Friday, January 20, 2017

The first thing he does when he gets to the Oval Office...

Nobody thinks of winter when the grass is green. - Rudyard Kipling
Claiming a mandate that does not exist, the congressional majority is rolling out proposals that will slash Social Security and Medicare benefits, and set in motion the privatization of these vital programs. These actions will hurt current and future beneficiaries counting on earned benefits for a healthy and secure retirement.

     At 9 a.m., yesterday, before Trump's inauguration at noon today I heard Tom Price on NPR news tell the Senate in his very first confirmation hearing that he couldn't promise seniors that he wouldn't cut Medicare or Medicaid. The Senate should reject him as Secretary of Health & Human Services because he is basically showing himself to be an enemy of the people's  right to the benefits they've worked all their lives for and need. He may have been appointed by Trump but the people are speaking out everywhere against what was done today.
     As the National Committee has been warning for years, all Americans have a lot to lose if these radical proposals become reality. President Donald Trump shows few signs of honoring his campaign pledge not to touch Social Security and Medicare despite what he says and does. His cabinet appointments speak all too loudly about his actual intentions for these vital programs most notably Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price (who hasn't met a benefit cut he didn't like) and Rep. Rick Mulvaney (SC-05) (a so-called fiscal hardliner) director of the Office of Management and Budget has stated "we have to end Medicare as we know it."
     Where does that leave us? No Affordable Care Act- no Medicare or Medicaid slashed ?
      In the last Congressinal meeting, House Social Security Subcommittee Chair Sam Johnson (TX-03) introduced a devastating bill targeting Social Security to slash benefits, raise the retirement age to 69 and reduce ( read: not raise ! ) Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs). COLA was created to help retired people keep up with inflation. Anticipate that this bill will be reintroduced in the new Congress very soon. House Speaker Paul Ryan is eager to advance his plan to end traditional Medicare by privatizing it for the benefit of gigantic insurance companies. Privatization will lead to skyrocketing premiums and reduced coverage for beneficiaries tossed into the private insurance market.
     With the bill that Trump signed today, repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and jeopardizing the health care coverage of 30 million Americans, real improvements to Medicare are at great risk. While the groundwork is quickly being laid in Congress to repeal and replace so-called Obamacare, no alternative option has been developed yet by opponents of the law. Apparently, it was more important to end what we had than to come up with a better or viable alternative.
What's the good news?  Well, the National Committee (second link on the top) endorses the "Seniors Have Eyes, Ears and Teeth Act " introduced by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40). This important bill will help millions of Medicare beneficiaries who need vision, hearing and dental care, which are not covered by Medicare.
  Paying for these services is a hardship for many Medicare beneficiaries, half of whom live on fixed incomes well below $24,150 per year; yet, these services are critical to healthy aging. Medicare households spend on average 15% of their income (over two times more than younger households) on health care, including Medicare cost sharing and services not covered by Medicare. This bill will improve the Medicare program for current and future beneficiaries, and we urge Congress to demonstrate real leadership on this issue.
     Don't sit idly by and watch these people dance all over your life. Call your senators, congressmen and anybody you can get ahold of and tell them you don't like what was done today. Your future security will depend on it.
The Castle Lady 

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