people. The public and the seniors also likes the idea of raising the age for joining these programs. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Actor Mickey Rooney Testifies Before Aging Committee on Elder Abuse He Has Endured

Called on committee of senators to stop the abuse ‘Now;’ urges support of bills being introduced by Sen. Herb Kohl, committee chair: watch video of testimony

March 2, 2011 – Legendary movie actor Mickey Rooney, now 90, gave riveting testimony before the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging today as he described the elder abuse that has happened to him. The World War II veteran said he was “stripped of the ability to make even the most basic decisions.” Read more, watch video testimony

Senior Citizen Politics

Senior Citizens Least Likely Americans to Back Teachers, Public Workers in Wisconsin

Only 33% of older Americans back unions in battle with Wisconsin governor: most people in U.S. support the unions

March 2, 2011 - The teachers and other public employees fighting to save their unions in Wisconsin better not depend on the support of senior citizens to help them keep their collective bargaining rights. Older people are much, much more likely than younger people to side with the Republican governor than the workers, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Read more...

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, Clinton AdministrationWhy Social Security Isn't a Problem for 26 Years, and the Best Way to Fix It Permanently

Social Security isn't responsible for federal deficit - just the opposite. Until last year it took in more than it paid out. It lent the surpluses to the government

By Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor

Feb. 26, 2011

Senior Citizen Programs Targeted by U.S. House-Approved Spending Bill

National Council on Aging lists programs; says bill guts only jobs program for vulnerable older Americans

Feb. 23, 2011 - Cuts included in the spending bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives this past week would harm senior citizens by drastically slashing initiatives that help older Americans to sustain their economic independence and health, according to the National Council on Aging,  a non-profit service and senior advocacy organization. Read more..

President Obama’s Budget Offers Health Care Cuts to Stop Big Medicare Pay Cut for Doctors

Roundup of media reports by Kaiser Health News indicates the plan ‘avoids’ tackling entitlement spending

Feb. 14, 2011 - President Barack Obama's budget plan includes a two-year Medicare "doc-fix" that uses heavy cuts in other health payments to stave-off a scheduled 25 percent reduction in Medicare physician reimbursements. Meanwhile, news outlets also report the plan "avoids" tackling entitlement spending. Read more...

Social Security News

Nearly Half of Senior Citizens Receiving Smaller Social Security Checks in 2011

New survey finds lack of COLA hurting seniors as over 60% see their expenses rise, Medicare premiums reduce checks

Feb. 3, 2011 - Forty-four percent of seniors are receiving lower Social Security checks this year compared to 2010, while even more are dealing with significantly higher expenses. The findings come from an annual survey of elderly Americans, released earlier today by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), which claims to be one of the nation's largest nonpartisan senior citizens advocacy groups. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Senate Republicans Fail in Attempt to Repeal National Health Care Law

Today's amendments are the first in the Senate dealing with health care reform, but they likely won't be the last

Feb. 2, 2011 - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced an amendment to an unrelated bill today that would repealed the health care law. Senate Republicans, however, failed to muster enough votes to repeal the law. But, a vote to delete a small, revenue-raising provision of the sweeping law did pass, in a bipartisan vote. Read more, see video...

Health Care Repeal Fades as Centrists Take Stage: Tone More Civil

Bipartisan Policy Center persuades former Senate Majority leaders, Democrat Tom Daschle and Republican Bill Frist, to help make health care bill work

By Merrill Goozner, The Fiscal Times

Jan. 19, 2011 - The tone on Capitol Hill during Tuesday's debate was more civil, the partisan rhetoric less harsh than previous exchanges on the House floor. But there's little doubt that the Republican-led House will vote later today to repeal President Obama's signature health care reform law. Read more...

Medicare News

Obama Administration Abruptly Pulls Plug on Medicare End-of-Life Counseling

Original sponsor of provision intends to reintroduce legislation allowing Medicare to pay for such discussions with doctors that many view as helpful to critically ill seniors

Jan. 10, 2011 - Three days after enacting a Medicare regulation that would have reimbursed doctors for discussing end-of-life planning with patients during their annual checkups, the Obama administration has reversed course and last week withdrew the regulation, according to a report in ElderLawAnswers.com. Read more...

Senior Citizens Warming to Health Care Reform as Republicans Set Stage to Kill It

Negative attitude about health care reform reaches new low among senior citizens

By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com

Jan. 4, 2011 – The last Kaiser Health Tracking Poll of 2010 shows U.S. adults almost evenly divided in their opinion of the health care reform bill passed last March, but senior citizens, who were panicked by claims that the bill set up death panels to consider the fate of old people, and other misconceptions, have turned the corner and are seeing positive benefits in the legislation. This has not stopped the Republicans from moving ahead in the House with an effort to repeal the whole plan. Read more...

Republicans Block $250 for Senior Citizens to Replace Lack of Social Security Hike in 2011

Also other action reduces income to Social Security Trust Fund by $120 billion

Dec. 9, 2010 – Republicans jumped at the chance to allow the richest people in the United States to keep a tax cut that will cost the taxpayers about $70 billion a year, then stomped on efforts to give senior citizens $250 in 2011 to compensate for the lack of a cost-of-living increase in Social Security. Only 26 Republicans joined 228 Democrats in the failed effort in the House to pass H.R. 5987. Read more...

Senate Approves Medicare 'Doc Fix' to Stop 25 Percent Cut in Physician Pay; Up to House

 'Stopping the cut for one year will inject some much needed stability into the system for seniors and physician practices,' says AMA president

Dec. 9, 2010 – Seniors can breath a sigh of relief as their worry about physicians refusing to treat Medicare patients in the future due to a giant reduction in pay has ended with a quiet unanimous vote by the Senate to stop the 25 percent cut. The White House helped push for the vote and will do the same in the House, where it is expected to pass before the January 1 deadline. Read more...

Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health

Senate Aging Committee Forum to Hear Ideas for Improving Care for Alzheimer’s Patients

Seven panelists led by Kathy Greenlee, Asst. Sec. for Aging, will present successful programs

Dec. 6, 2010 - On Wednesday the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging will host a forum that will emphasize the often overlooked aspect of quality of care for those living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Much of the focus for Alzheimer’s advocates has been on finding a cure for this disease that devastates so many senior citizens. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Fiscal Commission Fizzles on Deficit Reduction Plans that Focused on Senior Programs

Much of the commission’s deficit-cutting was aimed at the costly entitlements, Social Security and Medicare but not enough votes to pass

Dec. 4, 2010 – The grand plan to cut $4 trillion out of the national deficit over the next 10 years came to a quiet and uneventful end yesterday. Co-chairs former Wyoming GOP Sen. Alan Simpson, and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, announced yesterday that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform could not get a majority of its 18 members to approve forwarding the recommendations to the Congress. Read more, watch video...

Social Security News

Booming Senior Citizen Population Will Bring Social Security to Its Knees: Deficit Committee

Significant changes in seniors’ security blanket program detailed by committee in ‘The Moment of Truth’ report

By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com

Dec. 3, 2010 – Most of the initial reactions to the proposal on December 1 by President Obama’s special committee seeking ways to reduce the U.S. deficit focused on changes to Medicare as being the most dramatic of the adjustments recommended. Medicare, no doubt, is critical to senior citizens but the program closer to the hearts of millions of seniors is Social Security – the security blanket. The committee’s report does urge drastic changes in this program to and says unless the nation acts the booming number elderly will “bring the Social Security program to its knees.” Read more...

Medicare News

Knives Come Out to Slash Medicare in Deficit Reduction Committee’s New Draft

Suggestions on enhancing the health of the U.S. budget is entitled, 'The Moment of Truth', but may be an ugly moment for senior citizens

By Tucker Sutherland, editor, SeniorJournal.com

Dec. 2, 2010 – Senior citizens and baby boomers should have been restless last night – the two most important government programs they will depend on in their old age – Social Security and Medicare – were the major victims in a cost-slashing proposal by a government deficit reduction panel for improving the financial future of the U.S. government. Read more...

Medicare News

Deficit Reduction Plans Would Squeeze Medicare; Battle Looms with Seniors

Plans would require seniors to pay a larger share of Medicare; one idea would give senior citizens a set amount of money to buy their own coverage

By Mary Agnes Carey, KHN Staff Writer

Nov. 29, 2010 - Spurred by growing concerns about the federal deficit, plans to curb Medicare spending are proliferating - setting the stage for potentially bruising battles between seniors’ advocates and budget cutters. Read more...

Medicare News

Latest Deficit Report Recommends Senior Citizens Pay More For Medicare

Sub-committee also calls for a national debt-reduction sales tax of 6.5 percent, as well as changes in Social Security and income tax rates

By Phil Galewitz and Jordan Rau, KHN Staff Writers

Nov. 18, 2010 - Offering the latest tough-love strategy to reduce the nation's debt, a panel of high-profile Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday recommended that Medicare beneficiaries pick up far more of their health care costs and the government substantially curb the amount both Medicare and Medicaid programs can grow in future years. Read more...

Social Security, Medicare Cuts in Bulls Eye for Federal Commission Trying to Reduce Budget

Bi-partisan commission charged with identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation of the federal budget got off to thunderous start

Nov. 11, 2010 - Senior citizens, that turned out in droves to support the Tea Party rallies urging cuts in federal spending, came face-to-face with reality today as the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform released a long list of spending cuts that could be made. Although a small part of the total savings from these ideas, projected to be $200 billion a year, it does suggest significant reductions in Social Security, Medicare and Veterans programs that are critical to millions of elderly Americans. Read more...

New Campaign Gets 136 in Congress to Warn President About Cutting Social Security

These House Democrats pledge to oppose any form of Social Security cuts coming from commission setup by President Obama

Oct. 20, 2010 – This week 136 members of Congress – all Democrats -  sent a letter to President Obama stating that they will oppose any recommendations issued by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that cut Social Security benefits, further raise the Social Security retirement age, or privatize the program in any way. The effort was planned by the newly formed Social Security Works (SSW), which has organized the Strengthen Social Security Campaign. Read more...

Social Security News

Speaker Pelosi Backs $250 Payment to Senior Citizens, Veterans if No COLA for 2011

Senior Protection Act by Rep. Earl Pomeroy still in committee; President Obama has backed $250 payment for seniors

Oct. 15, 2010 – If it is announced today, as expected, that there will be no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to increase Social Security in 2011 for senior citizens, Democrats are poised to back a bill by Congressman Earl Pomeroy and supported by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to issue seniors and retired military a one-time $250 payment. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Legislation Moves Forward to Increase Low-Cost Housing Options for Senior Citizens

Banking subcommittee approves bill from Sen. Kohl, Chair, Special Committee on Aging, other Democrats

Oct. 4, 2010 – A program of Housing and Urban Development, Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly, is headed for expansion and improvement, according to an announcement from the office of U.S. Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the Special Committee on Aging. Read more...

Democrats, Republicans Trying To Sway Senior Citizens With Health Care Spin

Advocacy groups protest the presence of lobbyists at the gathering of state insurance regulators

Aug. 16, 2010 – Senior citizens (age 65 and older) – the most consistent voting age group - stands out, too, as the age group least pleased with the Obama Administration. One reason has been confusion over health care reform. All this has made them prime targets by both political parties for a barrage of “spin.”  Read more...

Seniors Least Likely to See Conflict with Immigrants, Most Likely to Back Arizona Law

Two surveys by Pew Research seem to be in conflict on views of senior citizens

July 6, 2010 – A recent survey by Pew Research found senior citizens are far more likely to approve of the tough immigration law passed in Arizona than are younger people. This results seems to conflict with another survey by Pew just last September that found those age 65 or older the least likely to see "very strong" or "strong" conflicts between immigrants and people born in the United States. Read more...

Senate Committee Hearing June 30 to Investigate Drug Waste and Disposal in U.S.

Goal to reduce health risk of risky disposal, like flushing drugs in toilets, leaving them in places accessible to children

June 29, 2010 – A U.S. Geological Survey in 2002 of 139 bodies of water in 30 states found over 80 percent of their water samples were contaminated by prescription drugs and personal care products. U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, Chairman of the Special Committee on Aging has called a hearing of his committee tomorrow to look at the risks associated with improper disposal and lack of disposal options for consumers. Read more...

Medicare News

Last Minute Change of Heart by GOP Too Late to Save Physicians from Giant Medicare Pay Cut

Congress is playing Russian roulette with seniors’ health care,” said AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, MD

June 18, 2010 – After months of fighting back attempts by the Democrats to restore a gigantic 21.3 percent reduction in pay for doctors to treat Medicare patients, the Republicans relented early this afternoon and supported a six-month extension. It looked good for the doctors and senior citizens worried about their doctors leaving Medicare, but then hope and joy faded. Medicare had already begun processing payments at the reduced rate, which was actually effective on June 1. Read more...

Medicare News

Republicans Again Block Democrats' Effort to Stop Huge Medicare Pay Cut for Doctors

Physicians say they are not making enough money on their existing Medicare patients and would be hesitant about accepting new ones

June 17, 2010 - A bill that would, among other things, extend some unemployment benefits and provide a temporary fix for Medicare physician payment rates languished in the Senate Wednesday as a procedural vote to end debate on the bill failed, 52 to 45 - eleven Democrats broke with the party to vote no. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

President Obama Speaks to Seniors, Answers Questions About Affordable Care Act

Complete text below of President’s remarks and answers to questions from senior citizens, also link to video of event

June 8, 2010 – President Barack Obama this week met with senior citizens at the Holiday Park Multipurpose Senior Center in Wheaton, Maryland, to discuss and answer questions about how the Affordable Care Act will effect seniors and their health care. The complete text of his remarks and the Q & A are below. Read more....watch video

AMA Predicts ‘Medicare Meltdown’ as Senate Fails to Stop 21% Pay Cut for Doctors

Physicians launch multi-million dollar ad campaign stressing loss of care for seniors, military retirees

June 3, 2010 - The U.S. Senate’s failure to act before a June 1 deadline to avoid a 21 percent Medicare physician pay cut has put seniors’ health care at grave risk, according to the American Medical Association, which launched a new media campaign today. A new AMA survey shows that many physicians are already limiting the number of Medicare patients they treat. Read more...See video

Senior Citizens Lose 24 Percent of Their Buying Power Since 2000, Says Senior League

Group pushing for legislation to adopt new cost of living measure for seniors

May 28, 2010 - Seniors have lost almost one-quarter of their buying power since 2000, according to the Annual Survey of Senior Costs, released this week by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). TSCL claims to be one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors advocacy groups and is affiliated with the Retired Enlisted Association. Read more...watch video

Florida GOP Senate Candidate Wants Social Security Investment Accounts, Higher Retirement Age

Marco Rubio also says Social Security benefits should be cut for younger workers, AP reports

May 25, 2010 – The idea of investing Social Security funds in the stock market, raising the age for receiving the retirement benefits and cutting the benefits for younger workers were proposed by a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Florida, according to a report by the Associated Press. Read more...

Social Security News

Social Security Can Be Fixed with Just Modest Changes: Senate Committee on Aging

Chairman Kohl sends to Congress various options committee found for consideration

May 18, 2010 – Making the future of Social Security financially secure is not as difficult as many have made it seem, according to Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The committee released a report today that includes various options for making Social Security more secure through “modest changes” to the program. Read more...

Health Reform News & Information

Senior Citizens Exposed as Biggest Opponents of Health Care Reform by New Kaiser Poll

More Americans supporting the legislation; 2010 provisions very popular; widespread support for them across the political spectrum

April 22, 2010 – The elephant in the room during the long debate over health care reform came into clearer focus today with the release of the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll showing a dramatic difference of opinion between the elderly and those under age 65.. Almost half of senior citizens say they expect to be worse off under the new law, compared to just 28 percent of those under 65. Seniors, too, are among those expressing the most anger about passage of the legislation. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Bi-Partisan Senators Join to Keep Banks from Freezing Accounts with Social Security Funds

Democratic Senators Kohl, McCaskill, Baucus joined by Republican Grassley to push for new Treasury regulations protecting seniors, veterans

April 17, 2010 – In a rare expression of bi-partisanship, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley joined with three Democratic senators this week to applaud new regulations proposed to prevent banks from freezing accounts containing money from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income or veterans’ benefits to ensure seniors and veterans have access to vital funds. Read more...

Democrats Successful in Stopping Big Cut in Medicare Pay for Physicians

Bill passed with help of only three Republicans, signed by President last night

April 16, 2010 – Senior citizens can take their annual sigh of relief that a Medicare pay cut for physicians has once again been avoided. The giant pay cut – over 21 percent – had the potential of causing many doctors to no longer care for Medicare patients. The bill stopping this year’s pay cut was signed by President Barack Obama last night after Democrats won a hard fought battle with Republicans. Three Republican senators did vote with the winning Democrats. Read more...

Senate Democrats Move Closer To Delaying 21% Medicare Pay Cut Slated For Doctors

AMA Prez says says senior citizens already having problems finding a doctor... Proposal by Sen. Max Baucus to delay pay cut to June 1 passes 60-40

April 15, 2010 - Senate Democrats on Wednesday won a "key vote" toward delaying a 21 percent cut in physicians reimbursements from Medicare, according to MedPage Today. Those cuts officially went into effect on April 1. On a 60-40 vote, the Senate agreed to exempt a provision to delay the cuts by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., "from a Senate rule that says all spending legislation must be paid for."  Read more...

Doctors Face 21% Medicare, TRICARE Pay Cut Tomorrow Without Congressional Action

Many physicians expected to no longer treat Medicare, TRICARE patents at lowered pay rate

April 14, 2010 – April 15 is a costly deadline for many Americans filing their taxes on deadline day. But it could even be more costly to many doctors facing a 21 percent pay cut from Medicare if Congress does not act immediately. Efforts by Democrats to fix this glitch in regulations that make the pay cut mandatory have been blocked by Republicans. Seniors and patients in TRICARE, too, could be big losers, as it is considered certain many physicians will no longer accept Medicare or TRICARE patients if this pay cut is finalized. Read more...

Senior Citizen Opinions & Analysis

Medicare Advantage Competitive Pricing: The Political Failure of a Good Idea

‘There should be a better way to pay Advantage plans, one less likely to be a taxpayer rip-off…’

Austin Frakt, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management
Boston University’s School of Public Health

Apr 13, 2010 - Few Americans should be satisfied with the way the government pays private health insurance plans that participate in the Medicare Advantage program. Taxpayers pay 14 percent more to insure a beneficiary through the Advantage program than through traditional, fee-for-service Medicare, the program’s “public option.” The new health reform law–the Affordable Care Act--will reduce, but not eliminate, the additional payments to Advantage plans. Medicare beneficiaries are concerned about the reductions in Advantage plan availability and generosity that will result from those payment cuts. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Actions Helpful to Senior Citizens in Health Care Bill Promoted by Senate Aging Chairman

Provisions are from bills championed by Sen. Herb Kohl to provide better health care to seniors

March 23, 2010 – Several provisions of the Health Care Reform Bill that was signed into law this morning by President Obama were long-championed by the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI). All were supported by Kohl as being helpful to senior citizens. Read more...

Health Reform Bill Passage Hailed by Senior Citizen Advocates for Its Benefits for Seniors

Seniors laud plugging ‘donut hole’, paying for more Medicare preventive services

March 22, 2010 – Virtually all the groups that represent or advocate for seniors citizens expressed their satisfaction that the Health Reform Bill was passed Sunday by the House of Representatives and pointed out specific benefits for seniors. Joining them in expressing thanks to the Democratic congressman who passed was the American Medical Association, a key group among the hundreds that backed the legislation. Read more...

Money, Insurance & Investments for Seniors

Democrats on Senate Aging Committee Back  New Bill to Protect Senior Citizens from Fraud

Financial regulation bill includes language to protect against unscrupulous financial advisors

March 16, 2010 – Four Democrats on the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging came together yesterday to support a provision included in the Restoring American Financial Stability Act that they say will protect older Americans from fraud at the hands of unscrupulous financial advisors. Speaking out were senators Herb Kohl (WI), Bob Casey (PA), Claire McCaskill (MO), and Al Franken (MN). Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Impact on Senior Citizens of Rising Drug Prices in Medicare to Be Hearing Topic

Sen. Bill Nelson will be guest chair for Special Committee on Aging hearing March 17

March 16, 2010 – The Special Committee on Aging will convene Wednesday, March 17, for a hearing to examine the rise of prescription drug prices in America and its impact on senior citizens who participate in the Medicare Part D program. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) will be the acting chairman. Read more...

Medicare News

Annual Fight in Washington Over Mandated Medicare Cuts in Doctors’ Pay Started in 1965

National Public Radio reporters explain the history on All Things Considered

March 4, 2010 – The legislatively mandated cut in Medicare’s pay to physicians of 21.2 percent has been delayed until at least April 1 by a bill passed by the Democrats late Tuesday and signed by President Obama. Senior citizens scratch their heads trying to understand this annual dance in Washington – doctors face an annual reduction in Medicare pay, they threaten to stop treating seniors and Congress stops the pay cut. Read more...

Medicare News

Medicare’s Mandated 21% Cut of Pay for Physicians is Delayed Until April 1

Senate Democrats push through the bill late Tuesday, President Obama signs it

March 4, 2010 – The newspaper for members of the American Medical Association reported yesterday that late Tuesday night Senate Democrats “were able to overcome a procedural roadblock that led to an unprecedented 21% cut in Medicare physician pay taking effect the day before. But the development bought Congress only about a month to approve a longer-term solution before the reduction comes back.” Read more...

Medicare News

Senior Citizens, Military Families May Find Doctors Refusing Service as Medicare Pay Shrinks 21%

Military families are also hurt by March 1 reduction as TRICARE ties its payment rates to Medicare

March 2, 2010 - The U.S. Senate’s failure to act before the 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut went into effect yesterday has put seniors at grave risk of reduced access to health care and choice of physician, according a news release from the American Medical Association. Read more...

Medicare News

Senior, Physician, Military Groups Urge Fix to Medicare’s Annual Crisis in Physician Pay

Almost yearly physician’s face mandated cut in pay that is then reversed by Congress

Jan. 25, 2010 - Focusing on looming Medicare physician cuts of 21 percent scheduled to begin on March 1, the American Medical Association (AMA), AARP and the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) have joined together in an “unprecedented” multi-state event to urge a lasting fix to this annual crisis. Read more...

Senior Citizen Politics

Comparison Online of House, Senate Health Reform Bills on Key Issues for Senior Citizens

SCAN Foundation provides user-friendly side-by-side summary of provisions that support the continuum of care for Seniors

Jan. 7, 2010 - The SCAN Foundation has released a policy brief summarizing the key provisions of the House and Senate health care reform bills that support the continuum of health and long-term care for seniors. The two houses are Congress are working now to reach agreement on a final bill. Read more...

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