On Wednesday morning in sunny but still chilly central Ohio, Congressman Joyce Beatty [OH-3] told a group of a couple dozen mostly seniors that a citizen's day in Washington to celebrate Social Security and show support for strengthen it by raising the monthly benefit was a good idea, something to be kept in mind.
Watch Congressman Beatty's presentation today on 60 Seconds Ohio
A couple hours later, in the afternoon, Ohio's senior U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown was at the Workforce Development Center at Columbus State Community College to further fan the enthusiasm President Obama and others are pumping up to signup for the first-round of health care insurance through the Affordable Care Act, as the March 31 deadline nears, now less than two weeks away.
Sam Burnett, a volunteer for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, drove the two-plus hours from Toledo to Columbus to be at the mini townhall event Congressman Beatty attended today. Burnett can recall the early days of Social Security and understands the difference America's premier social safety net program has made to retirees for the last 76 years, since its inception in 1937 by Franklin Deleano Roosevelt, the former Governor of New York State who was elected president in 1932, the height of the Great Depression.
Originally from Baltimore, Burnett said it was hard to believe, now, but during those terrible times 92 percent of adult men were unemployed in the Maryland port city. Social Security benefits have not kept pace with rising costs for healthcare, food, fuel and housing, reasons why Burnett and NCPSSM has teamed up with first-term Congressman Beatty, who won her election in 2012 with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Beatty, Burnett and others at the meeting are solid supporters of HR 3118, which would pay for the monthly increase of $70 by lifting the cap on wages subject to Social Security payroll taxes which is now set at $117,000.
Max Richtman, NCPSSM President and CEO, who was in Columbus with Sen. Brown late last year, said, "Our nation faces a retirement security crisis. Right now nearly half of all retirees in the United States live on less than $1300 per month." He added that this is like a minimum wage job and puts seniors who worked hard their entire lives on the edge of poverty. "Cost of living adjustments over the last several years haven’t reflected the inflation that seniors face in healthcare and other costs. It is time to face reality."
At his event at CSCC, Sen. Brown was joined by a small business owner who told his story of enrolling in the new health insurance marketplace after years of paying high out-of-pocket costs for health insurance. Bill Wood and his wife Linda estimated that before enrolling in his new health plan his premiums increased by more than 80 percent and was limited to one insurance option due to a pre-existing condition. Now signed up through the ACA, aka Obamacare, the new health insurance marketplace offered Wood more than 20 plan options, and will save an estimated $6,000 in 2014.
Sen. Brown, reelected to a second six-year term in 2012, was also joined by Kimberly Hall, Chief-of-Staff, Columbus State Community College; and Anne Filipic, President of Enroll America.
According to Sen. Brown's office, more than 4.2 million Americans—and nearly 79,000 Ohioans—are now healthier and better protected as a part of the new marketplace. More than 193,000 Ohioans, however, remain eligible for the marketplace with more than 115,000 of them eligible to enroll with financial assistance. Brown's a big believer that the controversial health law, which Republicans have sought to dismantle in part or repeal in its entirety, has already protected millions of Ohioans by ending lifetime caps on insurance coverage, covering both children and adults with pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday, offering free preventive care in new private insurance plans, closing the so-called "donut hole" in drug prices for seniors, and providing tax credits to small businesses to help them afford health coverage for their employees."
Ohioans have through March 31 to enroll in health insurance before the marketplace is closed.
Rep. Beatty is credited coining the phrase President Obama used successfully in his February State of the Union Address, "When Women Succeed, America Succeeds." Beatty, a former Member of the Ohio House where she served as Minority Leader before moving to The Ohio State University where she directed outreach efforts, says she wants to bring Washington back to her district, where issues important to her constituents like paycheck fairness, paid sick leave to care for family members, and increased funding for childcare are also high on her list, too.
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