This week, The Senior Citizens League began gearing up for 116th Congress, which begins on Thursday, January 3rd.
TSCL Prepares for 116th Congress
This week, The Senior Citizens League’s legislative team began preparing for the start of the 116th Congress, which will officially begin on Thursday, January 3, 2019. The Senior Citizens League looks forward to working with new and veteran lawmakers in the House and Senate to build momentum for key bills that would strengthen and protect the earned benefits of older Americans.
The following policy issues – among many others – will be at the top of The Senior Citizens League’s legislative agenda in the 116th Congress…
- Strengthening the Social Security program. The Social Security program currently faces a significant but manageable funding shortfall, and we are hopeful that lawmakers will act this year to return the trust funds to 75-year solvency. In the new Congress, we will advocate for comprehensive legislation like the Social Security 2100 Act, which would strengthen the program responsibly, without any benefit cuts for retirees.
- Improving the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). According to The Senior Citizens League’s research, Social Security benefits have lost 34 percent of their purchasing power since 2000 due in large part to inadequate COLAs and rising health care costs. In 2019, we are committed to advocating tirelessly for legislation that would base the Social Security COLA on an inflation index specifically for seniors. We will also continue to urge Congress to pass legislation that would boost benefits to help compensate for years of excessively low COLAs.
- Reducing prescription drug prices. In a recent survey of TSCL’s members, as many as one-third of respondents said they postponed filling their prescriptions or took less than prescribed due to high costs. In the New Year, we will pressure Congress to take common-sense steps – like allowing the government to negotiate lower Part D prices, capping out-of-pocket expenses for seniors, permitting re-importation, and increasing price transparency – to reduce prescription drug prices.
- Improving coverage for dental, vision, and hearing services. Millions of older Americans are afflicted with age-related hearing loss, low vision, and poor oral health. Yet under current law, Medicare is prohibited from covering most hearing, vision, and dental services. When left untreated, these conditions often cause serious health complications and injuries. But when treated successfully, the result is improved overall health and lower costs for Medicare and patients. In the new Congress, we will continue to advocate for the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act – a bill that would expand Medicare coverage to include these essential health services.
Which major issue facing older Americans do you think the new Congress should prioritize in 2019? Be sure to cast your vote in our new poll, which you can find on the right side of our homepage. To stay updated on The Senior Citizens League’s advocacy efforts, follow us on Twitter or visit the Legislative News section of our website every Friday morning.