Note: Due to storm related issues, we were unable to send this on Friday, April 7.
State Legislative Update
Not a lot new to report this past week from the state capital. Both chambers are on the floor passing bills through Wednesday (4/12) which is House of Origin cut off. After that, they will shift their focus on budget negotiations, as well as the “trailer bills” that are part of the final agreements. Again, the budget negotiation could go well into June or later.
While SB 5179 (requires coverage for hearing instruments under public employee and Medicaid programs) did not make it out of House Appropriations by fiscal cut off, but it could certainly still be part of the end game negotiations.
American Health Care Act (AHCA)
From the Alliance for Retired Americans – House Republicans and White House officials are still scrambling to push through the controversial American Health Care Act, despite its failure to recruit sufficient votes to pass the House. On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence met with House Freedom Caucus members to present an offer to increase support for the bill.
The deal would allow states to apply for waivers to repeal two Affordable Care Act regulations. One requires insurance plans to cover “essential health benefits,” which includes prescription drugs and preventive services. The other regulation prevents insurers from charging sick people higher premiums. Critics have stated that allowing states to repeal these provisions would take away life-saving services for millions and force those with pre-existing conditions to pay outrageous amounts for coverage.
Intended to appeal to Freedom Caucus members, this offer would likely be opposed by many moderate Republicans who are concerned about the millions who could lose coverage. The House Rules Committee amended the health care legislation on Thursday, but the largest obstacles to the bill have not been resolved.
Landmark Proposal to Improve the Affordable Care Act by Addressing Skyrocketing Drug Prices
A major effort has been launched to improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by bringing down the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs, one of the main reasons why health care costs are rising.
An overwhelming majority of Americans agree that prescription drug prices are too high and that we need action to lower prices. The Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act would help ensure that drug companies put patients before profits and bring some much-needed relief to families and seniors, including many who have had to make the impossible choice between paying for a life-saving drug and putting food on the table.
This important legislative package, which is supported by a wide range of organizations and patient advocacy groups including AFSCME, seeks to tackle prescription drug costs by increasing transparency and accountability, boosting access and affordability of key drugs, spurring innovation, and increasing choice and competition.
Fiduciary Rule Delay to Cost Retirees Billions
From the Alliance for Retired Americans – The Obama-era Fiduciary Rule that requires financial advisors to act in the best interest of their clients when handling your retirement and investment funds has been delayed by the Trump administration and its ultimate future is still unknown. The rule was to take effect on April 10 but is now delayed until June 9. Conflicts of interest in retirement advice cost America’s families an estimated $17 billion a year. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) estimates that the proposed 60-day delay of the fiduciary rule would cost workers saving for retirement $3.7 billion over the next 30 years.
As you can see, we have much work to do in the weeks and months ahead to continue the betterment of your retirement security. Your continued support and political action is a necessity!
Your Voice for Retirement Security!