Representatives from four retiree associations and three chapters will participate in the NRLN’s September 25-27 Fly-In to Washington, DC to advocate key retirement issues on Capitol Hill.
The associations are Alliance of DTE Energy Retirees, AT&T/Ameritech/SBC Retirees (AASBCR), National Chrysler Retirement Organization, and TelCo Retirees Association. The NRLN chapters include Arizona Chapter, Lucent/Nokia Retirees Chapter and Utah Chapter.
The NRLN Board will meet from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon on Monday, September 25 at the Holiday Inn Washington Capitol Hotel. Monday afternoon will be devoted to a briefing session on lobbying issues. Tuesday and Wednesday (until time to depart of airport or train) will be devoted to appointments on Capitol Hill to advocate issues important to retirees. The issues include:
- Protect Retirees in Pension Plan De-risking: When “de-risking” occurs with the purchase of an insurance annuity pension, plan participants lose the protection of the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The NRLN’s proposal is to protect beneficiaries by requiring a secondary insurance policy in case the initial insurer defaults. Requests will be made to introduce a bill with the NRLN’s proposed statutory amendments to ERISA that will provide protection for pension plan participants whose pension is converted to an annuity.
- Prevent Privatization of Medicare – CMS is using billions in taxpayer subsidies to private insurance companies for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans; ACO REACH will receive even more subsidies and there is a proposal for “premium support” as moves toward the privatization of Medicare. We oppose the use of MA and ACO REACH and “premium support” to privatize Medicare. Rebates to private insurers for MA is not competitive with original Medicare Fee-for-Service. MA chronic care special services are denied to original Medicare enrollees. ACO REACH is turning healthcare for seniors over to Wall Street investors. As premiums rise above the “premium support” subsidy, seniors will have to pay out-of-pocket.
- Funding Social Security Is Essential for America’s Promise – Social Security is not a welfare program paid for by the U.S. Government. Social Security is funded by payroll taxes and cannot add a penny to the federal debt. The NRLN opposes a proposal to raise the full Social Security retirement age from age 67 to 69. Social Security’s funding gap should be closed – but not by cutting its benefits. Close the funding gap through a modest increase in the current payroll tax rate for employees and employers and make all wages subject to the tax.
- Reduce Prescription Drug Prices – Congress needs to do more to reduce the cost of medicines. Legislation is needed to end pay-for-delay and other brand name drugmakers’ tactics that obstruct generic drugs from coming to market. Legislation is needed for importation of safe and less expensive drugs from Canada and other countries that meet FDA quality standards. Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) must have transparency.
Make HCTC Permanent – The NRLN will urge passage of H.R.3912, Bob von Schwedler Permanent Health Coverage Tax Credit Expansion Act, to make HCTC permanent or at least pass H.R.2914, Health Coverage Tax Credit Reauthorization Act of 2023, to reauthorize HCTC through 2027. This will help retirees ages 55-64 cover the cost of health insurance if their pensions have been taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), or if their job was outsourced abroad under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA).
Full coverage of the Fly-in will be reported with photos on the NRLN website and in NRLN President Bill Kadereit’s column in the fall NRLN FOCUS Newsletter. You will be notified when a video from the Fly-In is posted on www.nrln.org.