Social Security recipients see biggest raise in nearly 40 years

As costs rise due to inflation, millions of Social Security recipients will get a 5.9 percent raise in benefits for 2022 — the highest cost of living adjustment in decades.

Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss the raise and what it will mean for retired workers.

He also spoke about provisions in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and why the Democrats may amend the filibuster rule to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

The average Social Security check will increase by $92 to keep up with inflation

Social Security recipients will receive a 5.9 percent raise starting Jan. 1, Fiesta said. It is the highest increase in 39 years.

The cost of living adjustment amounts to an additional $92 a month for the average recipient, he said. Over the past 10 years, cost of living adjustments averaged only 1.65 percent per year.

The Alliance for Retired Americans has long maintained that Social Security benefits are inadequate to cover what seniors need to spend in today’s economy, he added.

Savings from negotiating Medicare drug prices could pay for dental and vision plans

The $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill would allow Medicare to negotiate with drug manufacturers on the price it pays for prescription drugs. Medicare was banned from negotiating drug prices in 2003, which caused America’s seniors to pay some of the highest drug prices in the world, Fiesta said.

According to a recent poll conducted by the Alliance for Retired Americans, nearly 90 percent of all retirees want to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. The group has been advocating for the change for some time, Fiesta added.

The nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund estimates negotiating prices would cut premiums for Medicare drug plans by about $117 billion between 2020 and 2029. This savings could be used to fund dental and vision plans for seniors, he said.

Drug companies have spent billions on lobbyists in an attempt to block the move, and the Alliance for Retired Americans has been fighting for 15 years to get it done because it will save the country billions in healthcare costs, said Fiesta.

Senate to consider John Lewis Voting Rights Act

Fiesta also discussed the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which was introduced into the U.S. Senate after being passed by the U.S. House. The bill would restore early voting and other voting protections, ensure transparency and deliver fundamental change to protecting voting rights, Fiesta said. Though voting rights acts tend to be bipartisan, this bill has received no Republican support. If it is to pass, Democrats will have to amend filibuster rules for it to pass.


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