Retiree Network Urges Older Americans to Ask Congressional Candidates the ‘Tough Questions’
‘Candidates Must Be Held Accountable’
(WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2006) — With the November 7 general election fast approaching, officials of the National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) are asking older Americans to “turn up the heat” on congressional candidates by asking the tough questions.
“Candidates must be held accountable for where they stand on key issues affecting today’s retirees,” according to NRLN President A. J. “Jim” Norby. “Our best opportunity for passing legislation that will benefit retirees is to elect candidates who understand pension, health care and other economic and social issues facing retirees and who are willing to work on solutions.”
The NRLN is sponsoring a grass roots effort urging its members and other retirees to address the candidates from their districts on key legislative issues. The organization’s Web site (http://capwiz.com/abtr/home/) provides contact information for each district candidate through its “Election & Candidates” option that accesses the database by zip code entry. The NRLN is urging individuals who contact their congressional candidates to ask several key questions, including:
· Will you sponsor and support legislation allowing American consumers to take advantage of the global marketplace by importing safe, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescription drugs from Canada and other countries at lower prices?
· Will you sponsor and support legislation for Medicare Part D that would initiate competitive bidding for prescription drugs?
· Will you sponsor and support legislation increasing the subsidy/incentive for employers who offer coverage that is superior to Medicare Part D?
· Will you sponsor and support increasing FDA funding for the purpose of clearing the generic drug approval backlog and to maintain a minimum backlog of no more than three months?
· Will you sponsor and support legislation enabling health care premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs for all Americans to be fully tax deductible?
· Will you sponsor and support legislation enabling tax-free and penalty-free rollover transfers from 401k, Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plans and other individual retirement accounts to Health Care Savings Accounts (HSAs) and permit the tax-free use of such accounts to pay for health care premiums and health care costs not covered by health care insurance?
· To further solidify the intent of Congress in protecting pension plan assets, will you sponsor the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) legislation to prevent the use of pension assets to pay for lump-sum layoffs or severance pay to selected, yet-to-be retired, plan participants only?
· Will you sponsor and support ERISA legislation requiring Maintenance-of-Costs Payments to retirees effective the first day of retirement that would be a monthly income pension subsidy used to pay for heath care coverage?
“The answers to these questions will be valuable in helping retirees decide which candidates to support on November 7,” Norby added. “As retirees we may be older, but most of us still know how to drive, and we know our way to the polling places.”
Based in Washington, D.C., NRLN is dedicated to securing federal legislation that will guarantee the fair and equitable treatment of retirees in private and public sector health and pension programs. NRLN represents a non-partisan, grass roots coalition of retiree associations with a combined membership of more than 2 million men and women who are seeking to protect their pension and health care benefits. For more information, visit the NRLN Web site at http://www.nrln.org/.