GOP Tax Bill Would Trigger $25 Billion in Automatic Cuts to Medicare, Warns CBO

by Julia Conley – Senior citizens’ healthcare spending would be on the chopping block to make up for the $1.5 trillion deficit increase brought on by the House tax plan. Progressives on Tuesday urged Trump critics to voice their opposition to the tax bill that House Republicans are hoping to push through, after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the legislation could put billions of dollars in Medicare spending in danger. Because the bill would add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, the CBO said in a letter to Congress, the government would be required to automatically cut mandatory spending should the bill pass, under “pay-as-you-go” rules, also known as PAYGO. To make up for the deficit increase, the government would have to cut $150 billion in spending every year for the next decade. Under PAYGO, Medicare spending could legally be cut by up to four...

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AARP: Some Seniors Could Pay More Than $30,000 per Year to Keep Their Plans Under Graham-Cassidy

by wagatwe – The latest iteration of the Trumpcare zombie legislation known as the Graham-Cassidy bill is just bad news for senior Americans. According to a report by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), millions of seniors nationwide will see their health care premiums and out-of-pocket costs skyrocket if the bill becomes law. The bill eliminates two sources of financial assistance – premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions – critical to ensuring that low- to moderate-income older adults are able to afford the coverage they need. For a 60-year-old earning $25,000 a year, premiums and out-of-pocket costs could increase by as much as $16,174 a year if they wanted to keep their current coverage. The bill may also allow states to charge older adults age 50-64 significantly higher premiums than under current law on the basis of their age by waiving federal protections that limit the practice known as age rating. AARP chose...

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With a Daily Dial, Police Reach Out to Seniors

by Jenni Bergal – Living alone can be tough for seniors. Some don’t have family nearby to check on them, and they worry that if they fall or suffer a medical emergency and can’t get to the phone to seek help, no one will know. That’s why hundreds of police agencies in small towns, suburbs and rural areas across the country are checking in on seniors who live alone by offering them a free automated phone call every day. Police officials say the computerized calling systems, which are fairly inexpensive and easy to use, provide an important service to a growing senior population that is expected to reach 65 million by 2025. Already, nearly half of women age 75 and older live alone. And advocates for older adults say telephone check-in programs can help seniors remain independent in their homes and give them — and their family members — peace of...

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The Republican Medicare Plan is an Atrocity

by Ian Millhiser – It only takes three Republican senators to stop it.  There’s a lot that you should know about the Republican Medicare plan, a plan that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) hopes to enact shortly after President-elect Donald Trump takes office, but the entirety of it can be summarized in just one sentence. Over the last half-decade, Ryan has proposed several different versions of the Republican plan to charge seniors a lot more for inferior health care. There are important differences among these versions. Some would phase out Medicare entirely over the course of many years, while others would merely make the system more inefficient and drive out-of-pocket costs for seniors much higher. The most recent version is impossible to fully evaluate because it lacks important details — like numbers. As Jonathan Cohn and Jeffrey Young quipped about the GOP’s overall health care package, “Speaker Paul Ryan wants to replace 20 million people’s...

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When Government ‘Saves Money’ And Gets ‘Smaller,’ We All Lose

by Dave Johnson – Many say we should “run government like a business” and “save money” by “cutting spending” and “making government smaller.” Does this work? Do We the People really save money by doing these things? Have you heard the phrase “penny-wise and pound-foolish”? How about “a stitch in time saves nine”? Maybe “eating the seed corn?” When government “saves money,” all of these snippets of time-honored wisdom, warning of what happens to those who try to “do it on the cheap,” should come to mind. Infrastructure You can “save money” by not changing the oil in your car. But have you ever seen a car that has never had its oil changed? After a while white smoke pours out the back because the rings are ruined. Other parts of the engine are also being ruined. Eventually the engine will seize up and quit and you have to either...

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There’s No Such Thing As ‘Compassionate Conservatives’ And Here Are 7 Reasons Why

by SARAH BURRIS – While serving as President of the National Urban League in 1981, Vernon Jordan said of Ronald Reagan, “I do not challenge the conservatism of this administration. I do challenge its failure to exhibit a compassionate conservatism that adapts itself to the realities of a society ridden by class and race distinction.” Since then, conservatives have worked hard to try to pretend they own the label. George W. Bush used it as a set of policy initiatives to reform welfare and ultimately cut funding to those who need it most. It quickly became more like “tough love” than about anything compassionate. Here are a few reasons you know they’re full of it: 1. VAWA 22 Republican senators voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013. If that isn’t bad enough, right-wing groups Family Research Council, Heritage Action, and FreedomWorks all urged lawmakers to vote against VAWA. What members have against holding...

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America’s Elders Flex Their Political Muscles On Climate Change

by JEREMY DEATON – Few things strike fear into the hearts of politicians like a disgruntled grandparent entering a voting booth. Seniors wield immense political power in the United States, a fact made plain by their voting record. In the 2014 midterm elections, a year of historically low voter turnout, nearly 59 percent of adults aged 65 and older pulled the lever on Election Day. Just 23 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds bothered to do the same. It’s numbers like these that have made Social Security and Medicare the third rail of American politics. So, what happens when America’s seniors find out what climate change means for their grandkids? Recently, dozens of retirees descended on Capitol Hill to advocate for climate action. Organized by the Conscious Elders Network, the Grandparents Climate Action Day brought together seniors from around the country. Following a day of training, during which renowned NASA...

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