Legislative Update for Week Ending October 19, 2018

Legislative Update for Week Ending October 19, 2018

This week, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) delivered letters to Capitol Hill asking lawmakers to support bipartisan legislation that would improve the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). In addition, Members of Congress returned to their home states and districts to campaign for the upcoming elections, and one key Medicare bill gained support in Congress.

TSCL Urges Lawmakers to Support CPI-E Act

This week, The Senior Citizens League delivered letters to every congressional office on Capitol Hill asking Members of Congress to cosponsor the bipartisan CPI-E Act (H.R. 1251). The bill, if signed into law, would make the Social Security COLA more adequate by basing it on the spending patterns of seniors – not the spending patterns of young, working Americans.

Last week, the Social Security Administration announced that beneficiaries will receive a 2.8 percent COLA beginning in January 2019. While it is the largest COLA since 2012, approximately 2 million seniors with the lowest Social Security benefits will not see any net increase in their monthly checks after Medicare Part B premiums are automatically deducted. It will be the fourth year in a row that this group will see no boost in net benefits due to Part B premiums, which are rising several times faster than Social Security COLAs.

In the letter, Art Cooper – Chairman of The Senior Citizens League – wrote: “The inflation index that is currently used – the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W) – fails to capture the inflation seniors experience because items like gasoline and electronics are given more weight than medical costs, prescription drugs, and housing expenses. The fastest growing cost for seniors – Medicare Part B premiums – is not accounted for at all in the CPI-W since young workers are not enrolled in Medicare.”

He continued, writing: “If enacted, the CPI-E Act (H.R. 1251) would go a long way in ensuring the retirement security older Americans have earned and deserve. I hope you will cosponsor this bipartisan bill, and I urge you and your colleagues to sign it into law before the end of this year.”

In the months ahead, The Senior Citizens League will continue to advocate tirelessly for the bipartisan CPI-E Act, and we will post progress updates here in the Legislative News section of our website. To follow the bill’s movement on Capitol Hill, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website.

Three Questions to Ask Your Mid-Term Election Candidates

This week, House and Senate lawmakers returned to their home states and districts to prepare for the mid-term elections, which will take place on Tuesday, November 6th. Members of Congress are expected to return to Capitol Hill to begin the “lame duck” session on Tuesday, November 13th.

In the meantime, many Members of Congress who are up for re-election and their challengers will be attending events or hosting town hall meetings in their home states and districts. The Senior Citizens League encourages its supporters to attend these events and to ask important questions of their candidates, like the following three:

  1. Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 2.8 percent COLA in 2019, but millions will see their benefit increases completely offset by higher Medicare Part B premiums. If you are elected in November, will you support bipartisan legislation called the CPI-E Act that would give seniors a more fair and adequate COLA?
  2. Some lawmakers in Congress are advocating for paid leave legislation that would require new parents to trade their future Social Security retirement benefits for twelve weeks of parental leave. This would undermine the mission of the Social Security program, increase its insolvency, and permanently cut the retirement benefits of those who take paid leave. If elected in November, would you support this irresponsible proposal?
  3. The federal government negotiates prescription drug prices for Medicaid and for veterans, but it is barred from negotiating lower prices for Medicare beneficiaries. As a result, seniors enrolled in Part D often pay much higher prices for their prescription drugs. If elected in November, what will you do to correct this unfair policy?

For information about campaign events near you in the weeks leading up to the mid-term elections, call the local offices of your candidates. You can find contact information for your current elected officials right here.

Key Medicare Bill Gains Support in Congress

This week, The Senior Citizens League was pleased to see support grow for one key bill that would improve retirement security in America if adopted.

One new cosponsor – Representative Salud Carbajal (CA-24) – signed on to the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act (H.R. 242), bringing the total of this bipartisan bill up to forty-five. If adopted, H.R. 242 would require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower Medicare Part D prescription drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries. Under current law, the federal government is prohibited from negotiating prescription drug prices in the Medicare program, resulting in higher costs for older Americans.

The Senior Citizens League enthusiastically supports H.R. 242, and we were pleased to see support grow for it this week. For more information about this bill and others that have been backed by The Senior Citizens League, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website.