December 06, 2013

Seniors to Rally in Support of Health Care Reform

Seniors to Rally in Support of Health Care Reform

 

Seniors upset about one-sided negative message and bias in U.S. House of Representatives Meeting

Apache Junction, AZ – Today, seniors and Community Leaders will gather outside the U.S. House of Representatives Field Hearing for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to celebrate the Affordable Health Care Act and express disdain for the one-sided message brought by  Chairman Issa.

 

What:  Rally to Support the Affordable Care Act

Where: Outside the Apache Junction City Council Chambers; 300 E. Superstition Blvd, Apache Junction

When: Friday, December 6, 10:00am

 

Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans President Doug Hart released the following statement regarding the hearing:

“The Affordable Care Act offers seniors free preventive care and closes the doughnut-hole gap in prescription drug coverage.  This hearing blatantly promotes misinformation to the American public with the goal of eliminating health insurance and expanded Medicare benefits for hundreds of thousands of Arizonans.  It is a preposterous attempt to take our citizens, especially seniors, hostage in a political fight. 

“The United States is a country of laws, and the Affordable Care Act is the law of this land. Health care reform was not only signed into law by President Obama in 2010 – it was also ratified once again by the American people when the elections of 2012 took place. 

 

“Since inception of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, Arizona seniors have already saved $37.5M on their prescriptions and 637,000 Arizona seniors have received free, life-saving tests for chronic diseases. 

 

“Retirees worry about their children and grandchildren, and are happy that the law allows young adults under age 26 stay on their parents’ health insurance.  Seniors are glad to see working families finally protected from the greed and outrageous business practices of the insurance companies through the Affordable Care Act.  Medicaid provides care to seniors in nursing homes, people with disabilities, children and working families.

“Hard working people need the security of affordable health care so they can keep themselves and their families healthy, keep their jobs, start new businesses, ensure that their kids can thrive and be successful, and allow their elderly parents to continue living in their own homes.

“Our Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid in Arizona at no state expense, and at no cost to our general fund. In fact, in adding more eligible Arizonans to Medicaid, we can get federal support and reduce state expenses. This also upholds the will of Arizona voters who voted twice to restore Medicaid.

 

“Health care needs do not go away because individuals do not have insurance coverage. When people are uninsured and cannot pay their bills, it leads to higher private insurance premiums and local taxes to cover the cost of providing uncompensated care. Medicaid turns out to be an important source of funding for rural hospitals and inner-city health care facilities and spending for health care spending generates an economic stimulus. Expanding Medicaid strengthens our economy, communities and our health care facilities.

###

Read More »
October 17, 2013

Arizona Seniors Applaud Budget Deal, Brace for Next One

Arizona Seniors Applaud Budget Deal, Brace for Next One

 

Concern over “Grand Betrayal” on Earned Benefits - Social Security & Medicare - in December

 

The following statement was issued today by Doug Hart, President of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans.

 

“The agreement by the U.S. House and Senate to fund the government until January 15, and to raise the debt ceiling through February 7 is a relief for retirees and most Americans. Senior citizens who were in a prolonged state of limbo about whether their Social Security and Medicare benefits would continue to be paid on time are relieved that the government can re-open and continue to pay its bills.

 

However, on December 13, we will run into another deadline to come up with a permanent budget deal.

 

There is real danger of a ‘grand bargain’ that would cut seniors’ Social Security and Medicare benefits ahead. Such a deal would more accurately be termed a ‘grand betrayal.’ Republicans in Congress have consistently voiced their desire to adopt the chained CPI formula change in order to cut Social Security benefits, raise the retirement age, and to cut Medicare benefits by shifting significant costs back onto seniors. These and other cuts would be incredibly unfair. It was not the veterans, the seniors, the workers, the people with disabilities, or the children who tanked our economy, and they should not be scapegoated into paying for it.

 

We call on our representatives to oppose any cuts in Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits, including any shifting of health care costs to beneficiaries.  We should be improving Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare benefits, not cutting them, because working people need more economic security, not less.”

 

The Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans is a non-profit, non-partisan grassroots statewide organization with over 40,000 members.   For more information:  www.retiredamericans.org

 

###

Read More »
October 15, 2013

Retirees Support Re-Opening of Federal Government

Retirees Support Re-opening of Federal Government

 

Retiree Leader: “Seniors May not Receive Social Security checks or Medicare reimbursements” if the shutdown and debt crisis are merged in the coming weeks.

 

The following statement was issued today by Doug Hart, President of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans.


“Today, leaders and friends of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans gathered outside the downtown Social Security office in Phoenix to show support for re-opening the federal government without holding seniors hostage. 

 

We are here today because we support a clean Continuing Resolution to re-open the federal government. We strongly oppose Social Security and other benefit cuts, including the chained CPI Social Security cost-of-living adjustment change, as part of any ‘grand bargain.’

 

If the shutdown and debt crisis are merged in the coming weeks, and the debt ceiling is not raised, seniors also may not receive Social Security checks or Medicare reimbursements.

 

It is of critical importance that we pass a Continuing Resolution to re-open the government and to vote against any “grand bargain” deal that dismantles our retirement security inch by inch. Even in this hostage-situation, we must oppose any cuts in Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits, including any shifting of health care costs to beneficiaries. 

 

What we should really be doing is improving Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits, not cutting them, because working people and retirees need more economic security, not less. Proposals by Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of California lay out a path to strengthen our Social Security program, expanding benefits while extending the life of the Trust Fund, and this is the type of legislation that we need in the future.

 

It was not the veterans, the seniors, the workers, the people with disabilities, or the children who tanked our economy, and they should not be scapegoated into paying for it.  Speaker Boehner is wrong for holding our country hostage and forcing the government to shut down. Let’s not forget – Social Security does not contribute one red cent to the federal deficit. It is funded entirely by contributions from workers and their employers.

 

We are watching closely and remain hopeful that Washington finds a way to turn this thing around and do the right thing. That sure doesn’t mean trying to solve our budget problems on the backs of seniors and veterans when it was caused by Wall Street. It’s time to re-open the government and stop demanding Social Security as ransom!

 

###

Read More »
October 03, 2013

Seniors Join Hands at US Capitol

Seniors Join Hands at U.S. Capitol, Issue Warning to

Reps Schweikert, Gosar, and Franks about using Shutdown

to Cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

 

The following statement was issued today by Doug Hart, President of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans.

 

“Today scores of seniors came to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, joined hands with Members of Congress, and formed a human chain in opposition to the Chained CPI cost-of-living adjustment formula and all benefit cuts to Social Security.

“By doing so, they sent a message: We are standing up for our hard-earned benefits and will not allow a government shutdown to force cuts to our Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid!

“I encourage Reps. Schweikert, Gosar, and Franks in Arizona who have expressed support for the Chained CPI in the past, to re-think their position, given the growing number of activists telling Congress, ‘Hands off Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid!’

“Today was also a part of a timely revolt against Republicans' hostage taking strategy. Whether shutting down the government to protest Obamacare or using a debt crisis to force the Chained CPI on seniors, Americans have had enough.

“Both current and future Social Security beneficiaries need to know the truth: the Chained CPI is not some harmless, technical change. It’s a benefit cut.

 “If the shutdown and debt crisis are merged in the coming weeks, and the debt ceiling is not raised, seniors also may not receive Social Security checks, Medicare reimbursements and a host of other necessities.

“The Arizona Alliance’s 40,000 members are watching closely and remaining hopeful that Washington finds a way to do the right thing – that certainly doesn’t mean wrongly trying to solve the country’s budget problems on the backs of our seniors.”

###

Read More »
October 01, 2013

House Republicans' Shutdown Turns Seniors into Hostages

House Republicans’ Shutdown Turns Seniors into Hostages

 

We must make sure these tactics are not “Rewarded”

with Cuts to Social Security and Medicare

 

The following statement was issued today by Doug Hart, President of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans.


Glendale, AZ – Today, over 50 seniors and retiree leaders from the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans gathered outside of Congressman Trent Franks’ District Office to celebrate the Affordable Health Care Act and express disdain for today’s government shutdown.

 

“The Affordable Care Act offers seniors free preventive care and closes the doughnut hole gap in prescription drug coverage. For House Republicans like Congressman Trent Franks to say that he doesn’t like it, and therefore will shut down the government over it, is a preposterous attempt to take our government – and seniors - hostage. 

“The United States is a country of laws, and the Affordable Care Act is the law of this land. Health care reform was not only signed into law by President Obama in 2010 – it was also ratified once again by the American people when the elections of 2012 took place.


“As a result of furloughs and service cuts during the last shutdown, claims for Social Security and disability benefits were not being taken and callers were denied service on the Social Security Administration’s 800 number.

 

“During the 1995-96 shutdowns, veterans also saw their disability benefits and pension claims delayed.


“We must stand firm against these tactics, and not allow the House Republicans’ unreasonable demands to erode the Social Security and Medicare benefits that seniors rely on. In particular, we must make sure that these hostage-taking schemes are not used to negotiate the Chained CPI formula change to seniors’ future Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, cutting their benefits. That is one of the results that these hostage-takers would love to see happen most of all. We must also beware of attempts to shift Medicare costs to beneficiaries.”

###

Read More »
August 15, 2013

Area Retirees and Congressmen Grijalva, Barber to Celebrate Social Security Birthday and honor Champions of Social Security

Area Retirees and Congressmen Grijalva, Barber to Celebrate Social Security Birthday and honor Champions of Social Security

 

Tucson, AZ - Marking the 78th birthday of Social Security, the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans members, leaders and community activists will celebrate on Wednesday, August 14, at 11:30am at Armory Park Senior Center.  Attendees will celebrate the programs’ successes and released a new report detailing the impact of these programs on state residents.

 

WHAT: Social Security Birthday Party and Awarding of the “Champion of Social Security Award” to Community Activist Tino Torres and Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick

WHERE: Armory Park Senior Center, 220 S. 5th Ave, Tucson

WHO: Congressmen Grijalva and Barber, Congresswoman Kirkpatrick’s Deputy Director Blanca Varela, Local leaders, 80-100 area retirees, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans leadership

WHEN: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 11:30-1:00pm (minute-by-minute agenda is attached)

 

The new report can be accessed here http://www.socialsecurityworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Social_Security_Works_For_Arizona_2013.pdf

 

The report details the success of these programs for Arizona and the nation. In addition to documenting Arizona residents impacted in various congressional districts and its counties; how many dollars flow into these economies in a year, the report also presents the stories of hard-working Arizonans.

 

###

 

 

Read More »
July 03, 2013

"Some Cuts Never Heal" - Local Retirees Form Human Chain around Senator Flakeā€™s Arizona Offices to Protest the Chained CPI Social Security Cut

Phoenix/Tucson--- On Tuesday July 2nd, the Alliance for Retired Americans sponsored a National Day of Action which focused specifically on opposing the chained CPI, which would cut Social Security benefits by changing the cost of living adjustment formula. The Alliance for Retired Americans is a nationwide grassroots advocacy organization representing more than 4 million nationally and 40,500 in Arizona.

 

50 members of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans worked together to create a human chain in front of Senator Flake’s Arizona Offices to protest the chained CPI. 

 

Photo here: https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-frc3/968973_10151679867239675_253515343_n.jpg

 

Dozens more human chains were formed in front of key Congressional offices and Federal buildings, as well as other strategic locations, in states around the country. 

 

Chained CPI is an immediate Social Security benefit cut, which would result in an annual benefit that is roughly  $1,000 (2012 dollars) lower by the time a beneficiary reaches age 85.

 

“Politicians continue to press for the Chained CPI benefit cut as a way to reduce the deficit.  But the truth is Social Security has not contributed one dime to the deficit,” said Doug Hart, President of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans.  “The chained CPI is a cold, calculated benefit cut to our Social Security - and some cuts never heal!”

 

“On July 2nd, retirees and their supporters came together and joined hands to send a firm message to Washington,” added Mr. Hart.   “We refuse to be chained by the chained CPI, and we will not stand for any cuts to our modest Social Security benefits.”

 

For more on the chained CPI, click here.

Read More »
April 10, 2013

President Obama Wrong to Propose Immediate Cuts on Social Security Beneficiaries

By Doug Hart, President, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans

 

Unfortunately, President Obama included cuts to the Social Security cost of living adjustments (COLA) in his recent budget release. These cuts, in the form of the chained CPI formula, could have an impact on over 1,067,717 Social Security beneficiaries in Arizona, including over 220,000 in Pima County alone.

 

Although the President’s budget will not be voted on, there is cause for concern that a “grand bargain” coming down the pike would include similar cuts and impact retirees significantly.

 

The chained CPI formula for calculating Social Security cost-of living adjustments (COLAs) does not reflect the economic activity of seniors and amounts to immediate benefit cuts for current beneficiaries. Estimates are that someone who retires this year would lose more than $6,000 in benefits over 15 years if the chained CPI were in effect, because it would decrease the already low cost-of-living inflationary protections.

 

First off, the idea of adopting the chained CPI as part of deficit reduction efforts is truly bad policy, because the program does not contribute to the deficit to begin with. The Social Security system by law cannot borrow money and has not contributed to our nation’s deficit.  To cut benefits by adopting the Chained CPI in the name of deficit reduction is just plain wrong.  It asks seniors to pay for a fiscal debacle they did not create out of their very modest Social Security benefits.

 

The chained CPI is also bad policy because the current COLA already vastly under-estimates the inflation experienced by seniors and people with disabilities – and the chained CPI would take this a step further.

 

Social Security benefits are modest by virtually any measure. The average annual Social Security retiree benefit in Arizona is under $15,000 per year. Beneficiaries who live on very modest means cannot easily absorb such a large cut to their benefits. Additionally, our nation is facing a retirement income crisis, and cutting Social Security will make that crisis even worse.

 

The so-called Chained CPI is based on an economic theory that goes something like this: Your doctor tells you that you need triple heart by-pass surgery.  You will opt for the cheaper alternative, a double by-pass. I’m not making this up.

 

The chained CPI assumes that a lower COLA is acceptable because consumers substitute cheaper products when prices go up. Health care costs, however, consume a large amount of seniors’ income. These costs cannot simply be substituted with a cheaper version.

Seniors must spend more of what we have on health care, prescription drugs, energy than the general population. The Chained CPI does not take these facts into account.

 

Our elected officials should not play with the well-being of seniors in such a matter-of-fact way. The chained CPI is a flat-out benefit cut for Social Security beneficiaries. There are better ways to strengthen Social Security that do not involve throwing our seniors under the bus.

 

Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans is a statewide organization with over 40,500 members that works to protect the health and economic security of retirees and older Americans. 

 

State Social Security info by state: http://strengthensocialsecurity.org/resources/state-reports

Read More »
October 25, 2012

Retiree Advocacy Group Announces Statewide and Local Endorsements

 

 

For Immediate Release

October 25, 2012

Contact: Tory Anderson

623-570-6396/azretiredamericans@gmail.com

 

Retiree Advocacy Group Announce Endorsements 

Phoenix, AZ – The Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, a non-profit, non-partisan retiree advocacy group with over 42,000 Arizona members, proudly announces endorsements for candidates statewide.

“We feel these candidates will stand strong for senior issues,” said Doug Hart, President.  “Seniors and retirees in Arizona rely on senior services at both the local and state levels.  Seniors care about protecting and preserving Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Meals on Wheels, Senior Transportation, and policies affecting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.  They also care about living in a state with a solid education system for their kids and grandkids.” 

First Name

Last Name

Office

District

Linda

Lopez

State Senate

LD 2

Olivia

Cajero Bedford

State Senate

LD 3

Lynne

Pancrazi

State Senate

LD 4

Beth

Weisser

State Senate

LD 5

Tom

Chabin

State Senate

LD 6

Barbara

McGuire

State Senate

LD 8

Steve

Farley

State Senate

LD 9

David

Bradley

State Senate

LD 10

Jo

Holt

State Senate

LD 11

Patricia

Fleming

State Senate

LD 14

Scott

Prior

State Senate

LD 16

Bill

Gates

State Senate

LD 17

Janie

Hydrick

State Senate

LD 18

Anna

Tovar

State Senate

LD 19

Michael

Powell

State Senate

LD 20

Michael

Tarrats

State Senate

LD 21

Katie

Hobbs

State Senate

LD 24

Greg

Gadek

State Senate

LD 25

Ed

Ableser

State Senate

LD 26

Leah

Landrum Taylor

State Senate

LD 27

Eric

Shelley

State Senate

LD 28

Steve

Gallardo

State Senate

LD 29

Andrea

Dalessandro

State House of Representatives

LD 2

Rosanna

Galabdón

State House of Representatives

LD 2

Sally Ann

Gonzales

State House of Representatives

LD 3

Macario

Saldate

State House of Representatives

LD 3

Pamela

Durbin

State House of Representatives

LD 5

Doug

Ballard

State House of Representatives

LD 6

Angela

Lefevre

State House of Representatives

LD 6

Ernest

Bustamante

State House of Representatives

LD 8

Emily

Verdugo

State House of Representatives

LD 8

Mohur Sarah

Sidhwa

State House of Representatives

LD 9

Victoria

Steele

State House of Representatives

LD 9

Stefanie

Mach

State House of Representatives

LD 10

Bruce

Wheeler

State House of Representatives

LD 10

Dave

Joseph

State House of Representatives

LD 11

Robert

Leach

State House of Representatives

LD 14

Mark

Stonebraker

State House of Representatives

LD 14

Patricia

Flickner

State House of Representatives

LD 15

Matthew

Cerra

State House of Representatives

LD 16

Karyn

Lathan

State House of Representatives

LD 17

Darin

Fisher

State House of Representatives

LD 18

Corey

Harris

State House of Representatives

LD 18

Mark

Cardenas

State House of Representatives

LD 19

Lupe

Chavira Contreras

State House of Representatives

LD 19

Tonya

Norwood

State House of Representatives

LD 20

Jackie

Thrasher

State House of Representatives

LD 20

Carol

Lokare

State House of Representatives

LD 21

Sheri

Van Horsen

State House of Representatives

LD 21

Lela

Alston

State House of Representatives

LD 24

Chad

Campbell

State House of Representatives

LD 24

Juan

Mendez

State House of Representatives

LD 26

Andrew

Sherwood

State House of Representatives

LD 26

Ruben

Gallego

State House of Representatives

LD 27

Eric

Meyer

State House of Representatives

LD 28

Lydia

Hernandez

State House of Representatives

LD 29

Martin

Quezada

State House of Representatives

LD 29

Jonathan

Larkin

State House of Representatives

LD 30

Debbie

McCune Davis

State House of Representatives

LD 30

Sherryn "Vikki"

Marshall

Pima Community College Governing Board

District 3,

Richard

Fridena

Pima Community College Governing Board

District 5,

Camy

Juarez

Tucson Unified School District Governing Board

Ralph

Ellinwood

Tucson Unified School District Governing Board

Kristel

Foster

Tucson Unified School District Governing Board

Elaine

Richardson

Pima County Treasurer

Clarence

Dupnik

Pima County Sheriff

Nancy

Young Wright

Pima County Board of Supervisors

District 1,

Ramon

Valadez

Pima County Board of Supervisors

District 2,

Richard

Elias

Pima County Board of Supervisors

District 5,

Lilia

Alvarez

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

District 3,

Paul

Penzone

Maricopa County Sheriff

Manuel

Cruz

City of Glendale

Mayor of the

Shawn

Hutchinson

Peoria City Council

Ironwood district,

Sam

Chavira 

Glendale City Council

Yucca district,

Pete

Rios

Pinal County Board of Supervisors

District 1,

Henry

Wade

Pinal County Board of Supervisors

District 4,

Maxine

Brown

Pinal County Board of Supervisors

District 5,

Jim

Walsh

Pinal County Attorney

 

 

 

###

 

 

The Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans is a non-profit, non-partisan retiree advocacy group.  For more information, visit www.retiredamericans.org

 

 

Read More »
October 18, 2012

Seniors Group Endorses Vikki Marshall for Pima Community College Governing Board

For Immediate Release

October 18, 2012

Contact: Tory Anderson

623-570-6396/azretiredamericans@gmail.com

 

 

Seniors Group Endorses Vikki Marshall for Pima Community College Governing Board

 

Tucson, AZ - Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans members proudly endorsed Vikki Marshall for re-election to the Pima Community College Governing Board at a membership meeting in Tucson on Tuesday.

 “Vikki Marshall is really a champion for students and seniors. She can be trusted to lead with our interests. Her view on keeping health care affordable is one of the reasons that we stand behind Marshall and her candidacy for Pima Community College Governing Board,” said Doug Hart, Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans President.

Vikki Marshall opposes plans to privatize Medicare and Social Security. She opposing repealing health care reform, which, if repealed would adversely affect the ability of Pima Students access to affordable care.   

The Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans represents over 42,800 retirees in Arizona.

 

 

###

Read More »