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These are very significant NEWS articles that were published on the Home Page.

They are being archived on this page, the most recent listed first.

Date Moved Articles

Social Security Benefits to Go up by 1.7 Percent

Millions of older Americans who rely on federal benefits will get a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly payments next year, the government announced.

It's the third year in a row the increase will be less than 2 percent.

The annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, affects payments to more than 70 million Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees. That's more than a fifth of the country.

The increase amounts to about $20 a month for the typical Social Security recipient. (MORE)





Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia Burwell announced today that next year’s standard Medicare Part B monthly premium and deductible will remain the same as the last two years. This leaves more of seniors’ cost of living adjustment from Social Security in their pockets.

(read details) (read still more, including S.S. Cola info)


Robert Fassbach, editor SeniorArk - Last Spring (in 2013) in the U.S. Senate we witnessed PROFILES IN COWARDICE, as 46 Senators turned their backs on 90% of America, and bowed in fear before the National Rifle Association. By a vote of 54 to 46, the Senate refused to pass expanded background checks for the purchase of firearms. Most Senators voted for the background checks, but 60 votes were needed to pass it. What a bunch of WUSSIES. Is it any wonder that Congress is respected below the lowest of the low in this country?

This means that criminals, terrorists, and the severely mentally ill, can continue to walk into a gun show, or go online, to purchase immense firepower with NO QUESTIONS ASKED. It means that a buyer can go to a gun show or online, and purchase multiple weapons, drive into a high crime area, and sell them out of a trunk or a van to anyone with the cash. It means that the wild-west mentality that has killed over 25,440 Americans SINCE NEWTOWN (December 14, 2012) will only intensify. 87 Americans die at the end of a gun EVERY DAY, about 15 of them senior citizens. EVERY DAY we have acts of TERRORISM with 87 victims in AMERICA. Daily, the NRA tries to scare the hell out of Americans so we will rush out and buy the biggest, most expensive, most killing gun possible. And don't forget the 2,000 bullets you may need in case there is an intruder. PROFITS TRUMP LIFE. The terrorist organization responsible for thousands of these deaths every year in America is the NRA, and the chief terrorist is Wayne LaPierre. They must be stopped, and SeniorArk.com encourages you to continue to contact your Representatives and Senators to express your outrage at their actions, or should we say - - their inaction.

We believe that the outrageous  cowardice that we witnessed in the Senate  will rally a huge outpouring of support for the tightening of gun laws. Please be a part of it. We will.

In the white space below, we have published the names, the roster of shame, the 46 cowards whose jobs were more important than American lives.

SENATORS: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm  For email and phone.

CONGRESSMAN: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/  To get email and phone.




"You have blood on your hands. Your shameful vote on background checks is aiding and abetting murderers and terrorists." I typed the message once, then copied and pasted it into the other Senators' space. You need to have a twitter account, sign in, then click on each blue tag after the Senator's name below. We will tweet them with a message tomorrow, and tomorrow, and... We will also tweet the Senators who voted yes, and thank them. If you are confused, email talkbacktobob@aol.com

Update: Please join me. As of November 19, 2014, I'm still sending different, "challenging", near-daily tweets to every one of these Senators below. ARE YOU STILL WITH ME?  ARE YOU TWEETING THEM? Read today's tweet at: https://twitter.com/R_F_F/with_replies . We have tweeted these Senators on hundreds of days, and they are hearing us!




Americans Stick With Obamacare as Opposition Burns Bright


President Barack Obama’s health-care law is becoming more entrenched, with 64 percent of Americans now supporting it outright or backing small changes.


Why the new CBO report on Obamacare is good news

Los Angeles Times

The Congressional Budget Office is out with its latest report on the Affordable Care Act, and here are a few bottom lines: --The ACA is costing less than it expected.


2 Questions: How many homeless children live in New York City?  22,000

                   How many millionaires live in New York City?          389,000

Comment of the Day: If someone walks into a gun store, or a gun show, and wants to purchase 20 firearms, who could believe that these are for a good purpose? (Fact: 400 American Seniors are killed by a gun EVERY month.)


Wal-Mart and Government Welfare - A recent study estimates that taxpayers contribute nearly a million $$ for public programs aiding employees of a Wal-Mart super-center employing 300 workers. Low wages qualify many workers for Medicaid, food stamps, and more. Higher wages, and the availability of "Obamacare" would relieve some of the load on government funds. Another study points the same finger at fast food establishments, notably McDonalds. Other low-pay retail and fast food giants are creating similar burdens on taxpayers


February, 2014 - The federal budget outlook will continue to improve this year, with the deficit projected to shrink to $514 billion — the lowest level since President Barack Obama took office. This is down from the record $1.4 Trillion deficit ($1,400 billion) he inherited. We are headed dramatically in the right direction.

Rebounding tax receipts and slower spending will help narrow the budget shortfall for the third consecutive year, the Congressional Budget Office said on Tuesday. The deficit will continue to fall next year, to $478 billion, before beginning to climb again in 2016, as costs related to aging baby boomers mount. (Source: Politico)



Robert Fassbach, editor, SeniorArk.com - Updated: February, 2014

Government shutdown, Obamacare, Debt Ceiling Limit Increase. You've been hearing these phrases endlessly for the last couple months. A faction of the Republican party, a very small faction, by intimidating the rest of their party, was determined to impose their extreme agenda on the rest, and on all of us. At first it was "de-fund Obamacare". When it was clear that de-funding wouldn't happen, the phrase became "delay Obamacare". That also didn't happen. In fact, the only thing that happened was that the radical branch of the Republican Party cost our economy $27,000,000,000 (that's billions), and still counting.

But now the latest Republican phrase is "Cut Entitlements". Or they say: "We need to cut spending, and that can only be done if you CUT ENTITLEMENTS" What are entitlements? Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. These 3 programs are critical to most Seniors. If they are critical to you, you cannot sit like a dumb lamb, quietly led to the slaughter. You must listen carefully to what is being said by politicians, and I mean in BOTH parties. Obama and the Democrats just might agree with them, in order to create what is called "a grand bargain", meaning cuts in spending as well as revenue increases. We could, in February or March of 2014, become the RED MEAT for either, or both parties. We must listen carefully as the debt ceiling comes up again. Republicans have said they "want something". Seniors could be the red meat they will demand for raising the debt ceiling in February or March. WE MUST SPEAK UP, NOW!

As an example of Republican intentions: Debt Ceiling Showdown: GOP Pledges To Extract Cuts From Obama  Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" recently, "We Republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary, partial government shutdown" in order to achieve spending cuts and entitlement reforms."

SO WHAT CAN I DO? Elected officials pay attention to your opinion. I mean - - they really do. The Senior group, AARP, is jumping up and down trying to get the attention of Congress on this issue. But Congress already expects to hear from them. Congress doesn't necessarily expect to hear from hundreds of thousands of Seniors like you and me. Today you can change that. Tell the President, your two Senators, and your Member of Congress that you want Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid protected. You can call or email them. Don't use post office mail, because by the time it is checked for hazards, these issues may be decided. Here's how you do it:


http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments  OR PHONE: 202-456-1111

SENATORS: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm  For email and phone.

CONGRESSMAN: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/  To get email and phone.




VATICAN CITY, (Reuters) - Pope Francis shared personal moments with 200,000 people on


 The five biggest lies about entitlement programs

Los Angeles Times

Social Security and Medicare are big issues, and not everyone is telling the truth about them. Social Security foes are lying when they say a significant portion of benefits goes to multimillionaires. (read entire article, click biggest lies)


The right-wing Heritage Foundation has called on Congress to PASS NOTHING, but rather JUST INVESTIGATE EVERYTHING. At a time when America faces so many needs and challenges, this borders on treason.



April, 2013


March 20, 2013 - PROFILES IN COWARDICE - Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid announced that 'banning assault weapons' will be removed from any final bill to regulate deadly weapons of mass destruction in America. Saying he had less than 40 votes for such a ban, he refused to introduce a bill that could not pass. If his numbers are correct, at least 15 other Democrats cowardly gave in to influence (money and threats) from the NRA. Make them vote, and show themselves. We know of NO Republicans who would vote for the ban, displaying that they ALL continue to be the lapdogs of the gun lobby. American lives are lost at the rate of 87 EVERY DAY, over 30,000 every year, as these Senators, and their counterparts in the House, cower in their dark little corners. Any money they accept from the NRA is little more than blood money, colored red by the mass deaths of our fellow citizens.

DEFINITION - COWARDICE - "Cowardice is a trait wherein fear and excess self-concern override what is socially deemed as right and courageous—it is the opposite of courage."


UK: Israel losing support over settlements   Aljazeera.com - January 22, 2013

Britain has said that continued Israeli settlement expansion into the occupied Palestinian territories has driven hopes for a two-state solution to ...(SeniorArk adds: Israel continually "flashes the bird" at the U.S. and the whole world, and then wonders why they are so isolated and hated. Israeli theft of Palestinian land must be stopped, and the land must be returned. How long will the world tolerate the illegal actions of this rogue nation?)


National Rifle Association (NRA) Headquarters - Editorial Image

Desperate Gun Fanatics Are Pushing Civil War as a Response to ...

PoliticusUSA (blog) -January 11, 2013

The violent reaction the NRA and so-called patriots demonstrate at ... worthy of fight-to-the-death scenarios to protect a blood relative, and all ...

NRA brags about money from mass murder of children....

The Hill (blog) - January 11, 2013

Can you believe that NRA is bragging about how good the mass ... Joe Walsh of Illinois talking about the need to "spill blood" and daring



 January 3, 2013  , Robert Fassbach, editor SeniorArk.com

 The election is over, and the better candidate for the protection of Senior programs has been elected; President Obama. You may not have voted for him, but please know that for us, the right choice was made.

 But that does not guarantee that our programs are safe. Congress and the President are facing what has come to be known as the "fiscal cliff". What is the "fiscal cliff"? It is a description of a serious situation that will happen automatically on January 1, 2013 if no other actions are taken. It is made up of a combination of spending cuts, and tax increases.

(1) Sending cuts. Last year Congress and the President were deadlocked on whether to raise the debt ceiling, something that has always been automatic in the past. The debate went on for months, resulting in the loss of our stellar credit rating. Finally, Congress agreed to approve the rise ( called The Budget Control Act), requiring immediate targeted cuts of $1Trillion over ten years.

But that was not all. They formed a "super committee" tasked with identifying, in 2012, additional spending cuts to be made over a ten year period. The committee did not come up with spending cuts in 2012 that were acceptable to the President and Congress. In that case, horrendous across-the-board (defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, parks, housing, EVERYTHING) spending cuts were put into the Act. (Don't ask me why, but they call it the "sequester".) It kicks in on January 1, 2013.

(2) Tax Increases. The Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire on January 1, 2013. And this is not only on upper incomes, but on all taxpayers. The President has proposed continuing the tax break for EVERYONE on the portion of their taxable income up to $250,000 for couples, but allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on the portion of incomes that are over $250,000. Only 1 to 2% of  U.S. incomes exceed $250,000. Republicans refuse to go along with this arrangement, but the President made campaign promises to let tax breaks on the wealthy expire. So there is an impasse.

he other major tax increase that will happen on January 1 is the "payroll tax". That is the name given to the Social Security tat is withheld from paychecks. As a stimulus for the economy, that tax was reduced by 2% for employees, and another 2% for employers for the years 2011 and 2012 only. The treasury reimbursed Social Security for funds lost.

 SO WHAT? We may have simplified this process somewhat, but here is the bottom line. If all of this happens on January 1, 2012, a process will begin to remove $600 Billion from the 2013 economy. We are told this is a formula for a deep recession or worse.

Some in government (frankly mostly Republicans) want to put Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid on the chopping block as part of any deal to avoid the Fiscal Cliff. SeniorArk hears rumblings that even some Democrats might be willing to play this dangerous game in order to make a deal.


    Happy Thanksgiving all this Week

    from SeniorArk.com

       November 30, 2012


Verse 2

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.


Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!


November 24, 2012 - The Obama family shown in a 2008, and then in an August, 2012 photo while walking through Lafayette Park on their way to church . Malia and Shasha, 14 and 11, beyond adorable, have certainly grown. 



(SeniorArk opinion) Over 60 years ago the Palestinians were forced from their property to create Israel. Since then, three generations of Palestinians have lived in an ever-shrinking virtual prison in Gaza and the West Bank, that continues to be stolen from them for new illegal Israeli settlements. Palestinians have no status, no rights, no food, no medical equipment, not even building materials that does not "graciously" come from their captors at great profit. If the outside world tries to supply any of these things to the captives, their ships are seized, and the cargo confiscated by Israel.

Every once in a while, when the prisoners misbehave, or threaten their captives in some way, they are labeled as terrorists, and they are shot or blown up in their virtual prison like fish in a barrel.

We complain about oppression around the world. and yet we Americans close our eyes to this.  WHY? We urge Seniors to call or email their Representatives and Senators and demand that the rights of the Palestinian people be respected, and defended.


The SeniorArk editor is a member of the Presbyterian Church USA, and we support most of our church's opinions and initiatives on this matter. http://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/global/israel-palestine/


The statements in red, above, and in green below, are opinions expressed by the SeniorArk editor, and not necessarily of the Presbyterian Church.

We ask the American government to strongly condemn Israel on any intrusion and continued killing in Gaza and the West Bank. We ask them to condemn those Israelis who have cut down, or dug up over 800,000 Palestinian olive trees in the West Bank, the basic means of their economic support. We ask them to condemn Israel for building new roads to new satellite illegal settlements, thus cutting Palestinian farms and communities apart with uncrossable barbed wire fences. We ask the American government to press both parties to work intensely toward two separate and independent nations, a policy American Presidents have supported for decades. Stolen lands must be returned to the Palestinians based on 1967 boundaries.

Imprisonment, and persecution of the Palestinians must be stopped. We aggressively support freedom for peoples all over the world. Can we do any less for these people.

11-15-12 DID YOU KNOW?

As the President looks ahead to his second term, let's review the first:

39 Obama accomplishments in the first term.

November 7, 2012 - You may not like them all, but he sure has had accomplishments.

1. The first bill President Obama signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, to help women fight back when they don't get equal pay for equal work.

2. His Recovery Act supported millions of jobs and helped to stave off a second Great Depression.

3. He pushed for and won middle-class tax cuts that benefited every American worker, and saved the typical family $3,600 in taxes over the last four years.

4. President Obama rescued the auto industry, and now GM and Chrysler are healthier than they've ever been. The American auto industry has added nearly a quarter of a million jobs since June 2009 -- and they most likely wouldn't exist right now without President Obama's leadership.

5. He doubled funding for Pell Grants, helping to make college more affordable for nearly 10 million families.

6. His student loan reform ended billions in subsidies to banks serving as middlemen and reinvested those savings directly into students.

7. The President established the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth up to $10,000 over four years of college.

8. His Race to the Top Initiative helped spur nearly every state to raise academic standards.

9. His tax cuts, social-welfare programs, and economic policies lifted nearly 7 million Americans above the federal poverty line in 2010.

10. President Obama has signed 18 tax cuts for small businesses since taking office.

11. We've seen 5.2 million new private-sector jobs over the last 31 months.

12. The unemployment rate is at the lowest level since President Obama took office.

13. Health care reform -- passed after decades of failed attempts by every previous President -- provides affordable health coverage to every American and will lower premiums by an average of $2,000 per family by 2019.

14. Obamacare expanded access to lifesaving preventive care such as cancer screenings and immunizations with no out-of-pocket costs for 54 million Americans.

15. Obamacare ends insurance discrimination against the 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

16. Because of Obamacare, over 3 million more young adults have health insurance today than would if the new law hadn't passed.

17. The parents of over 17 million children with pre-existing conditions no longer have to worry that their children will be denied coverage.

18. President Obama has ordered the overhaul of federal government regulations to make them smarter, practical, and more efficient. Just a fraction of these commonsense initiatives will help save businesses $10 billion in the next five years alone.

19. His historic investments in clean energy have helped more than double the amount of electricity we obtain from wind and solar sources and helped increase biofuel production to its highest level in history.

20. President Obama is doubling fuel efficiency standards, which will save drivers more than $8,000 at the gas pump, not to mention lessen the impact of automobiles on our environment.

21. President Obama has taken unprecedented action to address climate change, reaching historic international agreements to curb carbon emissions, and taking action here at home to reduce carbon pollution from our vehicles and promote clean energy production.

22. He has taken historic action to protect our environment -- signing one of the largest expansions of protected wilderness in a generation and putting in place standards to reduce toxic air pollution that will save thousands of lives.

23. President Obama fought for and won landmark Wall Street reform that reins in the abuses that led to the financial crisis and ends the era of taxpayer bailouts and "too big to fail."

24. Wall Street reform created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the nation's first federal agency focused solely on consumer financial protection -- and the Bureau is already protecting families from unfair and abusive financial practices from Wall Street banks and shadowy corners of the financial industry.

25. As part of President Obama's commitment to transparency, the White House has posted its visitor records online for the first time ever.

26. President Obama's all-of-the-above approach to energy has helped cut the United States' dependence on foreign oil to its lowest level in 20 years.

27. President Obama responsibly ended the war in Iraq.

28. He announced a plan to end the war in Afghanistan and transition security responsibility to the Afghan people.

29. President Obama sent the largest security assistance package to Israel in history and funded the Iron Dome system, which is protecting Israeli homes and schools from rocket attacks.

30. President Obama rallied the international community to implement the toughest sanctions on Iran in history.

31. Through the President's historic increases in Veterans Affairs funding, he has expanded and improved healthcare and job training access for our returning veterans.

32. President Obama negotiated the New START Treaty with Russia to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in both countries. At the same time, he also secured commitments from dozens of other countries to lock down nuclear materials.

33. His administration naturalized 11,146 military service members as U.S. citizens in 2010; more than in any year since 1955.

34. President Obama set a bold new plan for the future of NASA space exploration, using the skill and ability of the private sector for short trips to the International Space Station, while building a new vehicle for exploration of distant space, and doing everything in his power to support the economy on Florida's Space Coast.

35. President Obama recognizes that tourism is one of America's largest economic engines; he's worked to encourage international visitors to come here, maintaining our security while keeping millions of Americans in good, paying jobs.

36. He has affirmed his personal support of marriage equality, directed the Justice Department to stop defending DOMA in federal courts, and took the practical and compassionate step of extending hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners.

37. He fought for and won the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, allowing gay and lesbian members of the military to serve openly for the first time in history.

38. When Congress failed to fix our broken immigration system, his administration did everything in its power to improve it, streamlining the legal immigration process and announcing a policy that lifts the shadow of deportation from hard working young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

39. Oh, and he gave the order to send troops in after Osama Bin Laden -- and has decimated al-Qaeda's senior leadership.



Missing from Romney's tax plan: Reality

Fortune - October 16, 2012
Even under the most generous economic assumptions, Mitt Romney's tax plan simply doesn't work. With the federal budget closed as of September 30, we now have the final numbers on how much money was spent ...

Mitt Romney attacked as 'flip-flopper' by his father's former aide

Telegraph - October 16, 2012
Mitt Romney attacked as 'flip-flopper' by his father's former aide. Mitt Romney was sharply criticised by a longtime aide to his late father yesterday as an unprincipled flip-flopper who would "would say and do anything" to win the US presidency.

Voucher system for senior health care just won't work
Capital Times - October 14, 2012
Attention fellow senior citizens and future senior citizens! The voucher system being proposed by Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and extreme-right wing Republicans is a scam. Why? If you think it through you will see two big reasons.


Why Mitt Romney Won't Take a Stand

Mitt Romney responded to the Supreme Court's upholding the health care law last Thursday with a short, blunt declaration of what he would do about it if elected president.

Mitt Romney Wants Us To “Trust Him”, Avoiding Specifics! Why?

Romney refuses to be specific about what he would do about the illegal immigration controversy. He refuses to be specific about ANYTHING, ...


Paul Ryan budget plan drives a stake into the heart of Medicare

President Obama, during his speech before the news editors luncheon hosted by the Associated Press, zeroed in on the Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) budget proposal and the GOP candidates supporting it. The President didn’t pull his punches, going all out, in full campaign mode.

He accused Ryan and candidate Mitt Romney, who called the Ryan plan “marvelous,” of “social Darwinism” that “imposes a radical vision” on America. He singled out the Ryan egregious tax break for millionaires which would be paid for by gutting programs for the poor, the middle class, the disabled, veterans, seniors, college students, law enforcement, and even national parks.

Ryan plans to change Medicare, changing it into a voucher system with seniors having to make up the difference between what their insurance company will pay and the bills they receive for health care.

At the same time, Ryan proposes big tax breaks that millionaires and billionaires would receive by lowering their tax bracket, which would cost the rest of us $4.6 trillion over the next decade. Supposedly, these tax cuts would be underwritten by closing loopholes and eliminating wasteful deductions.

Yet, as President Obama pointed out in his speech, “the Republicans in Congress refuse to list a single tax loophole they are willing to close. Not one. That tax cut adds up to at least $150,000 for every millionaire in America. And it comes on top of the two tax cuts that President George W. Bush handed out in 2001 and 2003.


Why the Republican Congress Might Need to Go 

Robert Fassbach, editor, SeniorArk.com

SerniorArk.com Editorial - The Bureau of Labor Statistics has been signaling that the economy is showing strong signs of a rebound. In a recovery, numbers go up and numbers go down. Recently employment numbers went up in a big way. 243,000 new jobs were created in January, 257,000 in the private sector. For several months now, there has been a decline in employment in the government sector, so the total of jobs created is reduced to 253,000. The unemployment figure dropped from 8.5% to 8.5% from the month before, and down from a recession high of 10%. The runaway, out of control job-loss train that Obama inherited has been stopped, and reversed. Good news, right? It would seem not. All day long Republicans of all stripes talked the numbers down: "It should have been better (even though economists predicted 120,000 jobs)." "Are the jobs good-paying." "Obama has caused this to last longer than necessary." Bull

I said to my wife this afternoon, sometime between 4:00 and 5:00, "Let's turn on Fox News to see how they are spinning this good news". We were Immediately   rewarded with a very lively conversation between Neil Cavuto and Mike Huckabee. Huckabee said something like "There is no getting around it, this is good news. Surely you want good news on the economy." Cavuto's response seemed to startle Huckabee, and it sure made my blood boil: "No, I want the economy to stay stuck in the mud", Cavuto said. Excuse me, did I hear that correctly? Yes I did. Cavuto is willing to sacrifice our economy, the unemployed, and ultimately the security of our nation by wishing the economy would stay stuck in the mud. A defeated economy could enhance Republican chances in the next election. Is power really that valuable?

For Seniors, this would mean more pressure on leaders to cut Social Security and Medicare to save money.

Cavuto is not out there on an island by himself. He is simply reflecting the stance of Republicans in Congress who have consistently blocked the President's efforts to get this economy going. They are trying to cut spending in a recession, something economists say is a big mistake. They have fought tax cuts for the middle class because that could stimulate consumer spending. They have refused an infrastructure bill, choosing instead to allow our roads, sewers, and bridges to crumble. After all, with all the construction people working, the economy might recover too soon. These Republicans are obstructionists standing in the way of economic expansion. They must go if they do not help this recovery to continue.




- I sometimes buy healthy, and sometimes not so healthy
- I fire research and development staff. (they have no
   future with us)
- I borrow money on the company.
- I figure out how to scavenge the flesh
   from the company's bones.
- I steal employee pension funds.
- I declare bankruptcy.
- I make employees pack up the
   equipment, and ship to China.
- I make employees train their 90
   cents/hour Chinese replacements.
- I fire everyone.
- And board up the plant, and put up
   barbed wire fences around it.
- Everyone including creditors, employees, the town, Federal government,
   lose everything they have invested, or worked for.
- But I walk away with $$$MILLIONS.
- Which I promptly deposit in my secret bank account in the Caymans,
   Switzerland, Bermuda, or somewhere that the U.S. cannot find it.
- I repeat this scam many times.
- I claim I am a job creator.
- And now I want to be your President, so I can use my business experience
   to help you. Maybe to find a job. Trust me. Yeah that's it, trust me.
- Please. Pretty please. Pretty pretty please.


8 Preventive Health Care Services Women Can Get For Free

EmpowHer - October 23, 2012
When a new provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), sometimes referred to as “Obamacare” kicked in Aug. 1, 2012, about 47 million American women became eligible to receive additional preventative health care services without a co-payment or any ...



Is Medicare Going Broke?

September, 2012

It seems by all accounts that Medicare, at the current rate of spending and future inflation, will not be 100% sustainable in 12 to 16 years (4 years if "Obamacare" is repealed). The only solutions being bandied about in this election are how to cut Medicare. Obama wants to slow its growth by smart planning, while Romney-Ryan want to gut the program and turn it over to for-profit insurance companies while giving credit "vouchers" to seniors who will retire in 10 years. They say, let's withdraw healthcare from our children as they approach retirement. Yet, with minor tweaks to Medicare payroll taxes (solely SeniorArk's opinion), the program could be extended for many years, or indefinitely. SeniorArk asks whether politicians are willing to throw current and future Seniors under the bus, or can we try to adjust taxes in a way that very little pain is felt by taxpayers, and the healthcare for Seniors can be maintained. We fear that with the current House of Representatives, over half of which has signed a pledge to never raise any taxes, ever, under any circumstances, this would be impossible. This pledge was signed to protect members of congress from the threats of one powerful man who promises to destroy any signer who raises a tax. We want a pledge to protect the health of Seniors, not one powerful man. Who are these representatives serving. Tell them with your vote this November.

 Jobless rate drop no big surprise, despite the political racket

NBCNews.com-October 5, 2012

When you turn down the volume on all the political noise surrounding the report, however, what comes through is that the U.S. economy ...

Fact Check: Would repeal of Obamacare hike seniors' drug costs?
CNN - October 4, 2012
(CNN) -- Health care was a huge topic during Wednesday's presidential debate. President Barack Obama said the repeal of Obamacare would cause seniors' prescription drug payments to rise. "We were actually able to lower prescription drug costs for ...

Rep. Chris Van Hollen: 'The Romney-Ryan Medicare plan would have immediate cost increases for Seniors.
Washington Post (blog)
The Republican approach has been to shift rising health care costs onto the backs of seniors. Seniors would get a voucher that declines over time relative to rising health care costs. Seniors get stuck with the bill. And so the president's approach did ...

Ryan Plan Would Crush Seniors Beneath Mounting Medical Costs
U.S. News & World Report
The Ryan plan trades seniors' guaranteed healthcare benefits for vouchers to buy private health insurance. The value of the vouchers would grow at a slower rate than the private insurance premiums. When premiums, co-payments, and deductibles are

09-07-12 Is Romney an Illegal Alien? Or Was His Father?
Friday August 24, 2012 - Today the editor of SeniorArk.com is pis - - -. Although I have wondered about this, I never would have brought it up except for Romney's cheap, dishonest shot this morning. The "birther" has shown himself. Speaking in Michigan this morning, the presumed Republican nominee for the presidency said, "No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate -- they know that this was the place we were born and raised." Oh really? This veiled jab at Obama is despicable based on the facts of both the life of Obama AND Romney. Why?
Just over a hundred years ago the Romney clan fled America and went to Mexico to avoid prison. They were practicing polygamy as Mormons, and were certainly about to be prosecuted. GEORGE ROMNEY, MITTS FATHER, AND FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, IS A MEXICAN. He was born in 1907 in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. This raises some interesting questions about the legality of George Romney's run for the presidency. But it may also raise some important questions about the current Romney. Of course, Mitt Romney never considered himself Mexican. He has said little about this part of his life.
Did Romney Sr. come to America legally, or did he swim across the border? Where is HIS birth certificate? And if he came illegally, where does this put Mitt Romney? Is he the child of an illegal? If so, he is not entitled to be President. If a birth certificate was issued to Mitt in Michigan, was it under false pretenses?
Show us your father's birth certificate Mitt. Prove that he was, and you are legal to run for our presidency. And we want to see the "raised seal" on that certificate, not some cheap copy.
Thanks for that cheap shot this morning Mitt. It has enabled us to raise some very serious questions - -about you. We hope you don't expect any American Medicare or Social Security. Consider self-deportation, maybe.

Republicans to America: Death to Medicare

Huffington Post 

When the Republicans release their budget next week, they'll likely say they have a "new" Medicare proposal that will "save" Medicare instead of eliminate it. That's not true. The Republicans still plan to end Medicare as we know it. But this time they'll do so with the support of Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Based on the draft proposal released in December by Wyden and House Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, the GOP's Medicare plan will give seniors a voucher to buy insurance coverage just like the last plan. From the start, the vouchers would be underfunded and won't cover the costs of the insurance. Under the last proposal, seniors would pay $6,400 more on day one. Then the voucher would not keep up with rising costs of coverage. Based on the last plan, seniors would pay a staggering 68 percent of the cost of their medical care in 2030, compared to 25 percent if the law remains unchanged. (click article title to read more)


Shingles usually attacks the middle-aged and elderly. Baby Boomers are ripe for getting this virus. There is a vaccine for it covered by Medicare D.

Enrollment Up, Premiums Down in Medicare Advantage Plans

MedPage Today

By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today WASHINGTON -- Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans has risen by 10% in the past year and premiums have dropped by 7%, despite billions of dollars in reimbursement cuts to the program, ...

2012 Medicare debate is all about the baby boomers

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Baby boomers take note: Medicare as your parents have known it is headed for big changes no matter who wins the White House in 2012.

New Census Figures Highlight Older Adults' Financial Struggles
PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- New Poverty Rate More Reflective of Economic Realities for Seniors; Tied to Increased Health Care Costs New poverty figures released this week by the US Census Bureau show a large increase in the number of poor ...

Shortage of doctors trained to treat elderly grows more stark as baby boomer ...
Washington Post 
It's a nationwide shortage and it's going to get worse as the 70 million members of the baby-boom generation — those now 46 to 65 — reach their senior years over the next few decades. The American Geriatrics Society says today there's roughly one ...

Excerpt from an article on "MARKET WATCH.com" October 29, 2011 entitled:

"An apocalyptic end to world’s biggest bubble"

by Paul B. Farrell - America’s an addict, out-of-control, doesn’t care who gets hurts

Yes folks, I am mad as hell. The America I believed in when I volunteered for the Marine Corps, went to Korea, that America has been hijacked by an irrational, dark force that’s consuming our political system. We saw this coming a few years ago reviewing Jack Bogle’s warnings in “The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism.” Buffett called that one: “There’s class warfare, all right. But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Today that toxic mind-set is a metaphor visible everywhere, in images like Dexter’s Four Horsemen, visions of America descending into a self-created Inferno.

My America is out of control, babbling nonsense, acting like a junkie, addict, very bad alcoholic. Been there. Now decades in recovery. Also worked years professionally with hundreds from Betty Ford Center. Today everywhere I see a nation consumed by addictions: self-centered, selfish, greedy, aggressive, power hungry, lost souls with no moral compass, in denial of their suicidal mission, incapable of stopping. (read complete article )

Seniors can get preventive services at no cost thanks to Medicare changes
As executive director of Michigan's Area Agencies on Aging Association, I know that the costs of health insurance and prescription medications are of constant concern to our senior citizens. I also know how important it is to take care of our health as ...

First GPS-Enabled Walking Shoes Help Caregivers Track Alzheimer's Patients
Popular Science
Some Alzheimer's patients become paranoid and confused by new jewelry or clothing and remove them, according to Andrew Carle, a professor at George Mason University's College of Health and Human Services, who advised the project and discussed it with ...

GOP not always against entitlements

It's a massive health care entitlement with unfunded future costs over $7 trillion. Many conservatives are still upset at the way it was rammed through Congress. But when the Republican presidential candidates were asked last week asked if they would repeal the Medicare drug benefit, they said no way. After all, Republicans created it. Republicans want to pull the plug on the health care overhaul they call "Obamacare," but that law is arguably less a deficit driver than the Medicare drug plan they are defending.

Report: Iraq, Afghanistan Wars Cost US Nearly $4 Trillion (AND GROWING DAILY)

Voice of America - David Byrd 

Photo: AP Spc. Gavin Fruge, 22, of Crowley, La., left, watches a rebroadcast of President Barack Obama's speech on proposed troop withdrawal with fellow soldiers at Kandahar Airfield in Kandahar, Afghanistan, (file photo) A new report

The hard truth about health care: Government works
Washington Post (blog)
Instead, it's where our conversation about health-care costs never quite goes. The Republican plan, in fact, heads in the opposite direction: The GOP outsources Medicare to private insurers and gives senior citizens checks that cover less and less of ...

Democrats Call On GOP To Take Medicare Plan Off The Table

RTT News -

(RTTNews) - Senate Democrats have called on Republicans to take the House-passed Medicare plan off the table in bipartisan deficit reduction talks, claiming that the plan effectively dismantles the program.


More U.S. drilling didn't drop gas price

Posted by SA March 29, 2012 - More U.S. drilling has not changed how deeply the gas pump drills into your wallet, math and history show.

 Seniors are already benefiting from the Affordable Care Act

Houston Chronicle Posted by SA March 28, 2012
At stake are major new benefits for people enrolled in Medicare that shouldn't be overlooked during the legal wrangling in Washington, DC Contrary to intentional misinformation meant to scare seniors, health reform is working and millions of Americans ...

Over 5 Million in Medicare Saved $3.2 Billion on Drugs in Two Years of 'Obamacare'
SeniorJournal.com - Posted by SA March 21, 2012
As the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act approaches, new data shows that more than 5.1 million seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare saved over $3.2 billion on prescription drugs because of the new health care ...


Ten States Where Seniors Cannot Afford to Live

Posted by SA March 25, 2012 - "24/7 WallSt" Has written this very informative article on the 10 U.S. states where seniors would have great difficulty making ends meet. Read it at: http://247wallst.com/2012/03/15/states-where-seniors-cannot-afford-to-live/


 ALERT!  - Do You Favor Phasing Out Medicare?

TPM - March 20, 2012

Not sure this is going to get the level of attention it deserves or that most political reporters will call it what it is: Paul Ryan today unveiled the new House Budget, which doubles down on Ryan's previously announced plan to end Medicare as a source of guaranteed health care benefits for the elderly. It’ll still be called Medicare, but it will be Medicare in name only.


Medicare unveils new form to enlist seniors in fight against fraud
Washington Post - March 6, 2012
Johnson said a few seniors have recently alerted her to double billing for laboratory tests in Fairfax County, suspicious home-health-care charges near Roanoke, and a wheelchair paid for but never received in Arlington. Tatiana Fassieux, a program ...

Analysis: Romney tax plan strongly favors the rich

CBS News -

Mitt Romney's new tax plan strongly favors the wealthiest Americans, offering earners in the top 20 percent an average tax cut of more than $16000 while raising taxes on the bottom 20 percent of earners, according to an analysis from a non-partisan ...


 YOUR TAXES GIVE $$Billions to Big Oil Every Year. Be Outraged.

February 8, 2012 - Even while we are recovering from the deepest recession since the great depression of the 30's, Republicans insist on continuing billions in gifts to big oil. This, while school lunches are cut back for poor children, unemployment payments for our workers is in doubt, and Social Security and Medicare are painted as the villains to our deficit. We have given cash gifts to big oil for a century. But now that they are awash in record profits, this corporate WELFARE must end, now. Write your member of Congress, and your Senators. Tell them you would rather subsidize new bridges, highways, housing for the elderly, and health.

02-08-12 War Costs Dominate Our Growing National Debt
Posted by SeniorArk January 27, 2012 - The cost to the United States of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan over the past 10 years has been somewhere between $3.2 and $4 trillion dollars, according to a study released this week by the Eisenhower Research Project, based at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. A report on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, meanwhile, quoted a former Pentagon official's estimate that the cost of air conditioning alone for U.S. personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan runs to more than $20 billion a year. "The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades, some costs not peaking until mid-century," according to the "Cost of Wars" report, done by more than 20 economists, political scientists, and other specialists. It continues, Many of the wars' costs are invisible to Americans, buried in a variety of budgets, and so have not been counted or assessed. The cost of treating wounded soldiers will continue for many years, and may approach a trillion dollars by itself.

In Race to End Medicare/Medicaid, GOP Think They Still Have a Shot at a Medal
Huffington Post (blog)
There's real reason to be alarmed by the GOP's proposed "block granting" of the health care program that provides coverage for low income families, children and senior long-term care. Block granting is a nice way of describing gutting $1.4 trillion ...

Safe Over 55? Maybe Not.

Republicans say their Medicare plan wouldn’t affect anybody near retirement age. But it would.

National Journal - Tim Fernholz 

Republicans say their Medicare plan wouldn't affect anybody near retirement age. But it would. By Tim Fernholz Not scot-free: Ryan's plan would still touch current senior citizens.

10 dumb things you do at the doc's office
This is your health we're talking about. Other calls can wait. Turn the thing off. (CNN) -- As much as she would like to, Dr. Lissa Rankin, a gynecologist, will never forget the woman who planned her ...

Many popular brand-name drugs will soon go generic
Richmond Times Dispatch
In 2012, some popular drugs set to lose their patents include: Plavix, the anti-clot/blood thinning drug; the asthma and allergy drug Singulair; Seroquel, which is used to treat mental health issues from depression to bipolar disorder to schizophrenia; ...


Latest news from Capitol Hill is not good for retirees.

*As the "Super Committee" approaches its Thanksgiving deadline to cut at least $1.2 trillion in federal spending, the carving knives are coming out for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

As retirees, we know that these programs are how seniors stay healthy and out of poverty. But we also know they aren't to blame for our budget deficit. We have a deficit because of decades of sweetheart deals to Wall Street and to big corporations and too many years of not asking millionaires to pay their fair share in taxes.

We cannot allow seniors to pay the price for the bad decisions our leaders have made.

A specific cut being talked about would lower the formula for Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs). This would be devastating for retirees; in fact, if this change took effect, a worker retiring this year at age 65 would lose $6,000 in benefits by age 80.

Take a minute today to stand up for today's retirees and for all of us who still believe in the American Dream of a safe and secure retirement.

PLEASE CALL 1-866-251-4044 TODAY!

A very powerful Supercommittee in Congress has been charged with deciding how to cut the federal budget by a whopping $1.5 trillion. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are on the Supercommittee’s chopping block. It’s up to us to get them off the table. Each of these vital programs provides income security or health care to about 1 out of 6 of the nation’s residents.

Your phone call has unusual power today. A handful of members of Congress serving on the Supercommittee will decide the fate of these programs. Your Senator can be a powerful messenger to them.


  • I want the Supercommittee to stand with the 99%, not the 1%.

  • That means opposing any and call cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the Supercommittee—including opposing the Social Security COLA cut.

  • Congress needs to stop protecting tax breaks for Wall Street, millionaires and billionaires.


Health-care costs are driving people into poverty
Washington Post - November 19, 2011
The effect of health-care costs is particularly acute for the elderly, with the proportion of seniors living in poverty increasing from 9 percent under the official census measure to 16 percent under the alternative measure. Under the new method, ...

 Occupy movement

November 19, 2011 - A well-known Washington lobbying firm with links to the financial industry has proposed an $850,000 plan to take on Occupy Wall Street and politicians who might express sympathy for the protests, according to a memo obtained by the MSNBC program “Up w/ Chris Hayes.” ... According to the memo, if Democrats embrace Occupy Wall Street, “This would mean more than just short-term political discomfort for Wall Street. … It has the potential to have very long-lasting political, policy and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.” (Read article)

Polls Show Voters Believe GOP Intentionally Stalling Economic Recovery

Data suggests that about half the country, including a majority of self-identified independents, believe that congressional Republicans are using their political power to thwart Obama’s efforts to reduce unemployment, presenting Democrats an opportunity to make this argument more explicitly as the 2012 campaign moves forward — to undercut Republicans’ claims that Obama and the Dems bear full responsibility for the economy, and to make their pattern of obstruction a real liability for them. (read article)


 - - The United States spends more every year on defense than ALL OTHER COUNTRIES on earth - - COMBINED.

- - According to a study from the Joint Center for Housing Studies the top 25% of U.S. households control 87% of all wealth in the country. "So THAT'S where it went!!"

- - We are hearing a lot about the 99% these days. what are the incomes of the remaining top 1%. Here is a recent chart, reflecting taxable incomes for portions of the U.S. population. The top 15.73% earn over $100,000.  (remember, this is after all possible deductions) The last four rows of the chart show how that 15.73% is divided.

So if the top 1.5% begins around $250,000, could we estimate the starting income for the top 1% at around $350,000 after all possible deductions?




This article updated September 30, 2011

When the debt ceiling deal passed in August, American Senior Citizens experienced a terrorist attack by the Tea Party, their frightened Republican sympathizers, and the spineless Democratic party. They have set a path for the destruction of an economic recovery that could have funded Social Security and Medicare as we have known it. This economy needs to grow, and huge cutbacks in spending at this time will have exactly the opposite effect. Senior programs may bear the brunt of a bad economy. Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid will be on the chopping block again in December when the "committee of 12" reports.  Seniors rely on ALL THREE of these programs. Treachery is afoot to destroy our valuable programs. Read updates regarding attacks on these  critical programs, below.


Bernanke to Congress: Don't sacrifice recovery


Lawmakers should not 'disregard the fragility of the economic recovery,' while focusing on spending cuts, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday.

                Be concerned, and rise up!

You must  be heard.  

SENIORS BEWARE: This, and more anti Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid attacks, are permeating many Republican Party candidates' thinking. As Republican seniors select a candidate, listen very carefully to what they say.

Rick Perry Says Social Security And Medicare Are Unconstitutional

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has, to say the least, a very odd understanding of the Constitution. He thinks Texas should be able to opt out of Social Security, and he believes that everything from federal public school programs to clean air laws are unconstitutional. Yet in an interview with the Daily Beast’s Andrew Romano, Perry makes his most outlandish claim to date — Social Security and Medicare are


"Occupy Wall Street" Gaining Momentum; Unions Pledge Support

Slate Magazine (blog) - ‎September 30, 2011

By Slate V Staff The movement began on September 17 as a response to a call from Adbusters to protest corporate greed, bailouts, and tax breaks for the super rich. A group of approximately 2000 people took to the financial district in Manhattan to live

 (If any of our seniors join in this protest, please make posters defending Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.)

Why Rick Perry is wrong about Social Security,,

Los Angeles Times -

The Galveston County, Texas, retirement plan he touts provides some benefits similar to Social Security, but it falls well short of the federal program's protections in important ways.

Obama's debt plan: Probably taxes, no Social Security cuts

USA Today (blog) - David Jackson - September 15, 2011

Aides are not providing details of the debt reduction plan President Obama will put out Monday, but say he will not include Social Security changes -- though you can expect proposals for more tax revenue. ...

"Rick Perry - - - Social Security IS NOT a Ponzi Scheme"

   -  September 9, 2011 -  Click here to read why

SeniorArk recommends that every SENIOR read Rick Perry's book. Prepare to be frightened, so please be seated while reading. Go to the library if possible to avoid paying him. It was published about 10 months ago.

When Rick Perry was asked by an audience member in Waterloo, Iowa what he would do to rein in spending on entitlement programs if elected president, the Texas governor had a quick response: "Have you read my book, Fed Up!? Get a copy and read it."

SeniorArk will soon do an article on this subject soon on our "RANT" page.

Rove: Perry Holds 'Toxic' Views on Social Security

National Journal -

By Olga Belogolova Karl Rove slammed GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry on ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday, calling his views on Social Security “toxic.

Perry calls Social Security 'monstrous lie'

Houston Chronicle - Chron.com - Riding high in the polls, Gov. Rick Perry rode into Iowa on Saturday with tough talk on President Obama, the economy and foreign policy and a declaration that Social Security is not only a Ponzi scheme but a "monstrous lie" for younger people.

Bachmann claims about Medicare bogus, experts say
St. Cloud Times - August 28, 2011
While on the campaign trail this summer, the 6th District congresswoman has repeatedly said Medicare will “go away” under Obama, and that the president wants to push seniors into “Obamacare” — a term for last year's federal health care overhaul. ...

'Medigap' policies may be on the table in Congressional debate
The Connecticut Mirror -
Proponents say that without private Medigap polices to fill in those holes, many seniors could face unexpected, destabilizing health care bills. "Most Medicare beneficiaries on are fixed incomes," noted Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney at the ...

Pollster: Medicare 'Not Just A Seniors' Issue'
Kaiser Health News -
By Stephanie Stapleton Even though the health insurance program for senior citizens and the disabled survived the initial phase of the debt-ceiling deal without suffering cuts, Medicare is likely to be a target in the next round. ....

Medicare and Medicaid Are Not Safe From the Debt Deal Cuts

ColorLines magazine 

by Amara Nwoso | Print | Comment ( View ) Sagrario, the only person in her* family with health insurance, was diagnosed with cancer after he first arrived in New York from Honduras.

Tea Party groups see Medicare overhaul chance

(Reuters) -  With Medicare at the top of lawmakers' fall agenda, Tea Party movement leaders hope to ignite support for Republican plans to transform the popular federal healthcare program for the elderly.

Thousands of Tea Party movement activists are expected to descend this month on town hall meetings across key battleground states as part of an intensifying campaign ahead of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.


Gentlemen: Stop Your Engines

AOL Auto - Technology that stops the engine at redlights is gaining foothold to increase fuel economy. In Europe, where strict fuel economy and tailpipe emissions laws have long been established, this start-stop technology has been a fixture on the road for several years. In fact, it can increase the fuel economy of a vehicle by as much as 10%.
Health care for all, with costs shared according to abililty to pay
Cleveland Plain Dealer (blog)
If a voucher system pitted senior citizens against the insurance companies, only the healthy who chose a low-cost policy with poor coverage might come out ahead. All senior citizens who have major health problems will need an expensive policy. ...

Republicans in Congress get earful on Medicare

USA Today - Catalina Camia 

Some Republicans in Congress are getting an earful back home over their votes to dramatically revamp Medicare for seniors. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Beware the "Middle Ground" of the Great Budget Debate

Huffington Post (blog)

How debates are framed is critical because the "center" or "middle ground" is supposedly halfway between the two extremes... Baloney. According to the most recent Washington Post-ABC poll, 78 percent of Americans oppose cutting spending on Medicare as a way to reduce the debt, and 72 percent support raising taxes on the rich -- including 68 percent of Independents and 54 percent of Republicans.


 August, 2011 - The new "catch phrase" among politicians this summer is "We will cut hundreds of Billions, or even Trillions from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid without touching Senior benefits." We believe this is a lie. Go to their town hall meetings, speeches, or other get-togethers and challenge them on how exactly they plan on doing this. ~ SeniorArk Editor

(Let us know what you hear.) We have heard that 60% of the members of Congress will not hold a town hall - -are they afraid? Find out where they live, stand outside and let them know  how you feel. Stand outside their local offices or meet them at the airport - - whatever it takes.


August 23, 2011 - Seniors to protest Romney in N.H.

A group of senior citizens is planning to protest Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tomorrow when he visits a senior center in Lebanon, N.H., for a town hall meeting. Terry Lochhead, an organizer for the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, said seniors are worried that Republican candidates including Romney are looking at entitlement reform as a way to reduce the deficit. “All of their plans to reduce the deficit by cutting programs that benefit retirees, instead of raising taxes on the super-wealthy or cutting out corporate loopholes, have really brought them right into our focus,” said Lochhead, whose group is organizing the protest.  read more


August 22, 2011 - The Associated Press reports that congressional Republicans are considering allowing the payroll tax cut to expire at the end of the year — a move President Barack Obama says could cost up to 1 million jobs.

The tax, which funds Social Security, now stands at 4.2 percent for employees for 2011 — down from 6.2 percent — and GOP lawmakers, worried by rising deficits and the nation's booming debt, are gearing up to block extending the reduced rate through next year. The employer contribution remains at 6.2 percent.

"It's always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), "but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again."

But their worry about debt and deficits did not prevent the lawmakers from demanding the continue the Bush tax cuts on wealthy Americans if they were to be extended for those with lesser incomes.

The payroll tax cut most benefits employees making less than $106,800 a year — including those whose incomes are so low they pay no income tax, but still have their payroll tax withheld from their paychecks.


August, 2011 - This the beginning of the S&P statement as they downgraded America's credit rating today. "The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy."


August, 2011 - John W. Schoen - MSNBC Producer - "Tuesday's budget deal between Congress and the White House was hailed in Washington as a resolution of the months-long battle that brought the government to the brink of insolvency. But the agreement did little to lift the clouds of uncertainty over exactly what government spending will be cut.

Defense contractors, state governments and jobless workers, to name just a few, have been left in limbo, unsure whether the budget ax will cut off critical cash from Washington. Those spending cuts won't be finalized until the end of the year."


August, 2011 - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Republican, VA), one day after the budget deal became law, told the "Wall Street" "Journal "that our nation needs to, "come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that, frankly, are not going to be kept for many." Cantor was referring to Medicare and Social Security. Why will these promises not be kept? Because Republicans say so. Promises to Grover Norquist are sacrosanct, but promises to senior citizens are not. 



Check on your neighbor. Who is my neighbor? Who isn't !!!

Seniors are at risk during high SUMMER TEMPERATURES.

Read article.


Keep your home COOLER IN SUMMER.

Read article.


July 2011 - "Historically, recoveries after a debt-related financial crisis tend to be significantly slower than the rebound from a more typical recession." ~ Christian Science Monitor

July 2011 - "Do not consider Social Security a piggy bank for giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our country."    ~Nancy Pelosi




Robert Fassbach,, editor, www.seniorark.com

July 19, 2011 - You may have heard a lot this week about a fools-gold proposal called "CUT, CAP, AND BALANCE". It is yet one more dangerous Republican idea for pleasing the "Tea-Party" wing of the party. It looks like the House, populated by a majority of Republicans who have been bullied into signing pledges with a very well-funded shadowy character named Grover Norquist, will pass this bill requiring a balanced budget amendment. It would mean an immediate cut of 28% in what the government needs to spend to meet its obligations. It would create a budget as a percentage of GDP that we have not seen since the 1960's. The result would undoubtedly mean the cutting, dismembering, and burying of Medicare and Social Security, not to mention Medicaid that we count on for nursing home expenses. At the same time, nothing would be cut that benefits the upper 2% of our society. This is a class war on steroids.

Republicans who have signed the "no tax increase" pledge have often been frightened into signing this Norquist pledge, having been told that his vast access to funds will be used to defeat them in the next election if they do not sign. He has virtually no credentials except his tax positions, threats, and money. Now he has taken this tax pledge further, pushing for this foolish balanced budget amendment.

The so-called "Balanced Budget Amendment" will pass the House with the votes of these cowering Republicans, but the Senate will most likely look at it with more sense and vote it down. President Obama said that if it slides past the Senate he would quickly veto the bill. So the whole exercise is merely "showing off -posturing" for the Tea-Party radicals, and the otherwise unremarkable, well-funded-by wealthy-conservatives,  Grover Norquist.

It is time to end the posturing, end the love for giveaways to oil companies, insurance companies, and hedge fund managers, end the lies about "hurting the job creators". And it is especially time to end the pledges to a shadowy bully, and start making pledges to Americans to do what is necessary to get this country back on its feet. A statesman pledges to nothing but the constitution and the American people. The American people are telling them to stop it in every legitimate poll today. Even rank-and-file Republicans are telling them to stop it. For goodness sake, do something for the other 98% of us, not Grover Norquist and the top 2%.

TalkBackToBob@aol.com  Feel free to talk back. I can take it!

This bill was defeated in the Senate on July 22, 2011 exactly along party lines.

Good riddance!


US taxes among lowest in the world


By many measures, Americans pay less than most other developed nations. All in, the tax burden in Demark consumes some 48 percent of that country's GDP. In the U.S., the burden is roughly half that, with 24 percent of GDP going toward taxes. That puts the U.S. on the low end of the tax burden among developed countries


If Ryan and the Tea Party sense they can win and dismantle Medicare, your Social Security payment will be next.

The proposals are likely to start innocuously enough. The Tea Party's leadership will trot out statements like "Social Security is broke," (which it isn't, really) and "We have to cut payments because there's no other way to 'save' the program."
If retirees today think a little inflation is reducing their purchasing power and a making it hard to live within a budget, wait until they -- and eventually, all of us -- feel the impact of a 10% or even 20% cut in Social Security payments.

Downsizing Boomers Looking to Sell Their Stuff

Smartmoney.com - Missy Sullivan 

It's 8:55 am on a crisp Thursday morning in the exclusive New Jersey suburb of Bernards Township, and at 34 Emily Rd., more than 60 people are lined up impatiently outside the front door.  

AARP Stands to Get $1 Billion From Health Law It Backed, Republicans Say
“AARP operates in direct opposition to the needs of their senior membership,” said Representative Wally Herger, a California Republican who chairs the House Ways and Means Health subcommittee. “We think they ought to know what we've uncovered. ...


Medicare rise could mean no raise for Social Security

Sherman Denison Herald Democrat - Stephen Ohlemacher 
AP WASHINGTON -- Millions of retired and disabled people in the United States had better brace for another year with no increase in Social Security payments.  

9 Expenses to Lose in Retirement

Fox News - Kayleigh Kulp 
Adjusting to life without a steady income is difficult for retirees, but taking a close look at your budget and spending habits can help ease the transition.

 Pittsburgh Recognized as America's Most Livable City, Again  (click photo for beautiful enlargement)

Yahoo! News 
The 2011 Global Livability Rankings are in, and the most livable city in America is Pittsburgh, Pa. The study was completed by London-based Economist Intelligence Unit. While top cities in the world were: Vancouver, British Columbia; Melbourne,

Australia; and Vienna, Austria respectively, Pittsburgh was the top ranking American city...

Real Estate Taxes by State

According to the Tax Foundation, the highest states for states for median real estate taxes in 2009 besides New Jersey were; Connecticut ($4,738); New Hampshire ($4,636); New York ($3,755); Rhode Island ($3,618); Massachusetts ($3,511); Illinois ($3,507); Vermont ($3,444); Wisconsin ($3,007); and California ($2,893). The lowest five were South Carolina ($689), Arkansas ($532), Mississippi ($508), West Virginia ($464), Alabama ($398) and Louisiana ($243). The data comes from the Census Bureau. Read More




SeniorArk - April 15, 2011 - Democrats are salivating at the prospect of the Republican House of Representatives voting this afternoon on the radical Ryan budget proposal,  "Road to Prosperity". The proposal guts Medicare, while giving a 2.6 TRILLION additional tax break to the most wealthy Americans. It also gives BILLIONS to oil companies, and other business interests. Republicans keep saying they are trying to "preserve" Medicare, while they are making it impossible for seniors to afford it. We consider Medicare to be a compact with America's Seniors, and we must find a way to afford it, rather than gut it.

The Tax Policy Center said Ryan’s plan for major tax cuts will decrease tax revenue by $2.9 trillion over the next 10 years. His proposal to make the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy permanent will increase the budget deficit while continuing subsidies for oil companies and agriculture for his home state constituents.    Read more.

The Hill - April 15, 2011

Ryan would destroy and end Medicare. He would replace a government program with taxpayer-subsidized vouchers to pay price-gouging companies. Insurers would of course raise their premiums even higher, and by limiting the size of the voucher subsidies, Ryan is effectively proposing one of the largest middle-class tax increases in history.

 A Grand Old Problem
Washington Post
April 15, 7:14 PM The candidates brandished a “Health Care Bill of Rights for Seniors” that promised to protect Medicare from their opponents' “raid.” The party chairman wrote an op-ed warning that the other guys' plan meant that “senior citizens ...

 The budget: Republicans sticking it to seniors
Plain Dealer (blog)  April 17, 2011
They opposed Medicare and Medicaid, and now they oppose any real health care reform. In other words, the Republican Party has loudly and acidly opposed every legislation designed to aid and improve the lives of senior citizens. ...


QUESTION OF THE DAY: April 15, 2011: On which day in history were the most messages ever sent??

ANSWER: From what I see on TV, it must have been last November 2. According to the Tea Party, every American voter seems to have sent a message supporting whatever position the Tea Party espouses. WOW!

THE GREAT INEQUITY - Thanks to: http://www.chrisweigant.com/2011/02/21/my-class-warfare-rant/ Posted by SeniorArk April 1, 2011 - Last year, America's top thirteen hedge-fund managers earned an average of $1 billion each. One of them took home $5 billion. Much of their income is taxed as capital gains -- at 15 percent -- due to a tax loophole that Republican members of Congress have steadfastly guarded.

If the earnings of those thirteen hedge-fund managers were taxed as ordinary income, the revenues generated would pay the salaries and benefits of over 5 million teachers. Who is more valuable to our society -- thirteen hedge-fund managers or 5 million teachers? Let's make the question even simpler. Who is more valuable: One hedge fund manager or one teacher?

FYI   -    According to "The Wall Street Journal", bonuses for CEOs at 50 major corporations increased by a median of 30.5% in the past year, the biggest gain in at least three years. The largest pharmaceutical company, Pfizer, doubled the total compensation of its CEO, *Ian Read*, despite the 19,000 employees the company is expected to layoff. (Source: Alliance for Retired Americans)


 DID YOU KNOW? March 11, 2011 - The other day I heard a U.S. congressman say that teaching is a "part-time" job, since school is not in session for a large portion of the summer. So we investigated. Turns out that being a congressman is even MORE part-time. The average school year in our country is 180 days (not counting administrative and teacher's in-service days) , while the average number of days the congress is in session is 173. And on some of these days almost no congressmen were in town, but Congress was convened anyway - -perhaps to raise the count? In Congress, votes are usually not scheduled between Wednesday and Monday, so congressmen can have 4-day weekends. Hmmmm!

03-21-11 Postpartum Depression Affects Dads Too
ABC News - March 14, 2011
By CRYSTAL PHEND, MedPage Today Senior Staff Writer Depression in new mothers is well recognized -- but new dads get depressed, too, and it can negatively affect parenting, according to a large observational study. The study, of more than 1700 fathers ...

Some hospitals open senior ERs; new trend to improve care of aging patients
The Canadian Press - March 14, 2011
There's no official count, but at least a dozen self-designated senior ERs have opened around the country since the first in Silver Spring, Md., in 2008. The one in Maryland and eight in Michigan are operated by Catholic health system Trinity Health of ...


March 4, 2011 - A recent article published by Factcheck.org incorrectly reported that Social Security will face a $45 billion deficit this year. Additionally, the article reported that the program is "in the red." However, this is simply not true. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the program will bring in $45 billion less in payroll taxes than it did last year. However, the Social Security trust fund, which currently contains $2.6 trillion, will earn $118 billion in interest this year. Therefore, overall, Social Security will not be running a deficit in 2011. The program will pay 100 percent of expected benefits this year and every year until 2037, without contributing to the national debt. "We hope that seniors will remain skeptical of people who try to convince them that Social Security is not financially solvent," said *Ruben Burks*, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance for Retired Americans. "The program is financially solvent and will remain that way well into the future."



Winter 2011 - Large areas of the U.S. and Europe have been, or will be hit by abnormally cold weather this winter. It is critical that we check on each other, or our neighbors during this period. Is someone without heat, food, electricity, or something else necessary to support life? Has someone slipped on an icy driveway while trying to get to, or clean off a car? Have an extra look. Remember that many seniors may be reluctant  to admit the need for help, so be patient and persist in your concern.


Read: AOL News -  Buried in Snow for Hours, Wisconsin Man Saved by Neighbors


  WARNING:  House GOP considers privatizing Medicare

WASHINGTON (AP) — Months after they hammered Democrats for cutting Medicare, House Republicans are debating whether to relaunch their quest to privatize the health program for seniors.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is testing support for his idea...


Boston Globe 
When the House of Representatives voted to repeal the health care reform law, I wasn't sure what to make of it. As a senior citizen who depends
... (read more)

 Medicare Wants to be Sure Senior Citizens Know Where to File Health Care ...
Medicare thinks senior citizens and other beneficiaries should be informed about their right to have their beef heard, when they have concerns ...

Give your pocketbook and Mother Nature a gift this season by taking advantage of these simple, surprising ways to save energy and money. Here are a few surprising and simple ways to cut your energy bill this season. READ ARTICLE



As of January 1, 2011, here are a few of the medical services that are now be available to Seniors - at no additional cost - every twelve months (more often where appropriate.) 

Annual physical exams

Bone mass measurement

Cardiovascular screenings

Colorectal screening

Diabetes screening

Diabetes self-management training

Flu Shots

Glaucoma tests

Hepatitis Shots


HIV screening

Pap tests and pelvic exams

Prostrate screening*

Smoking Cessation

50% off drugs purchased in the "donut hole"

If the House of Representatives succeeds in repealing Health Care Reform , Seniors will  lose these benefits, and others as well. Contact your congressman today to express your strong opinion. click here to begin

* In these instances, Medicare beneficiaries will receive tests at no cost but will be responsible for 20% of the cost for the office visit to the physician

Read more



Your worries about Medicare Advantage and Part D are not over. Not yet. What you do right now can determine how well you do for the rest of the year in getting the medical care and prescriptions you need. Read Article



January 8, 2011 - Today a respected and loved Congresswoman was shot down, along with numerous others, while exercising free speech on a Tucson sidewalk. Shock and grief have swept the country. All of today's TV news has covered the shootings, as though they are a total surprise. And yet only two months ago this Congresswoman was listed on a prominent "conservative" woman's "hit list", and her district was shown behind the crosshairs of a gun. Another candidate spoke of the people "taking up second amendment remedies" (as in  - load your gun) if their way was not the official way. T-shirts promoting violence are worn outside locations of Presidential speeches by gun-toting radicals. Hate radio spews its venom daily. Gold is pushed on one network by whipping up fear that our Republic is about to be burned on an ash heap, unless something isn't done immediately to the opposition. Unease is born and bred daily. Fear rather than hope is spread, mainly in an attempt to stir hatred toward the other guy.

Politically we have began referring to each other as sub-human. The goal of politicians has not been to serve the people with meaningful laws, but to defeat the opponent in the next election. People with positions we do not hold, are demonized day after day. Rush Limbaugh refers to welfare recipients as "human debris". And that is just one of hundreds of examples of the demonization of a portion of our population. Votes are held to repeal laws, not because a repeal would better serve the people, but because the vote might embarrass our President, and satisfy an extreme wing of an otherwise respectable political party. Lies, lies, and more lies are passed off as "oh that's just politics". Don't make me sick!!

It is in this poisonous atmosphere that a crazy individual feels justified to exercise his "second amendment right" and shoot an elected Congresswoman through her brain. If this atmosphere is not strongly condemned by all factions, and a political healing does not begin to take place, then we might witness the beginnings of the unraveling of our great open and free society. Time to take a step back to have a good look at ourselves. Robert Fassbach, editor SeniorArk.com



Since last July, the Earth has been falling ever closer to the Sun. Every moment since then, our planet has edged closer to the nearest star in the Universe, approaching it at over 1100 kilometers per hour, 27,500 km/day, 800,000 km every month.

But don’t panic! We do this every year. And that part of it ends today anyway.

The Earth’s orbit around the Sun is not a perfect circle. It’s actually an ellipse, so sometimes we’re closer to the Sun, and sometimes farther away. Various factors change the exact date and time every year — you can get the numbers at the Naval Observatory site — but aphelion (when we’re farthest from the Sun) happens in July, and perihelion (when we’re closest) in January.

And we’re at perihelion now! Today, January 3, 2011, around 19:00 GMT (2:00 p.m. Eastern US time), the Earth reaches perihelion. At that time, we’ll be about 149,597,871 kilometers (92,955,807 miles) from the Sun. To give you an idea of how far that is, a jet traveling at a cruising speed of 800 km/hr would take over 20 years to reach the Sun. read more at Discovery.com




Based on the bids submitted by Part D plans for the 2011 plan year, CMS estimates that the average monthly premium that beneficiaries will pay for standard Part D coverage will be $30 -- a $1 increase from the current year (2010) average premium of $29.

Medicare payments to Medicare Advantage insurance companies will neither be decreased, nor will they be increased for 2011. Even so, the cost of healthcare has been increasing. Private Medicare Advantage insurers can address that situation in several ways:

(a) Be better managers of the funds they are paid by Medicare.

(b) Decrease the huge margin of profit they have been enjoying in recent years.

(c) Take a good look at the multimillion dollar salaries they have been paying their top executives.

(d) Cut services formerly offered to Seniors.

(e) Increase deductibles and/or co-pays.

(f) Hike their premium.

Prepare to hear about the "draconian" measures being imposed on private insurers by The Health Reform Act. But now you know the truth. None of their Medicare payments will be reduced, and they have many ways to adjust to the increasing cost of healthcare. In sales meetings where "representatives" (AKA commissioned sales people) discuss their programs for next year, challenge them when they tell you Medicare has cut payments to them for your care. It is a lie.

Right now you can compare all of the Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans at www.Medicare.gov.



Medicare Advantage members will have only one chance to change their Advantage plan this year, between November 15th and December 31st. After January 1, they will be locked into their Advantage plan for 2011  -  unless they decide to dis-enroll from their Advantage plan and go back to Medicare.  From January 1st to February 15th,  seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans will be allowed to dis-enroll from their plan. And if their Advantage plan included a drug plan, they will be allowed to sign up for a stand-alone Part D plan to replace the drug coverage that was in their Medicare Advantage plan.

For many years (and in 2010), people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans were able to switch from one plan to another during the months of January, February, and March.  This “Open Enrollment Period” will not be available in 2011.

In November this year (2010), it will be very important for seniors to review the materials they receive from their Medicare Advantage plan – in case their plan makes some big changes.  If they want to shop around for another Advantage plan, they will only have November 15th to December 31st to do so.  If they discover in January that their plan no longer works for them, they will be unable to change to another Advantage plan. Their only recourse will be to dis-enroll from their Advantage plan and go back to Medicare (and pick up a Part D plan). CLICK HERE to find the link to Medicare Plans.



The US government is taking every measure to revive the economy and bring it out of the recession. President Obama has said that there will be a Social Security Stimulus Check in 2010 of $250. However, the final decision for this special measure is up to the congress. They should approve bill H.R.3557 – To provide an emergency cost-of-living increase for Social Security benefits for 2010 in their next session. This will be a bonus and will cost the government about $13 billion. The last couple of years has seen the worst slowdown in all the markets including the housing and financial markets which has caused a lot of problems to the economy. By the distribution of the social security stimulus check in 2010 the government hopes to stimulate the markets and the economy and the slowdown can be reversed. (Read complete article at itaxrebate.com)

Update 1: In his new budget, released on February 1, 2010, President Obama officially proposes this one-time payment to seniors. Now it is up to the House of Representatives. If you do not write or call your Representative, don't complain if the measure does not pass. Go to our Government Links page, and click on "Contact your Representative". The process will take you about 3 minutes.

Update 2:  SeniorArk.com March 5, 2010

The U.S. Senate has rejected a proposal on March 3 to give a $250 bonus payment to people on Social Security.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, proposed the idea to make up for a lack of a cost of living increase in the program this year. This was proposed as an amendment to the jobs bill.

"I do know that in Vermont, a lot of citizens -- seniors, veterans, disabled veterans are wondering why this year they are not receiving a COLA. They've written my office. And they are saying to me: 'Hey, I don't know what you're talking about, because my costs have increased over the last year'," Sanders said on the senate floor.

Sanders amendment had the support of President Obama, but it failed on a vote of 50-to-47. Opponents say it would add 14 billion dollars to the deficit.

SeniorArk adds: The purchasing needs of seniors are unique, and often include medications needed to stay alive. We insist that the Senate realize the importance of this $250 payment to struggling retirees. Sen. Sanders also said that the fight for the measure, which President Obama included in his budget, would continue.

Every Republican voted no (37), except for (3) who did not vote at all. (11) Democrats voted no, and Indep. Leiberman.

Here are the Senators who voted against the $250 bonus:

Alexander (R-TN)

Barrasso (R-WY)
Bayh (D-IN)
Bennet (D-CO)
Bennett (R-UT)
Brown (R-MA)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Carper (D-DE)

Chambliss (R-GA)

Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Collins (R-ME)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)

Feingold (D-WI)

Feinstein (D-CA)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hatch (R-UT)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Landrieu (D-LA)

LeMieux (R-FL)

Levin (D-MI)
Lieberman (ID-CT)
Lugar (R-IN)
McCain (R-AZ)
McCaskill (D-MO)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Nelson (D-NE)
Risch (R-ID)

Roberts (R-KS)

Sessions (R-AL)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Udall (D-CO)
Vitter (R-LA)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (D-VA)
Wicker (R-MS)

 The following three did not vote:   Bond (R-MO)      Hutchison (R-TX)      Isakson (R-GA)


Can you guess what the average Senior receives monthly in Social Security benefits?

Click for Answer


ALERT: DID YOU KNOW??    Robert Fassbach, editor www.SeniorArk.com

__When George Bush became President, he and the Republican Congress passed a sweeping tax cut (unpaid for) mostly designed to increase the bottom line on the 1040 for the well-off. During the next 8 years, a meager number of jobs were created in the U.S., the middle class actually lost income after inflation, and the well-off became much richer. And in the end we sustained an economic collapse unrivaled since the 1930's. Since these cuts were unfunded, we borrowed hundreds of billions from China. The national debt doubled.

__We went off into two adventuresome wars, one of which was total folly (also unpaid for), and we borrowed more hundreds of billions from China.

__A Medicare Part D Drug program was passed (unpaid for) and we borrowed more hundreds of billions of dollars from China. Seniors are grateful for the program, especially as the new health bill has expanded it, but it is still not paid for. So we borrow hundreds of billions from China.

__In 2008, after 8 years of tax cuts, two incredibly expensive wars, gifts to the oil companies, health insurance companies, and a falsely inflated stock market, our economy collapsed. So President Bush came to Congress and said if hundreds of billions were not immediately given to the "desperate" banks, they would crash "over the weekend". So Congress complied, and gave the banks hundreds of billions of dollars (unpaid for).  

__Immediately after coming to office, President Obama, faced with a runaway train careening downhill, went to Congress and requested hundreds of billions in stimulus money to put the brakes on this train. (Most of it going for tax breaks in the weekly paychecks of Americans) But it was unpaid for, so we borrowed hundreds of billions from the Chinese.

__And now the Bush tax cuts are expiring. By the end of December they will have run for exactly 10 years. Why 10 years? Because if they had been passed for 10 years and 1 day, Congress would have had to show how they would be paid for (it's the law). Nobody wanted to do a foolish thing like spell out how we would pay for this tax giveaway.

__So here we are. The tax breaks for 100% of income tax payers will go up on January 1, 2011 if nothing is done. President Obama has proposed this: Keep the tax break in place for ALL AMERICANS on the first $250,000 they earn. Now understand, this $250,000 is ADJUSTED income - -after the deduction of mortgages on mansions, and second mansions or even livable yachts or $500,000+ motor homes. The $250,000 is a net figure AFTER all DEDUCTIONS, and may actually be $300,000, or millions more. And even the rich would only see a tax increase on net income that exceeds $250,000 - -after they take all their deductions. Nothing would change for them on the first $250,000.

__So now the very rich are screaming like hogs being shocked toward their slaughter. Remember, they are the ones who were at the center of the crash. Remember, they are the ones who's stocks have now doubled in value under our current president. They are the ones who's companies have been  bailed out with debt being saddled to the backs of all Americans. They are the ones with companies earning record profits this year. They are the ones who's companies are hoarding trillions on corporate balance sheets, threatening not to create jobs unless this tax cut is given to them personally. They are the ones we bailed out, and who are now taking hundreds of thousands, millions, and even billions in personal bonuses this year. How could they possibly return to the tax rates of the Clinton years? .... You remember, those years when over 20,000,000 jobs were created, business and stocks boomed, and the Federal budget was balanced. The economy was doing so well that candidates in 2,000 were actually arguing over how to spend the surplus.

__And what is the actual increase the rich would pay on the remaining $250,000 after all deductions? - - NOTHING!!   NO CHANGE!!  NOTTA!!  But what if they have an actual income of $300,000 after all deductions? The percentage increase on the $50,000 earned over $250,000 would be 4.5%, or the dollar increase in tax would be $2,250. Poor babies. If they make $500,000 (half a million) after all deductions, the total dollar increase would be $11, 250. Not a bad increase for half a million. And if they earn a million after the mansions and yachts are deducted? Taxes would increase by $33,750. Now they are asking the American people to borrow more hundreds of billions from China to support their tax cuts.

__SENIORS, I am warning you, they do have a plan for how to raise the money to deal with the deficit, and get their tax cuts. It will come from Social Security and Medicare if we are not careful. The republican co-chair of the President's Deficit Commission has called Social Security recipients "lesser people". Further, he has implied that Social Security and Medicare recipients are "sucking at the tits of 310 million Americans".

__No matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican - - listen up. This deficit commission released its report this Friday, December 2, 2010. Read it very carefully. And listen to the comments from the incoming Republican committee chairmen. Some of them have an anti-Social Security and Medicare agenda, and intend to push it. Our economic lives as Seniors are on the line, and the chopping block.



October 16, 2010 - The federal government announced yesterday that tens of millions of Social Security recipients will go through another year in 2011 without an increase in their monthly benefits, marking only the second year without an increase since automatic adjustments for inflation were adopted. The first year was 2010. The cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are set each year by an inflation measure that was adopted by Congress back in 1975. Sen. *Bernie Sanders *(I-VT) announced that when Congress returns in November, he will press for passage of $250 in emergency relief for Social Security recipients and disabled veterans to compensate for the lack of a COLA. That same proposal was defeated in the Senate on March 3, when only one Republican voted to allow the amendment to be considered. Sanders said the estimated $13 billion cost of the help for seniors is only a fraction of the $70 billion in annual tax breaks that Senate Republicans are pushing for the wealthiest Americans.
The House will vote in November - after congressional elections - on a bill to provide a $250 payment to Social Security recipients, House Speaker *Nancy Pelosi* said. Already, in July, House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Rep. *Earl Pomeroy* (D-ND) introduced H.R. 5987, The Seniors Protection Act of 2010, legislation to assist seniors, retired veterans, and disabled individuals on Social Security with a one-time $250 payment in the event that no inflation adjustment for 2011 is announced. President *Obama* also supports the $250 payment. 

We should also remember that, as difficult as things are in this country now, they would become worse if candidates are elected on November 2 who want to cut or privatize Social Security. Where does your candidate stand on these senior issues?



Citing hard times all over, Republicans block $250 bonus for senior citizens, disabled, and veterans  

December 8, 2010 - Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Democrat, went to the Senate floor within minutes of the vote and sounded dumb-founded.

"I just stand here amazed at what just happened in the United States Senate, although I shouldn't be," Brown said. He contrasted Republicans' unwillingness to spend an estimated $13 billion to cover the one-time $250 bonuses for seniors with their insistence on extending Bush-era tax cuts that Brown said will cost $700 billion over ten years.

MORE: GOP blocks legislation to award seniors $250 - Yahoo! News

Dec 8, 2010 ... GOP blocks legislation to award seniors $250 ... President Barack Obama and Democrats have urged approval of the one-time payment, saying seniors barely getting by ... Later, the Senate voted 53-45 on a measure to bring the Social .... Why do goverement employees have own pensions they should be on ...

GOP blocks Democratic effort to award seniors $250 in lieu of lack of COLA increase next year

Dec. 8, 2010 - WASHINGTON - House and Senate Republicans on Wednesday thwarted Democratic efforts to award $250 checks to Social Security recipients facing a second consecutive year without a cost-of-living increase. President Barack Obama and Democrats have urged approval of the one-time payment, saying seniors barely getting by on their Social Security checks face undue hardships without the COLA increase.

House Republicans Vote Against America's Seniors - Topix

Dec 8, 2010 ... Republicans' vote against covering the Social Security cost of living ... helping seniors make ends meet comes just one week after they voted to ... (H.R. 5987) will provide 54 million seniors with a one-time payment of ...


  ALERT  -- Panel proposes $3.8T savings plan, Social Security changes

USA Today - Richard Wolf - November 10, 2010

WASHINGTON — The leaders of a federal commission charged with finding ways to reduce the government's $13.7 trillion debt Wednesday recommended more than $3.8 trillion in savings over the next decade. ...

 Administration unexpectedly expands bonus payments for Medicare Advantage plans
Baltimore Sun (blog)   November 17, 2010
The three-year plan goes beyond what the health law called for in creating the bonuses. The law says bonuses, which start in 2012, would go to insurers that ...

GOP frosh: Where's my health care?

Politico - Glenn Thrush - November 16, 2010

Republican Andy Harris demanded to know why his health care plan takes a month to kick in. | AP Photo Close By GLENN THRUSH | 11/15/10 9:54 PM EST Updated: 11/16/10 6:19 AM EST A conservative Maryland physician elected to Congress on an anti-Obamacare


Scream out with your emails if you oppose "earmarks", Seniors


Senate Republicans split over coming earmark vote (in the election they were squarely against them)

MiamiHerald.com - November 10, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Jim DeMint are headed for a showdown vote on earmarks next ...

Earmark debate another example of Republican fiscal fraudulence

Washington Post (blog) - November 10, 2010

The battle between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and rival Sen. Jim DeMint (RS.C.) over a plan to ban earmarks is another indication

Have You Changed Your Smoke Detector Batteries Yet?

LANewsMonitor.com - ‎November 7, 2010‎

Today is November 7 and it's time you should change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, as the Daylight Saving Time ended today.


 ALERT: Unemployment Benefits Extension Nixed: 6 Things You Need to Know

November 18, 2010 -  In a largely party-line vote, the U.S. House of Representatives failed today to pass an extension of unemployment benefits that would have guaranteed delivery of checks to the jobless through Feb. 28. Republicans argued that continuing to pay for the extension represents one more expense the federal government cannot afford. Democrats, on the other hand, likened continuing benefits to the bailouts that have helped save the auto industry and the U.S. financial sector. read more , also how did your Representative vote?


ELECTION RESULT ALERT:  Social Security Privatizer Likely to Lead Key House Panel
November 5, 2010 - Rep. *Paul Ryan* (R-WI) will likely become the next chairman of the House Budget Committee. Rep. Ryan's Roadmap proposes lower Social Security benefits for wealthy retirees and a shift toward private accounts, as well as the replacement of Medicare and Medicaid with vouchers and state block grants. On Tuesday night, 78 elected officials who support Social Security privatization were sent back to either the House or the Senate, and that doesn't even include all the incoming freshmen whose political consultants told them to just lay low on Social Security during the campaign. Unfortunately, the idea of privatization is alive and well on Capitol Hill. Be concerned.

Seattle Post Intelligencer   October 26, 2010
Most Group Health senior executives had raises ranging from a total of 18 to 31 percent over two years. Premera spokesman Earling sidestepped a question on
read more

Over 17000 US Doctors Paid By Drug Companies To Spread Their Message

Medical News Today - October 19, 2010
Although 74% of Americans take a dim view of doctors receiving payments from pharmaceutical companies, over 17000 physicians are doing just that, and some of them are receiving huge quantities, a new investigation from ProPublica reveals. Read More   Ask YOUR doctor what benefits they have received from drug companies in the last year. ( i.e.. lunches, trips, gifts, cash, checks ) Also, if your doctor does not want to prescribe generics, and steers you to the brand name, be very suspicious. Some are paid a bonus based on this steering. )

October 30, 2010    Last month, Governor Rendell signed an Executive Order creating a Consumer Workforce Council for Pennsylvania.  The CWC will serve caregivers and consumers who operate in the consumer-directed long term care model.  Most of the time, these patients are seniors who hire a friend or family member to provide them with care.  The state pays for
this through Medicaid.  However, the state currently pays minimum wage without any benefits.  The CWC will allow these workers to collectively bargain with the state for a living wage and benefits.  Seniors who hire these workers will now have a more stable workforce.  The CWC can even help seniors find a replacement if their worker needs a day off. 
By making this a more viable long term care option, countless seniors will be able to stay in their own home, rather than move into a nursing home.
In-home care is cheaper for the state, so keeping seniors in their homes will more than make up for the increased labor costs.  The Consumer Workforce Council is truly a win-win-win: better care for seniors, better pay for workers and savings for the taxpayers!  We applaud Governor Rendell for making this wonderful program a reality in PA.


Graham Calls For War To ‘Neuter’ The Iranian Regime

November 7, 2010 - The South Carolina Republican saw the United States going to war with the Islamic republic “not to just neutralize their nuclear program, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime.” Read More          SeniorArk says, "Be very afraid of these hawks. This is the attitude that has already bankrupted our country financially, and our moral standing in the world."


October 22, 2010   On Thursday, George W. Bush said that his greatest failure in office was not passing Social Security reform. Bush made the remarks while speaking in Chicago at a conference for a finance trade association. He had sought to push through legislation after he won re-election in 2004 that would have privatized Social Security. "The former President's comments unfortunately prove once again that Republicans would privatize Social Security if given another chance to do so," said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.


 October 15, 2010 - Read the official announcement on the 2011 COLA from the Social Security Administration. Click Here

10-30-10 October 11, 2010  - It is important that Seniors recognize the lies that are being told about the Healthcare Reform Laws, and their effects on Medicare. These lies are being spread to frighten us, and they are baseless. Read Article

Federal Government Expands Grassroots Fraud Prevention Effort
HealthNewsDigest.com  October 1, 2010ident's appearance at a senior center in Wheaton, Md., along with US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. ...

 Report Says Health Reform Can Keep More Older Adults Out of Nursing Homes
PR Newswire (press release)  September 27, 2010
27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of the six month anniversary of the health reform law, a new report from the National Senior Citizens Law ...

Medicare recipients to get discounted prescriptions next year
USInsurance Online.com  September 24, 2010
There is good news for the country's senior citizens as well. Vice President Joe Biden and US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen ...


September 11, 2010 - La Nina winters often result in flooding and avalanche problems in the Pacific Northwest, drought in the Southwest, the start of drought conditions in the Southeast and bouts of unseasonable -- perhaps record-breaking -- warmth in the South and East. (read more).


Medicare is expected to release its list of drug plans for 2011 late next month. Instead of 40 or more choices in each state, seniors may have around 30 plans to pick from. Besides eliminating duplicative basic coverage, insurers that offer more than one enhanced coverage plan will have to show they are clearly different.


 October 4, 2010 - This morning SeniorArk.com sent a message to Medicare observing that we were unable to determine if their Medicare Plan Comparisons (on Medicare.gov) were addressing 2010 or 2011. We see this a s a serious oversight. Already they have responded as follows. 

Response from Medicare Representative: "I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Usually, the upcoming year’s information is updated in mid October.
Thank you for your suggestion that we make it clearer which year’s information is available to review." 

We hope they will immediately clear up this unfortunate confusion. In the meantime, until they address the Plans available in 2011, we will need to go directly to the sites of the private insurers for our areas. Cumbersome, but the best available source at this time.


Older adults getting treatment for substance abuse

TopNews New Zealand - Ketan Mukherjee - ‎September 13, 2010

As per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration the number of elderly adults getting admissions to substance-abuse treatment facilities ...

Study: Mass Extinctions Could Shake Up Marine Life

September 3, 2010 - "It would be unwise to assume that any large number of species can be lost today without forever altering the basic biological character of Earth's oceans," John Alroy of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, wrote in his study, published this week in the journal Science.


SIMPSON (R-WYOMING) SAYS SOCIAL SECURITY IS “a milk cow with 310 million tits.”

August 26, 2010 - Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R) will keep his job on President Obama’s deficit panel despite pressure from advocacy groups worried about his comments comparing Social Security

to “a milk cow with 310 million tits.”

An e-mail containing the feisty former Wyoming senator's remarks surfaced Wednesday, igniting concern regarding the future of the entitlement program.

"Alan Simpson has apologized and while we regret and do not condone his comments, we accept his apology and he will continue to serve,” Jennifer Psaki, the White House deputy communications director, told The New York Times.

Simpson is known for blunt talk and confrontational, colorful language. Certain activist groups also insist he's out to balance the budget on the backs of seniors by slashing into Social Security and are trying to use the lawmaker's penchant for overstatement to get him off the influential White House fiscal commission.

The controversial e-mail, posted online by the National Older Women's League, was dated Monday and addressed to OWL director Ashley Carson. In it, Simpson was responding to an April article Carson wrote critical of Simpson's Social Security stance. Carson suggested Simpson's approach was based on "ageism and sexism."  (READ MORE)


 SOCIAL SECURITY JITTERS? BETTER PREPARE NOW The program, (Social Security) which has its own dedicated stream of income, is projected to pay out more this year than it is taking in, but that is a function of the weak economy. Social Security, according to the last annual report from its trustees, will be able to pay full benefits through 2037. Then, if there are no changes in the program in the meantime, the taxes collected will be enough to pay out only about 75 percent of benefits through 2083. (Read entire article)


August 6, 2010 - The Medicare and Social Security trust fund report came out on Thursday and found that the health care reform law has strengthened Medicare's financial condition, with the program expected to remain solvent for an additional 12 years. Specifically, the new report says that Medicare will be able to fully pay its bills until 2029, compared with last year's forecast of 2017. Also due to the impact of health reform, beneficiaries' Medicare premiums and cost sharing will be reduced. In addition, the trustees say that Medicare's shortfall over the next 75 years - a time frame that the trustees are required under law to consider - has decreased substantially, from nearly 4 percent of taxable payroll in last year's report to less than 1 percent. The new health care law includes a groundbreaking number of reforms that will modernize the Medicare delivery system, making the program a smarter purchaser of health care that rewards value over volume. Trustees reported that Social Security will remain solvent through 2037, the same year as was forecast in 2009.



September 12, 2010 - Ten years ago the Bush administration, with a Republican congress, passed a tax cut for all working Americans, with the largest amount going to the top 1 - 2% of earners - those making over $250,000 after tax deductions and other loopholes. Do you know why it was scheduled to expire after 10 years? The reason is disturbing and informative. If a tax cut is made permanent, or in excess of 10 years in duration, the congress must show how they will be paid for. Since this was not possible, we borrowed trillions  from the Chinese for ten years to give this break, and it has grossly increased the deficit. Some Republicans argued that tax cuts pay for themselves, but as former Federal Reserve Chairman Greenspan said recently, history has proven this to be untrue.

Now, the Obama administration proposes extending the tax break for everyone earning less than $250,000, and for the first $250,000 earned even by those who are the super-rich. Republicans would have us extend the tax breaks exactly as enacted by the Bush administration ten years ago. At the same time they are piling on Obama for the deficit. It cannot be had both ways.

During the first eight years of this century, aided by excessive tax cuts, the gap between the super-rich and the other 98% of American citizens has skyrocketed. In fact, many economists say that the reason our economy has faltered is because the 98% no longer can afford to "buy" as they have in the past. The wealthy save and invest, while the middle class spends. If they cannot afford to spend, then the economy collapses. This destructive circle must end now.


Applies through December 31, 2010 - - The Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009 stimulus) offers huge investment tax credits for a range of high energy products for your home. Windows, doors, heating, roofs, and alternative energy-producers all participate. If you are having difficulty in selling an existing home, energy-saving improvements could be the key. Few know of these provisions, so move quickly to avoid backups in supplies and contractors. Read the Details and Cash In


Medicare Part D Premiums Going Up by only $1 in 2011

MedPage Today - Emily P. Walker - August 19, 2010

WASHINGTON -- Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the Part D will pay an average of $30 per month for their prescription drug benefit premiums in 2011, a $1 increase over what they paid this ...  

Attacking Social Security

New York Times - Paul Krugman - ‎August 16, 2010

Social Security turned 75 last week. It should have been a joyous occasion, a time to celebrate a program that has brought dignity and decency to the lives of older Americans.  

Medicare, Social Security to stay afloat longer

USA Today - Richard Wolf - ‎August 5, 2010

WASHINGTON - Medicare and Social Security won't run short of money to pay beneficiaries for about two decades or more, but the inexorable aging of the Baby Boom generation will drain the trust funds unless Congress intervenes


August 14, 2010 was the 75th Anniversary of the day that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security program into law.

75, and still working full-time!


Seniors and Summer Heat

Seniors are especially at risk in high heat situations. Large stretches of the USA are experiencing extreme temperatures at the moment. Caregivers need to check on the elderly. If you live in another city, call the police department, or someone you know, to check on your loved one. Does an elderly person live in your neighborhood? Go knock on the door and ask how things are going. Do NOT accept the first answer. We all want to say, "OH, I'm ok, don't worry." The person may not realize they are suffering from heat exhaustion. Invite them into air conditioning, offer to take them to an air conditioned mall or other building. Sit in a hospital waiting room. Anything to get out of the heat for a while. Ask a senior to become an overnight guest. (read more)



July 25, 2010 - We found a great article that discusses 21 ideas on how you can add to your retirement income. Hope one or more of these will work for you. Read Article

 Posted by SeniorArk July 16, 2010 - On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services released their new preventive care rules, which are included in the new health care law. The rules make it easier and more affordable for seniors on Medicare and Americans enrolled in Medicaid to access preventive screenings and services. For seniors enrolling in a new health plan on or after September 23, 2010, their plans will be required to cover recommended preventative services such as mammograms, colonoscopies, immunizations, and annual check-ups, without charging a co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible. Some of the covered preventive services for seniors include colorectal cancer screening for adults over 50, diet counseling, as well as Type 2 Diabetes and cholesterol screening. To see the full list of covered services, visit the official HHS website at http://bit.ly/asJydX [ http://bit.ly/asJydX ].
07-30-10 States are Cutting Pension Costs in a Variety of Ways, Hurting Retirees
 June 25, 2010  - A New York Times story on budget cuts and pensions last Sunday stated that Illinois has raised its retirement age to 67, the highest of any state. Arizona, New York, Missouri and Mississippi will be making people work more years to earn pensions; and Virginia is requiring employees to pay into the state pension fund for the first time. Nearly all of the cuts so far apply only to workers not yet hired. An exception is Colorado, which has imposed cuts on its current workers, not just future hires, and even on people who have already retired. The retirees have sued to block the reduction. Illinois is putting less money into its pension fund now, starting with $300 million this year - raising the risk of a collapse long before the real savings start to materialize. Some other states are raising employee contributions. New Jersey officials are quietly looking into whether it, too, could reduce the benefits that current employees can expect to accumulate in the future.
Read Full Story

Sebelius Warns Insurers Against Hiking Rates for Medicare Advantage

California Healthline - June 7, 2010

Last week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent a letter warning insurers not to increase premiums or copayments for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage programs, the Wall Street Journal reports (read article)

07-25-10 HHS Announces Benefits for Early Retirees, Those with Pre-Existing Conditions
Posted by SeniorArk 7-5-10 - The Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS') Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (OCIIO) announced that it will begin accepting applications for the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program (ERRP). Many Americans who retire without employer-sponsored insurance and before they are eligible for Medicare are denied coverage or see their life savings disappear because of exorbitant rates in the individual market. Created by the Affordable Care Act as a bridge to the new health insurance marketplace established by the Exchanges in 2014, this $5 billion program will provide much needed financial assistance for employers, including businesses, unions, state and local governments, and nonprofits, so retirees can get quality, affordable insurance. Until Americans have access to affordable insurance plans through health insurance Exchanges in 2014, this program will make it easier for retirees and their families to maintain their employer-based coverage. Applications for the program, as well as fact sheets and application assistance, can be found at


June 23, 2010 - The "Extra Help" program subsidizes the cost of prescription drugs for low-income Medicare beneficiaries. Income and resource calculation changes made under the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) of 2008 mean seniors with an annual income of less than $16,245 a year (or $21,855 for married couples) could be eligible to pay $2.50 for generic drugs and $6.30 for brand name drugs under the program. For example, life insurance policies and family assistance are no longer counted as resources or income, according to CMS.

It is estimated that 1.8 million seniors are eligible but not yet enrolled in the "Extra Help" program, according to CMS. These new eligibilities coincide with a $250 check for seniors who fall into the Medicare Part D coverage gap that is being mailed out this week. Beneficiaries who qualify for Medicare "Extra Help" do not fall into that gap. More information is available at this Social Security site.


Special Committee on Aging: Social Security Only Needs Modest Changes

May 22, 2010 - Social Security faces a $5.3 trillion shortfall over the next 75 years, but a new congressional report says the gap could be erased with only modest changes to payroll taxes and benefits. Many changes wouldn't affect current recipients, according to the report by the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI), chairman of the committee, said small "tweaks" are all that is needed to bolster Social Security's finances for future generations of retirees. "Modest changes can be made over time that will keep the program in surplus," Kohl told The Associated Press. The report lays out options for fixing Social Security, but does not endorse any of them. Kohl said lawmakers will probably combine several options to ease their impact. The panel's analysis will be presented to President Obama's Fiscal Commission. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), who sits on the Commission, said recently that raising the Social Security retirement age would not have much of an impact on someone's "lifestyle." "He must be referring to his own lifestyle, and not that of thousands of Granite State residents who work in physically demanding construction and service sector jobs," said Charlie Balban, President of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans.


Seniors---Did You Know?  Twenty percent of Americans receive Medicare insurance through private insurance companies. The program is called Part "C", or Medicare Advantage. Many Seniors believe that the Part B insurance premium we all pay (now $96.40/mo), and a small premium paid to the private insurer, covers our care. NO WAY! Your private insurer is paid between $9,600 and $12,000 each year to cover your individual health expense. Is it any wonder that the health insurance stocks are soaring on the back of our Medicare trust fund? Mystery solved as to why insurers are paying big dollars for your congressman's vote on any healthcare issue. Democrats have said these payments are excessive, and propose cutting them by about 15%. Opponents have used this cut to decry a "Democratic cut in Medicare", when in fact it is intended to bring these payments more in line with the real costs of Senior healthcare. We have a lot of trouble believing the crocodile tears of conservatives who are complaining about Medicare cuts, when the base of their party proposes a total elimination of the program.

At the same time we mistrust the strident efforts of the AARP, and the Alliance for Retired Americans, both of which supported these Medicare Advantage cuts, while at the same time profiting from Medigap supplement programs that would benefit from such cuts. Both AARP and The Alliance for Retired Americans offer supplement programs, but not Medicare Advantage. Hmmm! Where is the truth?


CMS Officially Announces Discount to Part D Beneficiaries in the Doughnut Hole
May 30, 2010 - Last Friday, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued new guidelines for Medicare Part D prescription drug plan sponsors to guarantee that, starting in 2011, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Part D will qualify for a 50% savings on their prescription drugs, along with some authorized generic drugs. Upon entrance into the coverage gap, or "doughnut hole," eligible seniors will see the discount when they buy their drugs at their local pharmacy counter. Additional savings on prescription drugs for seniors will take effect over time, until the doughnut hole is closed by 2020. Addressing the coverage gap is an important part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the health care law signed by the President this year.

Note this important change to Part D Enrollment: The new health reform law changes and extends the annual enrollment period for Medicare Part D plans. Anyone interested in switching plans should keep in mind the new enrollment period is now October 15 - December 7.

Did You Know?  Social Security represents a smaller share of GDP now than it did in Ronald Reagan's first term as president (Huffingtonpost.com).



Social Security Trust Fund Analysis: Need to Look at the Long Term

Social Security took in only $3 billion more in taxes last year than it paid out in benefits - a $60 billion decline from 2008, according to federal data. The recession is blamed in part, as it added to the hundreds of thousands of workers retiring or claiming disability. USA Today, using Congressional Budget Office numbers, reports that the impact of the recession is likely to reduce Social Security revenues again this year and next. The slide in revenues occurred sooner than Social Security actuaries had expected, for several reasons: Payroll tax revenue that was growing at a 4.5% average annual clip along with wages flattened out in 2009 because of rising unemployment and disappearing pay raises; the number of retired workers who began taking benefits increased by 20%; those taking disability jumped by 10%; and monthly Social Security benefits were raised 5.8% due to a spike in energy prices the year before. The overall surplus of the Social Security Trust Fund is still $2.5 trillion; this is not a cataclysm. We must look at the financial picture of Social Security as actuaries do, over the long-term, which would be over a 75-year timeline. We cannot allow privatizers to use temporary recessions - even deep ones - to ruin the system that has worked for millions of seniors over
several decades.

Also read Alternet article: Republicans Propose to Eliminate Medicare and gut Social Security




(Your source for the latest Medicare information, as you make decisions for 2010)

 For more helpful information on Medicare, Parts A, B, C, and D, the Donut Hole, the

CPI-W, Current Medicare News Articles, and much more, see our Medicare Page.

 Why you must look at your Medicare Advantage Plan Today

You can still make changes between January 1 and March 31, 2010 

Robert Fassbach, editor, www.seniorark.com  

When January 1 arrives, your worries about Medicare Advantage are not over. Not yet. And that is very good. What you do right now can determine how well you do for the rest of the year in getting the medical care and prescriptions you need. If you still have concerns about whether you  are in the right Medicare Advantage Plan (20% of Seniors choose this method of receiving Medicare), you have until March 31 to make additional changes.

I turned 65 the day before Christmas 2007,  Selecting a Medicare Advantage Plan that also covered my prescriptions, was a traumatic experience. My choice for 2010 was much the same.     I have been studying and writing about the nuances of Medicare for over four years on SeniorArk, and in various other publications. But until I entered the scene myself, I had no idea of the extreme confusion surrounding the process. Even now, having made an "informed" decision for 2010, I am not completely  sure I have made the best choice for my needs. I have a plan that will work, and it includes Prescription Drug coverage, but Pennsylvania has some 100+ plan possibilities out there, all being offered by private insurance companies interested more in my money than my health. During insurance company  plan presentations I heard misrepresentation, half-truths, and outright misinformation. But a choice was needed, so one was made.

So then, if our decisions on Part "D" or Medicare Advantage were made between November 15 and December 31, what is there to do between January 1 and March 31? Well, here goes.

(1) Here is exactly what Medicare says we can do between January 1 and March 31:

"Between January 1 through March 31 of each year. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form. During this period, you can't do the following:

  • Join or switch to a plan with prescription drug coverage unless you already have Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D).

  • Drop a plan with prescription drug coverage.

  • Join, switch, or drop a Medicare Medical Savings Account Plan."

        Here are the different coverage scenarios permitted during Medicare Advantage open enrollment:

  • If a person on Medicare currently has coverage in a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage, they can use open enrollment to select a different Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage, Original Medicare and a stand-alone prescription drug plan, or a Medicare Advantage Private-Fee-For-Service Plan and a stand-alone prescription drug plan.

  • If a person on Medicare currently has coverage in a Medicare Advantage Plan with no prescription drug coverage, they can use open enrollment to select a Medicare Advantage Plan or Original Medicare without prescription drug coverage.

  • If a person on Medicare currently has coverage in Original Medicare with a stand-alone prescription drug plan, they can use open enrollment to select a Medicare Advantage Plan with prescription drug coverage or a Medicare Advantage Private-Fee-For-Service Plan with the same stand-alone prescription drug plan.

  • If a person on Medicare currently has coverage in Original Medicare without a stand-alone prescription drug plan, they can use open enrollment to select a Medicare Advantage Plan without prescription drug coverage.


(2) Now let's assume that you review the details of your Medicare Advantage plan and decide that you are in the right Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage. Or you are in traditional Medicare with a stand-alone part D drug plan. Then today you need to think about the doughnut hole. The best time to begin avoiding it is right now. This week I met with my doctor to go over the salad of drugs that seem necessary to keep me going each month. I told him I wanted to find a generic for every one of them. He was willing to do that with one exception, and I may still decide to change that one. It is a statin, and I'm not convinced that Lipitor is necessarily better than several others out there. I will need to do a little research on that. 

Here are some examples of the savings when switching from Brand to Generic:

  • Celebrex 200mg, a medication used for arthritis, costs about $100 for a one-month supply. Replace with Meloxican 15 mg (generic for Mobic) costs about $8. Cost difference,$1100/yr.

  • Lipitor 20mg, used for cholesterol, costs about $111 for a month's supply.  Simvastatin, (generic for Zocor) cost $11. Savings, $1200/yr.

  • Prevacid 30mg, a medication for heartburn, costs about $144 for a one-month supply. Omeprazole 20mg (generic for Prilosec) costs about $27, or a savings of $1400/yr.

  • Tricor 145mg, a medication for triglicerides, costs around $100/mo. Fenofibrate (generic for Tricor) costs $37, for a savings of about $750/yr.

Remember for 2010, in the "stand-alone" Part "D" plans, you are paying the first $310 of annual drug costs, and then 25% of the next $2,520 ($630). After that, you will pay 100% of the next $3,610. This is the doughnut hole. (see chart) How fast you reach this expenditure level is determined by what your pharmacy bills your insurance company, not what the insurance company pays your pharmacy. If you are using generics, it will take much longer to reach the doughnut hole than if you are using brand  name drugs.

(By the way, this is also a good time to go over your medications to determine if you still need every one of them. Over time, medications are prescribed that should be given for a limited time, but they are never stopped. Several doctors, including your specialists, may have written prescriptions that just keep refilling automatically long after their need ends. Doctors are so busy these days, that many overlook this. Make them look.)

(3-a)  Go online to see if you you qualify for Federal help with your Medicare expenses.

(3-b) Go online, ( click your state on the map at this page) or call your state's agency on aging, or the equivalent department, to determine if you may actually qualify for additional state prescription help. There is a lot of it out there. My state, Pennsylvania, has 2 tremendous plans for couples earning less than $31,500, and individuals below $23,500. You may be passing up help that is staring at you. See our "Surviving the Doughnut Hole" page for 14 ideas on dealing with the doughnut hole.

(4) Let's assume that you looked over your paperwork, and decide that you may have made a Medicare Advantage mistake. Now there are two choices: live with it until next year (changing to something else between November 15 and December 31, 2008), or switching NOW to a Another Medicare Advantage Plan, occasionally  called Medicare Health Plan, and also called Medicare "C". (see simple description)  Open enrollment has not ended for these plans. Open enrollment for Medicare Advantage plans goes until March 31.  This plan is not administered by the government, but is handled by private insurance companies. It combines Medicare A, B and D. There are a wide variety of plans, and types of Medicare Advantage Plans.   If you take a number of prescription drugs, however, it gets more difficult to choose. Certain plans might cover some of the drugs you need but not all of them. But there are a number of resources to help you choose. Medicare's Part D, or  Medicare Advantage Plan Finder enables you to enter your drugs, for your area, and determine which plan makes the most sense for you.

Be aware that if you switch to a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must review much more than just the Part "D" portion of the policy. That insurance carrier takes over your "full care", and provides the features of Parts A, B, and D. Study which doctors, hospitals, and other types of care are included with the policy. Medicare pays the Medicare Advantage insurance provider  around $650/month for every month you are in their care, whether you need them or not. 

We hope all of this adds to your options, and not to your confusion, If questions remain, you can always search at www.medicare.gov, or call 1-800-MEDICARE. There may also be a state representative available to give you some help.

So what was my choice with Medicare and/or Part "D" for 2010?

I opted for a very different Medicare Advantage plan this year. My premium for last year's policy went to $76/mo., and the benefits were severely reduced. This year I have gone to Highmark-Freedom Blue PPO. There are NO monthly premiums, but I do have a $1200 annual deductible on the larger expenses. My premiums alone would have been $912 under my old plan, and co-pays would have pushed it quickly over $1200 if I needed any hospital or lab related care. We'll see how this works. I am a government-created gambler; I gamble on what I will need during the next year. What a system. I have no deductible in the drug portion of the program, and will pay $7/mo for generics and more for brand names. There is no donut hole coverage, but I found that I did not reach the donut hole last year.

A final comment. I think it is obscene that our government puts us through this traumatic, risky, confusing process. I totally support a "single-payer" system, run by the highly competent Medicare section of the Department of Health and Human Services. They can administer the program more cheaply, and would have huge negotiating power with drug and other suppliers. The only thing standing in the way has been Congressional backbone, and Presidential consent. Insurance and drug lobbyists have wielded enough power to control these programs up to this point. Until it is changed, we must sift through this program as best we can. Best wishes.

You may also want to read: Medicare Advantage open season  and  I'm Falling into the Doughnut Hole

 For much more helpful information on Medicare, Parts A, B, C, and D, the Donut Hole, the CPI-  W, Current Medicare News Articles, and much more, see our Medicare Page.


Insurance Premium Increase of 39% in California Adds to Health Reform Urgency
The health care problem remains on the center stage now that Anthem Blue Cross of California has unveiled rate increases of up to 39 percent for its 800,000 individual policyholders. The increases, which will take effect on March 1, far outpace the increases of 10 to 25% seen in previous years among most insurers offering individual policies. Kaiser Health News and The San Diego Union-Tribune report that as the economy slowly recovers, health insurance costs for those with individual policies continue to increase due to larger numbers of unemployed and those relying on government health care programs. As a result, "hospitals and doctors are passing on more of their uncompensated costs to patients with private insurance." The San Francisco Chronicle adds that "California physical, occupational and speech therapists are also taking issue with Anthem. The therapists said the insurer cut their reimbursement rates by 30 to 50% on February 1. In addition, the Chronicle reports that patients covered by other health insurers, including Health Net and Aetna, are reporting being hit with sky-high increases. "This is exactly the kind of news that proves we need health care reform immediately," said Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance For Retired Americans. 

Health Insurers Post Record Profits

ABC News - Emily Walker

In the midst of a deep economic recession, America's health insurance companies increased their profits by 56 percent in 2009, a year that saw 2.7 million people lose their private coverage.

Interesting Fact: If you had spent $26,000,000 per day since the day Jesus was born, you still would not have spent as much as the United States has spent on defense since World War II.


FELLOW SENIORS, CONSIDER THIS **********************************************************

We seniors are in a pretty good position.
(1) We have a fixed income--something much of the population would love to have.
(2) We have government-run, single payer health insurance (Medicare), something that 50-70 million Americans would fall on their knees to get.
(3) We received a 5.8% cost-of living adjustment last year.
(4) We have a health insurance premium (part B) that cannot go up if there is no cost of living increase. (applies to most Seniors who earn less than $85,000 single/$170,000 for couples)
(5) Obama has negotiated with drug companies to reduce the cost of medications, paid by seniors, by 50% in the donut hole. (May be dependent upon the final health insurance reform bill)

Obama has no control over whether there is, or is not, a cost of living adjustment. That was established by law many years ago. The President has proposed a special $250 payment to every Senior in 2010, but its passage is still in question. (See the very next article below)

* Now, we do have another legitimate issue: does the CPI-W - - the index that determines our COLA - - truly reflect Senior expenses. We think not, and we need to let our congress people know that. (See SeniorArk article on this subject

* And indeed another legitimate is is the difficulty of a single senior living on a single Social Security check. Since the gals usually outlive the guys, these single income folks are mostly women.


Pass the Health Insurance Reform Bill, Then Work to Make it Comprehensive

Opinion: March 1, 2010 - Robert Fassbach, editor:  www.SeniorArk.com  

On December 7, 2009 SeniorArk withdrew support for the current Health Insurance Reform effort. (See article) The bill had been so weakened by conservative Democrats, independent Joe Lieberman, and Republicans who feigned bi-partisanship, that it became little more than a jackpot for private health insurance companies. There is little "reform". We can only hope that if it passes, it will become the foundation for more sweeping reform. We have again changed our position. Today we believe that passing the bill is better for Americans over 50 than not passing. Americans over 50 who have no health insurance should have a better chance of obtaining it through this bill. And the bill will immediately begin the process of eliminating the doughnut hole in our prescription drug program. If we believed that "starting over" would lead to a more comprehensive reform of the insurance system, we would support it. But those who call for "starting over" have NO intention of developing such reform. They want to kill reform, as has happened for decades under influence from the bloated insurance industry, and those they buy. Pass this bill as a beginning. Those who vote against it will again be on the wrong side of history. Similar thinking voted against the establishment of Social Security, Medicare, and the G.I. Bill.

 But - -  this bill should only signal the beginning of a more serious effort to pass sweeping healthcare reform.  Pass the current bill immediately, and start talking about Medicare for all in America. It should become the drumbeat of those who would seek universal healthcare. "Medicare for all" is the drumbeat. Start repeating it. This would be far simpler, and would result in high quality care for all, cradle to grave, at a much reduced price. Medicare has successfully delivered quality healthcare for nearly 50 years, and with administrative costs of only 3% (Health insurance companies have balked at being limited to 15%, and their goal is 35% for costs and profits).

"Medicare for all" is very workable. The machinery is already in place. No new 2,000 pages (or whatever the critics keep increasing this number to be). For insurers and drug manufacturers, this proposal is the ultimate heresy. But Congress is elected to serve the needs of the citizens, not the profits of companies bent on giving us as little care as possible.

We cannot sustain a further burden on the Medicare Trust Fund, so costs to the non-senior member must be determined, and assessed to the user, or the employer.  But this would be a very efficient, proven,  health delivery method.

Remember, it's "Medicare for all"!!!