Letter to Congress: Medicare Premiums Offset COLA

Letter to Congress: Medicare Premiums Offset COLA

On January 11, 2018 The Senior Citizens League delivered letters to several members of Congress regarding this year’s inadequate Social Security cost-of-living adjustment. The letters were delivered to Majority and Minority lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee and to those on the Senate Finance Committee. Learn which members are on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security here and who sits on the Senate Finance Committee here. Below is an example of the letter that The Senior Citizens League delivered to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

January 11, 2018

The Honorable Paul Ryan
1233 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Speaker Ryan,

On behalf of The Senior Citizens League’s (TSCL’s) one million supporters nation-wide – 7,397 of whom are your constituents – I would like to request your support for legislation that would improve the adequacy of the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

In October, millions of Social Security beneficiaries were excited to hear that their Social Security benefits would increase by 2% in 2018 – the largest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in five years. However, this month, beneficiaries received their first checks of the year, and many were shocked to see their COLAs completely offset by higher Medicare Part B premiums. TSCL received countless messages from concerned seniors around the country about the inadequacy of this year’s Social Security COLA, including the following four…

  • Joseph R. of Albuquerque, New Mexico: “If Social Security benefits are rising by 2%, then Medicare premiums shouldn’t be rising by 25% … I ended up with absolutely no increase in my benefits this year.”
  • Patricia L. of Palm Harbor, Florida: “I am disgusted that the payment of $134 for Medicare wipes out my 2% increase in Social Security … I earned these benefits and now I have to work in my 80s.”
  • Roland R. of Rockwall, Texas: “My wife and I recently received our 2018 Social Security benefits letter and we were frustrated to see that our Medicare premium increases (Part B and Part D) would be greater than the 2% COLA, and we would receive $2 less per month than we did last year … Medicare is managing to reduce our “take home” benefits for the third straight year.”
  • Robert H. of Ellsworth, Wisconsin: “The 2% COLA added $27 per month to my benefit. However, the deduction for Medicare was a whopping $25 per month! I have never seen a Medicare adjustment so high! This is an egregious Medicare hike.”

To make the COLA more adequate for Social Security beneficiaries, 86 percent of TSCL’s supporters believe Congress must adopt legislation that would base the COLA on the more accurate Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E). Legislation from Representative Donald Norcross (NJ-1) – the Seniors’ Security Act (H.R. 4076) – would do just that while ensuring that Medicare Part B premium hikes do not exceed 30 percent of the COLA.

If enacted, TSCL believes H.R. 4076 would go a long way in ensuring the retirement security older Americans have earned and deserve. I hope you will cosponsor this important bill, and I urge you and your colleagues to sign it into law before the end of this year. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Art Cooper, Chairman
The Senior Citizens League