Friday, August 12, 2011

NCPSSSM Q&A, Members of Joint Select Committee Finalized, Perspectives on a Balanced Approach

The beat goes on and should quicken next week now that all members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction have been appointed.  TMDR will keep you up to date.  One source of answers to your questions is the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.  One source of perspective is Kaiser Health News.  Both are highlighted today.

Of Special Interest

From the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare:  On Thursday, August 18, 2011, 1:00pm EST, Max Richtman, President/CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare will take your questions about Washington proposals impacting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. For more information / further details.

Joint Select Committee Membership Finalized

"The roster's now complete.  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has named her picks to the deficit Super Committee, and they're a familiar bunch:  Reps Jim Clyburn (D-SC), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).  Each of the three has served at her behest on different fiscal working groups in the recent past.  All are loyal members, current or former, of her leadership team, all with fairly liberal voting records."

The article also says, however, "Clyburn -- the third ranking Democrat in the House -- publicly backed certain entitlement benefit cuts.  Specifically, he said negotiators should at least consider further means-testing of Social Security or reduce benefits across the board by reducing Cost of Living Adjustments."

Looks like a flexible group of Democrats on the House side -- maybe too willing to compromise, although Rep. Becerra should be a friend to Medicare and Social Security.  Ultimately, the question will be whether the Committee as a whole can agree upon a plan which makes sense to them as a group.  I am doubtful.  However, we hope that -- with an open process -- people will be able to influence the outcome.  As the process begins, you need to make your voices heard on behalf of yourselves and on behalf of the aged and disabled who need you to speak for them.  TMDR will help you keep track of what's going on.  In the final analysis, it's up to you to make a difference.

Kaiser Health News Continues Its Discussions With Leaders

Rep. Schakowsky says that without new tax revenue, the "Super Committee" is unlikely to be successful.   "KHN's Mary Agnes Carey talks with Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a member of President Obama's 2010 debt commission led by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.  Schakowsky says that while she's unlikely to be a member of the so-called 'super committee,' lawmakers on the panel should aim for a balanced approach that includes budget cuts as well as new tax revenue before asking Medicare beneficiaries to pay more."

These KHN discussions are among my favorites -- politically relevant and usually full of content.  They're informative and offer insight and perspective.

Republican Reality-Free Zone

It's election season and the choices for this occasional "Zone" are multiplying out of control.  I'm still trying to keep it brief.


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