07 June 2010

Alliance for Retired Americans Members to Quiz President Obama By Phone & In Person

One Of A Kind Meeting: Seniors to Talk Directly to President

At a special event on Tuesday, June 8, Alliance for Retired Americans members will ask the President health care questions by telephone.  A few members of the Alliance will be attending the event - which will include information on benefits for seniors under the new health care law - live, in Wheaton, Maryland.

This one-time, national “tele-town hall” can also be seen and heard on television by watching C-SPAN, or on-line at www.healthreform.gov.

If you live in one of the following communities and would like to join a local watch party,  Dubuque, Des Moines, and Waterloo, Iowa; Suitland and White Plains, Maryland; St. Louis, Missouri; Nashua and Manchester, New Hampshire; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Raleigh, North Carolina; Ashtabula, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Columbia, South Carolina, please contact:  ARAORGANIZING@retiredamericans.org .

 In addition, several allied unions are taking leadership roles and sponsoring events, including one in Las Vegas sponsored by the International Union of Painters and Allied trades.

The live events are scheduled to begin at 11:15 AM Eastern Time on Tuesday and will last about an hour.

The President will also be joined by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius. Topics to be covered will include the $250 checks for seniors caught in the Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole” coverage gap, and efforts to combat scams associated with those checks.

HHS Buys Time for Senate to Address the “Doc Fix”

While the U.S. House of Representatives managed to pass a bill that delayed the scheduled Medicare reimbursement cuts to physicians, the Senate did not pass a similar bill.  This allowed the 21 percent cuts to go into effect on June 1st, leaving lawmakers to scramble for solutions.  Fortunately, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced that it will be holding all payments to doctors for the next two weeks in order to buy Congress a little more time to pass a bill.

The Senate however, is not scheduled to deal with the ‘Doc Fix’ until June 7th at the earliest, causing many to call on congressional leadership to reprioritize their agenda in order to pass this critical measure as soon as possible.

“The ‘Doc Fix’ provision must pass the Senate in a timely and efficient manner, as the quality of care that Medicare beneficiaries receive is currently in jeopardy,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans.  For detailed tallies of the House’s votes to approve the “doc fix” and unemployment benefits last Friday, go to http://bit.ly/bUmAtq and http://bit.ly/bcUg2A.

The original bill was supposed to extend COBRA benefits and Federal Medicaid assistance to the states as well, but those provisions were not included in the House votes.  The union, AFSCME, has offered use of its hotline (888) 340-6521 for calls to the Senate regarding these issues.  Callers using this line are prompted with a message to urge senators to “avoid cuts to Medicaid and jobs” to help the economy.  By entering your zip code, you are then connected to your senators’ offices.

Alliance Member Inducted into Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Congratulations to Bob Haase, a member of the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, on being inducted into the Milwaukee County Seniors Citizen Hall of Fame.  As a member of the Alliance, Haase has led lobbying efforts to improve Social Security and Medicare, increase County funding for senior programs, and help make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.  Haase was honored at a community-wide ceremony held last Friday in Milwaukee.

Did You Know?
Eleven states will be holding primaries this Tuesday, June 8: Arkansas, including a Democratic Senate run-off; California; Iowa; Maine; Montana; Nevada; New Jersey; North Dakota; South Carolina; South Dakota; and Virginia.

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