*Legislative Update 30 October 2015: Defense Bill, Medicare Premiums Addressed in Budget Deal

We have No Action Items today.



Summary of Issues

At Issue 1. we see BUDGET DEAL CLEARS WAY FOR DEFENSE BILLCongress reaches two year budget deal, New budget lines mean the White House’s main objections to the defense bill are likely resolved. (See Issue 1 below for the details. GF)



At Issue 2. we see MAJOR PART B SPIKES REDUCEDMedicare Part B solution included in budget deal. The deal stops a 52 percent hike, but millions will still see an increase. (See Issue 2 below for the details. GF)  

At Issue 3. we see MOAA TOP GUN, AGAINA proud tradition continues.For the 9th consecutive year, The Hill newspaper names MOAA a top lobbyist in the associations category.. (See Issue 3 below for the details. GF) 

Collectively We Can and Are Making a Difference


FOR ALL, Please feel free to pass these Weekly Legislative Updates on to your group of Veteran Friends –

don’t be concerned with possible duplications – if your friends are as concerned as we are with Veteran issues, they probably won’t mind getting this from two or more friendly sources





October 30, 2015

Congress has acted to avert both a government shutdown and a federal default with a budget deal that lifts spending caps and suspends the national debt ceiling.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 increases spending caps for defense and non-defense spending by a total of $80 billion for two years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill adds more than $4 billion in savings, and eases the projected 52 percent premium hike for nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries.

 (Click on 52 percent premium hike for nearly one-third of Medicare beneficiaries here or above for more details and/or see Issue 2 below.  GF)

Congress only had until Nov. 3 to address the debt ceiling before the government ran out of money to pay its bills.

That threat disappeared at 3 A.M. Friday morning when the Senate followed the House in voting to approve the budget deal. It now goes to the White House for signature.

Legislators now have about six weeks to pass an appropriations bill and avoid a government shutdown. But the main appropriations sticking point was removed when legislators voted to approve the total budget amount.

Further, the agreement on new defense spending caps means lawmakers can move forward with an amended FY2016 Defense Authorization Act, which the president had vetoed over budget concerns.

The primary challenge is that, despite all the technical readjustments to budget caps, the new deal means a $5 billion net reduction in spending authority from the previously approved defense bill.

House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders are now huddling to decide how to cut that amount from the defense budget. At this point, it’s unclear whether that could involve any further cuts to personnel or benefit programs.

MOAA will keep you posted, as the decisions could come as early as next week.



October 30, 2015

The newly passed budget deal will keep millions of Medicare beneficiaries from being stuck with a 52 percent premium hike.

Seventy percent of Medicare beneficiaries will be “held harmless” and see no premium hike for 2016. The other 30 percent will still see a (lower) premium increase in 2016.

Those who will see higher Part B premiums include people who:

  • will enroll in Medicare for the first time in 2016,  or
  • have incomes above $85,000 a year ($170,000 for couples), or
  • are enrolled in Medicare but not receiving Social Security payments.

All Medicare enrollees will see an annual deductible increase to $167 from the current $147. Without the budget deal, it would have been $233.

In essence, anyone receiving a Social Security check, who is already paying $104.90 in monthly premiums, and won’t exceed the income level shown above, will keep paying the same $104.90 per month next year. 2016 income thresholds are based on the adjusted gross income from your 2014 federal tax return.

Those below the income threshold who aren’t receiving Social Security checks or who will enroll in Part B for the first time next year will pay a monthly premium of $120.

Because Medicare is a needs-based entitlement program, the government subsidizes less and less of the Medicare premium as income rises.

The following chart shows how much 2016 premiums will rise for those in the higher income brackets. These are not official numbers, but are estimates based on the information currently available.


The bill pays for the reduced increases by treating the saved amount like a government loan, and implements a mandatory immediate payback. Beneficiaries subject to the increased premiums in the lowest income bracket will see an additional $3 added on to their monthly premium. Those in higher income brackets will pay proportionally more. The fee will remain in place until the loan is completely paid.

In the event of no cost-of-living increases in 2017, the budget agreement extends these changes to affected beneficiaries in that year as well.

MOAA members sent over 24,000 messages asking their elected officials to tackle the inequity in Part B premiums. Your efforts helped protect millions of Medicare beneficiaries from a 52 percent increase in monthly premiums. The premium increases will still come as a surprise to many who haven’t been paying attention as this situation unfolded. But those of you who answered the call to action know you saved them from a far greater hike.


October 30, 2015

The Hill, a Capitol Hill daily newspaper that covers public policy and political news, cited MOAA President Vice Adm. Norb Ryan, USN (Ret.) for his defense of military members and families in its annual list of top association lobbyists.

The paper noted that Ryan “spent the last year fighting to preserve U.S. troop pay and benefits against budget cuts, a cause he’ll continue to champion in upcoming fiscal fights.”

“This recognition belongs to our 390,000+ members, MOAA Chapter and Council leaders, our Board of Directors and superb MOAA staff,” Ryan said.  “We take seriously our motto to ‘Never Stop Serving’ our members and the entire military community including currently serving families, retirees, veterans, and survivors.  Political leaders need to remember that our men and women in uniform are the only weapon system that has never let the nation down.”

The complete list of association top lobbyists is on The Hill website.

(Click on The Hill website here or above for the details.  GF)





That’s it for today- Thanks for your help!