The return of the Ryan budget
On March 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a budget plan proposed by House Budget Chair Paul Ryan. The plan would cut $5.7 trillion in spending over 10 years—virtually the same cuts as in the plan he proposed last year, especially when it comes to Medicare. On the Senate side, the budget proposed by Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray is vastly different from Ryan’s. The budget, which was passed by the Senate on March 23, raises $975 billion in tax revenues and doesn’t include any cuts to entitlement benefits. Now that both the House and Senate have passed their own budgets, a bill will be written to reconcile the two.
Read the full story at AFT.org
TAKE ACTION: Sign a petition to stand against Paul Ryan's budget
Sequestration: Don't be fooled
by the quiet before the storm
With all that’s been said and written about "sequestration" over the past several weeks, it's easy to become immune to the idea of sequestration having any real impact on jobs and public services. But don’t be fooled. Sequestration will have a significant effect on Americans across the country. The loss of federal dollars that fund state and local agencies will have a major impact on older Americans. There will be less money for grants to states to cover transportation, coordination of healthcare, housing for seniors and much more.
"There is no way to cut $85 billion in a single year, mainly from discretionary programs—which include most defense spending as well as medical research, education, help for low-income families, food and water safety, law enforcement, and so on—and not see real impacts," writes Sharon Parrott on the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities website.
Read more at AFT.org
Read Randi Weingarten’s New York Times column on the sequester
TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to stop the cuts to vital programs
Advocates seek fix to help Medicare patients
stuck with rehab costs
A fractured pelvis landed Ike Cassuto in the hospital for four days. Although the 88-year-old was transported directly from the hospital to a rehab facility, he was told that Medicare would not cover his rehabilitation costs. His wife, Thalia, a United Federation of Teachers retiree, was stunned. Cassuto’s stay met the three-day minimum Medicare requires before it will pay for rehabilitation, but the hospital had labeled him as an outpatient on "observation status." Medicare would not pay for his rehab, and the couple ended up with a $6,000 bill from the skilled nursing facility where Cassuto stayed for three weeks.
"Our concern for our members is that we want the days spent in observation status to count for the number of days needed to qualify for skilled nursing rehabilitation," says Kathleen Donahue, a New York State United Teachers vice president and AFT vice president who oversees healthcare issues for the state federation.
Tax-time tips for seniors
The tax deadline is right around the corner. Here are a few tips from the National Council on Aging that may help you save money when you file this year.
Check out NCOA's tax tips
Ask "Dear Marci"
This month Emily from Pittsburgh asks: “I have Original Medicare and a Part D plan. What are my Medicare costs in 2013?”
Read what Marci has to say
Pushing back retirement
It used to be that a person retired at 60 or so, but people are pushing back retirement for a variety of reasons, says a New York Times article. Some are waiting to retire because they like working; others want to build up their 401(k) accounts.
“There’s no consensus on what retirement is anymore,” Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, director of the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College told the Times. “We’re starting to rethink it. Truly, today’s grandparents are not like my grandparents. The experience of aging is different. People say, ‘I’m not done yet.’ ”
Read more of the New York Times article