NEWS FOR SENIORS
These are very significant NEWS articles that
were published on the Home Page.
They are being archived on this page, the most
recent listed first.
Social Security and
Medicare are big issues, and not everyone is
telling the truth about them. Social Security
foes are lying when they say a significant
portion of benefits goes to multimillionaires. (read
right-wing Heritage Foundation has called on
Congress to PASS NOTHING, but rather JUST
INVESTIGATE EVERYTHING. At a time when America
faces so many needs and challenges, this borders
WHICH WERE YOU, SENATOR???
March 20, 2013 -
PROFILES IN COWARDICE - Democratic
Senate leader Harry Reid announced that 'banning
assault weapons' will be removed from any final
bill to regulate deadly weapons of mass
destruction in America. Saying he had less than 40
votes for such a ban, he refused to introduce a
bill that could not pass. If his numbers are
correct, at least 15 other Democrats cowardly gave
in to influence (money and threats) from the NRA.
Make them vote, and show themselves. We know of NO
Republicans who would vote for the ban, displaying
that they ALL continue to be the lapdogs of the
gun lobby. American lives are lost at the rate of
87 EVERY DAY, over 30,000 every year, as these
Senators, and their counterparts in the House,
cower in their dark little corners. Any money they
accept from the NRA is little more than blood
money, colored red by the mass deaths of our
"Cowardice is a trait wherein fear and
excess self-concern override what is socially
deemed as right and courageous—it is the opposite
Britain has said that continued Israeli
settlement expansion into the occupied
Palestinian territories has driven hopes for a
two-state solution to ...(SeniorArk
adds: Israel continually "flashes the bird" at
the U.S. and the whole world, and then wonders
why they are so isolated and hated. Israeli
theft of Palestinian land must be stopped, and
the land must be returned. How long will the
world tolerate the illegal actions of this rogue
National Rifle Association (NRA)
Headquarters - Editorial Image
-January 11, 2013
The violent reaction the NRA and
so-called patriots demonstrate at ...
worthy of fight-to-the-death scenarios to
protect a blood relative, and all
The Hill (blog) -
January 11, 2013
Can you believe that NRA is bragging
about how good the mass ... Joe Walsh
of Illinois talking about the need to "spill
blood" and daring
MESSING WITH OUR PROGRAMS
, Robert Fassbach, editor
The election is
over, and the better candidate for the
protection of Senior programs has been
elected; President Obama. You may not
have voted for him, but please know
that for us, the right choice was
But that does
not guarantee that our programs are
safe. Congress and the President
are facing what has come to be known
as the "fiscal cliff". What is the
"fiscal cliff"? It is a
of a serious situation that will
happen automatically on January 1,
2013 if no other actions are taken. It
is made up of a combination of
spending cuts, and tax increases.
cuts. Last year Congress and the
President were deadlocked on whether
to raise the debt ceiling, something
that has always been automatic in the
past. The debate went on for months,
resulting in the loss of our stellar
credit rating. Finally, Congress
agreed to approve the rise ( called
The Budget Control Act),
requiring immediate targeted cuts of
$1Trillion over ten years.
But that was not
all. They formed a "super committee"
tasked with identifying, in 2012,
additional spending cuts to be made
over a ten year period. The committee
did not come up with spending cuts in
2012 that were acceptable to the
President and Congress. In that case,
(defense, Social Security, Medicare,
Medicaid, education, parks, housing,
EVERYTHING) spending cuts were put
into the Act. (Don't ask me why, but
they call it the "sequester".) It
kicks in on January 1, 2013.
Increases. The Bush tax cuts are
scheduled to expire on January 1,
2013. And this is not only on upper
incomes, but on all taxpayers.
The President has proposed continuing
the tax break for EVERYONE on the
portion of their taxable income up to
$250,000 for couples, but allowing the
Bush tax cuts to expire on the portion
of incomes that are over $250,000.
Only 1 to 2% of U.S. incomes exceed
$250,000. Republicans refuse to go
along with this arrangement, but the
President made campaign promises to
let tax breaks on the wealthy expire.
So there is an impasse.
he other major
tax increase that will happen on
January 1 is the "payroll tax". That
is the name given to the Social
Security tat is withheld from
paychecks. As a stimulus for the
economy, that tax was reduced by 2%
for employees, and another 2% for
employers for the years 2011 and 2012
only. The treasury reimbursed Social
Security for funds lost.
We may have simplified this process
somewhat, but here is the bottom line.
If all of this happens on January 1,
2012, a process will begin to remove
$600 Billion from the 2013 economy. We
are told this is a formula for a deep
recession or worse.
government (frankly mostly
Republicans) want to put Social
Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on
the chopping block as part of any deal
to avoid the Fiscal Cliff. SeniorArk
hears rumblings that even some
Democrats might be willing to play
this dangerous game in order to make a
Happy Thanksgiving all this Week
November 30, 2012
HYMN: "GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS"
winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
November 24, 2012 - The Obama
family shown in a 2008, and then in an August,
2012 photo while walking
through Lafayette Park on their way to church .
Malia and Shasha, 14 and 11, beyond adorable,
have certainly grown.
Over 60 years ago the Palestinians were forced
from their property to create Israel. Since
then, three generations of Palestinians have
lived in an ever-shrinking virtual prison in
Gaza and the West Bank, that continues to be
stolen from them for new illegal Israeli
settlements. Palestinians have no status, no
rights, no food, no medical equipment, not even
building materials that does not "graciously"
come from their captors at great profit. If the
outside world tries to supply any of these
things to the captives, their ships are seized,
and the cargo confiscated by Israel.
once in a while, when the prisoners misbehave,
or threaten their captives in some way, they are
labeled as terrorists, and they are shot or
blown up in their virtual prison like fish in a
complain about oppression around the world. and
yet we Americans close our eyes to this. WHY?
We urge Seniors to call or email their
Representatives and Senators and demand that the
rights of the Palestinian people be respected,
SeniorArk editor is a member of the Presbyterian
Church USA, and we support most of our church's
opinions and initiatives on this matter.
The statements in red,
above, and in green below, are opinions
expressed by the SeniorArk editor, and not
necessarily of the Presbyterian Church.
We ask the American
government to strongly condemn Israel on any
intrusion and continued killing in Gaza and the
West Bank. We ask them to condemn those Israelis
who have cut down, or dug up over 800,000
Palestinian olive trees in the West Bank, the
basic means of their economic support. We ask them
to condemn Israel for building new roads to new
satellite illegal settlements, thus cutting
Palestinian farms and communities apart with
uncrossable barbed wire fences. We ask the
American government to press both parties to work
intensely toward two separate and independent
nations, a policy American Presidents have
supported for decades. Stolen lands must be
returned to the Palestinians based on 1967
persecution of the Palestinians must be stopped.
We aggressively support freedom for peoples all
over the world. Can we do any less for these
DID YOU KNOW?
President looks ahead to his second term, let's
review the first:
FOR ROUND 2 !!!!!!! PRAY FOR OUR PRESIDENT
Fortune - October 16, 2012
Even under the most generous economic
assumptions, Mitt Romney's tax plan simply
doesn't work. With the federal budget closed
as of September 30, we now have the final
numbers on how much money was spent ...
Telegraph - October 16, 2012
Mitt Romney attacked as 'flip-flopper' by
his father's former aide. Mitt Romney was
sharply criticised by a longtime aide to
his late father yesterday as an
unprincipled flip-flopper who would "would
say and do anything" to win the US
Voucher system for senior health care just
Capital Times - October 14, 2012
Attention fellow senior citizens and
future senior citizens! The voucher system
being proposed by Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and
extreme-right wing Republicans is a scam. Why?
If you think it through you will see two big
Mitt Romney responded to
the Supreme Court's upholding the health care
law last Thursday with a short, blunt
declaration of what he would do about it if
Wants Us To “Trust Him”, Avoiding Specifics!
Romney refuses to be specific
about what he would do about the illegal
immigration controversy. He refuses to
be specific about
drives a stake into the heart of Medicare
President Obama, during his speech before the
news editors luncheon hosted by the Associated
Press, zeroed in on the Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)
budget proposal and the GOP candidates supporting
it. The President didn’t pull his punches, going
all out, in full campaign mode.
He accused Ryan and candidate Mitt Romney, who
called the Ryan plan “marvelous,” of “social
Darwinism” that “imposes a radical vision” on
America. He singled out the Ryan egregious tax
break for millionaires which would be paid for by
gutting programs for the poor, the middle class,
the disabled, veterans, seniors, college
students, law enforcement, and even national
Ryan plans to change Medicare, changing
it into a voucher system with seniors
having to make up the difference between what
their insurance company will pay and the bills
they receive for health care.
the same time, Ryan proposes big tax breaks that
millionaires and billionaires would receive by
lowering their tax bracket, which would cost the
rest of us $4.6 trillion over the next decade.
Supposedly, these tax cuts would be underwritten
by closing loopholes and eliminating wasteful
Yet, as President Obama pointed out in his
speech, “the Republicans in Congress refuse to
list a single tax loophole they are willing to
close. Not one. That tax cut adds up to at least
$150,000 for every millionaire in America. And it
comes on top of the two tax cuts that President
George W. Bush handed out in 2001 and 2003.
Why the Republican Congress Might Need to Go
Robert Fassbach, editor,
SerniorArk.com Editorial - The Bureau of Labor
Statistics has been signaling that the economy is
showing strong signs of a rebound. In a recovery,
numbers go up and numbers go down. Recently
employment numbers went up in a big way. 243,000
new jobs were created in January, 257,000 in the
private sector. For several months now, there has
been a decline in employment in the government
sector, so the total of jobs created is reduced to
253,000. The unemployment figure dropped from 8.5%
to 8.5% from the month before, and down from a
recession high of 10%. The runaway, out of
control job-loss train that Obama inherited has
been stopped, and reversed. Good news, right?
It would seem not. All day long Republicans of all
stripes talked the numbers down: "It should have
been better (even though economists predicted
120,000 jobs)." "Are the jobs good-paying." "Obama
has caused this to last longer than necessary."
said to my wife this afternoon, sometime between
4:00 and 5:00, "Let's turn on Fox News to see how
they are spinning this good news".
Immediately rewarded with a very lively
conversation between Neil Cavuto and Mike Huckabee.
Huckabee said something like "There is no getting
around it, this is good news. Surely you want good
news on the economy." Cavuto's response seemed to
startle Huckabee, and it sure made my blood boil:
"No, I want the economy to stay stuck in the
mud", Cavuto said. Excuse me, did I hear that
correctly? Yes I did. Cavuto is willing to
sacrifice our economy, the unemployed, and
ultimately the security of our nation by wishing
the economy would stay stuck in the mud. A
defeated economy could enhance Republican chances
in the next election. Is power really that
Seniors, this would mean more pressure on leaders
to cut Social Security and Medicare to save money.
not out there on an island by himself. He is
simply reflecting the stance of Republicans in
Congress who have consistently blocked the
President's efforts to get this economy going.
They are trying to cut spending in a recession,
something economists say is a big mistake. They
have fought tax cuts for the middle class
because that could stimulate consumer spending.
They have refused an infrastructure bill, choosing
instead to allow our roads, sewers, and bridges to
crumble. After all, with all the construction
people working, the economy might recover too
soon. These Republicans are obstructionists
standing in the way of economic expansion. They
must go if they do not help this recovery to
October 23, 2012
a new provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA),
sometimes referred to as “Obamacare” kicked in
Aug. 1, 2012, about 47 million American women
became eligible to receive additional
preventative health care services without a
co-payment or any
Medicare Going Broke?
seems by all accounts that Medicare, at the
current rate of spending and future inflation,
will not be 100% sustainable in 12 to 16 years (4
years if "Obamacare" is repealed).
The only solutions being bandied about in this
election are how to cut Medicare. Obama
wants to slow its growth by smart planning,
while Romney-Ryan want to gut the program
and turn it over to for-profit insurance companies
while giving credit "vouchers" to seniors who will
retire in 10 years. They say, let's withdraw
healthcare from our children as they approach
retirement. Yet, with minor tweaks to Medicare
payroll taxes (solely SeniorArk's opinion), the
program could be extended for many years, or
indefinitely. SeniorArk asks whether politicians
are willing to throw current and future Seniors
under the bus, or can we try to adjust taxes in a
way that very little pain is felt by taxpayers,
and the healthcare for Seniors can be maintained.
We fear that with the current House of
Representatives, over half of which has signed a
pledge to never raise any taxes, ever, under any
circumstances, this would be impossible. This
pledge was signed to protect members of congress
from the threats of one powerful man who promises
to destroy any signer who raises a tax. We
want a pledge to protect the health of Seniors,
not one powerful man. Who are these
representatives serving. Tell them with your vote
no big surprise, despite the political racket
When you turn down the
volume on all the political noise surrounding
the report, however, what comes through is that
the U.S. economy ...
Fact Check: Would
repeal of Obamacare hike seniors' drug costs?
CNN - October 4, 2012
(CNN) -- Health care was a huge topic during
Wednesday's presidential debate. President Barack
Obama said the repeal of Obamacare would cause
seniors' prescription drug payments to rise. "We
were actually able to lower prescription drug
costs for ...
Rep. Chris Van Hollen: 'The
Romney-Ryan Medicare plan would have immediate
cost increases for Seniors.
Washington Post (blog)
The Republican approach has been to shift rising
health care costs onto the backs of seniors.
Seniors would get a voucher that declines over
time relative to rising health care costs. Seniors
get stuck with the bill. And so the president's
approach did ...
Ryan Plan Would Crush Seniors
Beneath Mounting Medical Costs
U.S. News & World Report
The Ryan plan trades seniors' guaranteed
healthcare benefits for vouchers to buy private
health insurance. The value of the vouchers would
grow at a slower rate than the private insurance
premiums. When premiums, co-payments, and
Is Romney an Illegal Alien? Or Was His Father?
Friday August 24, 2012 - Today the editor of
SeniorArk.com is pis - - -. Although I have
wondered about this, I never would have brought it
up except for Romney's cheap, dishonest shot this
morning. The "birther" has shown himself. Speaking
in Michigan this morning, the presumed Republican
nominee for the presidency said, "No one has ever
asked to see my birth certificate -- they know
that this was the place we were born and raised."
Oh really? This veiled jab at Obama is despicable
based on the facts of both the life of Obama AND
Just over a hundred years ago the Romney clan fled
America and went to Mexico to avoid prison. They
were practicing polygamy as Mormons, and were
certainly about to be prosecuted. GEORGE ROMNEY,
MITTS FATHER, AND FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE,
IS A MEXICAN. He was born in 1907 in the Mexican
state of Chihuahua. This raises some interesting
questions about the legality of George Romney's
run for the presidency. But it may also raise some
important questions about the current Romney. Of
course, Mitt Romney never considered himself
Mexican. He has said little about this part of his
Did Romney Sr. come to America legally, or did he
swim across the border? Where is HIS birth
certificate? And if he came illegally, where does
this put Mitt Romney? Is he the child of an
illegal? If so, he is not entitled to be
President. If a birth certificate was issued to
Mitt in Michigan, was it under false pretenses?
Show us your father's birth certificate Mitt.
Prove that he was, and you are legal to run for
our presidency. And we want to see the "raised
seal" on that certificate, not some cheap copy.
Thanks for that cheap shot this morning Mitt. It
has enabled us to raise some very serious
questions - -about you. We hope you don't expect
any American Medicare or Social Security. Consider
the Republicans release their budget next week,
they'll likely say they have a "new" Medicare
proposal that will "save" Medicare instead of
eliminate it. That's not true. The Republicans
still plan to end Medicare as we know it. But this
time they'll do so with the support of Democratic
Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.
Based on the draft proposal
released in December by Wyden and House Republican
Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, the GOP's Medicare plan
will give seniors a voucher to buy insurance
coverage just like the last plan. From the start,
the vouchers would be underfunded and won't cover
the costs of the insurance. Under the last
proposal, seniors would pay $6,400 more on day
one. Then the voucher would not keep up with
rising costs of coverage. Based on the last plan,
seniors would pay a staggering 68 percent of the
cost of their medical care in 2030, compared to 25
percent if the law remains unchanged.
(click article title to read more)
THE SHINGLES VACCINE: MEDICARE PART D PAYS FOR
usually attacks the middle-aged and elderly.
Baby Boomers are ripe for getting this virus.
There is a vaccine for it covered by Medicare
By Emily P. Walker,
Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
WASHINGTON -- Enrollment in Medicare Advantage
plans has risen by 10% in the past year and
premiums have dropped by 7%, despite billions
of dollars in reimbursement cuts to the
WASHINGTON (AP) - Baby
boomers take note: Medicare as your parents have
known it is headed for big changes no matter who
wins the White House in 2012.
New Census Figures Highlight Older
Adults' Financial Struggles
PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- New Poverty Rate More
Reflective of Economic Realities for Seniors; Tied
to Increased Health Care Costs New poverty figures
released this week by the US Census Bureau show a
large increase in the number of poor ...
Shortage of doctors trained to treat elderly grows
more stark as baby boomer ...
It's a nationwide shortage and it's going to get
worse as the 70 million members of the baby-boom
generation — those now 46 to 65 — reach their
senior years over the next few decades. The
American Geriatrics Society says today there's
roughly one ...
Excerpt from an article on "MARKET WATCH.com"
October 29, 2011 entitled:
by Paul B.
Farrell - America’s
an addict, out-of-control, doesn’t care who gets
Yes folks, I am mad as hell.
The America I believed in when I volunteered for
the Marine Corps, went to Korea, that America has
been hijacked by an irrational, dark force that’s
consuming our political system. We saw this coming
a few years ago reviewing Jack Bogle’s warnings in
“The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism.” Buffett
called that one: “There’s class warfare, all
right. But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s
making war, and we’re winning.”
Today that toxic mind-set is
a metaphor visible everywhere, in images like
Dexter’s Four Horsemen, visions of America
descending into a self-created Inferno.
My America is out of control,
babbling nonsense, acting like a junkie, addict,
very bad alcoholic. Been there. Now decades in
recovery. Also worked years professionally with
hundreds from Betty Ford Center. Today everywhere
I see a nation consumed by addictions:
self-centered, selfish, greedy, aggressive, power
hungry, lost souls with no moral compass, in
denial of their suicidal mission, incapable of
Seniors can get preventive
services at no cost thanks to Medicare changes
As executive director of Michigan's Area Agencies
on Aging Association, I know that the costs of
health insurance and prescription medications are
of constant concern to our senior citizens. I also
know how important it is to take care of our
health as ...
First GPS-Enabled Walking
Shoes Help Caregivers Track Alzheimer's Patients
Some Alzheimer's patients become paranoid and
confused by new jewelry or clothing and remove
them, according to Andrew Carle, a professor at
George Mason University's College of Health and
Human Services, who advised the project and
discussed it with ...
GOP not always against
WASHINGTON — It's a
massive health care entitlement with unfunded
future costs over $7 trillion. Many conservatives
are still upset at the way it was rammed through
Congress. But when the Republican presidential
candidates were asked last week asked if they
would repeal the Medicare drug benefit, they said
no way. After all, Republicans created it.
Republicans want to pull the plug on the health
care overhaul they call "Obamacare," but that law
is arguably less a deficit driver than the
Medicare drug plan they are defending.
Photo: AP Spc. Gavin
Fruge, 22, of Crowley, La., left, watches a
rebroadcast of President Barack Obama's speech
on proposed troop withdrawal with fellow
soldiers at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar,
Afghanistan, (file photo) A new report
The hard truth
about health care: Government works
Washington Post (blog)
it's where our conversation about health-care
costs never quite goes. The Republican plan,
in fact, heads in the opposite direction: The
GOP outsources Medicare to private insurers
and gives senior citizens checks that cover
less and less of ...
- Senate Democrats have called on
Republicans to take the House-passed
Medicare plan off the table in bipartisan
deficit reduction talks, claiming that the
plan effectively dismantles the program.
Posted by SA March 29, 2012 - More U.S. drilling
has not changed how deeply the gas pump drills
into your wallet, math and history show.
are already benefiting from the Affordable Care
Houston Chronicle Posted by SA
March 28, 2012
At stake are major new benefits for people
enrolled in Medicare that shouldn't be overlooked
during the legal wrangling in Washington, DC
Contrary to intentional misinformation meant to
scare seniors, health reform is
working and millions of Americans ...
States Where Seniors Cannot Afford to Live
Posted by SA March 25, 2012 - "24/7 WallSt" Has
written this very informative article on the 10
U.S. states where seniors would have great
difficulty making ends meet. Read it at:
March 20, 2012
Not sure this is going
to get the level of attention it deserves or
that most political reporters will call it
what it is: Paul Ryan today unveiled the new
House Budget, which doubles down on Ryan's
previously announced plan to end Medicare as a
guaranteed health care benefits for the
elderly. It’ll still be called Medicare, but
it will be Medicare in name only.
Medicare unveils new form to
enlist seniors in fight against fraud
Post - March 6, 2012
Johnson said a few seniors have recently alerted
her to double billing for laboratory tests in
Fairfax County, suspicious home-health-care
charges near Roanoke, and a wheelchair paid for
but never received in Arlington. Tatiana Fassieux,
a program ...
Mitt Romney's new tax plan
strongly favors the wealthiest Americans,
offering earners in the top 20 percent an
average tax cut of more than $16000 while
raising taxes on the bottom 20 percent of
earners, according to an analysis from a
TAXES GIVE $$Billions
to Big Oil Every Year. Be Outraged.
February 8, 2012 - Even while
we are recovering from the deepest recession since
the great depression of the 30's, Republicans
insist on continuing billions in gifts to big oil.
This, while school lunches are cut back for poor
children, unemployment payments for our workers is
in doubt, and Social Security and Medicare are
painted as the villains to our deficit. We have
given cash gifts to big oil for a century. But now
that they are awash in record profits, this
corporate WELFARE must end, now. Write your member
of Congress, and your Senators. Tell them you
would rather subsidize new bridges, highways,
housing for the elderly, and health.
War Costs Dominate Our
Growing National Debt
Posted by SeniorArk January 27, 2012 - The
cost to the United States of the wars in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and Pakistan over the past 10 years
has been somewhere between $3.2 and $4 trillion
dollars, according to a study released this week
by the Eisenhower Research Project, based at Brown
University in Providence, Rhode Island. A report
on National Public Radio's All Things Considered,
meanwhile, quoted a former Pentagon official's
estimate that the cost of air conditioning alone
for U.S. personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan runs to
more than $20 billion a year. "The human and
economic costs of these wars will continue for
decades, some costs not peaking until
mid-century," according to the "Cost of Wars"
report, done by more than 20 economists, political
scientists, and other specialists. It continues,
Many of the wars' costs are invisible to
Americans, buried in a variety of budgets, and so
have not been counted or assessed. The cost of
treating wounded soldiers will continue for many
years, and may approach a trillion dollars by
say their Medicare plan wouldn’t affect anybody
near retirement age. But it would.
say their Medicare plan wouldn't affect
anybody near retirement age. But it would. By
Tim Fernholz Not scot-free: Ryan's plan would
still touch current senior citizens.
10 dumb things you do
at the doc's office
This is your health we're talking about. Other
calls can wait. Turn the thing off. (CNN) -- As
much as she would like to, Dr. Lissa Rankin, a
gynecologist, will never forget the woman who
planned her ...
brand-name drugs will soon go generic
Richmond Times Dispatch
In 2012, some popular drugs set to lose
their patents include: Plavix, the anti-clot/blood
thinning drug; the asthma and allergy drug
Singulair; Seroquel, which is used to treat mental
health issues from depression to bipolar disorder
to schizophrenia; ...
Latest news from Capitol
Hill is not good for
*As the "Super Committee"
approaches its Thanksgiving
deadline to cut at least
$1.2 trillion in federal
spending, the carving knives
are coming out for Social
Security, Medicare, and
retirees, we know that these
programs are how seniors
stay healthy and out of
poverty. But we also know
they aren't to blame for our
budget deficit. We have a
deficit because of decades
of sweetheart deals to Wall
Street and to big
corporations and too many
years of not asking
millionaires to pay their
fair share in taxes.
We cannot allow seniors to
pay the price for the bad
decisions our leaders have
A specific cut being talked
about would lower the
formula for Social Security
(COLAs). This would be
devastating for retirees; in
fact, if this change took
effect, a worker retiring
this year at age 65 would
lose $6,000 in benefits by
Take a minute today to stand
up for today's retirees and
for all of us who still
believe in the American
Dream of a safe and secure
A very powerful
Supercommittee in Congress
has been charged with
deciding how to cut the
federal budget by a whopping
$1.5 trillion. Social
Security, Medicare and
Medicaid are on the
block. It’s up to us to get
them off the table. Each of
these vital programs
provides income security or
health care to about 1 out
of 6 of the nation’s
Your phone call has
unusual power today. A
handful of members of
Congress serving on the
Supercommittee will decide
the fate of these programs.
Your Senator can be a
powerful messenger to them.
I want the
Supercommittee to stand
with the 99%, not the 1%.
That means opposing
any and call cuts to
Social Security, Medicare
and Medicaid in the
opposing the Social
Security COLA cut.
Congress needs to stop
protecting tax breaks for
Wall Street, millionaires
- November 19, 2011
The effect of health-care
costs is particularly acute for
the elderly, with the proportion
of seniors living in
poverty increasing from 9 percent
under the official census measure
to 16 percent under the
alternative measure. Under the new
November 19, 2011 - A well-known
Washington lobbying firm with
links to the financial industry
has proposed an $850,000 plan to
take on Occupy Wall Street and
politicians who might express
sympathy for the protests,
according to a memo obtained by
the MSNBC program “Up w/ Chris
Hayes.” ... According to the memo,
if Democrats embrace Occupy Wall
Street, “This would mean more than
just short-term political
discomfort for Wall Street. … It
has the potential to have very
long-lasting political, policy and
financial impacts on the companies
in the center of the bullseye.” (Read
Polls Show Voters
Believe GOP Intentionally Stalling
Data suggests that about
half the country, including a
majority of self-identified
independents, believe that
congressional Republicans are
using their political power to
thwart Obama’s efforts to reduce
unemployment, presenting Democrats
an opportunity to make this
argument more explicitly as the
2012 campaign moves forward — to
undercut Republicans’ claims that
Obama and the Dems bear full
responsibility for the economy,
and to make their pattern of
obstruction a real liability for
- - The
United States spends more every
year on defense than ALL OTHER
COUNTRIES on earth - - COMBINED.
According to a study from the
Joint Center for Housing Studies
the top 25% of U.S. households
control 87% of all wealth in
the country. "So THAT'S where it
- - We are
hearing a lot about the 99%
these days. what are the incomes
of the remaining top 1%. Here is a
recent chart, reflecting taxable
incomes for portions of the U.S.
population. The top 15.73% earn
over $100,000. (remember,
this is after all possible
deductions) The last four rows of
the chart show how that 15.73% is
So if the top 1.5% begins around
$250,000, could we estimate the
starting income for the top 1% at
around $350,000 after all possible
CRITICAL REPORT TO SENIORS
updated September 30, 2011
the debt ceiling deal passed in August, American
Senior Citizens experienced a terrorist attack by the
Tea Party, their frightened Republican sympathizers,
and the spineless Democratic party. They have set a
path for the destruction of an economic recovery that
could have funded Social Security and Medicare as we
have known it.
This economy needs to grow, and huge cutbacks in
spending at this time will have exactly the opposite
effect. Senior programs may bear the brunt of a bad
economy. Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid will
be on the chopping block again in December when the
"committee of 12" reports.
rely on ALL THREE of these programs. Treachery is
afoot to destroy our valuable programs. Read updates
regarding attacks on these critical programs, below.
Lawmakers should not 'disregard the fragility of the
economic recovery,' while focusing on spending cuts,
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday.
concerned, and rise up!
must be heard.
BEWARE: This, and more anti Social Security,
Medicare, and Medicaid attacks, are permeating many
Republican Party candidates' thinking. As Republican
seniors select a candidate, listen very carefully to
what they say.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R)
has, to say the least, a very odd understanding of
the Constitution. He thinks Texas should be able to
opt out of Social Security, and he believes that
everything from federal public school programs to
clean air laws are unconstitutional. Yet in an
interview with the Daily Beast’s Andrew Romano,
Perry makes his most outlandish claim to date —
Social Security and Medicare are
Slate Magazine (blog) -
September 30, 2011
By Slate V Staff The
movement began on September 17 as a response
to a call from Adbusters to protest corporate
greed, bailouts, and tax breaks for the super
rich. A group of approximately 2000 people
took to the financial district in Manhattan to
any of our seniors join in this protest, please
make posters defending Social Security, Medicare,
The Galveston County, Texas,
retirement plan he touts provides some benefits
similar to Social Security, but it falls well
short of the federal program's protections in
Today (blog) - - September
Perry - - - Social Security IS NOT
a Ponzi Scheme"
Aides are not providing
details of the debt reduction plan President
Obama will put out Monday, but say he will not
include Social Security changes -- though you
can expect proposals for more tax revenue.
September 9, 2011 -
Click here to read why
recommends that every SENIOR read Rick Perry's book.
Prepare to be frightened, so please be seated while
reading. Go to the library if possible to avoid
paying him. It was published about 10 months ago.
When Rick Perry was asked by an
audience member in Waterloo, Iowa what he would do
to rein in spending on entitlement programs if
elected president, the Texas governor had a quick
response: "Have you read my book, Fed Up!?
Get a copy and read it."
SeniorArk will soon do an article
on this subject soon on our
By Olga Belogolova Karl Rove
slammed GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry on
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, calling
his views on Social Security “toxic.
Perry calls Social Security
Houston Chronicle - Chron.com -
Riding high in the polls, Gov. Rick Perry rode into
Iowa on Saturday with tough talk on President Obama,
the economy and foreign policy and a declaration
that Social Security is not only a Ponzi scheme but
a "monstrous lie" for younger people.
Bachmann claims about Medicare
bogus, experts say
St. Cloud Times - August 28,
While on the campaign trail this summer, the 6th
District congresswoman has repeatedly said Medicare
will “go away” under Obama, and that the president
wants to push seniors into “Obamacare” — a term for
last year's federal health care overhaul. ...
'Medigap' policies may
be on the table in Congressional debate
The Connecticut Mirror -
Proponents say that without private Medigap polices to
fill in those holes, many seniors could face
unexpected, destabilizing health care bills. "Most
Medicare beneficiaries on are fixed incomes," noted
Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney at the ...
Pollster: Medicare 'Not
Just A Seniors' Issue'
Kaiser Health News -
By Stephanie Stapleton Even though the health
insurance program for senior citizens and the disabled
survived the initial phase of the debt-ceiling deal
without suffering cuts, Medicare is likely to be a
target in the next round. ....
Medicare and Medicaid Are Not Safe From the Debt Deal
by Amara Nwoso | Print |
Comment ( View ) Sagrario, the only person in her*
family with health insurance, was diagnosed with
cancer after he first arrived in New York from
Tea Party groups see Medicare overhaul chance
(Reuters) - With Medicare at
the top of lawmakers' fall agenda, Tea Party movement
leaders hope to ignite support for Republican plans to
transform the popular federal healthcare program for
Thousands of Tea Party
movement activists are expected to descend this month
on town hall meetings across key battleground states
as part of an intensifying campaign ahead of the 2012
presidential and congressional elections.
AOL Auto - Technology that stops the
engine at redlights is gaining foothold to increase fuel
economy. In Europe, where strict fuel economy and tailpipe
emissions laws have long been established, this start-stop
technology has been a fixture on the road for several years.
In fact, it can increase the fuel economy of a vehicle by as
much as 10%.
care for all, with costs shared according to abililty to pay
Cleveland Plain Dealer (blog)
If a voucher system pitted senior citizens against the
insurance companies, only the healthy who chose a low-cost
policy with poor coverage might come out ahead. All senior
citizens who have major health problems will need an expensive
Some Republicans in
Congress are getting an earful back home over their votes
to dramatically revamp Medicare for seniors. House Budget
Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
How debates are framed is critical
because the "center" or "middle ground" is supposedly
halfway between the two extremes... Baloney. According to
the most recent Washington Post-ABC
percent of Americans oppose cutting spending on Medicare
as a way to reduce the debt, and 72 percent support
raising taxes on the rich -- including 68 percent of
Independents and 54 percent of Republicans.
2011 - The new "catch phrase"
among politicians this summer is
"We will cut hundreds of Billions, or
even Trillions from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
without touching Senior benefits."
We believe this is a lie. Go to their
town hall meetings, speeches, or other get-togethers and
challenge them on how
exactly they plan on doing this.
(Let us know what you hear.) We have
heard that 60% of the members of Congress will not hold a town
hall - -are they afraid? Find out where they live, stand
outside and let them know how you feel. Stand outside their
local offices or meet them at the airport - - whatever it
August 23, 2011 -
Seniors to protest Romney in N.H.
A group of senior citizens is planning to
protest Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tomorrow
when he visits a senior center in Lebanon, N.H., for a town
hall meeting. Terry Lochhead, an organizer for the New
Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, said seniors are
worried that Republican candidates including Romney are
looking at entitlement reform as a way to reduce the deficit.
“All of their plans to reduce the deficit by cutting programs
that benefit retirees, instead of raising taxes on the
super-wealthy or cutting out corporate loopholes, have really
brought them right into our focus,” said Lochhead, whose group
is organizing the protest.
August 22, 2011 -
The Associated Press reports that
congressional Republicans are considering allowing the payroll
tax cut to expire at the end of the year — a move President
Barack Obama says could cost up to 1 million jobs.
The tax, which funds Social Security, now
stands at 4.2 percent for employees for 2011 — down from 6.2
percent — and GOP lawmakers, worried by rising deficits and
the nation's booming debt, are gearing up to block extending
the reduced rate through next year. The employer contribution
remains at 6.2 percent.
"It's always a net positive to let
taxpayers keep more of what they earn," said Rep. Jeb
Hensarling (R-TX), "but not all tax relief is created equal
for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again."
But their worry about debt and deficits
did not prevent the lawmakers from demanding the continue the
Bush tax cuts on wealthy Americans if they were to be extended
for those with lesser incomes.
The payroll tax cut most benefits
employees making less than $106,800 a year — including those
whose incomes are so low they pay no income tax, but still
have their payroll tax withheld from their paychecks.
August, 2011 - This the beginning
of the S&P statement as they downgraded America's credit
rating today. "The political brinksmanship of recent months
highlights what we see as America's governance and
policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less
predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory
debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political
bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy."
August, 2011 - John W. Schoen -
MSNBC Producer - "Tuesday's budget deal between Congress and
the White House was hailed in Washington as a resolution of
the months-long battle that brought the government to the
brink of insolvency. But the agreement did little to lift the
clouds of uncertainty over exactly what government spending
will be cut.
Defense contractors, state governments
and jobless workers, to name just a few, have been left in
limbo, unsure whether the budget ax will cut off critical cash
from Washington. Those spending cuts won't be finalized until
the end of the year."
August, 2011 - House Majority
Leader Eric Cantor (Republican, VA), one day after the budget
deal became law, told the "Wall Street" "Journal "that our
nation needs to, "come to grips with the fact that promises
have been made that, frankly, are not going to be kept for
many." Cantor was referring to Medicare and Social Security.
Why will these promises not be kept? Because Republicans say
so. Promises to Grover Norquist are sacrosanct, but promises
to senior citizens are not.
Check on your neighbor. Who is my
neighbor? Who isn't !!!
Seniors are at risk during high
Keep your home COOLER IN SUMMER.
July 2011 -
"Historically, recoveries after a debt-related financial
crisis tend to be significantly slower than the rebound from a
more typical recession." ~ Christian Science Monitor
- "Do not consider Social Security a piggy bank for giving tax
cuts to the wealthiest people in our country." ~Nancy
CAP - AND BALANCE ?
Robert Fassbach,, editor,
July 19, 2011 - You may have heard
a lot this week about a fools-gold proposal called
"CUT, CAP, AND BALANCE". It is yet one more dangerous
Republican idea for pleasing the "Tea-Party" wing of
the party. It looks like the House, populated by a
majority of Republicans who have been bullied into
signing pledges with a very well-funded shadowy
character named Grover Norquist, will pass this bill
requiring a balanced budget amendment. It would mean
an immediate cut of 28% in what the government needs
to spend to meet its obligations. It would create a
budget as a percentage of GDP that we have not seen
since the 1960's. The result would undoubtedly mean
the cutting, dismembering, and burying of Medicare and
Social Security, not to mention Medicaid that we count
on for nursing home expenses. At the same time,
nothing would be cut that benefits the upper 2% of our
society. This is a class war on steroids.
Republicans who have signed the "no
tax increase" pledge have often been frightened into
signing this Norquist pledge, having been told that
his vast access to funds will be used to defeat them
in the next election if they do not sign. He has
virtually no credentials except his tax positions,
threats, and money. Now he has taken this tax pledge
further, pushing for this foolish balanced budget
The so-called "Balanced Budget
Amendment" will pass the House with the votes of these
cowering Republicans, but the Senate will most likely
look at it with more sense and vote it down. President
Obama said that if it slides past the Senate he would
quickly veto the bill. So the whole exercise is merely
"showing off -posturing" for the Tea-Party radicals,
and the otherwise unremarkable, well-funded-by
wealthy-conservatives, Grover Norquist.
It is time to end the posturing,
end the love for giveaways to oil companies, insurance
companies, and hedge fund managers, end the lies about
"hurting the job creators". And it is especially time
to end the pledges to a shadowy bully, and start
making pledges to Americans to do what is necessary to
get this country back on its feet. A statesman pledges
to nothing but the constitution and the American
people. The American people are telling them to
stop it in every legitimate poll today. Even
rank-and-file Republicans are telling them to stop it.
For goodness sake, do something for the other 98% of
us, not Grover Norquist and the top 2%.
TalkBackToBob@aol.com Feel free to talk back. I
can take it!
This bill was defeated in the
Senate on July 22, 2011 exactly along party lines.
measures, Americans pay less than most other developed
nations. All in, the tax burden in Demark consumes some 48
percent of that country's GDP. In the U.S., the burden is
roughly half that, with 24 percent of GDP going toward taxes.
That puts the U.S. on the low end of the tax burden among
If Ryan and the Tea Party sense they
can win and dismantle Medicare, your Social Security
payment will be next.
The proposals are likely to start
innocuously enough. The Tea Party's leadership will trot
out statements like "Social Security is broke," (which
it isn't, really) and "We have to cut payments because
there's no other way to 'save' the program."
If retirees today think a little inflation is reducing
their purchasing power and a making it hard to live
within a budget, wait until they -- and eventually, all
of us -- feel the impact of a 10% or even 20% cut in
Social Security payments.
It's 8:55 am on a crisp Thursday
morning in the exclusive New Jersey suburb of Bernards
Township, and at 34 Emily Rd., more than 60 people are
lined up impatiently outside the front door.
AARP Stands to Get $1 Billion
From Health Law It Backed, Republicans Say
“AARP operates in direct opposition to the needs of their
senior membership,” said Representative Wally Herger, a
California Republican who chairs the House Ways and Means
Health subcommittee. “We think they ought to know what we've
Denison Herald Democrat -
AP WASHINGTON -- Millions of retired
and disabled people in the United States had better brace
for another year with no increase in Social Security
Fox News -
Adjusting to life without a steady
income is difficult for retirees, but taking a close look
at your budget and spending habits can help ease the
The 2011 Global Livability
Rankings are in, and the most livable city in
America is Pittsburgh, Pa. The study was completed
by London-based Economist Intelligence Unit. While
top cities in the world were: Vancouver, British
Australia; and Vienna,
Austria respectively, Pittsburgh was the top ranking
the Tax Foundation, the highest states for states for
median real estate taxes in 2009 besides New Jersey were;
Connecticut ($4,738); New Hampshire ($4,636); New York
($3,755); Rhode Island ($3,618); Massachusetts ($3,511);
Illinois ($3,507); Vermont ($3,444); Wisconsin ($3,007);
and California ($2,893). The lowest five were South
Carolina ($689), Arkansas ($532), Mississippi ($508), West
Virginia ($464), Alabama ($398) and Louisiana ($243). The
data comes from the Census Bureau.
A GRAPH TO PONDER
SeniorArk - April 15,
Democrats are salivating at the prospect of the Republican
House of Representatives voting this afternoon on the radical
Ryan budget proposal, "Road to Prosperity". The proposal
guts Medicare, while giving a 2.6 TRILLION additional tax
break to the most wealthy Americans. It also gives BILLIONS to
oil companies, and other business interests. Republicans keep
saying they are trying to "preserve" Medicare, while they are
making it impossible for seniors to afford it. We consider
Medicare to be a compact with America's Seniors, and we must
find a way to afford it, rather than gut it.
Tax Policy Center said Ryan’s plan for
major tax cuts will decrease tax revenue
by $2.9 trillion over the next 10 years.
His proposal to make the Bush tax cuts for
the wealthy permanent will increase the
budget deficit while continuing subsidies
for oil companies and agriculture for his
home state constituents.
The Hill - April
destroy and end Medicare. He would
replace a government program
with taxpayer-subsidized vouchers to
pay price-gouging companies. Insurers
would of course raise their premiums
even higher, and by limiting the size
of the voucher subsidies, Ryan is
effectively proposing one of
the largest middle-class tax increases
Grand Old Problem
April 15, 7:14 PM The candidates
brandished a “Health Care Bill
of Rights for Seniors” that promised
to protect Medicare from their
opponents' “raid.” The party chairman
wrote an op-ed warning that the other
guys' plan meant that “senior
budget: Republicans sticking it to
(blog) April 17, 2011
They opposed Medicare and Medicaid,
and now they oppose any real health
care reform. In other words, the
Republican Party has loudly and acidly
opposed every legislation designed to
aid and improve the lives of senior
April 15, 2011:
On which day in history were the most
messages ever sent??
From what I see on TV, it must have
been last November 2. According to the
Tea Party, every American voter seems
to have sent a message supporting
whatever position the Tea Party
THE GREAT INEQUITY -
Posted by SeniorArk April 1,
2011 - Last year, America's top thirteen hedge-fund managers
earned an average of $1 billion each. One of them took home
$5 billion. Much of their income is taxed as capital gains
-- at 15 percent -- due to a tax loophole that Republican
members of Congress have steadfastly guarded.
If the earnings of those thirteen
hedge-fund managers were taxed as ordinary income, the
revenues generated would pay the salaries and benefits of
over 5 million teachers. Who is more valuable to our society
-- thirteen hedge-fund managers or 5 million teachers? Let's
make the question even simpler. Who is more valuable: One
hedge fund manager or one teacher?
According to "The Wall Street
Journal", bonuses for CEOs at 50 major corporations
increased by a median of 30.5% in the past year, the biggest
gain in at least three years. The largest pharmaceutical
company, Pfizer, doubled the total compensation of its CEO,
*Ian Read*, despite the 19,000 employees the company is
expected to layoff. (Source: Alliance for Retired Americans)
DID YOU KNOW?
March 11, 2011 - The other day I heard a U.S. congressman
say that teaching is a "part-time" job, since school is not in
session for a large portion of the summer. So we investigated.
Turns out that being a congressman is even MORE part-time. The
average school year in our country is 180 days (not counting
administrative and teacher's in-service days) , while the
average number of days the congress is in session is 173. And
on some of these days almost no congressmen were in town, but
Congress was convened anyway - -perhaps to raise the count? In
Congress, votes are usually not scheduled between Wednesday
and Monday, so congressmen can have 4-day weekends. Hmmmm!
Postpartum Depression Affects Dads Too
ABC News - March 14, 2011
By CRYSTAL PHEND, MedPage Today Senior Staff Writer
Depression in new mothers is well recognized -- but new dads
get depressed, too, and it can negatively affect parenting,
according to a large observational study. The study, of more
than 1700 fathers ...
Some hospitals open senior ERs; new trend to improve care
of aging patients
The Canadian Press - March
There's no official count, but at least a dozen
self-designated senior ERs have opened around the country
since the first in Silver Spring, Md., in 2008. The one in
Maryland and eight in Michigan are operated by Catholic health
system Trinity Health of ...
FACTCHECK.ORG GETS SOCIAL SECUITY FACTS
March 4, 2011 - A recent article
published by Factcheck.org incorrectly reported that Social
Security will face a $45 billion deficit this year.
Additionally, the article reported that the program is "in the
red." However, this is simply not true. According to the
Congressional Budget Office, the program will bring in $45
billion less in payroll taxes than it did last year. However,
the Social Security trust fund, which currently contains $2.6
trillion, will earn $118 billion in interest this year.
Therefore, overall, Social Security will not be running a
deficit in 2011. The program will pay 100 percent of expected
benefits this year and every year until 2037, without
contributing to the national debt. "We hope that seniors will
remain skeptical of people who try to convince them that
Social Security is not financially solvent," said *Ruben
Burks*, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance for Retired
Americans. "The program is financially solvent and will remain
that way well into the future."
BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! - COLD
Winter 2011 - Large areas of the U.S. and Europe have been, or
will be hit by abnormally cold weather this winter. It is
critical that we check on each other, or our neighbors during
this period. Is someone without heat, food, electricity, or
something else necessary to support life? Has someone slipped
on an icy driveway while trying to get to, or clean off a car?
Have an extra look. Remember that many seniors may be
reluctant to admit the need for help, so be patient and
persist in your concern.
Read: AOL News -
Buried in Snow for Hours, Wisconsin Man
Saved by Neighbors
GOP considers privatizing
WASHINGTON (AP) — Months
after they hammered Democrats for cutting
Medicare, House Republicans are debating whether
to relaunch their quest to privatize the health
program for seniors.
House Budget Committee
Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is testing support for
SIMPLIFYING HEALTHCARE FOR
When the House of Representatives voted to repeal the
health care reform law, I wasn't sure what to make of
it. As a senior citizen who depends
Wants to be Sure Senior Citizens Know Where to File
Health Care ...
Medicare thinks senior citizens and other
beneficiaries should be informed about their right to
have their beef heard, when they have concerns ...
SURPRISING WAYS TO BEGIN SAVING ENERGY $$$$ TODAY!
pocketbook and Mother Nature a gift this season by
taking advantage of these simple, surprising ways to
save energy and money.
Here are a few surprising and simple
ways to cut your energy bill this season.
SENIORS BENEFIT FROM HEALTHCARE REFORM
THREATENED BY THE NEW HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES, SOME IN THE SENATE, AND THE COURTS
As of January 1, 2011, here are
a few of the medical services that are now be available to
Seniors - at no additional cost - every twelve months (more
often where appropriate.)
Annual physical exams
Bone mass measurement
Diabetes self-management training
tests and pelvic exams
off drugs purchased in the "donut hole"
the House of Representatives succeeds in repealing Health Care
Reform , Seniors will lose these benefits, and others as
well. Contact your congressman today to express your strong
click here to begin
* In these instances, Medicare beneficiaries will receive
tests at no cost but will be responsible for 20% of the cost
for the office visit to the physician
WHY YOU MUST LOOK
AT YOUR PART D PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLAN TODAY
worries about Medicare Advantage and Part D are not over. Not
yet. What you do right now can determine how well you
do for the rest of the year in getting the medical care and
prescriptions you need.
EDITORIAL: THE ARIZONA SHOOTING OF REPRESENTATIVE GABRIELLE
January 8, 2011 - Today a respected and loved Congresswoman
was shot down, along with numerous others, while exercising
free speech on a Tucson sidewalk. Shock and grief have swept
the country. All of today's TV news has covered the shootings,
as though they are a total surprise. And yet only two months
ago this Congresswoman was listed on a prominent
"conservative" woman's "hit list", and her district was shown
behind the crosshairs of a gun. Another candidate spoke of the
people "taking up second amendment remedies" (as in -
load your gun) if their way was not the official way. T-shirts
promoting violence are worn outside locations of Presidential
speeches by gun-toting radicals. Hate radio spews its venom
daily. Gold is pushed on one network by whipping up fear that
our Republic is about to be burned on an ash heap, unless
something isn't done immediately to the opposition. Unease is
born and bred daily. Fear rather than hope is spread, mainly
in an attempt to stir hatred toward the other guy.
Politically we have began referring to each other as
sub-human. The goal of politicians has not been to serve the
people with meaningful laws, but to defeat the opponent in the
next election. People with positions we do not hold, are
demonized day after day. Rush Limbaugh refers to welfare
recipients as "human debris".
And that is just one
of hundreds of examples of the demonization of a portion of
our population. Votes are held to repeal laws,
not because a repeal would better serve the people, but
because the vote might embarrass our President, and satisfy an
extreme wing of an otherwise respectable political party.
Lies, lies, and more lies are passed off as "oh that's just
politics". Don't make me sick!!
It is in this poisonous atmosphere that a crazy individual
feels justified to exercise his "second amendment right" and
shoot an elected Congresswoman through her brain. If this
atmosphere is not strongly condemned by all factions, and a
political healing does not begin to take place, then we might
witness the beginnings of the unraveling of our great open and
free society. Time to take a step back to have a good look at
EARTH IS CLOSEST TO THE SUN ON JANUARY 3
Since last July,
the Earth has been falling ever closer to the Sun. Every
moment since then, our planet has edged closer to the nearest
star in the Universe, approaching it at over 1100 kilometers
per hour, 27,500 km/day, 800,000 km every month.
But don’t panic! We
do this every year. And that part of it ends today anyway.
The Earth’s orbit
around the Sun is not a perfect circle. It’s actually an
ellipse, so sometimes we’re closer to the Sun, and sometimes
farther away. Various factors change the exact date and time
every year — you can get the numbers
at the Naval Observatory site
— but aphelion (when we’re farthest from the Sun)
happens in July, and perihelion (when we’re closest)
And we’re at
perihelion now! Today, January 3, 2011, around 19:00 GMT (2:00
p.m. Eastern US time), the Earth reaches perihelion. At that
time, we’ll be about 149,597,871 kilometers
(92,955,807 miles) from the Sun. To give you an idea of how
far that is, a jet traveling at a cruising speed of 800 km/hr
would take over 20 years to reach the Sun.
read more at Discovery.com
WHEN CAN YOU COMPARE MEDICARE
ADVANTAGE AND PART D PLANS FOR 2011?
Based on the
bids submitted by Part D plans for the 2011 plan year, CMS
estimates that the average monthly premium that beneficiaries
will pay for standard Part D coverage will be $30 -- a $1
increase from the current year (2010) average premium of $29.
payments to Medicare Advantage insurance companies will
neither be decreased, nor will they be increased for 2011.
Even so, the cost of healthcare has been increasing. Private
Medicare Advantage insurers can address that situation in
(a) Be better
managers of the funds they are paid by Medicare.
the huge margin of profit they have been enjoying in recent
(c) Take a
good look at the multimillion dollar salaries they have been
paying their top executives.
services formerly offered to Seniors.
deductibles and/or co-pays.
hear about the "draconian" measures being imposed on private
insurers by The Health Reform Act. But now you know the truth.
None of their Medicare payments will be reduced, and they have
many ways to adjust to the increasing cost of healthcare. In
sales meetings where "representatives" (AKA commissioned sales
people) discuss their programs for next year, challenge them
when they tell you Medicare has cut payments to them for your
care. It is a lie.
Right now you can
compare all of the Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans at
ADVANTAGE OPEN ENROLLMENT IS UNDERWAY
Medicare Advantage members will
have only one chance to change their Advantage plan this year,
between November 15th and December 31st. After January 1, they
will be locked into their Advantage plan for 2011 -
unless they decide to dis-enroll from their Advantage plan and
go back to Medicare. From January 1st to February 15th,
seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans will be
allowed to dis-enroll from their plan. And if their Advantage
plan included a drug plan, they will be allowed to sign up for
a stand-alone Part D plan to replace the drug coverage that
was in their Medicare Advantage plan.
many years (and in 2010), people enrolled in Medicare
Advantage plans were able to switch from one plan to another
during the months of January, February, and March. This
“Open Enrollment Period” will not be available in 2011.
November this year (2010), it will be very important for
seniors to review the materials they receive from their
Medicare Advantage plan – in case their plan makes some big
changes. If they want to shop around for another
Advantage plan, they will only have November 15th to December
31st to do so. If they discover in January that their
plan no longer works for them, they will be unable to change
to another Advantage plan. Their only recourse will be to dis-enroll
from their Advantage plan and go back to Medicare (and pick up
a Part D plan).
to find the link to Medicare Plans.
$250 SOCIAL SECURITY STIMULUS CHECK TO BE PAID
US government is taking every measure to revive the economy
and bring it out of the recession. President Obama has said
that there will be a Social Security Stimulus Check in 2010 of
$250. However, the final decision for this special measure is
up to the congress. They should approve bill H.R.3557 – To
provide an emergency cost-of-living increase for Social
Security benefits for 2010 in their next session. This will be
a bonus and will cost the government about $13 billion. The
last couple of years has seen the worst slowdown in all the
markets including the housing and financial markets which has
caused a lot of problems to the economy. By the distribution
of the social security stimulus check in 2010 the government
hopes to stimulate the markets and the economy and the
slowdown can be reversed. (Read complete article at
Update 1: In his new budget, released on February 1, 2010,
President Obama officially proposes this one-time payment to
seniors. Now it is up to the House of Representatives. If
you do not write or call your Representative, don't complain
if the measure does not pass. Go to our
Government Links page, and click on "Contact your
Representative". The process will take you about 3 minutes.
Update 2: SeniorArk.com March 5, 2010
The U.S. Senate has
rejected a proposal on March 3 to give a $250 bonus payment to
people on Social Security.
Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, proposed the idea to make up for a
lack of a cost of living increase in the program this year.
This was proposed as an amendment to the jobs bill.
"I do know that in
Vermont, a lot of citizens -- seniors, veterans, disabled
veterans are wondering why this year they are not receiving a
COLA. They've written my office. And they are saying to me:
'Hey, I don't know what you're talking about, because my costs
have increased over the last year'," Sanders said on the
had the support of President Obama, but it failed on a vote of
50-to-47. Opponents say it would add 14 billion dollars to the
SeniorArk adds: The
purchasing needs of seniors are unique, and often include
medications needed to stay alive. We insist that the Senate
realize the importance of this $250 payment to struggling
retirees. Sen. Sanders also said that the fight for the
measure, which President Obama included in his budget, would
voted no (37), except for (3) who did not vote at all. (11)
Democrats voted no, and Indep. Leiberman.
Here are the
Senators who voted against the $250 bonus:
three did not vote: Bond (R-MO)
Hutchison (R-TX) Isakson (R-GA)
Can you guess what the average Senior receives monthly in
Social Security benefits?
Click for Answer
DID YOU KNOW?? Robert Fassbach, editor
__When George Bush became President, he and the Republican
Congress passed a sweeping tax cut (unpaid for) mostly
designed to increase the bottom line on the 1040 for the
well-off. During the next 8 years, a meager number of jobs
were created in the U.S., the middle class actually lost
income after inflation, and the well-off became much richer.
And in the end we sustained an economic collapse unrivaled
since the 1930's. Since these cuts were unfunded, we borrowed
hundreds of billions from China. The national debt doubled.
went off into two adventuresome wars, one of which was total
folly (also unpaid for), and we borrowed more hundreds of
billions from China.
Medicare Part D Drug program was passed (unpaid for) and we
borrowed more hundreds of billions of dollars from China.
Seniors are grateful for the program, especially as the new
health bill has expanded it, but it is still not paid for. So
we borrow hundreds of billions from China.
2008, after 8 years of tax cuts, two incredibly expensive
wars, gifts to the oil companies, health insurance companies,
and a falsely inflated stock market, our economy collapsed. So
President Bush came to Congress and said if hundreds of
billions were not immediately given to the "desperate" banks,
they would crash "over the weekend". So Congress complied, and
gave the banks hundreds of billions of dollars (unpaid for).
__Immediately after coming to office, President Obama, faced
with a runaway train careening downhill, went to Congress and
requested hundreds of billions in stimulus money to put the
brakes on this train. (Most of it going for tax breaks in the
weekly paychecks of Americans) But it was unpaid for, so we
borrowed hundreds of billions from the Chinese.
now the Bush tax cuts are expiring. By the end of December
they will have run for exactly 10 years. Why 10 years? Because
if they had been passed for 10 years and 1 day, Congress would
have had to show how they would be paid for (it's the law).
Nobody wanted to do a foolish thing like spell out how we
would pay for this tax giveaway.
here we are. The tax breaks for 100% of income tax payers will
go up on January 1, 2011 if nothing is done. President Obama
has proposed this: Keep the tax break in place for ALL
AMERICANS on the first $250,000 they earn. Now understand,
this $250,000 is ADJUSTED income - -after the deduction of
mortgages on mansions, and second mansions or even livable
yachts or $500,000+ motor homes. The $250,000 is a net
figure AFTER all DEDUCTIONS, and may actually be $300,000, or
millions more. And even the rich would only see a tax increase
on net income that exceeds $250,000 - -after they take all
their deductions. Nothing would change for them on the
now the very rich are screaming like hogs being shocked toward
their slaughter. Remember, they are the ones who were at the
center of the crash. Remember, they are the ones who's stocks
have now doubled in value under our current president. They
are the ones who's companies have been bailed out with
debt being saddled to the backs of all Americans. They are the
ones with companies earning record profits this year. They are
the ones who's companies are hoarding trillions on corporate
balance sheets, threatening not to create jobs unless this tax
cut is given to them personally. They are the ones we bailed
out, and who are now taking hundreds of thousands, millions,
and even billions in personal bonuses this year. How could
they possibly return to the tax rates of the Clinton years?
.... You remember, those years when over 20,000,000 jobs were
created, business and stocks boomed, and the Federal budget
was balanced. The economy was doing so well that candidates in
2,000 were actually arguing over how to spend the surplus.
what is the actual increase the rich would pay on the
remaining $250,000 after all deductions? - - NOTHING!!
NO CHANGE!! NOTTA!! But what if they have an
actual income of $300,000 after all deductions? The percentage
increase on the $50,000 earned over $250,000 would be 4.5%, or
the dollar increase in tax would be $2,250.
Poor babies. If they make $500,000
(half a million) after all deductions, the total dollar
increase would be $11, 250. Not a bad increase for half a
million. And if they earn a million after the mansions and
yachts are deducted? Taxes would increase by $33,750. Now they
are asking the American people to borrow more hundreds of
billions from China to support their tax cuts.
__SENIORS, I am warning you, they do have a plan for how to
raise the money to deal with the deficit, and get their tax
cuts. It will come from Social Security and Medicare if we are
not careful. The republican co-chair of the President's
Deficit Commission has called Social Security recipients
"lesser people". Further, he has implied that Social Security
and Medicare recipients are "sucking at the tits of 310
matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican - - listen up.
This deficit commission released its report this Friday,
December 2, 2010. Read it very carefully. And listen to the
comments from the incoming Republican committee chairmen. Some
of them have an anti-Social Security and Medicare agenda, and
intend to push it. Our economic lives as Seniors are on the
line, and the chopping block.
TO SENIORS AGAIN PROPOSED BY DEMOCRATS
October 16, 2010 - The federal
government announced yesterday that tens of millions of Social
Security recipients will go through another year in 2011
without an increase in their monthly benefits, marking only
the second year without an increase since automatic
adjustments for inflation were adopted. The first year was
2010. The cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are set each
year by an inflation measure that was adopted by Congress back
in 1975. Sen. *Bernie Sanders *(I-VT) announced that when
Congress returns in November, he will press for passage of
$250 in emergency relief for Social Security recipients and
disabled veterans to compensate for the lack of a COLA. That
same proposal was defeated in the Senate on March 3, when only
one Republican voted to allow the amendment to be considered.
Sanders said the estimated $13 billion cost of the help for
seniors is only a fraction of the $70 billion in annual tax
breaks that Senate Republicans are pushing for the wealthiest
The House will vote in November - after congressional
elections - on a bill to provide a $250 payment to Social
Security recipients, House Speaker *Nancy Pelosi* said.
Already, in July, House Ways and Means Social Security
Subcommittee Chairman Rep. *Earl Pomeroy* (D-ND) introduced
H.R. 5987, The Seniors Protection Act of 2010, legislation to
assist seniors, retired veterans, and disabled individuals on
Social Security with a one-time $250 payment in the event that
no inflation adjustment for 2011 is announced. President
*Obama* also supports the $250 payment.
We should also remember that, as difficult as
things are in this country now, they would become worse if
candidates are elected on November 2 who want to cut or
privatize Social Security. Where does your candidate stand on
these senior issues?
UPDATE DECEMBER 8, 2010 - IT HAS
PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY - CALL OR
E-MAIL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE AND SENATORS NOW!
Citing hard times all over, Republicans block $250 bonus for
disabled, and veterans
December 8, 2010 -
Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Democrat, went to the Senate floor
within minutes of the vote and sounded dumb-founded.
"I just stand here
amazed at what just happened in the United States Senate,
although I shouldn't be," Brown said. He contrasted
Republicans' unwillingness to spend an estimated $13 billion
to cover the one-time $250 bonuses for seniors with their
insistence on extending Bush-era tax cuts that Brown said will
cost $700 billion over ten years.
GOP blocks legislation to award
seniors $250 - Yahoo! News
Dec 8, 2010 ...
GOP blocks legislation to award seniors $250 ...
President Barack Obama and Democrats have urged approval of
the one-time payment, saying seniors
barely getting by ... Later, the Senate voted 53-45
on a measure to bring the Social .... Why do goverement
employees have own pensions they should be on ...
GOP blocks Democratic effort to award seniors $250 in lieu of
lack of COLA increase next year
Dec. 8, 2010 -
WASHINGTON - House and Senate Republicans on Wednesday
thwarted Democratic efforts to award $250 checks to Social
Security recipients facing a second consecutive year without a
cost-of-living increase. President Barack Obama and Democrats
have urged approval of the one-time payment, saying seniors
barely getting by on their Social Security checks face undue
hardships without the COLA increase.
Dec 8, 2010 ...
Republicans' vote against covering the Social
Security cost of living ... helping seniors make ends
meet comes just one week after they voted to ...
(H.R. 5987) will provide 54 million seniors with a
one-time payment of ...
Panel proposes $3.8T savings
plan, Social Security changes
USA Today -
November 10, 2010
WASHINGTON — The leaders of a federal
commission charged with finding ways to reduce the
government's $13.7 trillion debt Wednesday recommended
more than $3.8 trillion in savings over the next decade.
unexpectedly expands bonus payments for Medicare Advantage
Baltimore Sun (blog)
November 17, 2010
The three-year plan goes beyond what the health law called
for in creating the bonuses. The law says bonuses, which
start in 2012, would go to insurers that ...
Andy Harris demanded to know why his health care plan
takes a month to kick in. | AP Photo Close By GLENN
THRUSH | 11/15/10 9:54 PM EST Updated: 11/16/10 6:19
AM EST A conservative Maryland physician elected to
Congress on an anti-Obamacare
Scream out with your emails if you
oppose "earmarks", Seniors
MiamiHerald.com - November 10, 2010
WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Jim DeMint are headed
for a showdown vote on earmarks next ...
Post (blog) -
November 10, 2010
The battle between Senate Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell and rival Sen. Jim DeMint (RS.C.)
over a plan to ban earmarks is another indication
LANewsMonitor.com - November 7,
Today is November 7 and it's time you
should change the batteries in your smoke detectors and
carbon monoxide detectors, as the Daylight Saving Time
Unemployment Benefits Extension Nixed: 6 Things
You Need to Know
November 18, 2010 - In
a largely party-line vote, the U.S. House of Representatives
failed today to pass an
extension of unemployment benefits
that would have guaranteed delivery of checks to the jobless
through Feb. 28. Republicans argued that continuing to pay for
the extension represents one more expense the federal
government cannot afford. Democrats, on the other hand,
likened continuing benefits to the bailouts that have helped
save the auto industry and the U.S. financial sector.
how did your Representative vote?
Security Privatizer Likely to Lead Key House Panel
November 5, 2010 - Rep. *Paul Ryan* (R-WI) will likely become
the next chairman of the House Budget Committee. Rep. Ryan's
Roadmap proposes lower Social Security benefits for wealthy
retirees and a shift toward private accounts, as well as the
replacement of Medicare and Medicaid with vouchers and state
block grants. On Tuesday night, 78 elected officials who
support Social Security privatization were sent back to either
the House or the Senate, and that doesn't even include all the
incoming freshmen whose political consultants told them to
just lay low on Social Security during the campaign.
Unfortunately, the idea of privatization is alive and well on
Capitol Hill. Be concerned.
HEALTH INSURERS RAISE RATES,
WHILE INCREASING RESERVES AND RAISING THEIR SALERIES!
Posted by SeniorArk
October 27, 2010
Seattle Post Intelligencer
October 26, 2010
Most Group Health senior executives had raises ranging from a
total of 18 to 31 percent over two years. Premera spokesman
Earling sidestepped a question on
17000 US Doctors Paid By Drug Companies To Spread Their
Today - October 19, 2010
Although 74% of Americans take a dim
view of doctors receiving payments from pharmaceutical
companies, over 17000 physicians are doing just that, and
some of them are receiving huge quantities, a new
investigation from ProPublica reveals.
Ask YOUR doctor what benefits they have received from drug
companies in the last year. ( i.e.. lunches, trips, gifts,
cash, checks ) Also, if your doctor does not want to
prescribe generics, and steers you to the brand name, be
very suspicious. Some are paid a bonus based on this
VICTORY FOR QUALITY LONG TERM CARE
October 30, 2010 Last month, Governor
Rendell signed an Executive Order creating a Consumer
Workforce Council for Pennsylvania. The CWC will serve
caregivers and consumers who operate in the consumer-directed
long term care model. Most of the time, these patients
are seniors who hire a friend or family member to provide them
with care. The state pays for
this through Medicaid. However, the state currently pays
minimum wage without any benefits. The CWC will allow
these workers to collectively bargain with the state for a
living wage and benefits. Seniors who hire these workers
will now have a more stable workforce. The CWC can even
help seniors find a replacement if their worker needs a day
off. By making this a more viable long term care
option, countless seniors will be able to stay in their own
home, rather than move into a nursing home.
In-home care is cheaper for the state, so keeping seniors in
their homes will more than make up for the increased labor
costs. The Consumer Workforce Council is truly a
win-win-win: better care for seniors, better pay for workers
and savings for the taxpayers! We applaud Governor
Rendell for making this wonderful program a reality in PA.
November 7, 2010 -
The South Carolina Republican saw the United States going to
war with the Islamic republic “not
to just neutralize their nuclear program, but to sink their
navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to
the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime.”
SeniorArk says, "Be very afraid of these hawks. This is the
attitude that has already bankrupted our country financially,
and our moral standing in the world."
GEORGE BUSH REGRETS NOT BEING ABLE TO REFORM
October 22, 2010 On Thursday, George W. Bush said
that his greatest failure in office was not passing Social
Security reform. Bush made the remarks while speaking in
Chicago at a conference for a finance trade association. He
had sought to push through legislation after he won
re-election in 2004 that would have privatized Social
Security. "The former President's comments unfortunately prove
once again that Republicans would privatize Social Security if
given another chance to do so," said Edward F. Coyle,
Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.
2010 - Read the official announcement on the 2011 COLA
from the Social Security Administration.
October 11, 2010 - It is important that Seniors
recognize the lies that are being told about the Healthcare
Reform Laws, and their effects on Medicare. These lies are
being spread to frighten us, and they are baseless.
THE U.S. IS ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE A MODERATE TO STRONG LA
September 11, 2010 - La Nina winters often result in
flooding and avalanche problems in the Pacific Northwest,
drought in the Southwest, the start of drought conditions
in the Southeast and bouts of unseasonable -- perhaps
record-breaking -- warmth in the South and East. (read
SIMPLIFIED AND REDUCED NUMBER OF PART D STAND-ALONE DRUG PLANS
Medicare is expected to release its list of drug plans for
2011 late next month. Instead of 40 or more choices in each
state, seniors may have around 30 plans to pick from. Besides
eliminating duplicative basic coverage, insurers that offer
more than one enhanced coverage plan will have to show they
are clearly different.
4, 2010 - This morning SeniorArk.com sent a message to
Medicare observing that we were unable to determine if their
Medicare Plan Comparisons (on Medicare.gov) were addressing
2010 or 2011. We see this a s a serious oversight. Already
they have responded as follows.
Response from Medicare Representative: "I apologize for
any inconvenience this may have caused. Usually, the upcoming
year’s information is updated in mid October.
Thank you for your suggestion that we make it clearer which
year’s information is available to review."
We hope they will immediately clear up this unfortunate
confusion. In the meantime, until they address the Plans
available in 2011, we will need to go directly to the sites of
the private insurers for our areas. Cumbersome, but the best
available source at this time.
TopNews New Zealand -
September 13, 2010 -
As per the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration the number
of elderly adults getting admissions to substance-abuse
treatment facilities ...
September 3, 2010 - "It would be unwise to assume that any
large number of species can be lost today without forever
altering the basic biological character of Earth's oceans,"
John Alroy of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, wrote
in his study, published this week in the journal
SIMPSON (R-WYOMING) SAYS SOCIAL SECURITY
IS “a milk cow with 310 million tits.”
August 26, 2010 - Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R)
will keep his job on President Obama’s deficit panel despite
pressure from advocacy groups worried about his comments
to “a milk cow with
310 million tits.”
An e-mail containing the feisty former Wyoming senator's
remarks surfaced Wednesday, igniting concern regarding the
future of the entitlement program.
"Alan Simpson has apologized and while we regret and do not
condone his comments, we accept his apology and he will
continue to serve,” Jennifer Psaki, the White House deputy
communications director, told The New York Times.
Simpson is known for blunt talk and
confrontational, colorful language. Certain activist groups
also insist he's out to balance the budget on the backs of
seniors by slashing into
and are trying to use the lawmaker's penchant for
overstatement to get him off the influential White
The controversial e-mail, posted online by the National Older
Women's League, was dated Monday and addressed to OWL director
Ashley Carson. In it, Simpson was responding to an April
article Carson wrote critical of Simpson's Social Security
stance. Carson suggested Simpson's approach was based on
"ageism and sexism." (READ
JITTERS? BETTER PREPARE NOW The program, (Social Security)
which has its own dedicated stream of income, is projected to
pay out more this year than it is taking in, but that is a
function of the weak economy. Social Security, according to
the last annual report from its trustees, will be
able to pay full benefits through 2037. Then, if there are
no changes in the program in the meantime, the taxes collected
will be enough to pay out only about 75 percent of benefits
(Read entire article)
HEALTH CARE LAW
STRENGTHENS MEDICARE, TRUSTEES REPORT FINDS
August 6, 2010 - The Medicare and Social Security trust fund
report came out on Thursday and found that the health care
reform law has strengthened Medicare's financial condition,
with the program expected to remain solvent for an additional
12 years. Specifically, the new report says that Medicare will
be able to fully pay its bills until 2029, compared with last
year's forecast of 2017. Also due to the impact of health
reform, beneficiaries' Medicare premiums and cost sharing will
be reduced. In addition, the trustees say that Medicare's
shortfall over the next 75 years - a time frame that the
trustees are required under law to consider - has decreased
substantially, from nearly 4 percent of taxable payroll in
last year's report to less than 1 percent. The new health care
law includes a groundbreaking number of reforms that will
modernize the Medicare delivery system, making the program a
smarter purchaser of health care that rewards value over
volume. Trustees reported that Social Security will remain
solvent through 2037, the same year as was forecast in 2009.
COMMENT ON EXTENDING THE TAX
CUTS - SeniorArk Opinion
September 12, 2010 - Ten years ago
the Bush administration, with a Republican congress, passed a
tax cut for all working Americans, with the largest amount
going to the top 1 - 2% of earners - those making over
$250,000 after tax deductions and other loopholes. Do you know
why it was scheduled to expire after 10 years? The reason is
disturbing and informative. If a tax cut is made permanent, or
in excess of 10 years in duration, the congress must show how
they will be paid for. Since this was not possible, we
borrowed trillions from the Chinese for ten years to
give this break, and it has grossly increased the deficit.
Some Republicans argued that tax cuts pay for themselves, but
as former Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan said recently,
history has proven this to be untrue.
Now, the Obama administration
proposes extending the tax break for everyone earning less
than $250,000, and for the first $250,000 earned even by those
who are the super-rich. Republicans would have us extend the
tax breaks exactly as enacted by the Bush administration ten
years ago. At the same time they are piling on Obama for the
deficit. It cannot be had both ways.
During the first eight years of
this century, aided by excessive tax cuts, the gap between the
super-rich and the other 98% of American citizens has
skyrocketed. In fact, many economists say that the reason our
economy has faltered is because the 98% no longer can afford
to "buy" as they have in the past. The wealthy save and
invest, while the middle class spends. If they cannot afford
to spend, then the economy collapses. This destructive circle
must end now.
2009-2010 RECOVERY ACT: HUGE TAX CREDITS
FOR ENERGY EFFICIENT PRODUCTS
Applies through December 31, 2010 - -
The Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009 stimulus) offers huge
investment tax credits for a range of high energy products for
your home. Windows, doors, heating, roofs, and alternative
energy-producers all participate. If you are having difficulty
in selling an existing home, energy-saving improvements could
be the key. Few know of these provisions, so move quickly to
avoid backups in supplies and contractors.
Read the Details and Cash In
MedPage Today -
August 19, 2010 -
WASHINGTON -- Medicare beneficiaries
enrolled in the Part D will pay an average of $30 per
month for their prescription drug benefit premiums in
2011, a $1 increase over what they paid this ...
New York Times -
August 16, 2010
Social Security turned 75 last week. It
should have been a joyous occasion, a time to celebrate a
program that has brought dignity and decency to the lives
of older Americans.
USA Today - -
August 5, 2010
WASHINGTON - Medicare and Social
Security won't run short of money to pay beneficiaries for
about two decades or more, but the inexorable aging of the
Baby Boom generation will drain the trust funds unless
14, 2010 was the 75th Anniversary of the day that President
Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security program
75, and still working full-time!
Seniors are especially at
risk in high heat situations. Large
USA are experiencing extreme temperatures at the moment.
Caregivers need to check on the elderly. If you live in
another city, call the police department, or someone you know,
to check on your loved one. Does an elderly person live in
your neighborhood? Go knock on the door and ask how things are
going. Do NOT accept the first answer.
We all want to say, "OH, I'm ok, don't worry." The
person may not realize they are suffering from heat
exhaustion. Invite them into air conditioning, offer to take
them to an air conditioned mall or other building. Sit in a
hospital waiting room. Anything to get out of the heat for a
while. Ask a senior to become an overnight guest.
21 WAYS TO MAKE
EXTRA MONEY IN RETIREMENT
July 25, 2010 - We
found a great article that discusses 21 ideas on how you can
add to your retirement income. Hope one or more of these will
work for you.
HHS UNVEILS NEW PREVENTIVE CARE BENEFITS UNDER
HEALTH REFORM BILL
Posted by SeniorArk July 16, 2010 - On Wednesday, the
Department of Health and Human Services released their new
preventive care rules, which are included in the new health
care law. The rules make it easier and more affordable for
seniors on Medicare and Americans enrolled in Medicaid to
access preventive screenings and services. For seniors
enrolling in a new health plan on or after September 23, 2010,
their plans will be required to cover recommended preventative
services such as mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, and
annual check-ups, without charging a co-pay, co-insurance, or
deductible. Some of the covered preventive services for
seniors include colorectal cancer screening for adults over
50, diet counseling, as well as Type 2 Diabetes and
cholesterol screening. To see the full list of covered
services, visit the official HHS website at http://bit.ly/asJydX
[ http://bit.ly/asJydX ].
States are Cutting Pension Costs in a Variety of Ways,
June 25, 2010 - A New York Times story on budget cuts
and pensions last Sunday stated that Illinois has raised its
retirement age to 67, the highest of any state. Arizona, New
York, Missouri and Mississippi will be making people work more
years to earn pensions; and Virginia is requiring employees to
pay into the state pension fund for the first time. Nearly all
of the cuts so far apply only to workers not yet hired. An
exception is Colorado, which has imposed cuts on its current
workers, not just future hires, and even on people who have
already retired. The retirees have sued to block the
reduction. Illinois is putting less money into its pension
fund now, starting with $300 million this year - raising the
risk of a collapse long before the real savings start to
materialize. Some other states are raising employee
contributions. New Jersey officials are quietly looking into
whether it, too, could reduce the benefits that current
employees can expect to accumulate in the future.
Read Full Story
Insurers Against Hiking Rates for Medicare Advantage
California Healthline -
Last week, HHS Secretary Kathleen
Sebelius sent a letter warning insurers not to increase
premiums or copayments for beneficiaries enrolled in
Medicare Advantage programs, the Wall Street Journal
for Early Retirees, Those with Pre-Existing Conditions
Posted by SeniorArk 7-5-10 - The Department of Health and
Human Services' (HHS') Office of Consumer Information and
Insurance Oversight (OCIIO) announced that it will begin
accepting applications for the Early Retiree Reinsurance
Program (ERRP). Many Americans who retire without
employer-sponsored insurance and before they are eligible for
Medicare are denied coverage or see their life savings
disappear because of exorbitant rates in the individual
market. Created by the Affordable Care Act as a bridge to the
new health insurance marketplace established by the Exchanges
in 2014, this $5 billion program will provide much needed
financial assistance for employers, including businesses,
unions, state and local governments, and nonprofits, so
retirees can get quality, affordable insurance. Until
Americans have access to affordable insurance plans through
health insurance Exchanges in 2014, this program will make it
easier for retirees and their families to maintain their
employer-based coverage. Applications for the program, as well
as fact sheets and application assistance, can be found at
NEW HIGHER INCOME LIMITS FOR EXTRA HELP IN PAYING FOR
June 23, 2010 - The "Extra Help" program subsidizes
the cost of prescription drugs for low-income Medicare
beneficiaries. Income and resource calculation changes made
under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act
(MIPPA) of 2008 mean seniors with an annual income of less
than $16,245 a year (or $21,855 for married couples) could be
eligible to pay $2.50 for generic drugs and $6.30 for brand
name drugs under the program. For example, life insurance
policies and family assistance are no longer counted as
resources or income, according to CMS.
It is estimated that 1.8 million seniors are eligible
but not yet enrolled in the "Extra Help" program, according to
CMS. These new eligibilities coincide with a $250 check for
seniors who fall into the Medicare Part D coverage gap that is
being mailed out this week. Beneficiaries who qualify for
Medicare "Extra Help" do not fall into that gap. More
information is available at
this Social Security site.
on Aging: Social Security Only Needs Modest Changes
May 22, 2010 -
Social Security faces a $5.3 trillion shortfall over the next
75 years, but a new congressional report says the gap could be
erased with only modest changes to payroll taxes and benefits.
Many changes wouldn't affect current recipients, according to
the report by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Sen. Herb
Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the committee, said small "tweaks"
are all that is needed to bolster Social Security's finances
for future generations of retirees. "Modest changes can be
made over time that will keep the program in surplus," Kohl
told The Associated Press. The report lays out options for
fixing Social Security, but does not endorse any of them. Kohl
said lawmakers will probably combine several options to ease
their impact. The panel's analysis will be presented to
President Obama's Fiscal Commission. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH),
who sits on the Commission, said recently that raising the
Social Security retirement age would not have much of an
impact on someone's "lifestyle." "He must be referring to his
own lifestyle, and not that of thousands of Granite State
residents who work in physically demanding construction and
service sector jobs," said Charlie Balban, President of the
New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.
Seniors---Did You Know?
Twenty percent of Americans
receive Medicare insurance through private insurance
companies. The program is called Part "C", or Medicare
Advantage. Many Seniors believe that the Part B insurance
premium we all pay (now $96.40/mo), and a small premium paid
to the private insurer, covers our care. NO WAY! Your private
insurer is paid between $9,600 and $12,000 each year to cover
your individual health expense. Is it any wonder that the
health insurance stocks are soaring on the back of our
Medicare trust fund? Mystery solved as to why insurers are
paying big dollars for your congressman's vote on any
healthcare issue. Democrats have said these payments are
excessive, and propose cutting them by about 15%. Opponents
have used this cut to decry a "Democratic cut in Medicare",
when in fact it is intended to bring these payments more in
line with the real costs of Senior healthcare. We have a lot
of trouble believing the crocodile tears of conservatives who
are complaining about Medicare cuts, when the base of their
party proposes a total elimination of the program.
At the same time we mistrust the strident
efforts of the AARP, and the Alliance for Retired Americans,
both of which supported these Medicare Advantage cuts, while
at the same time profiting from Medigap supplement programs
that would benefit from such cuts. Both AARP and The Alliance
for Retired Americans offer supplement programs, but not
Medicare Advantage. Hmmm! Where is the truth?
Announces Discount to Part D Beneficiaries in the Doughnut
May 30, 2010 - Last Friday, the Center for Medicare and
Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidelines for Medicare
Part D prescription drug plan sponsors to guarantee that,
starting in 2011, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Part D
will qualify for a 50% savings on their prescription drugs,
along with some authorized generic drugs. Upon entrance into
the coverage gap, or "doughnut hole," eligible seniors will
see the discount when they buy their drugs at their local
pharmacy counter. Additional savings on prescription drugs for
seniors will take effect over time, until the doughnut hole is
closed by 2020. Addressing the coverage gap is an important
part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of
2010, the health care law signed by the President this year.
Note this important
change to Part D Enrollment: The new health reform law
changes and extends the annual enrollment period for Medicare
Part D plans. Anyone interested in switching plans should keep
in mind the new enrollment period is now October 15 - December
Did You Know?
Social Security represents a smaller share of GDP now than it
did in Ronald Reagan's first term as president (Huffingtonpost.com).
Social Security Trust Fund Analysis: Need to Look at the Long
Social Security took in only $3
billion more in taxes last year than it paid out in benefits -
a $60 billion decline from 2008, according to federal data.
The recession is blamed in part, as it added to the hundreds
of thousands of workers retiring or claiming disability. USA
Today, using Congressional Budget Office numbers, reports that
the impact of the recession is likely to reduce Social
Security revenues again this year and next. The slide in
revenues occurred sooner than Social Security actuaries had
expected, for several reasons: Payroll tax revenue that was
growing at a 4.5% average annual clip along with wages
flattened out in 2009 because of rising unemployment and
disappearing pay raises; the number of retired workers who
began taking benefits increased by 20%; those taking
disability jumped by 10%; and monthly Social Security benefits
were raised 5.8% due to a spike in energy prices the year
before. The overall surplus of the Social Security Trust Fund
is still $2.5 trillion; this is not a cataclysm. We must look
at the financial picture of Social Security as actuaries do,
over the long-term, which would be over a 75-year timeline. We
cannot allow privatizers to use temporary recessions - even
deep ones - to ruin the system that has worked for millions of
MARCH IS YOUR LAST OPPORTUNITY TO ACT UNTIL NOVEMBER
IS THE SENIORARK BIG RED
MEDICARE NEWS BOX
(Your source for
the latest Medicare information, as you make decisions for
helpful information on Medicare, Parts A, B, C, and D, the
Donut Hole, the
CPI-W, Current Medicare News
Articles, and much more, see our
you must look at your Medicare Advantage Plan Today
You can still make changes between January 1 and March 31,
When January 1 arrives, your worries about
Medicare Advantage are not over. Not yet. And that is very
good. What you do right now can determine how well you do for
the rest of the year in getting the medical care and
prescriptions you need. If you still have concerns about
whether you are in the right Medicare Advantage Plan
(20% of Seniors choose this method of receiving Medicare), you
have until March 31 to make additional changes.
I turned 65 the day before Christmas 2007,
Selecting a Medicare Advantage Plan that also covered my
prescriptions, was a traumatic experience. My choice for 2010
was much the same. I have been
studying and writing about the nuances of Medicare for over
four years on SeniorArk, and in various other publications.
But until I entered the scene myself, I had no idea of the
extreme confusion surrounding the process. Even now, having
made an "informed" decision for 2010, I am not completely
sure I have made the best choice for my needs. I have a plan
that will work, and it includes Prescription Drug coverage,
but Pennsylvania has some 100+ plan possibilities out there,
all being offered by private insurance companies interested
more in my money than my health. During insurance company
plan presentations I heard misrepresentation, half-truths, and
outright misinformation. But a choice was needed, so one was
So then, if our decisions on Part "D" or
Medicare Advantage were made between November 15 and December
31, what is there to do between January 1 and March 31? Well,
(1) Here is exactly what Medicare
says we can do between January 1 and March 31:
"Between January 1 through March 31 of
each year. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month
after the plan gets your enrollment form. During this period,
you can't do the following:
switch to a plan with prescription drug coverage unless you
already have Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).
Drop a plan with prescription drug
Join, switch, or drop a Medicare
Medical Savings Account Plan."
Here are the different coverage scenarios permitted during
Medicare Advantage open enrollment:
If a person on Medicare currently has
coverage in a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug
coverage, they can use open enrollment to select a different
Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage,
Original Medicare and a stand-alone prescription drug plan,
or a Medicare Advantage Private-Fee-For-Service Plan and a
stand-alone prescription drug plan.
If a person on Medicare currently has
coverage in a Medicare Advantage Plan with no prescription
drug coverage, they can use open enrollment to select a
Medicare Advantage Plan or Original Medicare without
prescription drug coverage.
If a person on Medicare currently has
coverage in Original Medicare with a stand-alone
prescription drug plan, they can use open enrollment to
select a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug
coverage or a Medicare Advantage Private-Fee-For-Service
Plan with the same stand-alone prescription drug plan.
If a person on Medicare currently has
coverage in Original Medicare without a stand-alone
prescription drug plan, they can use open enrollment to
select a Medicare Advantage Plan without prescription drug
(2) Now let's assume that you review
the details of your Medicare Advantage plan and decide that
you are in the right Medicare Advantage plan with
prescription drug coverage. Or you are in traditional Medicare
with a stand-alone part D drug plan. Then today you
need to think about the doughnut hole. The best time to begin
avoiding it is right now. This week I met with my doctor to go
over the salad of drugs that seem necessary to keep me going
each month. I told him I wanted to find a generic for every
one of them. He was willing to do that with one exception, and
I may still decide to change that one. It is a statin, and I'm
not convinced that Lipitor is necessarily better than several
others out there. I will need to do a little research on that.
Here are some
examples of the savings when switching from Brand to Generic:
200mg, a medication used for arthritis, costs about $100 for
a one-month supply. Replace with Meloxican 15 mg
(generic for Mobic) costs about $8. Cost
20mg, used for cholesterol, costs about $111 for a month's
supply. Simvastatin, (generic for Zocor) cost
30mg, a medication for heartburn, costs about $144 for a
one-month supply. Omeprazole 20mg (generic for
Prilosec) costs about $27, or a savings of $1400/yr.
145mg, a medication for triglicerides, costs around $100/mo.
Fenofibrate (generic for Tricor) costs $37, for a
savings of about $750/yr.
2010, in the "stand-alone" Part "D" plans, you are paying the
first $310 of annual drug costs, and then 25% of the next
$2,520 ($630). After that, you will pay 100% of the next
$3,610. This is the doughnut hole. (see
chart) How fast
you reach this expenditure level is determined by what your
pharmacy bills your insurance company, not what the
insurance company pays your pharmacy. If you are using
generics, it will take much longer to reach the doughnut hole
than if you are using brand name drugs.
the way, this is also a good time to go over your medications
to determine if you still need every one of them. Over time,
medications are prescribed that should be given for a limited
time, but they are never stopped. Several doctors, including
your specialists, may have written prescriptions that just
keep refilling automatically long after their need ends.
Doctors are so busy these days, that many overlook this. Make
online to see if you you qualify for
with your Medicare expenses.
( click your state on the
map at this page)
or call your state's agency on aging, or the equivalent
department, to determine if you may actually qualify for
additional state prescription help. There is a lot of it out
there. My state, Pennsylvania, has 2 tremendous plans for
couples earning less than $31,500, and individuals below
$23,500. You may be passing up help that is staring at you.
"Surviving the Doughnut Hole"
page for 14 ideas on dealing with
the doughnut hole.
Let's assume that you looked over your paperwork, and decide
that you may have made a Medicare Advantage mistake. Now there
are two choices: live with it until next year (changing to
something else between November 15 and December 31, 2008), or
switching NOW to a Another Medicare Advantage Plan,
occasionally called Medicare Health Plan, and
also called Medicare "C". (see
Open enrollment has not ended for these plans. Open enrollment
for Medicare Advantage plans goes until March 31. This
plan is not administered by the government, but is handled by
private insurance companies. It combines Medicare A, B and D.
There are a wide variety of plans, and types of Medicare
If you take a number of prescription drugs, however, it gets
more difficult to choose. Certain plans might cover some of
the drugs you need but not all of them. But there are a number
of resources to help you choose.
Medicare's Part D, or Medicare
Advantage Plan Finder
enables you to enter your drugs, for your area, and determine
which plan makes the most sense for you.
Be aware that
if you switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must review
much more than just the Part "D" portion of the policy. That
insurance carrier takes over your "full care", and provides
the features of Parts A, B, and D. Study which doctors,
hospitals, and other types of care are included with the
policy. Medicare pays the Medicare Advantage insurance
provider around $650/month for every month you are in
their care, whether you need them or not.
We hope all of
this adds to your options, and not to your confusion, If
questions remain, you can always search at
or call 1-800-MEDICARE. There may also be a state
representative available to give you some help.
So what was
my choice with Medicare and/or Part "D" for 2010?
I opted for a
very different Medicare Advantage plan this year. My premium
for last year's policy went to $76/mo., and the benefits were
severely reduced. This year I have gone to Highmark-Freedom
Blue PPO. There are NO monthly premiums, but I do have a $1200
annual deductible on the larger expenses. My premiums alone
would have been $912 under my old plan, and co-pays would have
pushed it quickly over $1200 if I needed any hospital or lab
related care. We'll see how this works. I am a
government-created gambler; I gamble on what I will need
during the next year. What a system. I have no deductible in
the drug portion of the program, and will pay $7/mo for
generics and more for brand names. There is no donut hole
coverage, but I found that I did not reach the donut hole last
comment. I think it is obscene that our government puts us
through this traumatic, risky, confusing process. I totally
support a "single-payer" system, run by the highly competent
Medicare section of the Department of Health and Human
Services. They can administer the program more cheaply, and
would have huge negotiating power with drug and other
suppliers. The only thing standing in the way has been
Congressional backbone, and Presidential consent. Insurance
and drug lobbyists have wielded enough power to control these
programs up to this point. Until it is changed, we must sift
through this program as best we can. Best wishes.
You may also want to read:
Medicare Advantage open season
I'm Falling into the Doughnut Hole
much more helpful information on Medicare, Parts A, B, C, and
D, the Donut Hole, the CPI- W, Current Medicare News
Articles, and much more, see our
Insurance Premium Increase of 39% in California Adds to Health
The health care problem remains on the center stage now
that Anthem Blue Cross of California has unveiled rate
increases of up to 39 percent for its 800,000 individual
policyholders. The increases, which will take effect on March
1, far outpace the increases of 10 to 25% seen in previous
years among most insurers offering individual policies. Kaiser
Health News and The San Diego Union-Tribune report that as the
economy slowly recovers, health insurance costs for those with
individual policies continue to increase due to larger numbers
of unemployed and those relying on government health care
programs. As a result, "hospitals and doctors are passing on
more of their uncompensated costs to patients with private
insurance." The San Francisco Chronicle adds that "California
occupational and speech therapists are also taking issue with
Anthem. The therapists said the insurer cut their
reimbursement rates by 30 to 50% on February 1. In addition,
the Chronicle reports that patients covered by other health
insurers, including Health Net and Aetna, are reporting being
hit with sky-high increases. "This is exactly the kind of news
that proves we need health care reform immediately," said
Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance For Retired
ABC News -
In the midst of a deep
economic recession, America's health insurance companies
increased their profits by 56 percent in 2009, a year that
saw 2.7 million people lose their private coverage.
If you had spent $26,000,000 per
day since the day Jesus was born, you still would not have
spent as much as the United States has spent on defense since
World War II.
FELLOW SENIORS, CONSIDER THIS
We seniors are in a pretty good position.
(1) We have a fixed income--something much of the population
would love to have.
(2) We have government-run, single payer health insurance
(Medicare), something that 50-70 million Americans would fall
on their knees to get.
(3) We received a 5.8% cost-of living adjustment last year.
(4) We have a health insurance premium (part B) that cannot go
up if there is no cost of living increase. (applies to most
Seniors who earn less than $85,000 single/$170,000 for
(5) Obama has negotiated with drug companies to reduce the
cost of medications, paid by seniors, by 50% in the donut
hole. (May be dependent upon the final health insurance reform
Obama has no control over whether there is, or is not, a
cost of living adjustment. That was established by law
many years ago. The President has proposed a special $250
payment to every Senior in 2010, but its passage is still in
question. (See the very next article below)
* Now, we do have another legitimate
issue: does the CPI-W - - the index that determines our COLA -
- truly reflect Senior expenses. We think not, and we need to
let our congress people know that. (See
SeniorArk article on this subject)
* And indeed another legitimate is is
the difficulty of a single senior living on a single Social
Security check. Since the gals usually outlive the guys, these
single income folks are mostly women.
Pass the Health Insurance
Reform Bill, Then Work to Make it Comprehensive
March 1, 2010 - Robert
Fassbach, editor: www.SeniorArk.com
On December 7, 2009
SeniorArk withdrew support for the current Health Insurance
Reform effort. (See
article) The bill had been so
weakened by conservative Democrats, independent Joe Lieberman,
and Republicans who feigned bi-partisanship, that it became
little more than a jackpot for private health insurance
companies. There is little "reform". We can only hope that if
it passes, it will become the foundation for more sweeping
reform. We have again changed our position. Today we believe
that passing the bill is better for Americans over 50 than not
passing. Americans over 50 who have no health insurance should
have a better chance of obtaining it through this bill. And
the bill will immediately begin the process of eliminating the
doughnut hole in our prescription drug program. If we believed
that "starting over" would lead to a more comprehensive reform
of the insurance system, we would support it. But those who
call for "starting over" have NO intention of developing such
reform. They want to kill reform, as has happened for decades
under influence from the bloated insurance industry, and those
they buy. Pass this bill as a beginning. Those who vote
against it will again be on the wrong side of history. Similar
thinking voted against the establishment of Social Security,
Medicare, and the G.I. Bill.
- - this bill should only signal the beginning of a more
serious effort to pass sweeping healthcare reform. Pass
the current bill immediately, and start talking about
Medicare for all in America. It should become the drumbeat
of those who would seek universal healthcare. "Medicare for
all" is the drumbeat. Start repeating it. This would be
far simpler, and would result in high quality care for
all, cradle to grave, at a much reduced
price. Medicare has successfully delivered quality
healthcare for nearly 50 years, and with administrative costs
of only 3% (Health insurance companies have balked at being
limited to 15%, and their goal is 35% for costs and profits).
"Medicare for all" is very
workable. The machinery is already in place. No new 2,000
pages (or whatever the critics keep increasing this number to
be). For insurers and drug manufacturers, this proposal is the
ultimate heresy. But Congress is elected to serve the needs of
the citizens, not the profits of companies bent on giving us
as little care as possible.
We cannot sustain a further burden
on the Medicare Trust Fund, so costs to the non-senior member
must be determined, and assessed to the user, or the employer.
But this would be a very efficient, proven, health
"Medicare for all"!!!