Alliance for Retired Americans Friday Alert, February 3, 2012

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–February 3, 2012. 

White House, Alliance for Retired Americans to Host Twitter Q&A on Senior Issues

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Do you want to know more about the Affordable Care Act and dispel the myths about it? Want to ask administration officials about strengthening Social Security and Medicare for you, your kids and grandkids? Have other questions for the White House? Now’s your chance to ask and participate! The White House Office of Public Engagement is hosting a Twitter Q&A and conference call with the Alliance for Retired Americans this Monday, February 6th from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time to answer your questions about aging, retirement and politics. The call is a follow-up to President Obama’s recent State of the Union address. Answering your questions during the Q&A:

* Jon Carson (@JonCarson44), the director of the Office of Public Engagement

* Kathy Greenlee (@hhsgov), Assistant Secretary for Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Send your question to us before the Q&A by tweeting it to @activeretirees; posting it to our Facebook page; or by emailing it to us here: [email protected]“>[email protected]. Follow along with the Q&A through the hashtag #SOTU or #seniorshealth, and keep sending us your questions.

Romney Wins Florida Republican Primary – After a Few Fibs

Mitt Romney scored a decisive victory in Florida’s presidential primary on Tuesday, steadying a campaign that was jarred by a loss in South Carolina ten days earlier. Prior to Romney’s victory, Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance, commented on remarks Romney had made on Monday. “Last night at a Florida senior center, presidential candidate Mitt Romney once again couldn’t stop himself from telling an audience what they wanted to hear – even if it wasn’t true,” said Mr. Coyle.

“Romney told retirees, ‘We will never go after Medicare or Social Security,’ even though he supports the Ryan budget to give seniors small vouchers to buy coverage from private insurance companies; wants to raise the Social Security retirement age; and wants to let Wall Street gamble away – and profit from – privatized Social Security accounts.  For a notoriously inconsistent politician, Mitt Romney has a long, clear record of wanting to privatize Social Security and Medicare,” Coyle continued.

Florida Alliance President Tony Fransetta did three press events in 25 hours in advance of the Tuesday primary: one about Romney wanting to privatize Medicare; one about Romney’s role in Damon Corporation’s multi-million dollar scheme to defraud Medicare (; and one about voter suppression. A Boston Globe article noted that Florida seniors generally heard little from the candidates themselves on Medicare and Social Security (

Health Care Reform Law Saves 3.6 Million Americans $2.1 Billion

Nearly 3.6 million people with Medicare saved $2.1 billion on their prescription drug costs in 2011 due to the Affordable Care Act, according to data issued on Thursday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In addition, the savings for people with Medicare will increase over time. According to the HHS report (, the average person with Medicare will save nearly $4,200 by 2021 because of the new law. The Affordable Care Act provides a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs and this year, a 14% discount on generics. In 2011, the 3.6 million Americans who hit the doughnut hole saved an average of $604 on the cost of their prescription drugs. “The data proves that the Affordable Care Act helps seniors,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “It decreases prescription drug costs, provides free preventive care, and slows the growth of Medicare premiums for physicians’ services.”

According to USA Today (, statistics also show that premiums for Medicare Advantage private insurance plans have dropped an average of 7%, and enrollment has grown by 10%, thanks to the 2010 health care overhaul. “This trend counters opposing predictions of dire consequences to enacting health reform, which included a drop in enrollment and a rise in premiums,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.

Indiana “Right to Work for Less” Bill Passes State Senate, is Signed into Law

Despite the best efforts of Indiana workers, their friends, and Alliance retirees, a “right-to-work for less” bill became state law in Indiana on Wednesday. The state Senate voted 28-22 to pass the anti-union bill as thousands of protesters packed Statehouse hallways, shouting their disapproval. Thousands more were outside waiting to get in. Governor Mitch Daniels (R) signed the bill shortly thereafter, making Indiana the 23rd state in the nation with such a law. Indiana Alliance retirees had done several press events driving home the fact that Right to Work (RTW) means “Real Trouble and Worries” for everyone in Indiana, because it puts in jeopardy pensions, health care, and other benefits of union retirees and their legal dependents established through collective bargaining.

Alliance Charters Its 31st State: Virginia

On Tuesday in Richmond, 43 delegates and 8 guests convened to found the Virginia Alliance for Retired Americans. Attendees at the founding convention heard from the following speakers and guests: Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA); NFL Players Association – Former Player Services Senior Director Nolan Harrison III; Ms. Greenlee; Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine (D); Virginia AFL-CIO President Doris Crouse Mays; Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Brian Moran; Virginia Delegate Luke Torian; and leaders from the national Alliance, including Ms. Easterling.

The founding convention elected as officers: Melvin Carter, President; Roger Wood, Secretary; and Ron Thompson, Treasurer. Mr. Carter said, “We are extremely excited to get to work on issues important to seniors and working families in Virginia.” For photos from Virginia, go to  (album) or  (slideshow).

Southern Regional Meeting to Begin on April 30

The Alliance’s Southern Regional meeting will take place beginning on April 30 in Orlando, Florida.  For more information, please go to


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