NRLN Villages Chapter Updates

NRLN President Discusses NRLN ‘Grand Bargain Proposal to Save Social Security and Medicare at Villages Chapter’s Aug. 23 Meeting

Members of the NRLN Villages Chapter were the first to hear NRLN President Bill Kadereit’s presentation on the NRLN’s “Grand Bargain” Proposal to Save Social Security and Medicare for the next 75 years. His presentation was on August 23 in the Lincoln Theater at The Villages Laurel Manor Recreation Center.

Congress blocked payroll tax hikes from 1983 to 2018 (35 years), strangling the life out of the Social Security and Medicare programs. Kicking the can down the road, avoiding new taxes, allowed many politicians to be reelected on a “no new taxes” platform.

By 2034, Social Security’s current $3 trillion in asset reserves will be completely depleted. The program will not go bankrupt because workers and employers continue to pay payroll tax on earned income. However, projections are that benefits would be cut between 17% - 21%.

By 2029, the Medicare trust fund for Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance (HI) will be exhausted. Payroll taxes will only cover about 88% of Medicare Part A (hospital) costs. Unlike Part A, beneficiaries pay premiums for Part B (doctors) coverage. But these premiums account for only 23% of the program’s costs. The rest comes out of the federal Treasury.

The goal of the NRLN’s proposal is to make pertinent financial information about Social Security and Medicare available to seniors and to propose and advocate to members of Congress a nonpartisan view to insure how both programs can remain viable for at least the next 75 years by acting to implement easily understood proposals.

The NRLN Grand Bargain proposal is to close the Social Security and Medicare HI 75-year combined deficit gaps of 3.66%, and help fund federal Medicare B and D, and possibly Medicaid and CHIP obligations by these actions:

2.19% + .39% + 1.08% = 3.66%

Savings would be sequestered to protect them from being spent on other federal discretionary programs. Funds would be applied 1st to close the Medicare HI and Social Security combined deficit gaps totaling 3.66% and then be allocated to reduce the Medicare B and then the Medicare D, and then Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) federal obligations.


CMS DESTROYING TRADITIONAL MEDICARE!

The NRLN has been watching with serious concern the actions of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. CMS is using its “innovation center” to undermine traditional Medicare. It is incentivizing insurance companies that receive billions a year in taxpayer subsidies for their Medicare Advantage plans to compete for beneficiaries in traditional Medicare Part A (hospitals) and Part B (doctors). Last year at least two insurers were sued for cheating to collect $400 million in incentive subsidies. Why do insurers deserve subsidies paid for with our payroll taxes?

The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 gave birth to the Medicare Advantage program with the idea that privatization would cost less than traditional Medicare. However, the federal government pays more for a participant in an insurance company’s Medicare Advantage plan than it does to provide traditional Medicare for a beneficiary. About 21.4 million people are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, with 37.7 million in traditional Medicare.

In its announcement this month CMS is going even further to allow insurance companies to attract Americans turning 65 and lure individuals away from traditional Medicare. CMS expanded how it defines the “primarily health-related” benefits that insurers are allowed to include in their 2019 Medicare Advantage policies. Air conditioners for people with asthma, home modifications, rides to medical appointments, healthy groceries, home-delivered meals, etc. are expected be among the new benefits added only to Medicare Advantage coverage when new federal rules take effect next year. There are no similar new benefits and subsidies for Medicare Part A and B.

Also, CMS has announced that it will increase payments in 2019 to insurers offering Medicare Advantage plans by an average of 3.4% next year, allowing them to offer more benefits. That’s well above the 1.84% bump the CMS initially proposed and higher than the 2.95% increase for 2018.


CMS SUBSIDIES CREATING A “PREMIUM SUPPORT” PLAN

It is highly possible that the actions of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) described in the April 11 posting is a deliberate act to privatize Medicare! No action is expected in Congress this year to try to privatize Medicare, but neither has there been any opposition in Congress to CVS paying subsidies to Medicare Advantage insurers and allowing additional benefits to lure those age 65 and older into Medicare Advantage and away from traditional Medicare. However, the CMS subsidies of 2.95% in 2018 and 3.4% in 2019 are affectively creating a “premium support” plan and thus privatization.

A faction in Congress has been trying for years to privatize Medicare, first with a “voucher” plan, and recently with a “premium support” plan. The “premium support” plan is insurance companies’ scam to get federal subsidies that would privatize and completely destroy Medicare. The plan is to refund insurers who would lowball premiums but get to take in huge multi-billion subsidies. The result is that traditional Medicare Part A and Part B will appear less competitive when actually they are a better deal for taxpayers. ELIMINATING MEDICARE ADVANTAGE AND MEDICARE PART A AND PART B IS THE PLAN!

The NRLN believes that the faction who advocates the “premium support” plan and CMS’ subsidies undermining traditional Medicare is wrong. Respond to the NRLN Action Alert by emailing the NRLN’s sample letter, with your thoughts added, to tell your Representative, Senators and President Trump to place a priority on traditional Medicare beneficiaries, not insurance companies who use Medicare Advantage as a “cash cow” and want even larger subsidies offered by a “premium support” plan. Go to www.nrln.org and click on the red flashing icon “Respond to an Action Alert”.

DANGER LURKS: REAL FACTS SENIORS OF ALL AGES NEED TO BE AWARE OF!

Are seniors over age 65 aware that privatization of Medicare is underway now and will implode Medicare A & B plans, making them prohibitively expensive? No!


Make Your Voice Heard With Members of Congress

You can contact Congress in many ways-- click here to see how!


NRLN 2018 Survey Had 5,751 Participants

The NRLN 2018 survey which opened on May 14 closed on June 17 with 5,751 participants. The NRLN’s previous survey was in 2016.

Among the 2018 survey participants 90% were older than age 65; 9% were age 55 to 64 and 1% were age 54 or younger. Twenty-three percent have been retired for over 20 years; 26% 16 to 20 years; 19% 11 to 15 years; 17% 6 to 10 years; 11% less than 5 years and 4% are not yet retired.

Responders to the survey retired from or are still working for 442 companies, public entities or self-employed. All 50 states and District of Columbia are represented in the survey’s results. Eighty-one percent of the responders were salaried retirees (such as supervisory, non-supervisory and technical-professionals). Formerly union represented retirees (CWA, IBEW, UAW, airline unions, etc.) were 13% of the survey participants. The balance of the responders were spouses of a retiree, surviving spouse of a retiree and currently employed.

Details on the responses to the survey will be published in the summer issue of the NRLN FOCUS newsletter. NRLN members will be sent an email to notify them when the newsletter has been posted on www.nrln.org.

349 RESIDENTS RESPOND TO FUTURE DIRECTIONS SURVEY SPONSORED BY NRLN VILLAGES CHAPTER

The NRLN Villages Chapter works with the National Retirees Legislative Network to protect pension and health care benefits. The NRLN Villages Chapter Leadership Team thanks those who responded to the survey. The results of the survey can be seen here.


NEWS FOR THE VILLAGES MEMBERS


FDA temporarily retreats from impurity standards as losartan shortages loom
By Eric Palmer; FiercePharma ~ Mar 21, 2019

Aspirin: Have The New Guidelines Changed What You Should Do?
From Harlan Krumholz; Forbes ~ Mar 21, 2019

It just became easier for employers to dump retirees' pensions
By Lydia DePillis, CNN Business – March 20, 2019

Opinion: Dr. Marc Siegel: Aspirin saves lives but it also cost lives – Here’s what you need to know about the drug
From Dr. Marc Siegel; Fox News ~ Mar 19, 2019

Opinion: The IRS Can And Does Waive The Penalty For Incorrect RMDs
From Bob Carlson; Forbes ~ Mar 19, 2019

Opinion: Stop asking parents to sacrifice Social Security benefits for paid family leave
From Max Richtman; The Hill ~ Mar 19, 2019

Washington must change the system that encourages high drug prices
From Dr. Madelaine Feldman; The Hill ~ Mar 18, 2019

Opinion: Can Democrats And Republicans Strike A Deal On Health Care?
From John C. Goodman; Forbes ~ Mar 18, 2019

Medicare wellness visits are supposed to be free — unless you call it a physical.
Via Michelle Andrews; The Washington Post ~ Mar 16, 2019

Opinion: If Trump Is Re-Elected, Expect Social Security Reform to Be a Priority
From Sean Williams; The Motley Fool ~ Mar 17, 2019

Nursing Home Fines Drop As Trump Administration Heeds Industry Complaints
By Jordan Rau; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 15, 2019

Report: Feds Not Monitoring How Taxpayer Funding Is Being Spent
By Elizabeth Harrington; The Washington Free Beacon ~ Mar 15, 2019

Opinion: This tax policy change could transform American lives
From Sherrod Brown, Ro Khanna & Bonnie Watson Coleman; CNN ~ Mar 14, 2019

Divisions emerge over House drug price bills
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Mar 13, 2019

New Generic Blood Pressure Drug Is Approved to Relieve Shortages
By Denise Grady; The New York Times ~ Mar 12, 2019

Raising Social Security Benefits For Widows Possible Says Influential Republican
From Ted Knutson; Forbes ~ Mar 13, 2019

Will Washington finally do something about high drug prices?
From Shelley Lyford; The Hill ~ Mar 12, 2019

Analysis: Just a tenth of Trump's proposed Medicare cuts directly affect seniors
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Mar 12, 2019

Trump’s cuts to Medicare hospital payments trigger an outcry
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar & Catherine Lucey; The Associated Press ~ Mar 12, 2019

Congressional Drive For Social Security Fix Faces GOP Tax Roadblock

How Trump would cut Medicare by $818B in a decade
By Kimberly Leonard; The Washington Examiner ~ Mar 11, 2019

Opinion: The Bad, The Ugly, And The Good Of Long-Term Care
From Ed Siddell; Forbes ~ Mar 11, 2019

Hidden FDA Reports Detail Harm Caused By Scores Of Medical Devices
By Christina Jewett; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 11, 2019

HHS to divert up to $385M from health programs to shelter migrant children
By Jessie Hellmann; The Hill ~ Mar 08, 2019

Why Some Phone Scams Work: When Robocalls Get Through
From Brooke Crothers; Forbes ~ Mar 09, 2019

Taxes 2019: How long should I keep my tax returns?
By Janna Herron; USA TODAY ~ Mar 07, 2019

U.S. Drug Prices, But Not Out-of-Pocket Costs, Are the World's Highest
By Erik Sherman; Fortune ~ Mar 08, 2019

Lawmakers United Against High Drug Prices Bare Partisan Teeth
By Rachel Bluth; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 07, 2019

Attorney General warns of twist to social security number phone scam
By Madasyn Czebiniak; The Tribune-Review ~ Mar 08, 2019

Trump Will Get Legislation On His Desk This Year To Lower Drug Prices Predicts, Sen. Susan Collins
From Ted Knutson; Forbes ~ Mar 07, 2019

Opinion: Top Judiciary Republican: Pharmacy middlemen hurting every day Americans
By Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.); The Hill ~ Mar 07, 2019

Trump Treasury Backtracks On Lump-Sum Pension Rules Meant To Protect Retirees
By Ashlea Ebeling; Forbes ~ Mar 07, 2019

Nursing Home Ratings: Who Can You Trust?
From Richard Eisenberg; Forbes ~ Mar 06, 2019

Retirement Benefits For Millions May Be Slashed WithoutPension Agency Reforms, Warns GAO
From Ted Knutson; Forbes ~ Mar 06, 2019

Advice on salt, hidden in an array of foods, gets specific
The Associated Press ~ Mar 05, 2019

Dems offer legislation to tax financial transactions
By Naomi Jagoda ; The Hill ~ Mar 05, 2019

Drug company announces new version of insulin at half the price
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Mar 04, 2019

Top White House official warns hospitals on surprise medical bills
By Nathaniel Weixel; The Hill ~ Mar 04, 2019

Big Pharma Gave Money To Patient Advocacy Groups Opposing Medicare Changes
By Sydney Lupkin, Elizabeth Lucas & Victoria Knight; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 04, 2019

Opinion: Newsrooms that rushed to report tax refunds were smaller this year go silent on IRS data showing refunds have increased
From Becket Adams; The Washington Examiner ~ Mar 02, 2019

Medicare Trims Payments To 800 Hospitals, Citing Patient Safety Incidents
By Jordan Rau; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 01, 2019

Tax scammers are looking for you — here’s how to avoid them
By Paul Brandus; MarketWatch ~ Mar 02, 2019

A Third Type of Carcinogen Was Found in Blood Pressure Medication, FDA Says
By Renae Reints; Fortune ~ Mar 01, 2019

Americans Ready To Crack Down On Drug Prices That Force Some To Skip Doses
By Jay Hancock; Kaiser Health News ~ Mar 01, 2019

Poll: Nearly 8 in 10 think prescription drug prices are 'unreasonable'
By Rachel Frazin; The Hill ~ Mar 01, 2019

Do you suppose Congress could investigate how health insurance got so expensive?
By Jazz Shaw; Hot Air ~ Mar 01, 2019

GOP group launches $2.9M ad campaign against Medicare negotiating drug prices
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Feb 28, 2019

Big Doctor Group Supports Medicare And Medicaid 'Buy Ins'
From Bruce Japsen; Forbes ~ Feb 28, 2019

Opinion: Improved Social Security COLA would help seniors stay ahead of inflation
From Max Richtman; MarketWatch ~ Feb 28, 2019

Pharma Executives Walked Into Congress Expecting A Public Flogging. They Walked Out Fairly Unscathed.
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Feb 27, 2019

Congress Squares Off With Pharma CEOs In Showdown Over High Drug Prices
By Emmarie Huetteman & Jay Hancock; Kaiser Health News ~ Feb 26, 2019

Better treatment options exist — why don’t we use them?
From Jessica Foley, PhD & Mark Carol, MD, ; The Hill ~ Feb 26, 2019

Opinion: The ‘wall’ that Social Security is about to run into is the one Americans should worry about
By Brett Arends; MarketWatch ~ Feb 25, 2019

Health Care and Insurance Industries Mobilize to Kill ‘Medicare for All’
By Robert Pear; The New York Times ~ Feb 23, 2019

Here's What Medicare Part B Costs and Covers in 2019..Get the latest on the medical benefits Medicare provides.
By Dan Caplinger; The Motley Fool ~ Feb 23, 2019

Social Security expansion bill poised to gain traction in Congress
By Sarah O’Brien; CNBC ~ Feb 23, 2019

Opinion: Could A Good Night's Sleep Protect You From Heart Disease?
From Robin Seaton Jefferson; Forbes ~ Feb 22, 2019

FDA official says ongoing blood pressure drug investigation will probably uncover more tainted pills
By Susan Scutti; CNN ~ Feb 22, 2019

White House doesn't back DeSantis on drug importation from Canada
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Feb 22, 2019

Purdue exec agreed to hide OxyContin strength from doctors: report
By Rachel Frazin; The Hill ~ Feb 21, 2019

OIG: CMS improperly paid $84M to nursing facilities that failed to follow its 3-day rule
By Jacqueline Renfrow; FierceHealthcare ~ Feb 21, 2019

The One Factor That Determines If Your Retirement Will Be A Success
From Bob Carlson; Forbes ~ Feb 21, 2019

Bill would let patients buy cheaper insulin from other countries
By Jessie Hellmann; The Hill ~ Feb 20, 2019

Florida GOP governor working with Trump to import cheaper drugs from Canada
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Feb 20, 2019

Government headed for close to half of nation’s health tab
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Feb 20, 2019

Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders wants to reform Social Security — here’s how
By Alessandra Malito; MarketWatch ~ Feb 19, 2019

Opinion: Why Can't We Expand Access To Transportation For Older Adults?
From Howard Gleckman; Forbes ~ Feb 18, 2019

Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all'
By Michael Burke; The Hill ~ Feb 17, 2019

High stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks
By Peter Sullivan ; The Hill ~ Feb 16, 2019

Medicare proposes coverage for new, expensive cancer treatment
By Jessie Hellmann; The Hill ~ Feb 15, 2019

Hospital Drug Prices Are Up to 7 Times Greater Than Medicare Pricing
By Don Reisinger; Fortune ~ Feb 15, 2019

JAMA Pushes Health-Care Rationing
By Wesley J. Smith; National Review ~ Feb 15, 2019

Medicare ambulance rides may no longer end up at ER
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar; The Associated Press ~ Feb 14, 2019

Medicare At 50 Act Targets Early Retirees
From Bruce Japsen; Forbes ~ Feb 14, 2019

Opinion: Major Clinical Trial Links High Blood Pressure And Mild Cognitive Impairment
From Robin Seaton Jefferson; Forbes ~ Feb 13, 2019

Is a Tax Refund Ahead in Your 2019? Some Taxpayers Received a Tax Bill Instead
By Ben Steverman, Laura Davison, & “Bloomberg”; Fortune ~ Feb 11, 2019

Drug pricing reforms will disrupt cancer care for millions
From Leslie Busby; The Hill ~ Feb 12, 2019

Medicare, Medicaid contain costs better than private insurers, study says
By Shelby Livingston; Modern Healthcare ~ Feb 12, 2019

Social Security's Financial Torture Of This 81-Year-Old Widow Due To Its Own Mistake
From Laurence Kotlikoff; Forbes ~ Feb 12, 2019

GOP senators introduce bill to end pensions for retiring lawmakers
By Tal Axelrod; The Hill ~ Feb 12, 2019

False Lead: Senator’s Offer To Help Patient Import Cheap Insulin Goes Nowhere
By Jay Hancock; Kaiser Health News ~ Feb 11, 2019

These companies are illegally selling products claiming to treat Alzheimer’s
By Tomi Kilgore; MarketWatch ~ Feb 11, 2019

FDA to crack down on dietary supplements
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Feb 11, 2019

Here's a key way to prevent paying more for your health care than you should
By Sarah O'Brien; CNBC ~ Feb 11, 2019

Why you have no idea how much a surgery really costs (before you have it)
By Kari Paul; MarketWatch ~ Feb 09, 2019

Tax Filers Are Seeing Smaller Refunds on Average in 2019 (So Far)
By Brittany Shoot; Fortune ~ Feb 08, 2019

Support For ‘Medicare For All’ Plummets If It Means Getting Rid Of Private Insurance System, Poll Finds
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Feb 08, 2019

Drug costs impact the financial well-being of older adults
From Linda Phillips; The Hill ~ Feb 07, 2019

Dems unveil bill for Medicare to negotiate drug prices
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Feb 07, 2019

Opinion: New Proposal To Update Social Security Fails To Address One Of The Biggest Issues
From Jamie Hopkins; Forbes ~ Feb 07, 2019

It's Time To Go Big On Social Security Reform
From Elizabeth Bauer; Forbes ~ Feb 07, 2019

Would Trump's New Drug Rebate Rule Help You?
From Howard Gleckman; Forbes ~ Feb 06, 2019

Bipartisan senators ask industry for information on surprise medical bills
By Peter Sullivan; The Hill ~ Feb 05, 2019

Winners and losers under bold Trump plan to slash drug rebate deals
By Jay Hancock, KHN; FierceHealthcare ~ Feb 04, 2019

Drug prices may drop under Medicare reform plans – But it could come at great cost to patients' health
By Sandip Shah; Fox News ~ Feb 03, 2019

Democrats Push Plan to Increase Social Security Benefits and Solvency
By Robert Pear; The New York Times ~ Feb 03, 2019

Clash of Giants: UnitedHealth Takes On Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase
By Reed Abelson; The New York Times ~ Feb 01, 2019

Medicare for All Emerges as Early Policy Test for 2020 Democrats
By Jonathan Martin & Abby Goodnough; The New York Times ~ Feb 02, 2019

Trump health chief presses Congress to pass drug discount plan
By Nathaniel Weixel; The Hill ~ Feb 01, 2019

Drugmakers’ Rebates For Middlemen Would Be Viewed As Illegal Kickbacks Under Trump Administration’s Proposal
Via KHN Morning Briefing; Kaiser Health News ~ Feb 01, 2019

Click here to view previous reports of Villages Chapter

Ray Pasternak (left), President, NRLN Villages Chapter, and Luke Newgaard, Legislative Assistant for Rep. Dan Webster (FL-11), pause for a photo after their February 26 meeting.

Villages Chapter Report – February 2019

Ray Pasternak Joins Chrysler Retirees in Washington, DC and Represents Villages Chapter

Ray Pasternak, President, NRLN Villages Chapter, is a Chrysler retiree and a member of the National Chrysler Retirement Organization Board of Directors. In this dual capacity, he represented retirees living in The Villages and Chrysler retirees in meetings with lawmakers and their staffs on Capitol Hill on February 26 during the NRLN’s Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, DC.

Pasternak participated in the NRLN’s briefing session during the afternoon of February 25 where attendees heard presentations on issues they would be advocating on Capitol Hill and received folders they would use in their discussions with Representatives, Senators and/or staff members. At the NRLN’s dinner he listened to Tom Reeder, Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation discuss the PBGC’s strong ability to serve as a safety net for defined benefit pensions plans but the severe lack of financial resources to support failed multiemployer pension plans. Multiemployer plans include industries such a trucking, construction and coal mining.

The day on Capitol Hill for Pasternak began with his joining retirees from Chrysler, Genera Motors and Detroit Edison in a discussion of the NRLN issues with two staff members for Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow. In last meeting of the day Pasternak and Ed Beltram, NRLN Vice President – Communications, had a half hour meeting with Luke Newgaard, Legislative Assistant, for Representative Dan Webster, the Congressman who represents a large part of The Villages.

The third meeting with Newgaard since Pasternak became President, NRLN Villages Chapter, centered on the need for legislation to reduce the cost of prescription drugs; concerns that Medicare Advantage plans are moving Medicare toward privatization; protecting retirees in “de-risking” when a pension plan sponsor converts a pension plan to an annuity; requiring actuaries to be responsible for miscalculations and make adjustments in pension plan funding rather than recouping over payments from retirees, and amending laws to allow generously funded pension plans to use surplus assets to fund health care and life insurance benefits.

Upon returning home to The Villages, Pasternak shared his Washington, DC experiences with attendees at the February 28 NRLN Villages Chapter meeting in the Lincoln Theater at the Laurel Manor Recreation Center, 1985 Laurel Manor Drive.

NRLN Action Alert Urges Congress to Reduce Price of Prescription Drugs

On February 6, the NRLN issued an Action Alert pointing out that for years members of Congress have been giving lip service on the need for legislation to reduce the price of prescription drugs, but bills haven’t been passed. The NRLN requested that members email letters to their Representative and Senators to tell them to pass the following bills:

H.R. 275 and S. 62, Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act, or H.R. 448 and S.99, Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act.

Passage of either Act, would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D.

H.R. 478 and S. 61, Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act, would allow the personal importation of safe and lower priced drugs from approved pharmacies in Canada.

S. 64, Preserve Access to Affordable Generics and Biosimiliars Act, would prohibit the practice of pay-for-delay by brand name drug companies who make deals to delay or keep less expensive generic drugs off the market.

The Action Alert is still available for emailing the NRLN’s sample letter to members of Congress at: https://www.nrln.org/SE.html#/83.

Two NRLN President’s Forum Messages Issued in February

Bill Kadereit’s NRLN President’s Forum Message emailed to members, posted on www.nrln.org and www.facebook.com/nrln1 on February 12 noted that many FDA approved generic drugs are not available to Americans. Of the 1,600 generic drugs that the FDA has approved since January 2017, more than 700 (about 44%) of those generics weren't on the U.S. market as of early January 2019. Also, 36% of generics that would be the first to compete against a branded drug are not yet for sale.

Kadereit said this is outrageous! He stated he agreed with Henry Waxman, the former Congressman who co-sponsored the 1984 law that paved the way for the generic approval process, who said he suspects anti-competitive behavior is a at least partly to blame and that revisions to the so-called Hatch-Waxman Act might be needed. The NRLN is going to look into whether an update to the law is necessary.

Consumers pay 94% of the branded drug price on average when one generic firm enters the market, but that drops to 52% with two competitors and to 44% with three, according to a Federal Drug Administration (FDA) analysis. The savings ripple across the health-care system, and in 2016 generics saved $253 billion, according to a June 2017 report from the Association for Accessible Medicines.

The other NRLN President’s Forum message was issued on February 19. The message shared information from a Wall Street Journal article on its investigation that revealed major U.S. health insurance companies had dramatically inflated their cost projections under the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit program, fleecing taxpayers for $9.1 billion in extra payments from 2006 to 2015.

Kadereit noted this is a dramatic example of NRLN's concerns stated in our whitepaper that the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) is using taxpayer subsidies to private insurance companies for Medicare Advantage plans as a Trojan horse to move toward the privatization of Medicare. An October 2017 CBO report sent to the House Budget Committee reported that the projected results for Medicare privatization (using the Medicare Advantage plan model) would lower net federal payments to all Medicare beneficiaries by 8% in 2024. However, total payments by all Medicare affected beneficiaries would rise by 18%. This is cost shifting, not cost improvement, a scam!

During Kadereit’s research for his whitepaper on this subject, he learned that the federal agencies in 2017 made $141 billion in wrong and improper payments with particularly $90 billion attributable to Medicare and Medicaid. The NRLN is advocating that the government make it a priority to reduce this waste of taxpayer dollars and sequester the savings to eliminate the 75-year deficits of Medicare Part A and Part B, then Part D.


The NRLN and AREF Partnership

The National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) created the American Retirees Education Foundation (AREF) in 2014 to develop whitepapers and advocate policy recommendations for retirement security to federal policymakers, constituency groups, the media, and the general public. The AREF, an IRS 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization, researches and produces whitepapers and other materials and can use them to educate NRLN members and other advocates on how to present legislative proposals.

The AREF can advocate proposals to members of Congress and federal agencies but once a proposal is introduced as a bill, only the NRLN, an IRS 501(c)4 non-exempt organization, can lobby for passage of a bill. The AREF can advocate but not lobby. This allows members to make tax-deductible donations that are accounted for separately from NRLN contributions. To learn more about the AREF and NRLN go to www.seniorsaref.org and www.nrln.org.

NRLN and AREF Revenue

Seventy-five percent of NRLN revenue comes from non-deductible individual contributions. The other twenty-five percent of NRLN revenue comes from company retiree association dues paid to the NRLN.  NRLN Chapters are supported by a portion of contributions made by Chapter members. For individual contributions to the NRLN go to http://www.nrln.org/JoinUs.htm. Either click on the link to printout the contributions form and mail it with a check or click on the link to make a credit card contribution.

All AREF revenue comes from individual tax-deductible donations. A donation to the AREF may be made by going to the AREF website at www.seniorsaref.org and clicking on the “Donations” tab.

The NRLN annual solicitation to NRLN Villages Chapter members will be in late January 2017.  However, anyone can make voluntary non-deductible contributions to the NRLN or tax-deductible donations to the AREF at any time. 


  Suggestions and comments about this website should be addressed to webmaster@nrln.org. Last updated: March 22, 2019