Questions To Ask At Your Next Town Hall
By Jessie Gibbons, Legislative Director
The U.S. House has adjourned for a month-long recess, and many lawmakers will be hosting town hall meetings in their home states and districts throughout the month of August. The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) encourages Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries like you to attend these events and to ask important questions of your elected officials about your earned benefits.
To best be prepared for your next town hall meeting, jot down some questions for which you would like answers. Below are seven examples – feel free to take them with you and share them with others at your next town hall.
- Earlier this year, House lawmakers voted on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would have prohibited the borrowing of money to pay Social Security and Medicare obligations. Did you vote in favor of this drastic measure, and if so, why?
- Social Security beneficiaries received a 2% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) this year, but most have seen their benefit increases completely offset by higher Medicare Part B premiums. Do you support legislation that would give older Americans a more fair and adequate Social Security COLA?
- Most Americans contribute 6.2 percent of every paycheck to Social Security, but due to the payroll tax wage cap, people earning more than $128,400 contribute nothing after they reach that amount. Eliminating the payroll tax cap would extend the solvency of the program and make it fairer responsibly, without cutting benefits. Do you agree?
- Roughly 56 percent of older taxpaying households paid income taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits this year, even though many of them only made twice the federal poverty level in income. Do you believe this is fair, and if not, why was this issue not addressed in the tax reform bill?
- In April, lawmakers on the Republican Study Committee proposed a budget blueprint that would have reformed the Medicare program and cut Social Security benefits by adopting the “chained” CPI, eliminating the COLA for some seniors, and raising the eligibility age. Did you support this budget blueprint, and if so, why?
- The federal government negotiates prescription drug prices for Medicaid and for veterans, but it is barred from negotiating lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, senior citizens enrolled in Part D often pay much higher prices for their prescriptions than veterans. What are you doing to correct this unfair policy?
- Medicare is currently prohibited from covering most hearing, vision, and dental services, even though millions of seniors are afflicted with age-related hearing loss, vision problems, and poor oral health. When left untreated, these conditions often result in serious injuries and complications. What do you feel should be done about this?
For information about town hall meetings near you in the months leading up to the November mid-term elections, call the local offices of your elected officials. For contact information, visit our website.