Thoughts from RetireSafe President Phillips

 


If You Can't Follow the Rules - Change the Rules - Thursday, December 05, 2013

The checks and balances of the U.S. Constitution have done a pretty good job over the years of preserving and protecting the majority rights and the minority rights of both our population and the governing bodies of our government.

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COLA – Telling Seniors to Tighten Their Belt, One More Time - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The government announced today that the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is going to be a small 1.5 percent for 2014.   Our government has once again asked older Americans to tighten their belts and reduce their standard of living, all because Washington can’t take care of the finances of our country.
 

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A grand Bargain May Be a Bad Bargain for Seniors - Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The politicians in Washington have shut down our government and it remains stymied as they search for a solution for our budget and our debt ceiling problems.  As they search for a way out, we are starting to hear that maybe the solution is a “grand bargain,” a solution that will fund our government, deal with the debt ceiling, and, it is rumored, may also involve tax reform and entitlement reform.

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Aging in Place, Better for You and Our Health Care System - Friday, October 04, 2013

Over the summer I've been traveling to conferences and expos that have focused primarily on the benefits of aging in place.  With all the advances in technology, you’d think we could easily delay the move to institutional care like assisted living or a nursing home.  We should be able to stay in our homes much longer than we used to, but that’s not always the case.  It seems that Washington is working against aging in place.

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Medicare Doctor Payments Set by Doctors – Can This be True? - Monday, August 26, 2013

One of the problems with America’s healthcare system is the disconnect between the patient and the cost of their services.  Medicare patients know what their supplemental insurance monthly costs are, and they know their co-pay costs for doctor visits, prescription medicine and hospital stays, but they usually have no idea what the actual costs of services or drugs really are.  This disconnect removes one of the basic drivers of the free market-- that customers can search for the best service for the best price. This artificial environment leads to the question, how are these prices set?

 

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The Immigration Bill...It’s about the Rule of Law - Monday, August 26, 2013

The Senate has passed an immigration bill that deserves some discussion, especially as we approach this Fourth of July and reflect on the foresight of our wise founding fathers.  The Senate version of the immigration bill allows illegal immigrants, people who broke our laws, to eventually gain access to Social Security and Medicare benefits.  I think this basic point deserves some discussion.

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Don’t Let Chained COLA Chain Seniors! - Monday, August 05, 2013

The sudden re-introduction of the chained Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) into the “fiscal cliff” discussions is more evidence that politicians will throw anyone under the bus as it careens down the road toward revenue city.  Washington can talk about complicated things like chained COLAs, market baskets, propensity to consume and CPI-E but older Americans know one thing, year after year, their Social Security check buys less and less.

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A self-imposed emergency is not a reason for bad decisions - Monday, December 17, 2012

We’ve all watched the classic disaster movie where an asteroid is speeding toward the earth and our leaders and a few selected heroes (played by our favorite actors) band together and literally move heaven and earth to avert the disaster and save the world.  They didn’t care what resources they used, who they put in harm’s way or what measures they took as long as they had a chance to successfully avoid the impact and the resulting disaster of the approaching asteroid.

 

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We Can’t Survive the Status-Quo - Thursday, December 06, 2012

The elections are over. Billions have been spent and we’ve watched thousands of ads. We’ve been called by hundreds of pollsters and gotten tons of mail. Now we’ve finally voted and just what do we have? We have the status-quo.

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Seniors Short-changed on COLA – Again! - Thursday, November 08, 2012

 Once again, older Americans face rising costs and expenses for the year ahead with little or no increase in their monthly Social Security payments – all thanks to a flawed Consumer Price Index (CPI) that the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is based on.  Announced by the government on Tuesday, the Social Security COLA for 2013 is 1.7 percent, one of the smallest increases ever!  

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Supreme Court Decision Time - Thursday, August 09, 2012

The decision expected from the Supreme Court next week relating to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (sometimes called Obamacare) will have an impact on older Americans regardless of the decision.

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Seniors Deserve the Best Treatment Possible for Macular Degeneration - Thursday, May 17, 2012

In an aging America, senior citizens face more healthcare choices – and risks – than ever before. We are especially concerned that the healthcare discussions remain centered on patient care and safety, and that Medicare is not cutting costs by cutting corners.

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Protect Duel Eligibles - Some of our most vulnerable seniors - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

RetireSafe along with 9 other stakeholders sent the letter below to CMS pointing out our concern with changes to Medicare that we feel will have detrimental effects on duel eligibles.  We are looking forward to the Director's response.

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The Means Doesn't Justify the End - Monday, April 02, 2012

From my point of view, the decisions that will come from the current arguments concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being held before the Supreme Court this week will have a huge effect on our country, an effect that goes far beyond health care reform.

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RetireSafe Praises COLA Increase As Needed - Thursday, October 20, 2011

Washington, DC (October 20, 2011) Today RetireSafe, the voice of 400,000 older Americans nationwide, called the announced Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase for 2012, desperately needed, but far too little, too late for seniors across the land.

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79% of Seniors Oppose Deficit-Linked Medicare Cuts - Wednesday, October 05, 2011
Seniors are significantly concerned about the potential impact to their health coverage if the federal deficit reduction plan includes changes to Medicare benefits. In a recent survey, 81 percent of seniors (aged 65+) who have Medicare coverage indicated that having to pay any more for Medicare benefits in the future would cause either a heavy or serious financial burden on them, causing them to make tough sacrifices.
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Smoke and Mirrors is Not the Answer - Wednesday, July 20, 2011
  The President revealed today that cuts to Medicare and Social Security are on the table in the debt ceiling negotiations. According to the Washington Post,  President Obama will propose significant reductions in Medicare spending along with changes to Social Security as possible solutions to the debt ceiling crisis. Once again Washington seems to have chosen older Americans as the solution to their years of out-of-control spending. It’s not right and it’s a breach of trust with all Americans.

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Are Social Security and Medicare Bankrupt? The Rhetoric and the Truth! - Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Last Friday, the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds released their yearly report on the fiscal strength of those programs. . . This alarming news has added to the din of the politicians and pundits as they warn of debt and deficits and use this latest report as fuel for the funeral pyre being built around the two most important programs for older Americans. Unfortunately these two programs get mixed into the dire projections of trillions of dollars of debt to be passed on to our kids and grandkids with no context or explanation. We need to separate the truth from the rhetoric.
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The “COLA” Wars - Friday, April 01, 2011

A long time ago the politicians in Washington made a promise to us, not one backed up by laws but one that has been understood from the very beginning of Social Security. They promised that when we retired, the money we received from Social Security would be protected from losing its purchasing power. 

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We Won’t Give Up - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Last week U.S. Representatives John “Jimmy” Duncan, Jr. (TN-2) and Daniel Lipinski (IL-3), along with six of their House colleagues introduced the CPI for Seniors Act, H.R. 1086. This critical House legislation, will finally end the use of the admittedly flawed Consumer Price Index (CPI) now used to set Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), and directs the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to create a “CPI for Seniors” that is accurate, honest, and beyond reproach. RetireSafe supports this important legislation and congratulates these heroes of older Americans.

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A Chance for Action - Monday, March 14, 2011

The citizens of this country delivered a loud and clear message to Washington last November – get our spending in line and reduce the size of government. Congress has an opportunity to deliver on both points of this citizen mandate right now.

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It’s Not a Gift if They Don’t Want It - Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Last Friday Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post titled, “Health-care reform, the states’ wayHer opening paragraphs assert that Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) puts states in the driver’s seat…” and she further states that, “states aren’t just participating in implementation of the law; they’re leading it.”

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Law by Bureaucracy - Sunday, February 13, 2011

Late last year, in an op-ed, I outlined the danger of letting unelected bureaucracies control us. As I said then, “This is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned; this is what they were fighting against -- the ability of a government entity, one in which they had no representation and no power to elect, having the power to affect their finances and well-being.” It was the founders fear then and my fear now that through regulations the government will institute processes that would further reduce our freedoms.

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Rhetoric Meets Reality - Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The President delivered his annual “State of the Union” address Tuesday evening. The House Chamber was different as many members chose to sit with “dates” from the other side of the aisle. The President’s speech was different as well. Rather than wading through a laundry list of accomplishments from last year, and goals for next year (an approach that historically had produced a standing ovation from one side of the chamber and a dour, sit on their hands, reaction from the other side), the President attempted to stay above the fray and used different words to express his goals. The bottom line, however, seemed to be the same – just let the government solve our problems.

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Is It Real or Is It Repeal - Monday, January 17, 2011

The House is scheduled this week to vote on repealing Obamacare. Many new and returning politicians promised during their campaign that they would work to repeal the law, and they understandably want to get right to it. Obamacare will have a huge impact on our lives and I feel it is especially important to outline RetireSafe’s position on the repeal of Obamacare.

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Unintended (and Intended) Consequences Hurt Seniors - Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The phrase "unintended consequences" has been used a lot in the last year. It is often used to refer to the mostly negative impacts government laws and regulations have on people and businesses.

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We're Not Protected and We Can't Afford It!!! - Friday, August 06, 2010

Two interesting events happened within the last seven days that I think are related and reveal a lot about the Administration's desperation to sell the new health care reform law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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We Deliver!!! - Friday, June 18, 2010

I talked last year about the fact that no one seemed to be listening to older Americans. It seemed like everyone seemed to know what was best for seniors but no one ever took the time to stop, ask and then listen to what seniors had to say.

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We listened ... now we're acting! - Friday, May 28, 2010

We have listened to what you've had to say about the zero Social Security Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA) and now we're acting on those comments and doing something about this injustice.

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Older Americans Month a Time to Reflect - Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May is older Americans month and it is a good time to reflect on what has happened since the last older Americans month in May 2009. The "great" recession had settled in by May, 2009 and its impact was felt in all corners of our economy.

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We Have a Plan - Monday, April 05, 2010

As I stated in my previous message, RetireSafe is committed to continue the fight to protect older Americans from Medicare cuts, massive debt and government interference. Our efforts will not cease just because the health care reform bill has been signed into law.

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We're Not Finished - Monday, March 29, 2010

The President's health care reform bill has been signed, sealed and delivered. It was a long hard-fought battle, and in the end, the voices of the people were ignored.

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Bad Bill, Shameful Process - Thursday, March 18, 2010

Today, we find ourselves at a place with health care reform that no one could have imagined a year ago. The road to where we are today has been a series of bad ideas, followed by a partisan sleight-of-hand legislative process.

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Remember the Issues - Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The health care reform battle just had its first birthday. We need to look back and remember how this last year unfolded.

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It's Not the Process That's Wrong, It's the Substance - Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The President once again has missed the point; his attempt at forcing Republican support in the health care summit was just that, forced. His attempt at sprinkling other, more popular reform approaches into his latest bill today had more to do with gaining Democrat votes than it did with implementing good, commonsense health care reform legislation (you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear).

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Long on more of the same... short on details - Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The President's health care proposal that was released Monday was long on cost, taxes and government interference and short on details. The President chose to take the Senate bill, add some sugar by including some parts from the House bill, mix in some spice for the unions, and then frost it all over by expanding the cornhusker kickback to all of the states.

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We Asked and Boy Did You Speak - Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I asked and you responded. I've received almost 800 surveys and numerous phone calls and email concerning the current Social Security cost-of-living-adjustment or rather the cost-of-living NON-adjustment since everyone on Social Security got zero this year.

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Common sense... it's not so common - Thursday, January 28, 2010

The President's State of the Union speech last night talked a lot about the economy and jobs. I'm glad that his focus might finally be changing to those things that the American people really need.

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Common Sense is Winning!!! - Tuesday, January 19, 2010

As I have watched the legislative process play out during the health care reform debates, I have always tried to keep RetireSafe's views, comments, and analysis simple and focused on the common sense aspects of the proposed legislation.

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The Senate Democrats are Using YOUR Money to Buy Votes!!! - Tuesday, December 22, 2009

While the back room creation of a debt-building, tax-raising, Medicare-rationing, health care reform bill continues in the Senate, we now find out that the vote buying by Senate Democrats has also continued.

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The $500 Billion Dollar Elephant is Still in the Room - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It appears this morning that the Senate will take two positive steps in their march toward health care reform. While nothing is in writing, the rumors indicate that the expansion of Medicare to those age 55 up to and through age 64 will be removed from what will be the final Senate bill.

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A Bold Step -- But the Right Step - Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Senator John McCain earlier this week submitted an amendment to the Senate health care reform bill, an amendment that is the first and most important step to really reform health care.

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It's Simple – It Cuts Medicare - Monday, November 23, 2009

The Senate Democrats finally released their "health care reform" bill last week and it was more of the same. Compiled behind closed doors, the bill is even bigger than the House bill, some 2,074 pages long, and it reflects a huge expansion in the size of our government and its control over our lives.

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The Vote was Held but the Die Has Not Been Cast - Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Last weekend the U.S. House of Representatives passed a monstrous $1 trillion dollar health care reform bill by the narrowest of margins, 220 votes for and 215 against. While the passing of the bill marked a victory for those who support a government run health care system and saddling tax payers with the burden of its cost, it is not by any means the last word, or even the most important word, in this debate.

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We Listened and you Spoke!!! - Friday, October 30, 2009

RetireSafe's Listen campaign has gotten off to a great start. We said we'd listen, and now over 1200 of you have spoken.

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RetireSafe launches "RetireSafe Listens" campaign - Tuesday, October 13, 2009

RetireSafe wants to hear from you. After visiting two senior expos, reading hundreds of surveys and emails, and listening first hand to many of our over 400,000 supporters, we confirmed that no one is listening to older Americans.

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Letter from the President of RetireSafe to the President of the United States - Monday, September 28, 2009

Dear Mr. President:

My name is Thair Phillips and I am the newly elected President of RetireSafe, an organization representing 400,000 Americans, mostly seniors, mostly over the age of 70.

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We Need More Health Care Choices – Not Fewer! - Thursday, September 24, 2009

I strongly believe that choice is the solution to many of the issues that plague the current health care debate. Consumers with choices drive prices to the appropriate level while fostering the development of better products and services.

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A Co-op Doesn’t Necessarily Guarantee Cooperation - Tuesday, August 18, 2009

President Obama got elected because the American people wanted something different, they wanted change. They knew who Senator John McCain was but they didn’t know who this new Senator from Illinois was.

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The People Do Remember - Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Congress is back in their states and districts and they are finally hearing from "we the people." Why is everyone so surprised that the people are speaking so loudly?

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Who Really Represents Seniors? - Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The healthcare reform initiative has consumed the focus of the press, Congress, the President, private business and a multitude of groups (RetireSafe being one). This focus is well deserved;

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The time to be counted is now!! - Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The President's experiment in health care is at a critical juncture. As the details emerge so do the questions.

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Medicare funds for illegal aliens? Not on my watch!!! - Thursday, July 02, 2009

The massive house health care reform bill (H.R. 3200) will provide taxpayer health benefits to illegal aliens, according to Roll Call, the premier capital hill newspaper. According to Roll Call, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) is pushing Speaker Pelosi to make sure all illegal aliens are covered in the bill.

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