Congressman Bilirakis understands the importance of Social Security and Medicare and believes these critical programs must remain fiscally solvent to ensure retirement security for current seniors, our children and grandchildren. However, Social Security has been operating at a deficit of $40 billion a year since 2010. Unless Social Security is modernized and strengthened, seniors could be in jeopardy.
To compensate for inflation, Social Security (SS) recipients usually receive an annual cost-of-living adjustment. For 2021, the Social Security Administration announced a 1.3% COLA increase. (updated 03/09/21). Seniors who pay their Medicare premiums with their Social Security benefits are protected from additional premium increases. Under the “hold harmless” provision for these seniors, Medicare premiums cannot increase beyond the S.S. COLA. About 70% of beneficiaries are protected under the hold harmless provision. Happily, the Tax Reform law is also helping seniors keep more of their money, by dropping the average senior from a 15% tax rate to 12% and doubling the standard deduction. Congressman Bilirakis knows seniors need to see more money in their pockets each month to make ends meet, and he is working with his colleagues on a way to ensure that happens.
Congressman Bilirakis is also a strong supporter of the Medicare program. Medicare is extremely important to seniors, and arguably the most popular aspects of the program – Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D – operate successfully because of free market principles. Medicare also needs to ensure its fiscal viability for current and future beneficiaries.
Congressman Bilirakis often says, “Don’t let politicians scare you. Everyone on both sides of the aisle want to preserve Social Security and Medicare.” He has filed legislation that would remove the politics from the equation by creating a bipartisan commission of experts to review all options for ensuring the long-term solvency of both vital programs. This approach worked in the early 80s and he believes it can be of help again.
Another issue impacting seniors is the recent increase in predatory and obnoxious robocalls. Robocalls are increasingly becoming a hassle for every American, especially seniors. The FCC has begun proceedings to fight back against these calls and empower service providers to block these abusive calls before they reach your phone. The House and Senate recently passed, and the President signed into law, the TRACED Act, which is the most significant action taken to combat robocalls. This bill provides more authority for the FCC to crack down on bad actors who prey upon the elderly and other vulnerable populations. The new law included legislation authored by Congressman Bilirakis to specifically ask the FCC to address One Ring Call Scams. This is one of the newest forms of cell phone scams, in which a person receives a call with one ring, prompting them to call back. Upon doing so, the caller is hit with exorbitant by-the-minute fees. The Congressman will continue to do all he can to protect seniors. Be sure to check out his consumer protection tab on the home page to learn more information.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. –Representative Gus Bilirakis and a bipartisan group of colleagues have just introduced the Laboratory Access for Beneficiaries (LAB) Act with his colleagues, Reps. Richard Hudson (NC-08), George Holding (NC-02), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), and Scott Peters(CA-52). This bill directs the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)—in consultation with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—to conduct a study and make recommendations to improve how CMS collects data on lab reimbursements for life-saving lab services.