The mission of the Alliance for Retired Americans is to strive for social and economic justice, and civil rights for all citizens to enjoy lives with dignity, personal and family fulfillment, and security. The Alliance believes that all older and retired persons have a responsibility to strive to create a society that incorporates these goals and rights and that retirement provides them with opportunities to pursue new and expanded activities with their unions, civic organizations and their communities.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Be sure to check the prices of your generic drugs before the deadline

The deadline to sign up for Medicare, including the prescription drug program, Medicare D, is December 7.  Be sure to check on your current plan, the prices of some common generic drugs have gone up substantially for next year, don't be caught by surprise!  You can read more about this issue here.

End of life care - a discussion we need to have as a country

We want to begin this post with a quote:
...for the vast majority of us the real issue is entirely different: just how—in the face of a health care delivery system acculturated to and profiting from the overtreatment of its sickest, most vulnerable patients—do we and our loved ones get through to the end of life while avoiding painful, expensive, futile care we don’t want.
These are difficult and painful issues to discuss, but as Phillip Longman points out in his review of Atul Gawande’s new book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, the quality of our lives as we age depends on our understanding what the American Way of Dying is really like. While it is a matter of cost and ethics and allocation of resources, it is mostly a matter of quality of life and acceptance of our mortality, our humanity.
The message of Atul Gawande’s masterful new book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, is that we need to get over our denial and confront the needless, massive harm we do to each other, including our future selves, by not facing up to the realities of modern mortality. “Our reluctance to honestly examine the experience of aging and dying has increased the harm and suffering we inflict on people,” writes Gawande, “and denied them the basic comforts they most need.”
As we try to work through the political jigsaw of advocating for senior citizens, our Alliance needs to, we believe, think outside of the box, and be sure to keep these issues of quality of life in the forefront as we discuss the senior safety net with our legislators.

Friday, November 21, 2014

American seniors are sicker than their counterparts abroad



The Friday Alert this week included an article comparing both health and healthcare between American seniors and those abroad.  A synopsis of the study shows the following:
A survey of older people in 11 countries finds that U.S. adults are sicker than their counterparts abroad, as well as the most likely to have problems paying their medical bills and getting needed healthcare. U.S. adults also reported difficulty getting care in a timely fashion and using emergency departments for issues that a primary care physician could treat. Among the bright spots for the United States: having a care plan for chronic illness, and planning for end-­of-­life care.
All of us on Medicare can probably identify with this:
U.S. older adults were much more likely to face financial barriers to care than their counterparts abroad, the author say. Despite Medicare coverage, older Americans have less protection from health care costs, primarily because of high deductibles and copayments, especially for pharmaceuticals, and limitations on catastrophic expenses and long-term care coverage. 
We need to continue to make healthcare for Americans of all ages better.  We are the wealthiest country on the planet, surely we can do this.

Executive Action on Immigration Will Improve the Finances of Social Security and Medicare

 Protection of Millions from Deportation is Not the Only Benefit

The following statement was issued today by Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance for Retired Americans, and Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to President Obama’s unveiling of executive action on immigration on Thursday.
“Not only would President Obama’s executive action protect 5 to 8 million aspiring Americans from deportation and extend the Dream Act, it would also help strengthen the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.
“According to the Center for American Progress, if 85% of undocumented workers were to pay Social Security payroll taxes, those workers would add $1.2 trillion into the Social Security Trust Fund during the 36 years when Social Security will be most affected by Baby Boomers’ retirements. (http://tinyurl.com/qctsjlj)
“Since the average undocumented worker today is 36-years-old, most immigrants will pay into the Social Security and Medicare systems for at least 20 years if given the chance.
“Furthermore, if 85% of undocumented workers contributed to Medicare, they would pay $253 billion into the Medicare Trust Fund over 20 years. Since Medicare is estimated to provide only $51 billion in Medicare Part A services during that time, undocumented immigrants’ net contribution to the trust fund over the next 20 years would be $202 billion. (http://tinyurl.com/ncrj9vy)
“For more information on how to apply for this administrative relief, please visit iAmerica (http://iamerica.org), a resource for American immigrant families of all walks of life, providing tools and support to get informed, inspire change and impact America’s future. For more information about issues affecting retirees, please sign up for the Friday Alert at http://retiredamericans.org.”

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Welcome to our new board member!


The New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans is delighted to announce the election of our newest board member, Sue Martin of Atkinson NH.  Welcome, Sue, we look forward to working with you!



Monday, November 3, 2014

Know your voting rights!

Voting is the most important right because it is the right by which we protect all other rights. Every citizen, 18 years old or older, has the Constitutional right to vote. In particular, state and federal laws protect the right of college students to vote in the communities where they attend college as long as they meet the other qualifications for voting. If they prefer, students may vote where they lived before moving to college, either in person or by absentee ballot. Each person may vote only once in any election.

Important: You Can Vote Even If You Do Not Bring a Photo ID
A new law in New Hampshire requires that you provide a photo ID to vote OR that you sign a simple affidavit stating your identity, age, citizenship and where you live now. While it may be quicker to vote if you bring a valid photo ID, you still have a right to vote without one by signing an affidavit. The Attorney General’s office has issued a letter to all local election officials making this clear. If you are told you must have a photo ID or are sent to retrieve one, that is a violation of the law and we ask you to call our hotline immediately at 1-888-939-5932. Instead, if you don’t have these documents, an election official should offer you an opportunity to sign a sworn affidavit stating your identity, age, citizenship and where you live now.

Voter Intimidation Is Against the Law – Report It!
Voter intimidation and suppression is a serious crime. If you are the victim of voter intimidation or suppression, or witness it happen to someone else at a polling location, please notify the local election officials immediately and then call our hotline at 1-888-939-5932. We will dispatch voting rights advocates to the polling location to ensure that your right to vote and those of your fellow community members are protected. More information is available on this here.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

VOTE IN SELF-DEFENSE!

From the national Alliance:

Tuesday, November 4 is Election Day, and seniors in every state will be affected by the results. If right-wing extremists take over both houses of Congress, then Social Security and Medicare will be direct targets of the majority in both the House and Senate. And if anti-worker, anti-retiree governors take over state houses, then pensions are at risk, as well. Do you know your voting place so that you can prevent that from happening? Click here to make a plan: http://www.aflcio.org/Legislation-and-Politics/My-Vote-My-Right/Make-a-Plan-to-Vote.

Key Senate races and Governors' races will have an enormous impact on retirees' lives. Important ballot initiatives are going to be decided by voters in many other states. The seat of every member of the U.S. House will also be determined on Tuesday.

If you have trouble at the polls on or before November 4, remember that you can call 1-866-OUR-VOTE, or go to http://www.866ourvote.org, for assistance. This nonpartisan Election Protection coalition, which includes the Alliance, was formed to ensure that all voters have an equal opportunity to participate in the political process. For voters who need assistance in Spanish, http://www.mifamiliavota.us is a useful resource.

Thank you for standing up for seniors!

In Solidarity,

Richard Fiesta
Executive Director