by Matt Murray, originally published by NH Labor News, reproduced with the author's permission.
We are a mere 241 days from the 2014 elections, and the hard right super PAC’s are already spreading lies throughout New Hampshire.
Recently the conservative super PAC YG Network sent an unsolicited mailer to the constituents of NH First Congressional district, currently represented by Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.
The YG Network describes themselves on their website as:
“A non-profit 501(c)(4) dedicated to supporting conservative center-right policies and the efforts of policymakers who fight for those policies. By seeking solutions that create jobs, encourage innovation, instill fiscal discipline, establish a patient-centered health care system and pursue energy security, we can foster the optimal environment for America’s businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed and flourish.”
The mailer is an attack on Congresswoman Shea-Porter’s stance on the Affordable Care Act and Medicare specifically.
You can see the full flyer here.
They make the claim that Rep Shea-Porter and President Obama are trying to cut $716 billion dollars from the Medicare Advantage program. The irony in this right-wing attack is that the $716 billion dollars in savings to the Medicare Advantage program is a key part of the Ryan Plan, the budget proposal that everyone on the right is pushing.
YG Network also claims that;
Millions of seniors may be dropped from Medicare Advantage.
Higher premiums for care.
Higher prices for prescription drugs.
Cuts in coverage of dental and vision plans.
These claims by the YG Network are completely FALSE! Time and time again multiple ‘fact checkers’ have busted these false accusations.
“Neither Obama nor his health care law literally “cut” a dollar from the Medicare program’s budget.
Rather, the health care law instituted a number of changes to reduce the growth of Medicare costs. At the time the law was passed, those reductions amounted to $500 billion over the next 10 years. Time’s passage has only boosted that number.” (Politifact, 9-6-12)
“In reality, the $716 billion is not a “cut” in benefits but rather the savings in costs that the Congressional Budget Office projects over the next decade from wholly reasonable provisions in the reform law.” (New York Times 8-18-12)
The facts are undeniable; Granite Staters saved on average $800 a year in prescription drug charges thanks to the Medicare changes as part of the Affordable Care Act.
The truth is that seniors in New Hampshire, and throughout the country, are benefiting from the changes to the Medicare Advantage program. These changes are strengthening Medicare, while saving taxpayer dollars. Congresswoman Shea-Porter was right to support these changes that add additional funds to the Medicare Trust fund, therefor boosting it’s solvency to 2026.
Unfortunately we are still 241 days away from the 2014 elections, which means that this is only the beginning when it comes to unsolicited lies from the right-wing super PACs.
The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to strive for social and economic justice, and civil rights for all citizens to enjoy lives with dignity, personal and family fulfillment, and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
by Jennifer Kenny
DOVER, N.H. -- With only two days advance notice, New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans members made time to attend former Congressman Frank Guinta’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act “listening” session at the Dover Community Senior center.
Aside from his staff person, six people attended the session. Guinta did not seem surprised by the poor turnout. When asked by one attendee how to learn about these “listening” sessions in advance Guinta was not clear in his response.
Guinta’s account of this session on Facebook differs from the recollection of at least five of those present. Guinta says he "had a great time this morning talking with a group of seniors at the Dover Community Senior Center, the most recent stop on my health care listening tour. We discussed the effects that the Obama Administration's proposed 3.55% cut to Medicare Advantage will have on their ability to receive the care they have come to expect, and the overall negative impacts of Obamacare."
In fact, when Guinta asked who in the room supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, all audience members indicated their support.
At first Guinta tried to play the 3.55% cut to Medicare Advantage (MA): as a cut to Medicare. But a participant brought out the true fact that this is a reduction in payments to private insurance companies that sell Medicare Advantage plans, not to beneficiaries. Then the conversation quickly changed.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage private insurance companies will receive a decrease in income from the federal government. The way it used to work: under a sweetheart deal with a prior administration, private insurance companies who engaged in the sale of Medicare Advantage plans received a monthly payment per customer from the federal government. This payment was in addition to any premiums that the customer paid to the private insurance company. Talk about your Government subsidy!
Under the new law the average payment to private insurance companies of $1000 per MA customer has been cut by 3.55%. In addition, companies selling Medicare Advantage plans are still paid a bonus based on federal guidelines. Medicare Advantage companies who choose to make a business decision to continue sales of their product line still receive a substantial subsidy per patient each calendar month but at the reduced rate of 3.55%.
Please read the bulleted item below. This is a concise explanation about the seldom spoken about practice of government enabling private business to profit from all Medicare customers.
The Department of Health and Human Services website, discussing Overpayments to Big Insurance Companies and Strengthening Medicare Advantage, says "Today, Medicare pays Medicare Advantage insurance companies over $1,000 more per person on average than is spent per person in Traditional Medicare. This results in increased premiums for all Medicare beneficiaries, including the 77% of beneficiaries who are not currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. The law levels the playing field by gradually eliminating this discrepancy. People enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan will still receive all guaranteed Medicare benefits, and the law provides bonus payments to Medicare Advantage plans that provide high quality care. Effective January 1, 2011. Learn more about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act.It is disappointing that Frank Guinta’s account of the “listening” session is so misleading, and ignores the facts brought out by participants in the session.
Every Medicare customer needs to know that ObamaCare closes the part D "donut hole", expands coverage for seniors who need help at home or are in nursing homes and increases access to preventive care. It also reforms Medicare advantage, the private insurance program that is costing the tax payers millions.
New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans members say that they continue to support the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act also known as ObamaCare because, after all, President Obama does care.
Posted by Lucy Edwards at 6:33 AM
Monday, March 3, 2014
As we think about how to support each other in our later years, and how to model communities that provide for us all throughout our life-cycles, here's a provocative article from a new news service.
Pliska isn’t sick or disabled; she’s simply aging. And the winters here show no mercy to the elderly. For Pliska, simple tasks like keeping the pipes from freezing are overwhelming.During this age when the focus of our government is on business, and on enriching individuals, rather than on the rest of us, we need our "villages," our support systems, to deal with the changes we encounter in old age, just as young families need their "villages" to raise their children.
“I have no water in the winter, and the heat is primarily a wood stove,” she said. "Having these guys come over to stack it has been a godsend.”
Larry Davis and Dwight Schenk, 67, stack wood for Ann Pliska.
“These guys” aren’t a couple of college kids on winter break. They're seniors, or almost seniors, themselves. All of them belong to a “village,” a new type of old-age community, where they help each other stay in their own homes for longer.
Posted by Lucy Edwards at 6:47 AM
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Today, it was reported President Obama heeded OUR call and struck the chained CPI cut to Social Security and other programs from his 2015 budget.
The 4 million member Alliance for Retired Americans made eliminating the chained CPI our top priority of the past year. You have been key in making that successful. Thank you.
• Our “Human Chain Against the Chained CPI” events across the country paid off!
• Our grassroots educational forums actually turned the language and understanding of the “chained CPI” into the “chained CPI benefit cut” for seniors, veterans and others
• We will continue to do our part to educate, advocate and mobilize for retirement security for Americans who work hard and should be able to count on a secure retirement.
• Now that the pesky chained CPI is out of the way, we can focus on the real task at hand, articulated well by members of Congress like Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), as well as Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), which is to expand Social Security so that it fits the retirement security needs of today.
Thanks so much for your confidence, support and especially activism! Together, we do make a difference!
Executive Director, Alliance for Retired Americans
Posted by Lucy Edwards at 4:40 PM
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Members of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans watched the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night with an eye on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Income Inequality.
We are relieved that the President did not mention support for the chained CPI cut to earned Social Security benefits or any cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Retirees let out a collective sigh of relief when the address was over. Now, we must work to increase Social Security benefits.
The President has stood strong in stopping attempts by Republicans to raise Medicare’s eligibility age. He has also stopped attempts, included in the Paul Ryan House Republican budget, to “block grant” Medicaid. Retirees are reassured that President Obama has held those positions.
However, seniors wanted to see additional plans to close tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Companies like GE will continue to avoid paying their share of taxes without changes on multiple fronts.
Finally, we applaud the President’s efforts to attack income inequality. An initiative to raise the minimum wage, and a renewed effort to extend the unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, are two major steps in the right direction.
Posted by Lucy Edwards at 3:41 PM
Friday, January 10, 2014
Members of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans board and staff attended the NH AFL-CIO press conference at the Legislative Office Building at the State House in Concord on January 7, 2014 to outline priorities for the upcoming legislative session. The regular session began the next day, Wednesday, January 8. Liz Shuler, Sec-Treasurer of the national AFL-CIO was the keynote speaker at the press event.
Posted by Lucy Edwards at 7:25 AM