Legislative Update for Week Ending June 26, 2015

Legislative Update for Week Ending June 26, 2015

This week, lawmakers in the House passed legislation to repeal the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for one new piece of legislation.

IPAB Repeal Bill Approved by House

On Tuesday, with a vote of 244-154, lawmakers in the Housed approved legislation (H.R. 1190) to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s controversial Medicare cost-cutting board.

Following the vote, Congressman Phil Roe (TN-1) – the bill’s sponsor – said: “After practicing medicine for more than 30 years, I can tell you that no two patients are the same; that different approaches are required for different needs. IPAB is blind to this fact – and will ration seniors’ access to care through one-size-fits-all payment policies. We can do better, and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.”

TSCL agrees, and we fear that if triggered, the IPAB’s recommendations could lead to higher costs for seniors or decreased access to quality medical care. We are enthusiastic supporters of Rep. Roe’s bill, and we were pleased to see it win passage in the House this week.

In the coming weeks, we will continue to advocate for the legislation in the Senate, where the bill now sits. We will post updates here in the Legislative News section of our website, and on our new page on Facebook.

TSCL Endorses Social Security Fairness Act

This week, Senator Sherrod Brown (OH) introduced legislation that would repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) – two Social Security provisions that unfairly reduce the earned benefits of millions of state and local government employees each year. The Social Security Fairness Act (S. 1651) was introduced with the bipartisan support of fourteen original cosponsors in the Senate.

Nearly 1.5 million public servants are currently affected by the WEP because they have earned pensions from their state or local government, but have also paid into Social Security through previous or secondary employment. Their earned Social Security benefits are often reduced by as much as 40 percent. In addition, the GPO affects public servants who are entitled to Social Security spousal or survivors benefits based on the work history of a husband or wife. Nine out of ten times, the benefits to which they are entitled are eliminated altogether.

Upon introducing the bill, Sen. Brown said, “For many Americans, Social Security benefits are the foundation of their retirement security. But many of our public sector workers like teachers and first-responders have seen their benefits reduced for years because of unfair laws that target them … These workers have taught our children and kept our communities safe. It’s time they receive equal treatment under Social Security law.”

TSCL agrees that the WEP and the GPO must be repealed as soon as possible so that public employees receive the retirement benefits they have earned and deserve. We look forward to working closely with Sen. Brown in the coming months to help build support for his important new bill.