Questions To Ask Your Member Of Congress At Your Next Town Hall
By Jessie Gibbons, Legislative Director
The U.S. House and Senate adjourn at the end of July for a six-week summer recess, and many lawmakers will hold 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 be best prepared, jot down some questions for which you would like answers. Below are six sample questions – feel free to take them with you and share them with others at your next town hall.
- Social Security beneficiaries received a 2.8% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) this year, but millions of older Americans with low benefits have seen their increases completely offset by higher Medicare Part B premiums. Do you support the Fair COLA for Seniors Act (H.R. 1553), which would give beneficiaries a more adequate Social Security COLA?
- Most Americans contribute 6.2 percent of every paycheck to Social Security, but workers earning over $132,900 contribute nothing over that amoun,t due to a payroll tax cap. Around 75% of Social Security beneficiaries believe the Social Security taxable maximum should be eliminated to extend the solvency of the Trust Funds responsibly, without cutting benefits. Do you agree?
- Bipartisan legislation before the House and Senate would repeal the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) benefit reductions so that millions of retired teachers and police officers receive the Social Security benefits they have earned and deserve. Will you cosponsor the Social Security Fairness Act (S. 521, H.R. 141) when you return to Washington?
- Roughly half of all older taxpaying households paid income taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits this year, even though many of them had incomes as low as $25,000 or $32,000 for married couples filing jointly. Those modest incomes are just two times higher than the federal poverty level. Do you believe this tax on Social Security benefits is fair and, if not, what are you doing to fix it?
- The government negotiates prescription drug prices for Medicaid and for veterans, but it is barred from doing so for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. As a result, senior citizens enrolled in Part D often pay much higher prices for their prescriptions than other Americans. Will you support the bipartisan Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act (H.R. 275)?
- Under current law, the Medicare program excludes coverage of most routine and emergency dental care, including cleanings, fillings, root canals, and extractions. As a result, around 70 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are left without comprehensive dental insurance coverage. The Medicare Dental Benefit Act (S. 22) would correct this to ensure that seniors have access to essential health care. Will you cosponsor this important bill?
For information about town hall meetings near you during the summer congressional recess, call the local offices of your elected officials. For Congressional contact information, visit our website at www.SeniorsLeague.org.