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New York Alliance for Retired Americans WNY Chapter of NYSARA
NEW YORK STATE ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS
Stephen Muscarella, President
NYS PEF Retirees
Email: sjmuskie@roadrunner.com

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With More Than 500,000 Retired Union Members Living Across New York State Today, Including More Than 100,000 Right Here in Western New York, WNYLaborToday.com is Proud to be Working With the Representatives of the Western New York Chapter of the New York State Alliance For Retired Americans (NYSARA) in Order to Provide Union Retirees With a Variety of Labor News and Information They Need and Just Won’t Find Anywhere Else.

The Western New York Chapter of the New York Alliance For Retired Americans Serves as the Base for Providing Union Retirees a Voice that Can Be Heard.

Stephen Muscarella is NYSARA’s President Here in Western New York and Also Serves as President of the New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF).

For More Information on the Western New York Chapter of the New York State Alliance For Retired Americans and How You Can Get Involved, Contact Stephen Muscarella Directly Via E-Mail at sjmuskie@roadrunner.com.

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Union Retiree News From The Alliance For Retired Americans: Trustees Reports - Social Security Steady, Medicare Financial Outlook Improved

Also: Immigrants Are Helping Medicare’s Solvency, The United Mine Workers Of America Speak Out Against Bankruptcy Ruling That Cuts Off Retiree Health Care & Report Ranks States Based On Measures Of Senior Health

Published Sunday, June 2, 2013 11:00 am
by Alliance For Retired Americans

Trustees Reports: Social Security Steady, Medicare Financial Outlook Improved

The Social Security and Medicare Trustees have issued their Annual Reports on the State of the Two Programs’ Finances.  Social Security, according to its Trustees, has a $2.7 trillion Surplus, Enough to Fully Meet the Demands of a Growing Retiree Cohort through 2033 – the same as last year.  With no action from Congress, it would Cover Most Benefits through 2087.  The Trustees report for Medicare noted that its Trust Fund, which covers Hospital Care, can Fully Pay Benefits through 2026 – two years later than forecast last year.  The Medicare Trustees Report shows Reduced Cost Growth, which is Further Proof in many Experts’ Eyes that Health Care Reform is Working for Seniors.  National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Alliance Executive Director Edward Coyle issued a Joint Statement about the Reports: “We must ‘Call Out’ those who will try to ‘Misuse’ Today’s  Report as ‘Political Cover’ for Unwarranted and Ill-Advised Benefit Cuts, like Switching to the ‘Chained CPI’ to calculate Social Security’s Annual Cost Of Living Increase (COLA).”  To read their full statement, go to http://tinyurl.com/k6qnk3u.


Immigrants Are Helping Medicare’s Solvency

Kaiser Health News, quoting a Study in the Journal Health Affairs, reported last week that Immigrants Contribute More to Medicare Than They Take Out.  Between 2002 and 2009, Immigrants Generated a Cumulative Surplus of $115 billion for the Trust Fund, the Study found. Most of the Surplus Contribution came from Non-Citizens. The Immigrants created a Net Gain primarily because of Demographics: There are 6.5 Immigrants of Working Age for Every One Elderly Immigrant, but only 4.7 Working-Age Native Citizens for Every One Retiree.  But that Ratio could change in the future.  However, the Report notes that the Census Bureau Projects that the Share of Immigrants in the U.S. will Increase for the next 18 years.  Kaiser reports the Authors added Personal Views not often found in Academic Papers of this sort, writing, “…Economic Concerns — including the Worry that Immigrants are ‘Driving Up’ U.S. Health Care Costs — have often ‘Dominated’ the Debate over Immigration.  Our Data offers a ‘New Perspective’ on these Economic Concerns.”  You can read the full Kaiser Article at  http://tinyurl.com/nrxfjko.

 

UMWA Speaks Out Against Bankruptcy Ruling That Cuts Off Retiree Health Care

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Eastern District of Missouri has ruled In Favor of Proposals by Patriot Coal to Eliminate its Collective Bargaining Agreements.  The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) has Adamantly Denounced the Ruling and Plans to Appeal in Federal District Court.  Patriot was created by Peabody Energy in 2007 with 43% of Peabody’s Liabilities, but just 11% of its Assets.  Because Patriot was Created with Insufficient Assets to meet its Liabilities to Retired Miners, Analysts such as Bruce Rader, Professor of Finance at Temple University, have described the Company as “Designed to Fail.”  By creating Patriot and Allowing it to go Bankrupt, Peabody has Deprived Tens of Thousands of Workers of the Benefits they Earned.  Under the Bankruptcy Court’s Ruling, Patriot will be Allowed to Cease Paying for Retiree Health Care Benefits as early as July 1st.  Responsibility for Paying Benefits would be Handed Over to a Voluntary Employee Beneficial Association (VEBA), which will only have Guaranteed Funding of $15 million, plus a Royalty Payment of $0.20 Per Ton of Coal the Company Produces, which may add approximately $5 million to the VEBA per year.  Current Health Care Costs for these Retirees average nearly $7 million per month.  “What Peabody Coal is doing is absolutely ‘Criminal.’  They are using our Nation’s Bankruptcy Laws as a ‘License To Steal’ from the Sick and the Elderly,” Alliance President Barbara Easterling said. “You ‘Cannot’ Break a Promise just because you ‘Want to Make More Money.’”  Easterling was Arrested earlier this month at a Peaceful Protest of Peabody’s actions in St. Louis.

 

Report Ranks States Based On Measures Of Senior Health

A New Report ranks the 50 States based on 34 Different Measures of Senior Health.  These Measures range from the Rates of Chronic Conditions among Seniors to the Availability of Medical Care to the Rate of Seniors Living in Poverty.  Minnesota, which has a High Number of Home Health Care Workers and a Low Rate of Hunger among Seniors, was Ranked the Best State for Senior Health.  Mississippi, which has a High Percentage of Seniors Living in Poverty and a High Rate of Premature Death, was the Lowest-Ranked State.  To read a USA Today story about the Report, go to http://tinyurl.com/o3aotx6.  To view the Report itself, go to http://tinyurl.com/llkopd4.  “This Report shows a Wide Range of Variability between Different Areas of the Country,” Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks said. “While even the Highest-Ranked States still have some Challenges to overcome, we hope this Report will Present an Opportunity for State Governments to ‘Learn’ from Each Other and Implement Policies that are currently in place in Highly-Ranked States.”

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