Legislative Update for Week Ending October 5, 2012

Legislative Update for Week Ending October 5, 2012

This week, action on Capitol Hill was slow as both Houses of Congress remained in their home states and districts for the pre-election recess. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney met in Denver, CO for a debate on domestic policy issues.

Congressional Recess Continues

Members of Congress remained in their home states and districts this week to prepare for the upcoming election. They are expected to return to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, November 13th. The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) would like to remind you that many Members of Congress will attend local events or hold town hall meetings in the upcoming weeks. We encourage you to approach your Senators and Representatives to request their support for fair cost-of-living adjustments and other key issues.

To find contact information for your Members of Congress, to learn about important issues affecting seniors, or to sign a petition to Congress, visit the ACTION CENTER of our website.

Presidential Contenders Voice Social Security, Medicare Positions

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney participated in the first presidential debate of the election season, where both candidates made clear their positions on Social Security and Medicare. The two voiced similar concerns about Social Security, noting that small tweaks would be needed to ensure the financial viability of the system. Neither candidate spoke about the specific adjustments they plan to make, though they did stress the fact that current beneficiaries and those nearing retirement need not worry about their benefits being affected.

Regarding Medicare, the two candidates spoke about drastically different plans. Governor Mitt Romney focused on the premium support model that he would implement should he win the election – a plan that would allow seniors to purchase either traditional Medicare or private insurance with a so-called voucher. According to Romney, seniors will be offered “at least two plans that will be entirely at no cost to them.” He stated, “I know my own view is I’d rather have a private plan. I’d just assume not have the government telling me what kind of health care I get … but people make their own choice.”

President Obama questioned the logistics of the premium support model and raised a number of concerns about “putting seniors at the mercy of insurance companies,” as he put it. President Obama stated, “The way for us to deal with Medicare … is to lower health care costs.” He mentioned reducing overpayments to insurance companies, lowering prescription drug costs, eliminating fraud, and focusing on the introduction of preventive care measures to the system.

At Wednesday’s debate, it was clear that the two candidates have differing views on Medicare, but similar plans for returning Social Security to solvency. These topics will likely resurface in the upcoming weeks, and TSCL will keep an eye out for any changes in the plans of the candidates. The debate season will continue on Thursday, October 11th, when the running mates of President Obama and Governor Romney meet in Danville, Kentucky to discuss domestic and foreign policy issues.