Political News for Senior Citizens
Political News for Seniors
Media, others recognizing financial crisis for senior citizens from no COLA
Older Americans look at impact of Medicare price hike and no Social Security increase for 2016; solutions costly
Oct. 16, 2015 – There is no denying millions of senior citizens, most whom struggle to survive financially with Social Security as their primary income, are devastated by the double whammies from their government that they will not receive a Social Security increase for 2016 but millions will face a Medicare bill that is up to 50% higher.
Below is a round-up of key news reports, analysis and opinion on the situation.
Clinton wants Congress to fix spike in Medicare bills
By Ken Thomas Associated Press
Oct. 16, 2015 - Hillary Rodham Clinton is urging Congress to fix an "outrageous and senseless" expected increase in Medicare deductibles and premiums.
Clinton says she is "deeply concerned" by news that there will be no cost-of-living increase in Social Security benefits next year. As a result, some Medicare bills are set to increase for many, unless Congress acts to prevent it.
Clinton is urging Republicans in Congress to protect seniors and prevent them from facing additional costs.
About 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries could be on the hook for premium increases that could be about $54 a month. More at Miami Herald
Budget talks may need billions for Medicare fix
Oct. 16, 2015 - The nascent budget talks between Congress and the White House over how to fund the government, raise the debt ceiling and pay for highway construction just got more complicated.
The Social Security Administration's announcement Thursday that benefits will not increase in 2016 means that retirees will not have extra income to pay for anticipated increases in Medicare Part B premiums and higher deductibles. Medicare Part B covers non-hospital services like ambulance rides, medical supplies and preventive care. …70% of Medicare beneficiaries are protected by law from premium increases, that still leaves millions of seniors facing higher costs… The National Association of Medicaid Directors told states could face additional costs of more than $2 billion to cover the extra expenses of beneficiaries… Protecting seniors from higher deductibles and premiums could cost around $10 billion, and if Congress plans to pick up that tab... More at USA TODAY
Why retirees are feeling pinched - and it's getting worse
By Aimee Picchi, MoneyWatch, CBS
Oct. 16, 2015 - While millions of retirees won't see an increase in their Social Security checks next year, it's not a new phenomenon. Seniors have been feeling pinched for decades, and critics have a culprit: the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, or the CPI-W.
The issue is how changes to Social Security benefits are calculated, with the system currently tying increases to the CPI-W. That index tracks the cost of buying typical consumer goods and services, such as food and housing. More at CBS
No Social Security Raises Even if Medicare Soars
By Robert Pear
Oct. 16, 2015 - The 60 million people on Social Security will not receive any cost-of-living increase in their benefits in 2016, the government said Thursday, but because of a quirk in federal law, nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries could have record increases in their premiums unless Congress intervenes.
With millions of older Americans on fixed incomes facing that one-two punch, the Obama administration is urging Congress to stop — or at least moderate — the health insurance premium increases, which could raise the cost for some Medicare beneficiaries by about 50 percent — the largest increase in the history of Medicare. But the leadership crisis in the House of Representatives could prove to be an obstacle. More at New York Times
Millions could see their Medicare costs soar
By CBS News
Here's the problem: health care costs are rising fast. By law, 70 percent of people on Medicare are protected from higher premiums if they don't get a social security cost of living raise. That's what's happening next year, which will leave only 30 percent of Medicare patients to absorb all the higher health care costs. That 30 percent includes the wealthy, seniors who recently signed up for Medicare this year, and federal employees. More at CBS
With no COLA increase, AARP urges congress to pass Medicare fix
Reiterates Opposition to Chained CPI Benefit Cut
Oct. 14, 2015 - Today AARP sent a letter urging all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S Senate to pass a fix for Medicare beneficiaries who face much higher cost increases based on the anticipated announcement that Social Security beneficiaries would not receive a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2016.
AARP’s letter specifically asks Congress to protect all Medicare beneficiaries from sharply increased out-of-pocket costs in light of the COLA announcement, requesting specifically that Congress “reduce...the impact of the sudden, sharp increases in the Part B premiums and deductible as soon as possible. Ideally, all Medicare beneficiaries should be held-harmless in the face of no Social Security COLA adjustment.”
The letter notes
· 16.5 million Americans face sharp premium increases and that “all Medicare beneficiaries will see their Part B deductible increase 52 percent…from $147 to $223.”
· AARP reiterates its opposition to the Chained Consumer Price Index (CPI), noting that “the Social Security COLA would be even more inaccurate and benefits would be even less adequate if recent proposals to adopt a Chained CPI had been enacted.
· AARP has opposed all attempts to enact a Chained CPI, and will continue to do so, because the Chained CPI would further underreport inflation experienced by Social Security beneficiaries, and further erode their standard of living, cutting an estimated $127 billion in Social Security benefits from current and near retirees in the next ten years alone.” More at AARP