This week, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for two new bills that would prevent a looming Medicare premium hike for around 15 million beneficiaries. In addition, one key bill gained a new cosponsor.
TSCL Supports Bills to Prevent Premium Hike
This week, TSCL announced its support for two bills that would prevent a spike in next year’s Medicare premiums and deductibles for approximately 30 percent of enrollees. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (OR) introduced the Protecting Medicare Beneficiaries Act (S. 2148) on Wednesday with the support of nine original cosponsors. Rep. Dina Titus (NV-1) introduced similar legislation in the House called the Medicare Premium Fairness Act (H.R. 3696).
Both bills would stop a premium hike of nearly 50 percent that’s scheduled to hit millions of beneficiaries in January. They would also prevent a deductible increase of nearly $80, from $147 to $223. Most Medicare beneficiaries will not be affected by the increases due to the “hold harmless provision” that protects them in years when premium increases are large enough to reduce their monthly Social Security checks. Since seniors are expected to receive no cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) next year, the premium rates for around 70 percent of beneficiaries will remain unchanged from this year’s.
However, an estimated 15 million Medicare beneficiaries – including new enrollees, those who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, high-income beneficiaries, and beneficiaries who do not receive Social Security benefits – will see large premium and deductible hikes in January if Congress does not act before October 15th, less than one week from now.
Upon introducing the Protecting Medicare Beneficiaries Act, Sen. Wyden said, “Today’s fix will protect over 370,000 Oregonians and millions of seniors across the country from an abrupt and dramatic increase in Medicare costs. It is urgent that Congress take decisive action to ensure vulnerable Americans aren’t harmed by this archaic policy.”
TSCL agrees that Congress must act immediately – before next week’s October 15th deadline – to prevent the cost increases from occurring. We will be advocating in the days ahead for the passage of the new bills sponsored by Sen. Wyden and Rep. Titus, and we will post updates here in the Legislative News section of our website, or on our page on Facebook.
Key Bill Gains Cosponsor
This week, one new cosponsor – Rep. Rich Nugent (FL-11) – signed on to the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 1716). The cosponsor total is now up to thirty-two.
If signed into law, H.R. 1716 would prohibit unauthorized workers from receiving Social Security benefits based on work done while in the country illegally, using stolen, fake, or fraudulent Social Security numbers. TSCL was pleased to see support grow for H.R. 1716 this week, and we will continue to advocate for it on Capitol Hill in the coming months, since we feel strongly that protecting the integrity of the Social Security program is of utmost importance.