A not-so-grand bargain for seniors
Democrats and Republicans in Congress have yet to reach a compromise on federal spending levels for the next fiscal year, or to strike a deal to raise the debt ceiling. One of the questions being asked is: "Will a 'grand bargain' include cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefit in an effort to avert a partial government shutdown this fall?" The answer is not clear, and it’s that uncertainty that has people, especially seniors, worried.
Read the full story at AFT.org
Tell lawmakers where you stand
1963 March on Washington participant returns
for the 50th anniversary
Retired AFT member Andrew Courtney had just started teaching fine arts at Woodlands High School in Hartsdale, N.Y., in 1963. For Courtney, there was no question about attending the March on Washington. "I was already an activist locally on civil rights issues, but the message of direct but nonviolent activism took hold of me that day. It solidified a lifetime of activism for me."
Read more at AFT.org
Ask "Dear Marci"
This month, Karole writes: “I want to change my Medicare prescription drug plan during Fall Open Enrollment. Do private insurance companies have to follow any rules when they market their Medicare plans?
Read what Marci has to say
401(k) plans have increased retirement inequality
Retirement inequality has gotten worse since 401(k) plans were introduced in the 1980s, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute that explored the impact of defined-contribution plans. At the same time, the percentage of U.S. workers enrolled in employer-based retirement plans has declined. Retirement-income inequality has grown in part because most 401(k) participants are required to contribute to these plans in order to participate, whereas workers are automatically enrolled in defined-benefit pensions.
Check out this Washington Post blog on 401(k)s and inequality
Fight for full funding in Philadelphia continues
Members in Philadelphia are continuing their fight to secure adequate funding for the city's public schools, as the system struggles with problems caused by massive spending cuts, including huge classes, a shortage of key staff and transportation problems. AFT President Randi Weingarten returned to Philadelphia on Sept. 18 to support those efforts. She joined parents, students and teachers on a safety walk from Lea Elementary School. Many students at the school were transferred there after another elementary school building was closed. Now the children have to travel farther and take more dangerous routes that include navigating some busy intersections with no crossing guards.
Meanwhile, a new survey from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that the public blames Gov. Tom Corbett, the state Legislature, Mayor Michael Nutter, the School Reform Commission and other self-described education reform groups for the problems in the city schools. They don't blame teachers and their unions.
The story, video and ad are here
Read the AFL-CIO's resolution on Philadelphia
When it comes to Social Security, Americans agree
The National Academy of Social Insurance recently released a video to celebrate the 78th anniversary of Social Security. The video, "Social Security: Americans Agree," focuses on the results of a national survey that the NASI released earlier this year. The survey found that 7 out of 10 Americans see Social Security as the foundation of their retirement security, 84 percent of Americans say Social Security does not provide enough income to retirees, and 75 percent say we should consider increasing benefits. According to the NASI, Americans would support program changes that provide additional funding for Social Security, such as eliminating the cap on taxable earnings, raising the Social Security tax rate, and increasing the cost-of-living adjustment to better keep up with inflation.
How does the Affordable Care Act affect Medicare? Myths and Facts
The U.S. News & World Report published an article about how the Affordable Care Act affects Medicare beneficiaries. Older adults are often confused about how Medicare works, and ACA changes are adding to the confusion, the article says. The article summarizes several myths about the ACA and Medicare, and provides the facts on how the ACA affects Medicare beneficiaries, both now and in the future.
Take action to support Medicare
Check out Medicare Watch to learn more