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New York Alliance for Retired Americans WNY Chapter of NYSARA
Stephen Muscarella, President
NYS PEF Retirees


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, 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

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Union Retiree News From The Alliance For Retired Americans: Alliance Members Tell Their Stories Of High Drug & Health Care Costs

Also: Contest Backfires On Social Security Privatizer, Why Summertime Heat Is Especially Dangerous For Seniors & Democratic Senate Majority Hinges On A Few 2014 Races As First Forecasts Come In

Published Wednesday, July 24, 2013 8:00 pm
by Alliance For Retired Americans

Alliance Members Tell Their Stories Of High Drug & Health Care Costs

“Even though Medicare Gives Me Access to Health Care and Prescription Drugs, It Can Still Be a Struggle to Pay the Co-Pays and Out-of-Pocket Costs,” said Leah Witherspoon, a Member of the Texas Alliance For Retired Americans. “Instead of Cuts to Medicare, like More Means-Testing or New Home Health Co-Pays, it Seems to Me We Could and Should Save Money for the Medicare Program and Taxpayers with Policies like Negotiating Better Prices on Prescription Drugs.”  The Alliance has Begun Collecting Stories from our Members of High Prescription Drug Costs and Other Health Care Costs under Medicare.  The Stories will Reinforce the Fact that Cuts to Medicare are the Last Thing This Country Needs.  Tell Us Your Story About These High Costs here:


Contest Backfires On Social Security Privatizer

Conservative Billionaire Pete Peterson is a Major Financier in the effort to Dismantle, Cut and Privatize Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  According to the National AFL-CIO Blog, Peterson and his Foundation recently Held a Contest Asking People to Submit Videos Describing Why It Is Important to Fix the National Debt, of which He and his Foundation Falsely Claim, Social Security is a Major Contributor.  However, Sometimes the Best-Laid Plans for a Propaganda Campaign Can Go Awry.  The Winner of the $500 Grand Prize Determined by Popular Vote on a Website Sponsored by Peterson came from the Completely Opposite Side of his Cut Social Security Argument.”  The Just Scrap the Cap Winning Video Features Rapping Seniors Rhyming Their Way to the Conclusion that the Way to Shore Up Social Security Isn’t through Cuts or Privatization, but by Scrapping the Payroll Tax Cap on Social Security.  That means Billionaires and Rich CEOs would Pay the Same Social Security Tax that Low-to-Upper-Middle-Income Workers do.  Currently, Any Income Above the $113,700 Cap is Exempt from the Social Security Tax.  Peterson’s Check went to Robby Stern, a Member of the Alliance and of Social Security Works - the Group that Produced the Video.  Stern Signed the Check Over to Social Security Works, saying: “We Will Use (the $500) to Finance our Education Efforts and our ‘Scrap the Cap’ Campaign.  We Want to Save Social Security from Peterson and his Band of Wealthy Supporters.”  To See the Winning Video, go to


Why Summertime Heat Is Especially Dangerous For Seniors

Extreme Summer Heat Causes Thousands of Heat-Related Illnesses in the U.S. Each Year and Kills More People than Hurricanes, Lightning, Tornadoes, Floods and Earthquakes - Combined. With the Dramatic Heat Wave Currently Gripping so much of the U.S., Seniors have been Especially Vulnerable recently.  According to The Huffington Post, this is Largely Because the Body's Ability to Regulate Temperature through Blood Circulation and Sweat Glands Tends to Decline with Age.  Bodies of Older Adults also Contain Far Less Water than a Younger Person, and Older Brains Don't Recognize Thirst as Easily, Making Them More Likely to get Dehydrated.  In addition, Many Seniors have Health Problems that can Increase their Risk of Hyperthermia (The Body Overheating).  These include Diseases like Congestive Heart Failure, Diabetes and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD; Trouble Walking; and Being Overweight.  To Learn More, go to



Democratic Senate Majority Hinges On A Few 2014 Races As First Forecasts Come In

Recent Analysis from New York Times Statistician and Political Prognosticator Nate Silver Illustrates that Control of the U.S. Senate after the 2014 Mid-Term Elections Hangs in the Balance.  Currently, Democrats hold 54 Senate Seats - Republicans 46. According to Silver, Republicans have about a 50% Chance of Gaining a Senate Majority in 2014, In Part Due to the Retirement of Several Long-Serving Democratic Senators.  In North Carolina, where Senator Kay Hagan (Democrat) will Face Off against the Winner of the Republican Primary, Silver Predicts a Particularly Close Race.  Other Nail Biters include Louisiana and Arkansas. Seniors are Likely to Play a Major Role in the Outcome of these Races, because of their High Turn Out During Mid-Term Elections.  To read Silver’s State-by-State Analysis of the 2014 Races, go to  “Far Right Conservatives have Controlled the House of Representatives for Nearly Three Years,” Alliance Secretary-Treasurer Ruben Burks said. “In that time, they have Consistently Obstructed Government, Refused to Compromise, and Voted for Anti-Senior Policies like the Destructive Paul Ryan Budget.  Seniors will Fight to Ensure that the Senate Does Not Fall Under the Control of the Same 'Irresponsible Team’ of Ideologues.”



Social Security Begins To Accept Same-Sex Marriage Claims


The Social Security Administration announced laws week that it would Begin Accepting Benefit Claims Related to Same-Sex Marriage (  The Change comes after the Supreme Court Ruled in June that the Heart of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is Unconstitutional, Deciding that the Federal Government Couldn't Treat Same-Sex Marriages Approved by Some States Any Differently than Heterosexual Marriages.  Prior to the Ruling, an Individual in a Same-Sex Marriage was Unable to Claim Survivor Benefits from Social Security when a Spouse Died.  In a Bit of a Twist, The Hill notes, the Supreme Court’s recent DOMA Ruling could also End Up Reducing the Federal Budget Deficit, Despite the Likely Increase in Social Security Spending, since Most High-Income Married Couples Face a Tax Penalty when Filing Tax Returns Jointly. “The Fact the DOMA Decision Could ‘Help’ the Deficit is Just the ‘Icing on the Cake,’” Alliance President Barbara Easterling said. “This was About Civil Rights and Fairness, and I’m Glad to Watch as the Social Security Administration Reflects this Change.”


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