24 May 2010

Alliance for Retired Americans - Members Fight to Protect Medicare & Social Security

Congress Trying to Fix Doctors’ Medicare Reimbursements:
The U.S House and Senate are scheduled to vote soon on H.R. 4213 -- the American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes, and Preventing Outsourcing Act -- that extends unemployment benefits, COBRA subsidies, and enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) matching funds for states, while fixing physician payments under Medicare for 5 years. 

Failure to pass this legislation will result in doctors facing a 21% cut in their Medicare reimbursements

However, the doctor reimbursement fix will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to family physicians and specialists.  Also included in H.R. 4213 is a provision to increase funding to states to help pay for increased Medicaid reimbursements. Medicaid dollars provide assistance to low-income seniors and pay for nursing home care; failure to extend this provision will force states to close budget gaps with brutal cuts that will affect many seniors. 

Alliance for Retired American members had already sent more than 2,000 letters by last week to Congress by clicking on HERE and pushing for doctors’ reimbursements not to be cut.

Special Committee on Aging: Social Security Only Needs Modest Changes:

Social Security faces a $5.3 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years, but a new congressional report says the gap could be erased with only modest changes to payroll taxes and benefits.  Many changes wouldn't affect current recipients, according to the report by the Senate Special Committee on Aging.  Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the committee, said small “tweaks” are all that is needed to bolster Social Security's finances for future generations of retirees.  “Modest changes can be made over time that will keep the program in surplus,” Kohl told The Associated Press.

The report lays out options for fixing Social Security, but does not endorse any of them.  Kohl said lawmakers will probably combine several options to ease their impact. To view the report, go to HERE

The panel's analysis will be presented to President Obama's Fiscal Commission.  Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), who sits on the Commission, said recently that raising the Social Security retirement age would not have much of an impact on someone’s “lifestyle.”  “He must be referring to his own lifestyle, and not that of thousands of Granite State residents who work in physically demanding construction and service sector jobs,” said Charlie Balban, President of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.

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