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The Hill: Social Security COLA fails to keep up with rising costs

Last week we learned how much next year's Social Security checks will be, based on the program's annual cost of living adjustment (COLA). The average benefit will increase 2.3 percent, not enough to help many beneficiaries keep up with the rising costs of energy and food.

Bloomberg: Medicare Advantage Plans Backed by Program's Elderly Recipients

AARP, the largest lobbying group for older Americans, wants to reduce payments to insurers for the Advantage programs, saying the money should be used to keep down Medicare premiums. "We believe that the $54 billion in excess payments over the next five years can be better spent improving the Medicare program,'' said Andrew Nannis, a spokesman for the group, in an interview.

The Hill: Democrats tweak SCHIP in effort to override veto

"Everything we've been doing, we've continued doing," a spokesman for the AARP said. Those activities have included dispatching their formidable lobbying team to shore up support on Capitol Hill for the SCHIP bill, print and TV ad campaigns and grassroots activity.

Bloomberg: Frank Says Mortgage Bill Needed to Restore Confidence

U.S. Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, defended mortgage legislation introduced this week, saying new rules are needed to prevent future abuses and restore investor confidence.

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