Our Mission

The mission of the New Hampshre 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.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Public information workshop for National Consumer Protection Week

Thanks to the NH Association of Senior Centers for this press release!

Contact: Christina Martin, Legal Assistant, Office of Consumer Advocate - 271-1172
March 2, 2015
Public Information Workshop

National Consumer Protection week is March 1 through March 7, and the Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA) will hold a public information workshop at the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester. This event will take place on March 6 between the hours of 11 A.M. to 5 P.M near Center Court.

• Do you need assistance understanding your public utility bill(s)?
• Are you looking for guidance regarding competitive suppliers?
• Are you considering energy efficiency projects for home?
• Having trouble paying your public utility bills?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, please stop by on March 6 anytime between 11-5. A member of the OCA will be available to answer your questions, hear your concerns, and provide information about the issues that affect New Hampshire’s residential consumers. This is also an opportunity for you to let us know what issues you want to learn more about for future news releases and newsletters.

Even if these questions don’t prompt you to attend, maybe there is something else that you are concerned with or would like to know more about. There are many state agencies in New Hampshire. We can help you determine which state agency can respond to your complaint or inquiry.

The Mall of New Hampshire has generously donated the use of their facility for this public information workshop. Please share in our gratitude by coming for a visit.

The OCA is an independent state agency representing the interests of residential utility ratepayers. To contact the OCA call 603-271-1172, email at ocaAToca.nh.gov, or visit the website.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Thank you, Terry!

We said a fond thank you and farewell to former staffer and board member Terry Lochhead this month.  She retired from her job helping the northern New Englanders' branches of the Alliance for Retired Americans over a year ago, but agreed to stay on as a New Hampshire board member to see us through the transition of both staff and board leadership.  She was our recording secretary for this period, one of those jobs that is both essential and often a challenge.

We wish her the very, very best, knowing that she is still around doing what she did so well, standing up for her fellow union brothers and sisters and all retirees, only on a less strenuous schedule.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Terry and enjoy your well-earned retirement!

OLDER WOMEN WORKERS AND ECONOMIC SECURITY

This issue brief from the Women's Bureau of the US Dept. of Labor has a lot of information we need to know.
This issue brief answers the following questions: How and why does the gender wage gap vary by age? How do earnings for older women differ by race and ethnicity? What is the impact of the gender wage gap and caregiving responsibilities on women’s lifetime earnings and their retirement savings? What can be done to tackle the gender wage gap and improve women’s lifetime earnings?
It ends with some recommendations for supportive strategies including
…[I]ncreasing the minimum wage and providing paid leave and paid sick days would enable women to remain in their jobs while caring for themselves or a family member. This would allow them the opportunity to acquire seniority in their job, which results in increased earnings...
along with a number of other suggestions.

Accountable Care Organizations: What Do You Think?

This commentary popped up on our Google alert for any mention of Fix the Debt, a group that we are rightfully suspicious of because they always want to cut Social Security and Medicare.  But Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are one of the ways that the Affordable Care Act is working to reduce the cost growth in Medicare and, we hope, all across the health care spectrum; the idea is to help move from a fee-for-service model, where every procedure and test produces income for medical professionals and hospitals, needed or not, to a results-based model, where the reimbursement is based on outcomes.

We would be interested in hearing from you about any experience you have had with an ACO, and what you think about the suggestions in the article.  You can comment here, our comments are moderated, so be patient if you don't see it right away.  We will also link this to our Facebook page and to Twitter, and would be glad to receive any comments that way.  Or you can just e-mail us at nhara2013@gmail.com.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Contact your State Senator now!

NH Labor News has a post from Laura Hainey of AFT-NH asking us all to contact our State Senators:
The SENATE COMMERCE Committee made the recommendation of ought to pass on SB 107-FN: prohibiting collective bargaining agreements that require employees to join or contribute to a labor union by a vote of 3 to 2. It now moves to the full Senate on March 3, 2015.
Over the past two years hundreds of NH citizens voiced opposition to this bill with only a handful of people speaking in support. This attack on working people like you is led by out-of-state interests such as the National Right to Work Committee and ALEC. Don’t let the voice of NH residents to be silenced.
Pass the word to friends and family members. These Senators need to hear from you. Simply put this is a union-busting bill and an attack on our public employees and middle-class families.
Please share this with colleagues so they know the seriousness of these attacks. So let’s GET ACTIVE and let these state Senators hear our voices.
The New Hampshire Alliance did send testimony to the State Senate Commerce Committee, you can read it here and use some of our arguments in your e-mail to your senator. Right to Work (For Less) is bad for Social Security and retirement security.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Retirees Visit More than 120 Members of Congress with Retirement Security Message

TPP, Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare Cuts also discussed

Members of the Alliance for Retired Americans are expressing their views at more than 120 meetings with members of Congress and staff this week as elected officials returned to their districts during the Presidents Day recess. The New Hampshire Alliance joined them, meeting with Congresswoman Annie Kuster after attending a senior town hall meeting, and with staff members in Senator Ayotte's and Congressman Guinta's offices.

“Under the new 114th Congress, retirees issues are once again under attack from many directions including proposed trade agreements, Social Security and Medicare,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Social Security and Medicare belong to the people who have worked their entire lives to contribute and sustain the programs. Social Security is not responsible for the federal deficit and cutting it will not resolve America’s budgetary problems.”

The retirees are deeply concerned about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement and the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) proposal, also known as “fast track.” TPP has provisions that would impact prescription drug pricing, including patent extensions for biologics and medical devices. In addition, TPP could interfere with the government’s ability to list and price prescription drugs and would allow pharmaceutical companies to challenge drug prices in public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration. The Alliance is urging members to oppose the TPA, which is likely to be voted on by the Senate first.

Also concerning Alliance members are new rules for governing passed by the House Republicans, which included a provision prohibiting members from offering proposals to reallocate funds to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) fund. Without reallocation – which has been done 11 times in the past under both Republican and Democratic administrations - the SSDI program will become insolvent in 2016 and disabled beneficiaries will see a 20% cut in their benefits. Legislation is also expected to create a Social Security Commission, which would recommend cuts to the program that provides the majority of retirement income to 65% of seniors. Retirees are responding that Social Security should not be discussed in the context of the deficit. It is a self-funded program that Congress should strengthen and expand.

This year is the 50th Anniversary of the Medicare program, and retirees are also reminding members of Congress of the continued importance of the program. National health expenditures grew at an annual rate of 3.7% in 2012, marking the fourth consecutive year of low growth. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the slowdown in the growth of Medicare spending will likely continue for the next 25 years.

Still, many in Congress continue to call for Medicare benefit cuts. These include turning Medicare into a voucher program, raising the age of eligibility, means testing benefits, requiring home health co-pays, limiting Medigap coverage and restructuring or redesigning Medicare. Unfortunately, these Medicare cuts would do nothing to reduce the cost of health care, but instead, shift costs on to beneficiaries.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

NHARA at Congresswoman Kuster's Senior Town Hall

Congresswoman Annie Kuster, NH-02, held a Senior Town Hall meeting at the Nashua Senior Activity Center on February 17th.  We wanted to share some pictures from this very well done event.

L to R: Connie Young from ServiceLinkNH, Sue Fox from UNH Center for Aging and Community Living, Stephen Gorin from Plymouth State University and Congresswoman Kuster made up the panel.

Board Member Betty Ann Abbott and NHARA President Lucy Edwards listen to the panel.

Executive Vice-President Jane Lang asks about helping seniors buy and prepare fresh produce from local farmers markets.


Board president Lucy Edwards asks panel about transportation and housing issues for seniors.

Congresswoman Kuster and her staff plan to send the information and questions shared by all the seniors and panelists to the White House Conference on Aging as they plan for this year's conference.  It was noted that many of the programs that were discussed, including funding for senior centers such as the one we met in, Meals on Wheels, and transportation and housing projects were funded by the Older Americans Act, which has not been reauthorized by Congress since 2011.