AARP Report Finds Sky-High Drug Prices

Escalating drug prices have been making the news in recent months. In particular, the exorbitant price tags of two brand-name drugs used to treat Hepatitis C — Solvaldi and Harvoni — have ignited intense controversy. I talked with Leigh Purvis, director of health services research, AARP Public Policy Institute, and coauthor of AARP’s Rx Price Watch Report: Trends in Retail Prices of Brand Name Prescription Drugs Widely Used by Older Americans, 2006-2013 about the trend in rising drug prices and what …

Medicare to Cover Lung Cancer Screening for Older Smokers

In a move that could affect an estimated 4 million older adults, Medicare announced that it plans to start covering annual lung cancer screening for longtime smokers at high risk for the disease. The announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will cover yearly low-dose CT scans to detect small lung tumors that can be removed surgically. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and has a poor prognosis if not caught …

Illinois House Candidates Lock Horns on Medicare, Social Security

The candidates in a battleground congressional district in Illinois disagreed about the impact for Social Security and Medicare of a Republican-passed plan crafted by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) during an Oct. 21 radio debate sponsored by AARP. Democratic challenger Ann Callis said that Ryan’s budget blueprint would open the door to privatizing Social Security and move Medicare to a “defined contribution” system. She has criticized her opponent, Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), for supporting a plan that she says …

Social Security Benefits to Rise 1.7% Next Year

Social Security benefits will rise by 1.7 percent starting in January, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday. That’s a tad higher than this year’s 1.5 percent increase. It’s also the fourth straight year that the cost-of-living adjustment was below 2 percent for nearly 59 million retirees, disabled workers and their families. The adjustment amounts to about $22 a month for those who receive the average monthly benefit of $1,302. >> See AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins’ statement on the COLA “The …

Arkansas Senate Candidates Brawl Over Medicare, Social Security

In their final scheduled debate, Arkansas’ two major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate vigorously slashed each other on Social Security and Medicare issues. “The game plans for both men were plain as day — [Rep. Tom] Cotton repeatedly tied [Sen. Mark] Pryor to President Obama, while Pryor said Cotton was beholden to big-money interests who didn’t share the same goals as Arkansans,” a visiting newspaper columnist wrote of the Oct. 14 exchange in Fayetteville. In contrast to recent Senate debates in other …

Virginia Senate Candidates Spar Over Social Security, Medicare

In their final scheduled debate before Election Day, Virginia’s two major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate sparred over their records on Social Security and Medicare while voicing similar views on steps needed to address their long-term financing. The debate, held in Richmond on Oct. 13 and televised statewide, was cosponsored by AARP Virginia, whose president, Bob Blancato, asked the candidates how they would protect the programs. “If you are 47 years old or younger … you are looking at getting …