THIS IS SERIOUS FOLKS.....THEY HAVE GUTTED EVERY RETIREMENT AND SAVINGS PEOPLE HAVE AND NOW THEY ARE COMING FOR FEDERAL TRUSTS-----SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE.
It is Obama who gave no COLA for a few years and now only 1%....the largest loss of money for payments in Social Security ever. We all know inflation is higher than the 1-2% the FED says. Obama has never acknowledged as well that Reagan tripled payroll taxes in 1980s so baby boomers would not have shortfalls in these Trusts.
THERE IS NO SHORTFALL.....JUST AN ATTEMPT TO TAKE THESE RETIREMENT FUNDS AS WELL!!
The FED artificially keeps inflation near 0%....this has never before been done.....and no one thinks it is really at 1-2%. So, Obama chooses Bernanke who states inflation is at 0% even as everyone pays more for most consumption. If Obama questioned that inflation number, the FED would not get away with giving this inflation number.
Isn't it odd that since the 1970s an average of 4% COLA each year....that is a great big difference.
WASHINGTON – Social Security recipients will get a raise in January -- their first increase in benefits since 2009. It's expected to be about 3.5 percent.
Congress adopted the measure in the 1970s, and since then it has resulted in annual benefit increases averaging 4.2 percent. But there was no COLA in 2010 or 2011 because inflation was too low. That was small comfort to the millions of retirees and disabled people who have seen retirement accounts dwindle and home values drop during the period of economic weakness, said David Certner, legislative policy director for the AARP.
More simply said is that I am almost sure that the FED is fixing that inflation rate and Obama is not outing him on behalf of the people losing lots of money! WE NEED TO GET THAT LOST INCREASE BACK WITH HIGHER MONTHLY PAYMENTS FROM HIGHER COLAs. We are hearing the right approach from some REAL progressive pols.....since the American people have had their retirements gutted from fraud and lost to manipulated corporate bankruptcies, we now need Social Security to be increased so as to provide the quality of life intended from our retirements. We need Social Security to be EXPANDED AND IMPROVED TO SERVE AS INTENDED!
Let's be clear about the idea that eliminating the cap on Social Security taxes would make this a redistribution of wealth and not an insurance program------
WE HAVE HAD TENS OF TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN CORPORATE FRAUD OVER THIS PAST DECADE AND HAVING THE AFFLUENT PAY MORE IS NOT A REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH----IT IS JUSTICE!
Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013 12:12 PM EDT
Growing consensus on Social Security: Expand it After staving off Obama's plan to cut benefits, progressives are fighting to boost checks to seniors
Alex Seitz-Wald SALON
Thanks in part to their effort, along with Republican recalcitrance and changing economic realities, Democrats have abandoned any plans to mess with the social safety net, at least for the moment. The federal deficit has fallen precipitously this year – Treasury actually ran a surplus in June — and with it, the impetus for a “grand bargain” trading safety net cuts for increased tax revenue has evaporated. (This may have been the White House’s plan all along.)
Now, as Obama prepares to deliver a major speech on the economy today, the scrappy activists who were until recently playing defense against cuts are turning around and pushing to increase Social Security benefits.
“Social Security is the most effective anti-poverty program in history. Forget cutting it — we need to double down on success and make it even stronger,” Jim Dean, the chair of Democracy for America, will say in an email to supporters today.
The coalition of leading progressive groups, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, Credo Action, MoveOn.org, Progressives United and Social Security Works, are joining together to back a plan introduced by Democratic Sens. Tom Harkin and Mark Begich to boost benefits and shore up Social Security’s finances for the better part of the next century.
These kinds of economic justice issues are Harkin’s bread and butter, but Begich, who is up for reelection this year in deep-red Alaska, is an interesting addition. In May, he made a splash by breaking with Obama on Social Security cuts. His leadership on this issue suggests he thinks expanding the social safety net will not only not hurt him, but actually help him politically, even in one of the most Republican states in the union.
And there’s reason to believe he’s right — Social Security is overwhelmingly popular. A new PPP poll commissioned by DFA and the PCCC found that 51 percent of Kentucky voters support the Harkin-Begich framework, which would boost benefits for 75-year-old workers by $452 per year and by $807 per year for 85-year-olds. Twenty-four percent said they didn’t support the plan, and another 24 said they weren’t sure.
Obama’s budget called for changing the way inflation is calculated for Social Security by switching to the “chained CPI” (consumer price index) formula, which would have the effect of reducing benefits. Begich and Harkin have each introduced slightly different plans, but both would also change the inflation formula. Their change, however, to the “CPI-E,” better accounts for the fact that seniors spend disproportionate amounts of their income on health care, the price of which grows faster than the price of goods overall.
To pay for this expansion, and to ensure the solvency of all of Social Security for decades into the future, the plan would eliminate the income cap on Social Security FICA taxes. Currently, income above $113,700 is exempt from the tax, meaning someone who makes $1 million a year pays the tax on only about a tenth of their income. The new poll commissioned by the groups found that 62 percent of Kentuckians support removing the cap, while 20 percent oppose it and another 18 percent are unsure.
Some liberals have criticized the idea of removing the cap, arguing that it would undermine the political strength of Social Security by making the plan more of a redistributional welfare system than a social insurance scheme. But others point out that the cap means the current Social Security tax is regressive, charging poor and middle-class Americans a larger portion of their income than millionaires and billionaires.
I'm not a Krugman fan because he is the good cop of global capitalism so never talks of downsizing global corporations as a solution to unaccountability and predatory and criminal culture. He does a good job supporting the push for expanded Social Security. Unlike Krugman, I think it can happen real soon.....
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE CANDIDATES IN ALL PRIMARIES.....ALL OF MARYLAND DEMOCRATS ARE NEO-LIBERALS....SHAKE THE BUGS FROM THE RUG!
Expanding Social Security
By PAUL KRUGMAN Published: November 21, 20 New York Times
For many years there has been one overwhelming rule for people who wanted to be considered serious inside the Beltway. It was this: You must declare your willingness to cut Social Security in the name of “entitlement reform.” It wasn’t really about the numbers, which never supported the notion that Social Security faced an acute crisis. It was instead a sort of declaration of identity, a way to show that you were an establishment guy, willing to impose pain (on other people, as usual) in the name of fiscal responsibility.
But a funny thing has happened in the past year or so. Suddenly, we’re hearing open discussion of the idea that Social Security should be expanded, not cut. Talk of Social Security expansion has even reached the Senate, with Tom Harkin introducing legislation that would increase benefits. A few days ago Senator Elizabeth Warren gave a stirring floor speech making the case for expanded benefits.
Where is this coming from? One answer is that the fiscal scolds driving the cut-Social-Security orthodoxy have, deservedly, lost a lot of credibility over the past few years. (Giving the ludicrous Paul Ryan an award for fiscal responsibility? And where’s my debt crisis?) Beyond that, America’s overall retirement system is in big trouble. There’s just one part of that system that’s working well: Social Security. And this suggests that we should make that program stronger, not weaker.
Before I get there, however, let me briefly take on two bad arguments for cutting Social Security that you still hear a lot.
One is that we should raise the retirement age — currently 66, and scheduled to rise to 67 — because people are living longer. This sounds plausible until you look at exactly who is living longer. The rise in life expectancy, it turns out, is overwhelmingly a story about affluent, well-educated Americans. Those with lower incomes and less education have, at best, seen hardly any rise in life expectancy at age 65; in fact, those with less education have seen their life expectancy decline.
So this common argument amounts, in effect, to the notion that we can’t let janitors retire because lawyers are living longer. And lower-income Americans, in case you haven’t noticed, are the people who need Social Security most.
The other argument is that seniors are doing just fine. Hey, their poverty rate is only 9 percent.
There are two big problems here. First, there are well-known flaws with the official poverty measure, and these flaws almost surely lead to serious understatement of elderly poverty. In an attempt to provide a more realistic picture, the Census Bureau now regularly releases a supplemental measure that most experts consider superior — and this measure puts senior poverty at 14.8 percent, close to the rate for younger adults.
Furthermore, the elderly poverty rate is highly likely to rise sharply in the future, as the failure of America’s private pension system takes its toll.
When you look at today’s older Americans, you are in large part looking at the legacy of an economy that is no more. Many workers used to have defined-benefit retirement plans, plans in which their employers guaranteed a steady income after retirement. And a fair number of seniors (like my father, until he passed away a few months ago) are still collecting benefits from such plans.
Today, however, workers who have any retirement plan at all generally have defined-contribution plans — basically, 401(k)’s — in which employers put money into a tax-sheltered account that’s supposed to end up big enough to retire on. The trouble is that at this point it’s clear that the shift to 401(k)’s was a gigantic failure. Employers took advantage of the switch to surreptitiously cut benefits; investment returns have been far lower than workers were told to expect; and, to be fair, many people haven’t managed their money wisely.
As a result, we’re looking at a looming retirement crisis, with tens of millions of Americans facing a sharp decline in living standards at the end of their working lives. For many, the only thing protecting them from abject penury will be Social Security. Aren’t you glad we didn’t privatize the program?
So there’s a strong case for expanding, not contracting, Social Security. Yes, this would cost money, and it would require additional taxes — a suggestion that will horrify the fiscal scolds, who have been insisting that if we raise taxes at all, the proceeds must go to deficit reduction, not to making our lives better. But the fiscal scolds have been wrong about everything, and it’s time to start thinking outside their box.
Realistically, Social Security expansion won’t happen anytime soon. But it’s an idea that deserves to be on the table — and it’s a very good sign that it finally is.
People, the amount of fraud in Medicare and Medicaid is escalating as hedge funds and global corporations are allowed to run health institutions. WE ALL KNOW FRAUD WILL SOAR. We know as well that trillions of dollars in health fraud from last decade need to come back to these Trusts. DO YOU HEAR YOUR POL SHOUTING THIS? IF NOT, HE/SHE IS A NEO-LIBERAL WORKING FOR WEALTH AND PROFIT.
The Affordable Care Act actually guts Medicare and Medicaid access to quality health care, pushing people to access less due to co-pays and deductibles and to access only preventative care for the most part in the case of Medicaid. Almost 90% of Americans will fall into these categories soon as neo-liberals work to keep unemployment high and cut social programs rather than bringing back tens of trillions of dollars in corporate fraud!
Below you see a well-researched paper on health fraud. Notice that the amount of fraud back in 1998 was $250 billion a year.....THAT WAS BEFORE CORPORATE FRAUD WENT ON STEROIDS...Google it and read the entire thesis!
'It is clear to see why Americans consider this the biggest cause, when health care fraud was estimated to cost approximately $100 billion to $250 billion per year in 1998, or 10 percent to 25 percent of total health care spending'
Health care fraud is an important and visible factor associated with increasing health care costs in the United States. Medicare and Medicaid contribute to a vast majority of those cost sand therefore must be heavily scrutinized. This thesis will investigate the types of fraud, who commits them, and why the health care system is more susceptible to fraud. More specifically, the problems and complications of current fraud investigation for Medicare and Medicaid are examined. This thesis will then evaluate how successful these initiatives were in reducing health care fraud and explore new suggestions for preventing health care fraud in the future.
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE IN ALL PRIMARIES!
Senators Press Medicare for Answers on Drug Program
by Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber
ProPublica, Dec. 24, 2013, 5:55 a.m.
Senator Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement that he is concerned about "serious vulnerabilities" of Medicare's popular prescription drug program as detailed in a ProPublica report. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
A Senate committee chairman said he is concerned about the “serious vulnerabilities” detailed in a ProPublica report about scams that target Medicare’s popular prescription drug program.
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement that he plans to ask Medicare officials and the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “to look into the specifics of these cases, as well as determine the extent of any program-wide vulnerabilities that may have allowed them to occur.” The committee monitors fraud in government programs.
ProPublica reporters, using Medicare’s own data, identified scores of doctors whose prescription patterns within the program bore the hallmarks of fraud. The cost of their prescribing spiked dramatically from one year to the next — in some cases by millions of dollars — as they chose brand-name drugs that scammers can easily resell.
The cost of medications prescribed by one Miami doctor jumped from $282,000 to $4 million in one year, but her lawyer said Medicare never questioned it. A Los Angeles psychiatrist said Medicare didn’t shut off his provider identification number, used to fill prescriptions, even though he claimed someone had forged his name on more than $7 million worth of them.
All told, just the schemes identified by ProPublica totaled tens of millions of dollars.
While credit card companies routinely flag or block suspicious charges as they happen, the detection system used by Medicare’s massive drug program sometimes allows years to pass before taking action that might stop the fraud.
Known as Part D, the program provides coverage to 36 million seniors and disabled people. It cost taxpayers $62 billion last year.
ProPublica has spent the past year examining Medicare’s oversight of Part D. It found that Medicare doesn’t analyze its prescribing data to root out doctors whose inappropriate drug choices endanger patients. Nor has it flagged those whose unchecked devotion to name-brand drugs, instead of generics, adds billions in needless expense.
ProPublica also noted how doctors who had been terminated from state Medicaid programs for questionable prescribing patterns have continued to give patients large quantities of those same drugs through Part D.
Spurred by that report, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter Friday to Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, asking what the agency is doing about such doctors.
Several months ago, Grassley asked each state Medicaid program to explain its process for terminating doctors and notifying Medicare once it does so. In his letter to Tavenner, Grassley said he is particularly concerned that doctors can be terminated “without cause” from Medicaid and remain in good standing with Medicare.
He cited three doctors identified by ProPublica who had been suspended or terminated from Medicaid but remained large prescribers in Part D.
This practice by states, he wrote, “may speed their ability to protect Medicaid patients, but it can expose Medicare recipients to potentially unsafe medical treatment and keeps tax dollars flowing to unworthy providers,” he wrote.
Grassley found that states varied widely in how they terminated providers in Medicaid. He asked Tavenner to explain how her agency keeps track of such providers.
Jonathan Blum, principal deputy administrator of CMS, said in a statement that his agency takes fraud in Part D seriously and is committed to making improvements. "We look forward to working with Congress and the HHS Inspector General to continue to protect beneficiaries and taxpayers from Medicare fraud, waste and abuse," he wrote.