Social Security – Buddy Robinson
Buddy Robinson of the Minnesota Citizens Federation NE spoke about the facts and myths surrounding Social Security and the trouble that misinformation causes. Buddy shared:
- Myth: The trust fund is about to be depleted. Fact: Payroll taxes coming in each month are the primary source of current benefit payouts. If nothing changes, by 2093 there would still be enough money to pay %75 of monthly benefits.
- Myth: There will be nothing there for young people. See Fact above.
- Myth: The trust fund is nothing but worthless IOUs. Fact: Borrowing from the fund is guaranteed in the form of US Treasury Bonds – the safest investment in the world.
- Myth: Out of control deficits result in a national debt crisis that will require reductions in Social Security benefits. Fact: Social Security is self-funded and has nothing to do with the national debt. Tax cuts and wars are the national debt creators.
Those attacking Social Security propose “solutions” such as raising the benefit eligibility age(s), reduction of initial benefit amount, replacement of consumer price index with a formula that results in lower benefit increases for inflation, means testing for benefit amounts, or one of many privatization schemes.
In response to these “solutions”, we need to go on the offense promoting “Scrap the Cap”, taxation of investment income, replacement of the current COLA formula with the Consumer Price Index for the elderly, and other improvements that have been proposed in Congress.
Health Care Costs—Rose Roach
Executive Director of the Minnesota Nurses Association Rose Roach addressed the group about Senior Health Care Costs. Some “high” points:
- An average senior on Medicare pays a monthly total of $470.50 out of pocket not including co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance.
- There are deductibles and co-pays for a long list of items and that includes the ridiculously high prices of drugs.
- The Kaiser Family Foundation projects the average senior on Medicare spends about $6,000 per year out of pocket after Medicare pays its share.
- A pretty long list of health care costs are NOT covered by Medicare including long-term care, dental, vision, home healthcare, transportation for health care, etc. etc. etc.
- Assisted living costs the average senior $4,100 per month.
- Long term nursing home care (semi-private room and food) averages $82,125 each year.
Rose says Medicare for all is the best answer to the senior health care cost issue as well as to achieving universal coverage. Physicians for a National Health Program has some excellent information on this issue at www.pnhp.org.
2020 Census – Elaine Rothman
Elaine Rothman is chair of the Minneapolis Regional Retiree Council’s Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census. Their goals are to publicize the importance of the census and encourage individuals to be counted. Here is some of the information Elaine presented:
- In fiscal year 2016, Minnesota received $15,459,175,947 in federal funds that go to 55 programs based on the 2010 census count.
- The census count determines how many Congressional seats each state is allocated. Minnesota is on the cusp of losing a seat (9,000 fewer people – we lose).
- Each state will need to redraw its legislative as well as Congressional districts to equalize population between districts. This will be an even more difficult job if Minnesota should lose a Congressional seat. This work is based on the census data returned by residents.
- There are traditionally undercounted groups who may be less likely to participate in the count this year because of changes or threatened changes in data collection methods. Two big examples – this will be an internet-based count to the extent that can be achieved and that will not be universally “user friendly”; and the threat of including a question about citizenship may inhibit participation by immigrants and their families. Every resident is to be counted according to the constitution. The count is not limited to every citizen.
- The census will need employees to follow up with those who do not respond in the first attempts at counting. Due to low unemployment, hiring is expected to be a challenge. If you might be interested, go to census.gov/partners.
- Establish or participate in a Complete Count Committee in your area.
Go to https://mn.gov/admin/2020-census/involved/how-to-help/ for information about Minnesota Complete Count Committees.