President's Forum 143 - New Congress, New NRLN Legislative Agenda
Bloomberg News reported on January 24 that health insurers are again circulating letters among members of Congress to marshal support for Medicare Advantage (MA), a program where private companies covered seniors’ healthcare with the help of $53 billion in taxpayer rebates in 2022. The Medicare Pricing Policy Committee (MedPAC) reported $57 billion. You may recall that in 2017, I referred to MA plans as Congress’ Trojan Horse, sent to Privatize Medicare. Some scoffed at that prediction then rebates were $20 billion.
The MedPAC’s January 12 report reveals that 2023 rebates to buy more enhanced benefits and to pay more MA premiums will be 20% higher, from $164 per month in 2022 to $196 per month in 2023. It is outrageous that Congress would pay $2,352 a year more for Medicare A & B benefits to insurance companies. These benefits are for 31.9 million in MA plans only but 29.4 million others in original Medicare are denied the same benefits that TV ads call “free”. About 15% of rebate money is kept by insurers to cover overhead and profit.
This year, that $196 will amount to over $75 billion! That’s over $200 million a day from general revenue and part of every nickel we pay in federal income tax, weekly, monthly, quarterly or on April 15, that is handed over to insurance companies. MedPAC reported that MA plans will control 52% of the Medicare market in 2023. I hope you will help us kill that Trojan Horse yet protect those in MA plans from losing what they have.
National Retiree Legislative Network
Submit your Email Address to receive Future Issues of the President's Forum
If you did not receive an email with the NRLN President’s Forum message or an Action Alert posted on this home page, possibly you mistakenly “unsubscribed” on one of our emails or you have a new email address. You will no longer hear from us unless you “re-subscribe”.
Check the Congressional Report Card
NRLN Provides New “Report Card” Feature on Members of Congress. Do your Senators or Representative support bills that help retirees?
Year 2022, on www.opensecrets.com – Following the Money in Politics
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
- SUBSCRIBE to receive periodic emails
- ACT on NRLN Action Alerts
- CONTRIBUTE to NRLN’s lobby effort
- Make a tax-deductible DONATION to our American Retirees Education Foundation (AREF) research
MEDICARE AND YOU HANDBOOK 2023
The “Medicare & You” handbook includes items or services covered under a health insurance plan. Covered benefits and excluded services are defined in the plan’s coverage documents.
NRLN Leaders in Washington D.C. | Announcement from Bill Kadereit [Video 1:24]
Watch NRLN President Bill Kadereit’s video from Capitol Hill February 28 – March 1 during the NRLN’s Fly-in to Washington, DC to lobby for important retiree issues.
Photos of NRLN, Association and Chapter leaders in meetings with staff members for Representatives and Senators. (Use the arrows to scroll through the images.)
LUCENT CHAPTER | Herb Zydney Represents Chapter Members on Capitol Hill at NRLN Fly-In
Our Chapter is part of the National Retiree Legislative Network (the NRLN), which actively pursues legislative changes that will improve the retirement for its members, and for all retirees.
DUPONT CHAPTER | Jim Odle Represents DuPont Chapter Members on Capitol Hill at NRLN Fly-In
I attended the NRLN late Winter meeting in Washington, D.C. on February 27, 28 and March 1, 2023, with other NRLN association and chapter members from all over the country.
When you watch the podcast, Alyson Parker, NRLN Executive Director will inform you about the NRLN’s year-end push to gain passage of:
* Susan Muffley Act
* Heath Care Tax Credit
* Pension Surplus Usage
* Annual Funding Notice
Alyson continued her comments by describing the NRLN process taking place to develop the NRLN’s 2023 Legislative Agenda. She noted that protecting retirees in de-risking (when a company sells its pension plan to and insurance company) will be an NRLN priority in 2023.
Bill Kadereit, NRLN President, opened his section of the live podcast with comments on Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. He said MA competition with Medicare was approved by Congress because insurance companies promised they could perform better.
In the last section of the live podcast, Ed Beltram, NRLN VP-Communications, presented questions from NRLN members for Alyson and Bill to answer.
Blockbuster New York Times Article on Exploitation of Medicare Advantage
by Bill Kadereit, President | National Retiree Legislative Network
For several years I have researched and written about how Medicare Advantage (MA) has been using federal government subsidies to offer special benefits that are denied to original Medicare enrollees. In my latest position paper (August 17, 2022), I noted that MA will cost taxpayers $53 billion in 2022 and the projection is that by 2030 the costs will be $100.8 billion!
The 2022 MedPAC report to Congress stated: “Aggregate Medicare payments to Medicare Advantage plans have never been lower that FFS Medicare spending.” MA payments per enrollee were 104% of original Medicare’s FFS (Fee-for-Service) in 2022.
CLICK CHAPTERS on the MENU to see Other Chapters
NRLN Grassroots Network is the name for having support from NRLN members to respond to Action Alerts plus having Region, State and Congressional District leaders to support the NRLN’s Washington, D.C. lobbying efforts.
Two Medical Bills Should Be Passed
Ask your U.S. Representative to become a co-sponsor of two bills: H.R.35, Close the Medigap Act of 2023 which would prohibit discriminatory pricing and coverage denials for patients seeking supplemental Medigap coverage.
In the News
The articles and opinion pieces below are for information and are not necessarily a reflection of the NRLN’s position on issues.
The NRLN is nonpartisan and its positions on retirement issues are presented in its Legislative Agenda and white papers that can be accessed from under the Legislative Agenda tab on the website main menu.
Medicare is being privatized right before our eyes By Dylan Scott, Vox – Mar 17, 2023
House committee calls Fed, FDIC officials to testify in its first hearing on bank failures By Chelsey Cox, CNBC – Mar 17, 2023
GOP hopes energy bill hits Biden, lays marker on future negotiations By Emily Brooks, The Hill – Mar 17, 2023
Biden, divided Congress seek common ground on health care reforms By Joseph Choi, The Hill – Mar 17, 2023
Medicare beneficiaries could pay less for 27 drugs covered under Part B starting next month By Sarah O’Brien, CNBC – Mar 15, 2023
Analysis: US grid could be 90 percent carbon-free by 2030 with IRA tax credits By Zack Budryk, The Hill – Mar 16, 2023
Facing political pressure, Sanofi follows Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk in slashing insulin prices By Annika Kim Constantino, CNBC – Mar 16, 2023
Denied by AI: How Medicare Advantage plans use algorithms to cut off care for seniors in need By Casey Ross and Bob Herman, STAT News – Mar 15, 2023
How to Maximize Social Security With Spousal Benefits By Rachel Hartman, U.S. News – Mar 15, 2023
Schumer pushes federal safety board to expand probe to other rail giants By Rose Horowitch, NBC News – Mar 15, 2023
Klobuchar, Fischer introduce bill to make higher-ethanol fuel available year-round By Zack Budryk, The Hill – Mar 15, 2023
Banking wrap-up: What you need to know about the sector’s turmoil By Sylvan Lane and Tobias Burns, The Hill – Mar 15, 2023
Biden administration names first round of drugs to face Medicare rebate penalties By Joseph Choi, The Hill – Mar 15, 2023
Paxlovid is safe, effective and doesn’t cause ‘rebound,’ FDA says By Nathaniel Weixel, The Hill – Mar 15, 2023
D.C. Health Link hacker exposes lawmakers’ personal information By Ines Kagubare, The Hill – Mar 14, 2023
Biden administration proposes national limit for toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water By Rachel Frazin, The Hill, – Mar 14, 2023
Novo Nordisk becomes second company to announce cuts to US insulin prices By Joseph Choi, The Hill – Mar 14, 2023
Veterans Affairs will cover pricey experimental Alzheimer’s drug By Nathaniel Weixel, The Hill – Mar 14, 2023
The SVB collapse — and what it means for healthcare From Advisory Board – Mar 13, 2023
CMS has a new MA proposal — and payers and providers are pushing back From Advisory Board – Mar 14, 2023
New Nasal Spray for Migraines Approved by FDA By Cara Murez. U.S. News – Mar 13, 2023
Here’s who is paying to restore Silicon Valley, Signature Bank deposits By Tobias Burns, The Hill – Mar 13, 2023
Almost 2 in 3 Americans say threat of deadly pandemics is growing: poll By Lauren Sforza, The Hill – Mar 13, 2023
More Retiree Health Plans Move Away From Traditional Medicare By Mark Miller, New York Times – Mar 11, 2023
Meta looking into new social platform that could rival Twitter By Julia Shapero, The Hill – Mar 11, 2023
Opinion: 5G, security risks, and a way forward By Gregory Treverton and Pari Esfandiari, The Hill – Mar 11, 2023
Prostate Cancer Treatment Can Wait for Most Men, Study Finds By Associated Press – Mar 11, 2023
House conservatives issue new list of demands that could upend debt ceiling talks By Christina Wilkie, CNBC – Mar 10, 2023
House GOP hates Biden’s budget — but is still hunting for its own formula By Sarah Ferris and Nancy VU, Politico – Mar 10, 2023
Congress moves against TikTok amid Biden administration ‘stalemate’ By Gavin Bade, Politico – Mar 10, 2023
House unanimously sends COVID-19 origins declassification bill to Biden’s desk By Mychel Schnell, The Hill – Mar 10, 2023
Biden administration goes after individuals who stole COVID-19 relief funds From Advisory Board – Mar 10, 2023
Allergy season is around the corner. Here are 6 ways to manage it. From Advisory Board – Mar 10, 2023
For Seniors on Antidepressants, Adding a Drug May Work Better Than Switching By Denise Mann, U.S. News – Mar 10, 2023
Video: President Biden’s plan would apply a Medicare tax hike to people who make over $400,000 By Robert Frank, CNBC – Mar 8, 2023
Biden’s about to unveil his budget proposal. His endgame: Forcing Republicans’ hand By Joey Garrison, USA TODAY – Mar 8, 2023
Washington teeters on the brink of a Cold War over Social Security By Burgess Everett, Politico – Mar 8, 2023
Social Security and OIG Hold Annual Slam the Scam Day Press Release – Mar 8, 2023
Biden’s nominee for IRS commissioner teed up for confirmation by Senate By Benjamin Guggenheim, Politico – Mar 8, 2023
House Democrats push back against GOP bill to abolish IRS, impose national sales tax By Chelsey Cox, CNBC – Mar 8, 2023
TikTok poses security concerns, FBI director says By Ines Kagubare – The Hill – Mar 8, 2023
Tesla under investigation after steering wheels fall off while driving By Stephen Neukam, The Hill – Mar 8, 2023
Opinion: Moving the needle on supply chain sustainability By Yossi Sheffi, The Hill – Mar 8, 2023
FDA-Mandated Tweak to Common Rx Painkillers May Have Saved Lives By Alan Mozes, U.S. News – Mar 8, 2023
Why everyone is talking about senior-focused primary care Advisory Board – Mar 8, 2023
Nearly 200K Florida residents warned about brain-eating amoeba Advisory Board – Mar 8, 2023
Biden budget proposal would increase Medicare tax for Americans earning more than $400K By Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY –Mar 7, 2023
Opinion: Should you wait to claim Social Security? Here’s how to make the right choice. By Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool – Mar 7, 2023
Economists, activists warn lawmakers of looming debt default if Congress cannot agree to raise the debt ceiling By Chelsey Cox, CNBC – Mar 7, 2023
Treasury Secretary Yellen warns that losses tied to climate change could ‘cascade through the financial system’ By Emma Newburger, CNBC – Mar 7, 2023
Graham says he will introduce bill to ‘set the stage’ for US to use military force in Mexico By Brad Dress, The Hill – Mar 7, 2023
Cyber command chief: Election interference is not going away By Ines Kagubare, The Hill – Mar 7, 2023
Medical Tourism: Traveling Outside US for Care Is Common By Miguel Roberts, Associated Press – Mar 7, 2023
Charted: Outpatient procedure volumes are on the rise From Advisory Board – Mar 7, 2023
How to decide between a virtual and in-person visit From Advisory Board – Mar 7, 2023
A combined COVID-19 and flu shot likely won’t be ready in 2023 From Advisory Board – Mar 7, 2023