Government Hikes Payment Estimate for Medicare Advantage Plans

By Tom Murphy, AP Business Writer The government has raised its payment estimate for Medicare Advantage plans months ahead of a busy election season during which cuts to the program promise to be a key focus for politicians and voters. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Monday that 2015 payments to the plans should increase less than 1 percent overall. That compares to a drop of nearly 2 percent that the government forecast in February. Analysts expect actual …

Where AARP Stands on Chairman Ryan’s Budget Proposal

As AARP reviews the details of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, we encourage members of Congress to consider the impact on real people when looking for ways to address our nation’s financial challenges. Chairman Ryan’s proposed budget fails to address the high costs of health care and instead shifts costs onto seniors and future retirees. Repealing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act ignores the progress we’ve made to improve access to health care …

House GOP Plan Seeks Health Cuts to Balance Budget

By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) – House Republicans are pressing ahead with a slashing plan to try to balance the budget within 10 years, relying on big decreases in health care programs for the middle class and the poor, as well as tax increases and Medicare cuts engineered by President Obama. The GOP fiscal plan by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., promises $5.1 trillion in spending cuts – and unorthodox accounting incorporating the pro-growth effects of …

Obama Budget Proposal Targets Medicare Savings

As expected, President Obama’s budget proposal abandoned a call to change the way annual increases in Social Security benefits are calculated and continued a call for Medicare savings. Announced March 4, his plan, which goes next to Congress, would hit some Medicare providers, drug companies and higher-income Medicare beneficiaries as part of $402 billion in estimated health care savings over the next decade. Among the proposed changes for beneficiaries: Charge higher premiums for Parts B and D for higher-income people …

What the $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill Means for Older Americans

The $1.1 trillion bipartisan spending bill passed by Congress funds federal agencies through the rest of the fiscal year, eases the sharp budget cuts known as the sequester and ends the lingering threat of another government shutdown. It also affects a number of programs especially important to older Americans. Here’s how, according to an AARP analysis: Increases spending by $41 million on nutrition programs for older Americans, including Meals on Wheels. This replaces across-the-board spending cuts, called sequestration, that took hold …

What’s the Nation’s No. 1 Problem?

It’s the government, stupid. Bill Clinton won a presidential campaign with the motto, “It’s the economy, stupid.” But these days the top issue to most Americans is the government, according to a new Gallup poll.   Some 21 percent of Americans polled in the Jan. 5-8 survey said that the most important problem facing the country today is the government itself - including poor leadership, corruption, abuse of power and general dissatisfaction with Congress and politicians in general. The second most important …