Alliance for Retired Americans Weekly Alert, June 15, 2012

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–June 15, 2012.

Romney’s Health Plan: Perfect for the Healthy and the Wealthy

As the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law, Mitt Romney laid out a plan on Tuesday in Orlando that would make the health insurance system more like a “consumer market” – leaving it to competition to drive down prices and increase quality. Romney also promised to take federal funds away from Medicaid and other federal benefit programs and give them to state governments, then place the states in charge of covering the uninsured. In addition, the likely Republican presidential nominee said that if the Supreme Court does not overturn the health care law in full, he would work to repeal whatever remains of it on his first day as president by granting a waiver to all 50 states to opt out of the legislation’s restrictions. For more, go to The Washington Post article at

Obama Campaign Spokeswoman Liz Smith warned in a statement that Romney’s plan will take Americans back to a time when insurance companies could discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions and force Americans to choose between paying their health-care bills and going bankrupt. In an interview with Jay Leno as recently as March, Romney continued to oppose helping those with pre-existing conditions obtain health insurance. He argued that “you’ve got to get insurance when you are well.”

Recession-hit Seniors Forced to Draw from Social Security Early

Many older Americans who lost their jobs in the recession have been forced to claim their Social Security benefits before they had initially planned.  About 200,000 more people filed initial claims than the Social Security Administration had predicted in 2009 and 2010.  This trend is likely to continue in the near future due to chronic unemployment and underemployment.  Seniors have been left with no choice but to draw from Social Security as job prospects have lagged behind those of other age groups.  The Government Accountability Office reported that less than a third of those aged 55-64 who lost their jobs between 2007 and 2009 had found work by January 2010, compared with 41 percent of people 25 to 54.

An analysis by Richard W. Johnson of the Urban Institute found that 37% of older workers who lost their jobs between 2007 and 2011 and could not find work claimed Social Security at age 62. According to The New York Times (, drawing from Social Security early may prove to be a stopgap for seniors in the short run, but cuts their long-term benefits by up to 20-30 percent per month compared to those who are able to wait until their full retirement age. 

“It is such a shame when seniors are forced to draw early from their Social Security because of forces beyond their control,” said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance. “The Alliance will continue to fight so that all seniors can retire with dignity and on solid financial ground.”

Over Half of Seniors Now On-Line, Study Says

53% of Americans over 65 now use the internet and e-mail, a significant increase from prior years.  The results, from a new Pew Research Center study, show a growing trend that has broad implications for retirees’ daily lives as well as their civic activism. “Because seniors are the top target of election year lies and scare tactics, politically savvy seniors should go on-line to learn more about both the issues and the candidates,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.  The Alliance continues to grow its on-line presence by posting fact sheets and news updates on our website,, and Facebook page,   Retirees who want to “Tweet” how Mitt Romney would be bad for seniors can do so by using the #MittBad4Seniors hashtag.

President Declares June 15thas World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

President Obama has proclaimed today – Friday, June 15th – as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Obama wants to use the day to call attention to the tragedy of elder abuse, which can rob seniors of the security that they have worked their whole lives to build.  He is also using the day to urge Americans to expose elder abuse, and is calling on federal, state and local officials to protect seniors and prosecute those who abuse them. The Elder Justice Act is one tool at their disposal for doing so. The President is calling on all Americans to learn the signs of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and to raise awareness of the issue in their communities.

“I encourage everyone to take a stand with the President on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to stamp out this often-violent, particularly-terrifying form of bullying against our loved ones who many times aren’t even able to defend themselves,” said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance.

Colorado Alliance Education Fund Holds Convention, Elections

Colorado held its founding convention for the Colorado Alliance for Retired Americans Education Fund on June 14th in Denver. Delegates elected Sam Domity as President; David Nefzger, Secretary; and Sherry Goodman, Treasurer. The Vice Presidents are Ken DeBay, Dean Ames, John Stoffel and Mack Goodman.  Delegates heard from the Alliance’s Dana Kennedy on the Paul Ryan budget; Ann Ragsdale, state Colorado Alliance Organizer; and Mike Cerbo, Executive Director of the Colorado AFL-CIO. Attendees thanked the leadership of the Colorado Alliance for Retired Americans, including President Frank Lay, for his vision in working for the creation of the new organization.

Florida Alliance for Retired Americans (FLARA) Holds its Annual Conference

Ms. Easterling was in Orlando on Monday for the Florida Alliance’s Annual Conference. More than 90 people attended the two-day gathering as Tony Fransetta was re-elected State President. J.B. Clark, Regan McDaniel, Irwin Scharfeld, Sarah Jones, Robert McNatt, Tom Snover, and Vivian Silbiger were elected Union Executive Vice Presidents.  Steve Protulis, Syd Bykofsky, Judy Kohler, Joe Bowyer, Julia Brown, and Angelica Marroquin were elected Community Executive Vice Presidents. The information-packed conference included an emphasis on upcoming elections, ballot initiatives, and voting rights, as well as national and state issues, and left those in attendance fully energized for the campaign season!