Legislative Update: August 2021

Questions To Ask At Your Next Town Hall

By Shannon Benton, Executive Director

During the month of August, Congress is in recess and many Members plan town halls to meet with constituents.  We encourage you to attend one.  Whether you meet in person, by conference call, or online, here are some ideas for questions to ask in order to learn more about your lawmaker’s ideas about issues affecting Social Security, Medicare, and healthcare costs.  Please feel free to share these questions with others!

  1. Prescription drug prices are among the fastest-growing costs that retirees face in retirement.  These costs, which tend to grow several times faster than overall inflation, also affect the government’s budget for Medicare.  How would you approach reducing drug prices that would lower costs for both beneficiaries as well as lower government spending?
  2. The Medicare Hospital Insurance Part A Trust Fund is forecast to become insolvent in 5 years (or less).  What options do you favor to address this funding shortfall?
  3. What is your position on giving adults age 55 – 64 the option to enroll in Medicare?
  4. Do you feel that Social Security benefits are adequate for retirements that can last 25 to 30 years?  If not, what approach do you favor to provide greater financial security for Social Security recipients?
  5. Do you feel the annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is calculated to fairly address the costs experienced by retired beneficiaries?  If not fairly calculated, what approach in determining the COLA do you support that would make it fairer?
  6. The Social Security Trust Fund is forecast to become insolvent by 2034.  If this were to occur, benefits would be reduced by an estimated 23%.  What approaches do you favor to prevent these benefit cuts?
  7. The Social Security Trust Fund receives a small portion of its revenues from the taxation of Social Security benefits.  Income thresholds that subject Social Security benefits to taxation have never been adjusted since enactment of the tax in 1984.  A portion of Social Security benefits are taxable for individual Social Security recipients with incomes of $25,000 or more, and couples filing jointly with incomes of $32,000 and up.  In 1984, the tax applied to just 10% of retirees.  Today the tax affects over 50% of Social Security recipients.  What options do you favor to help modest income Social Security recipients keep more of their retirement income while still ensuring the funding the Social Security Trust Fund?