Walker, Rubio Talk about Plans to Repeal the Affordable Care Act

August 21, 2015

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This week, Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker released a plan to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), who is also running for president, spoke about his own plans for the ACA. While light on specifics, Walker’s plan promises to turn Medicaid into a block grant program run by the states, potentially cutting health care for millions of seniors. Furthermore, many of the essential guarantees under the ACA, such as mandated coverage of preventive care and protections for those with pre-existing conditions who don’t have continuous health care coverage, would disappear.

Sen. Rubio’s plan would also turn Medicaid into a block grant program and would make seniors pay more for their coverage by using a “premium support model,” or vouchers, to replace Medicare’s guaranteed benefits.

“The plans put forth by some GOP presidential candidates this week show that older Americans need to listen carefully, because Scott Walker and Marco Rubio would cut health care benefits for seniors,” said Alliance President Barbara J. Easterling.

“We will continue to oppose any and all efforts to gut Medicare and Medicaid and increase health care costs for older Americans,” added Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.

Alliance Members Celebrate Social Security’s 80th Anniversary throughout August

Last week was Social Security’s 80th anniversary, and Alliance members across the country gathered for several more celebrations this week. Activists in a half-dozen cities including Indianapolis, Indiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Las Vegas, Nevada; New York City; Norcross, Georgia; and Wake Forest, North Carolina held celebrations this week. Another event today in Albuquerque, New Mexico features a mariachi band.

“Thank you to everyone who took part in these celebrations over the past few weeks,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance. “Without such dedicated members, we would not have been able to draw attention to our efforts to expand our earned Social Security benefits.”

New Hampshire Alliance VP Jane Lang Holds Gov. Kasich’s Feet to the Fire

New Hampshire Alliance Vice President Jane Lang continues to ask contenders for the 2016 Republican nomination for U.S. president tough questions about their stands on seniors’ issues. Last month she asked Jeb Bush about his plans to gut Medicare. On Wednesday C-SPAN and CNN covered Ms. Lang asking Ohio Governor John Kasich whether he would look at raising the cap on earnings that are subject to Social Security payroll taxes and expanding earned Social Security benefits. Her questions come at exactly 30:00 into the video.

CNN reported that Kasich gave a "slightly wonky response to her question," but Ms. Lang had a different take. While she commented diplomatically to CNN about her conversation with Kasich, she wanted more policy specifics. Kasich did, however, offer her a hug.

“I thought...the whole thing was danced around," she said. "I just think he needs a little more education."

Nevada Alliance Holds its Biennial Convention

The Nevada Alliance for Retired Americans (NARA) held its 8th biennial convention on Monday and Tuesday at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas. Speakers included Karen Babb, AFSCME Western Regional Organizer; Jo Etta Brown, Alliance Executive Vice President for Community Advocacy; Eric Heggie, Alliance Field Director; and Danny Thompson, Nevada AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Treasurer.

Tom Bird was re-elected as state President and Gail Dietrich as Recording Secretary. Mary Keating was elected NARA Treasurer.

Former NARA President Scott Watts and his wife Susan were honored with a tribute including speeches, videos from Mr. Fiesta, Rep. Dina Titus, and Executive Board member Luis Duran, along with a letter of recognition from the Alliance presented by Ms. Brown. A representative from Senator Harry Reid's office honored Mr. Watts with a resolution that had also been read on the U.S. Senate Floor. Ms. Brown was honored for her ten years as NARA Treasurer.

Medicare Turns 50: HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell Praises Medicare’s Success

"No other program has changed the lives of so many of our families, friends and neighbors. No other program has given so many hope. For 50 years, Medicare and Medicaid have shown how effective policy can dramatically improve the lives of millions of Americans. But they have served another vital role in our health care system: a catalyst for change." - Sylvia Matthews Burwell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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