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George has been notifying former works employees about things that are of importance to them for a number of years now.  We will try to keep the most current things that affect us here as a reference for those to refer to.  Our benefits and legislation actions are of the most important to us right now.

We Charged the [Capitol] Hill

Armed with folders containing NRLN whitepaper Executive Summaries and Talking Points, attendees spread out across Capitol Hill on Feb. 26 and 27 for 70 appointments with Representatives, Senators and/or members of their staffs to advocate five important retirement issues during the NRLN’s Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, DC.

A day earlier during the morning of Feb. 25, the NRLN Board reviewed 2018 financials, adopted a budget for 2019, elected two new Board members and approved a proposal to recruit additional Retiree Associations, NRLN Chapters and individual members. Articles on the new Board members and details of the membership development plan will be covered in the spring NRN FOCUS newsletter.

At the NRLN hosted dinner, Tom Reeder, Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) was the guest speaker. He and two of his staff members Michael Rae and Amy Viener visited with attendees before and after dinner. Key issues addressed by Director Reeder will be included in the FOCUS article.

During the afternoon of Feb. 25, there was a 4.5-hour session to brief attendees on the issues they would advocate during the appointments they had scheduled on Capitol Hill and provided them with the folders they would present to lawmakers and their staffs. The issues advocated on the Hill included:

  • Lobbying to reduce the price of prescription drugs through legislation that requires Medicare to do competitive bidding; import safe and lower price drugs from Canada, and stops the anti-competitive pay-for-delay tactic by brand-name drugmakers to prevent or delay generic drugs from being available to Americans.
  • The goal of many in Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is to shift federal health care expenses onto the backs of seniors. Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are being used as the “Trojan horse” to move Medicare toward privatization. Should privatization happen, the NRLN is lobbying to grandfather and protect the 19 million seniors (33% of all Medicare beneficiaries) who have purchased MA plans in good faith; require federal agencies to investigate and publish comparisons of cost and effectiveness of traditional Medicare and MA; require CMS not to authorize benefits for MA plans that are not provided for traditional Medicare, and reduce the $141 billion annual federal wrong and improper payments (particularly the $90 billion attributable to Medicare and Medicaid) and sequester the saving to be used to eliminate the 75-year deficit for Medicare Part A and B, then Medicare Part D.
  • Lobbying to protect retirees when a pension plan sponsor does “de-risking”, the action to replace a pension plan with a lump sum buyout and/or converting to a life insurance annuity. The NRLN wants individuals to have the option to remain as plan participants. If an annuity is selected the plan must purchase reinsurance from a separate, highly-rated insurer to guarantee the payment of benefits, in case of default by the initial life insurance company.
  • When retirees receive their first pension check, they trust the amount shown on the check will be what they should receive monthly. Far too often, pension plan sponsors later find an error in the pension payment calculation and force retirees to pay back thousands of dollars and suffer a large cut in benefits as well. Attendees lobbied for legislation to indemnify individual plan participants from the requirement to refund overpayments by instructing actuaries to account for recoupment as a pension plan funding risk.
  • Lobbying to amend the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) of 1986 and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 to allow employers with generously overfunded pension plans to use a portion of the plan’s surplus assets to fund retiree benefits, such as, health care and life insurance.

Organizations represented at the conference and on the Hill were Detroit Edison Alliance of Retirees, Eastman Kodak Retirees Association, Engineering Retirees Society (Boeing), Lucent Retirees Organization, National Chrysler Retirement Organization, U S West Retirees Association, NRLN DuPont Retirees Chapter, NRLN General Motors Chapter, NRLN Desert Southwest Region, NRLN Pacific / Mountain West Region.

Click here to view a few of the photos from Washington, DC. You will be sent an email when all photos have been posted on www.instagram.com/photosnrlnorg.

Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network

NRLN Presidents Forum
Concerns About Private Medicare Exchanges

Dan Pitts, the new President of the Tennessee Valley Authority Retirees Coalition (TVARC), an NRLN Chapter, has brought to my attention an issue that has affected TVA retirees’ selection of their Medigap (Medicare supplement) plans offered through a Private Medicare Exchange (PME). Companies use PMEs to move retirees from their group plan and into the individual Medicare market. This has caused me to wonder whether other NRLN grassroots advocates many have been similarly impacted by a PME.
Dan is requesting that you sign his online petition on this issue that will be sent to Congressional leaders and the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The NRLN has a brief survey for anyone who has had dealings with a PME to purchase their Medicare coverage and/or has a Medicare Advantage plan.
The petition is at:
The NRLN survey is at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NRLNMED. Your input will help the NRLN determine whether there is a need to take action.
Dan has been trained and certified as a member of the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), a federally funded program administered by each state. Dan is empowered to assist Medicare beneficiaries to prevent, detect and report health care fraud, errors and abuse. Because Dan’s goal as a SMP volunteer is to ensure that all seniors receive accurate and complete information to make their Medicare choices and to report any cases of impropriety to Medicare, I take seriously his concerns about PMEs.
First, a little background about the PME situation with TVA retirees. TVA terminated retirees’ health coverage effective January 1, 2017 and contracted with a PME to help retirees find new Medicare insurance. In the fall of 2016, TVA retirees started looking at the Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans offered during transition to the PME. It turned out the most popular Medigap plan (Plan G) and the two insurers offered by the PME were 35-67% more expensive than buying coverage directly the insurers.

Retirees complained to TVA about the PME’s higher rates and TVA executives were surprised about the higher rates and challenged the PME about its high rates. The PME eventually admitted to TVA that many of its high-priced plans may carry the look and brand of major, well-established insurers, but the plans are really "separate legal entities" with rates based on different cost structures, resulting in much higher rates. The names of those insurers, their logos, plan descriptors, and plan benefits were used in the marketing and promotions material presented to TVA retirees.

Dan sent an email on December 6 to TVARC members whose email addresses are in the NRLN’s database. He cited an example of how much more expensive the two Medicare Plan G offerings were versus eight other plans.

Dan noted that another issue relates to a very basic, but a very important, option available to retirees who have no serious pre-existing conditions.  Healthier retirees have absolutely no need for the PME's high-priced "guaranteed issue" plans. Because of their better health, they would qualify to purchase any plan, not just guaranteed issue plans, from any insurer in their local market, many at very low rates. Some insurers will allow switching to a Medigap plan at any time, not just during open enrollment.  Before changing plans, retirees should always make sure they will not be giving up any significant benefits such as healthcare subsidies or insurance for their under 65 spouses.

He said it is unclear why the PME chose not to disclose this information to TVA retirees. Also, it is troubling that the PME restricted its offerings for the highly popular Medigap Plan G to just two insurers and did not bring more competition into the offerings.

Dan made other good points that apply to anyone age 65 and older.

Medicare eligible seniors should not be afraid to inquire about changing plans, especially if they have no serious pre-existing condition,” Pitts said. For example, even if you have been treated for cancer and the disease has been in remission for a certain period, some insurers may be willing to provide you a new Medigap plan without imposing higher rates or waiting periods.  As always, before changing plans, retirees should make sure they will not be giving up any benefits such as healthcare subsidies or insurance for their under age 65 spouses.

Dan pointed out the Medicare website at https://www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/when-can-i-buy-medigap/switching-medigap-policies provides information about Medigap plans. Another excellent source for advice on Medicare plans is offered by the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) that provides local, in-depth, and objective insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers. The national SHIP website can be accessed at https://www.shiptacenter.org/.

Please take a few minutes to review and sign Dan’s petition. Also, please respond to the NRLN’s brief survey if you have had experience dealing with a PME and/or have a Medicare Advantage plan. It is voluntary whether you submit your name, email address and home address on the NRLN survey.
Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network

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NRLN President’s Forum
 Part 1

Holes in the Safety Net – Social Security

This is the first of two NRLN President’s Forum messages that I’m calling “Holes in the Safety Net” because Social Security and Medicare have long been considered a “safety net” for older Americans. This message focuses on how important Social Security is to millions of people who depend on its monthly payments and the funding crisis that Social Security is heading toward. My follow up message will address Medicare.
When Congress and President Franklin D. Roosevelt created Social Security in 1933, the program was designed to be a “safety net” for Americans who had little or no financial support. Now, millions of Americans are relying heavily on Social Security for their retirement income.
Here are a few facts about Social Security from the Social Security Administration.

  • 63 million Americans will receive approximately one trillion dollars in Social Security benefits in 2018.
  • 9 out of 10 individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits.
  • 50% of married couples and 71% of unmarried persons receive 50% or more of their income from Social Security.
  • 23% of married couples and about 43% of unmarried persons rely on Social Security for 90% or more of their income.
  • $1,326 is the average monthly Social Security retirement benefit--$15,912 a year.
  • 40% of Americans aged 65 and older would have incomes below the poverty line without Social Security.

An estimated 173 million workers are covered under Social Security.

  • 46% of the workforce in private industry has no private pension coverage.
  • 39% of workers report that they and/or their spouse have not personally saved any money for retirement.

According to the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees' July 2017 report to Congress, Social Security has an unfunded liability of $34 trillion in the 75-year window between now and 2091. Social Security will begin paying out more in benefits than it's generating in revenue by 2022. The program will exhaust the surplus built up over the past 35 years by 2034 when Social Security’s current approximately $3 trillion in asset reserves will be completely depleted. This includes cashing in all of the IOUs the Social Security trust fund holds in lieu of cash Congress took to pay bills.
Workers and employers who equally pay a total of 12.4% payroll tax on earned income up to $127,200, generate the bulk of revenue for the program. This will ensure that Social Security doesn't go totally bankrupt.
To address the completely depleted asset reserves, the House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman has proposed a 31% cut in benefits, raising the full retirement age to 69, reducing benefits for above-average earners and eliminating the cost-of-living adjustment for individuals earning more than $85,000 (or $170,000 for married couples).
The Trustees’ report also identified to Congress what needs to be done to sustain Social Security. The report stated that a permanent 2.83% increase in payroll tax would solve the Social Security Trust funding problem for 75 years. This assumes the total 2.83% funding increase began in 2017 and is left in place thereafter.
In an August 18, 2017 petition to President Trump signed by 6,960 NRLN members and during the NRLN’s September 11-13.2017 Fly-In to Washington, DC we advocated negotiating a “Grand Bargain” proposal using the upcoming tax reform legislation to rescue Social Security and Medicare for the next 75 years.
Unfortunately, neither the President or Congress paid attention to the Trustees’ report or the NRLN’s proposal and they continue to ignore the political and long-economic consequences that Social Security and Medicare are headed toward.
The NRLN is not giving up on its efforts to preserve Social Security and Medicare for the current beneficiaries, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We are working on another proposal that I’ll share with you before long.
Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network

NRLN President’s Forum
Part 2

Holes in the Safety Net – Medicare

This is the second of two NRLN President’s Forum messages that I’m calling “Holes in the Safety Net” because Medicare and Social Security have long been considered a “safety net” for older Americans. This message focuses on how important Medicare is to millions of people and the funding crisis that Medicare is heading toward.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program created in 1965 for people ages 65 and over, regardless of income, medical history, or health status. The program was expanded in 1972 to cover people under age 65 with permanent disabilities. Medicare is administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
Here are a few facts about Medicare based on CMS 2017 data and studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

  • 58.5 million Medicare beneficiaries with 38.3 million in original Medicare and 20.2 million in Medicare Advantage plans. 
  • 10,000 Americans are turning age 65 every day and becoming eligible for Medicare.
  • 50% of Medicare beneficiaries have annual incomes below $26,200 and savings below $74,450.
  • 13% of Medicare beneficiaries are age 85 and older.
  • 4% of Medicare beneficiaries are in a long-term care facility.
  • Original Medicare Part A (hospital Insurance) helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, skilled nursing facility care; home health care and Hospice care.
  • Original Medicare Part B (medical Insurance) helps cover services from doctors and other health care providers; outpatient care; home health care; durable medical equipment and many preventive services.
  • Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) includes benefits and services covered under Part A and Part B; usually includes Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D); run by CMS-approved private insurance companies under CMS rules; has a yearly limit on out-of-pocket costs and may include extra benefits and services that aren’t covered by original Medicare, often for an extra cost.
  • Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs; run by CMS-approved drug plans and may help lower prescription drug cost through its “donut hole” feature.

The Kaiser Family Foundation took a first-ever look earlier this year at how well Social Security payments are keeping up with a beneficiary’s out-of-pocket health and long-term care costs and found they aren’t.  Such expenses consume more than 40% of Social Security income.  But these are just averages, and older or sicker Americans fare worse. 
Trustees for Medicare reported to Congress in July 2017 that by 2029, the Medicare trust fund will be exhausted. Payroll taxes will only cover about 88% of Medicare Part A costs. Unlike Part A, beneficiaries pay premiums for Part B coverage. But these premiums account for only 23% of the program’s costs. The rest comes out of the federal Treasury.
In the July 2017 report, the Trustees stated a permanent 0.64% increase in payroll tax would solve the Medicare Hospital Trust deficit funding problem for 75 years if Congress made the increase effective in 2017.
The August 18, 2017 petition to President Trump signed by 6,960 NRLN members and during the NRLN’s September 11-13.2017 Fly-In to Washington, DC we advocated negotiating a “Grand Bargain” proposal using the upcoming tax reform legislation to rescue Medicare and Social Security for the next 75 years.
Unfortunately, President and Congress paid no attention to the Trustees’ report or the NRLN’s proposal and they continue to ignore the political annihilation that Medicare and Social Security are facing.
The NRLN is not giving up on its efforts to preserve Medicare and Social Security for the current beneficiaries, our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We are working on another proposal that I’ll share with you when it is ready for publication.
Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network

National Retiree Legislative Network

NRLN Needs Your Help
      Your individual membership contribution is critical to the NRLN being able to serve as your voice in Washington, DC. Over 80% of the NRLN’s annual budget comes from individual contributors.
Social Security and Medicare Are at Risk
       Trustees for Social Security and Medicare say the programs are running out of funding. The NRLN lobbies members of Congress and the President for action to protect Social Security and Medicare – not only for our generation but also for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. By 2034, the Social Security Trust Fund reserve will be completely depleted and afterward will only cover about three-fourths of promised benefits. Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) will only have enough funds to pay 87% of costs after 2028.
       The tax reform bill enacted in December will add over $1 trillion to the deficit. Some in Congress are talking about reducing the deficit by cutting funding for what they call “entitlements” – including “reforming” Medicare. That translates to changing Medicare to a “premium support” plan for future retirees to privatize Medicare with taxpayer subsidies to insurance companies. The NRLN is opposed to a “premium support” plan.
        In fiscal year 2016 improper payments made by the federal government totaled $144.3 billion. Medicare’s portion was $59.7 billion and Medicaid’s was $36.3 billion. The NRLN advocates that if Congress just saved 50% from Medicare’s and Medicaid’s combined $96 billion in waste it would fix these plans’ financial needs.
Passing Existing Bills Would Reduce Rx Cost
       The NRLN has been advocating legislation to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Now there are bills in the Congress that would save money for Americans and in some cases Medicare. Our 2018 campaign to get the best of the bills passed included our January 9 Action Alert, January 31 letter to the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, and lobbying on Capitol Hill during our mid-March annual conference.
How You Can Help  
       Respond to Action Alerts. Ask friends to sign up at
www.nrln.org to receive NRLN emails. “Like” us at www.facebook.com/NRLN1 and follow us on www.twitter.com/NRLN3. Please make your contribution of $25, $50, $75 or more. Any amount is appreciated. Make your check or money order payable to NRLN, Inc. and mail it with the Contribution Form below (make a copy for a friend or neighbor).  Or, contribute with your credit card at www.nrln.org. Click on the on the red flashing icon “Contribute to the NRLN.”
NRLN INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTION                         Email Appeal March 2018                
The NRLN is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Contributions are not tax deductible.
Name__________________________________ Age __under 55; __ 55-64; __ 65 or over
Address________________________City_____________State___Zip_____Zip + 4 ____ 
Phone___________________ Email Address (if available)_________________________
I retired from:______________________________________________(name of company)
Mail with your check or money order (no cash) for $25, $50, $75 or more (any amount will
be appreciated) to NRLN, PO Box 69051, Baltimore, MD 21264-9051.

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NRLN, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Suite 900, South Building, Washington, D.C. 20004-2601

                                  Notice 2/8/2018
I received a notice tonight from Bill Kadereit that you can now use your Facebook Account to follow the NRLN at http:/ /www.Facebook.com/NRLN1/     

Hello Omaha Works Retirees,
Yesterday I received an email from Cynthia Hadsell, the NRLN District Grassroots Leader of our area to remind us how important it is to respond to the Action Alerts sent by the NRLN.  Our congressional
Representatives and Senators need to know that seniors care about our pensions, social security, healthcare/Medicare.  So when you get an action alert just click on the link and send the prepared letter to our congressional representatives.  If you prefer to write you own letter that is OK.  The important thing is seniors more that ever need to be pro-active.

February 2018

NRLN Grassroots Congressional District Leaders for IA, MN, ND, ND and SD

The future may not bode well for retirees. Pensions, Medicare, and Social Security benefits are in jeopardy. Recent budget moves by Congress look to cut these programs in the future if the economy fails to continue current record growth rates.

Many of us tend to feel comfortable with our situations in retirement. Perhaps you have saved, invested
and carefully managed your money. But there are no guarantees that our situations will remain stable. And, moreover, what about our children and grandchildren?

Being Pro-active as a Grass Roots Activist is far more effective than waiting for a disaster to befall us all.
The NRLN monitors Congress and provides direction to elected officials to avert assaults on income security and health care to seniors.

It takes very little time to respond to an Action Alert, or to make a call to Congress.

Re: Influencing your Representatives and Senators.
NRLN is working to protect your income from pensions and Social Security. It is trying to protect your
health care/ Medicare through a variety of techniques including reducing the cost of prescription drugs.
Now is the time to stay active or get active in getting our message to congress.

Your first priority is to respond to Action Alerts sent you. The latest one is on the cost of prescription drugs. It is at: http://www.nrln.org/congress.html#/

If you have not sent the letter about that subject, please do so now by using the above link.

It is also easy to do more if you wish to on these or topics or your own by going to this site: https://www.nrln.org/SE.html/congresslegs.html#/legislators/  It will give you a map of the USA. Pick your state and then to whom you want to send a message, which will yield a visual like this (see example below).

Just click on any one of these four to send a message to him/her.
Also listed on this site are: Location of local and DC offices, and phone and fax numbers of all offices as well as a report card for him or her and other information.

Letters to the editor are another good method of influencing them. Material for NRLN issues can be found in our position papers and talking points under Legislative Agenda on our home page https://www.nrln.org/congress.html#/ 

You’ve got the power to influence congress. Don’t hesitate to use it. –
But always do Action Alerts first.

Thank you for your involvement in the past and for the
critical needs in the future!

Cindy Hadsell
NRLN Region 7 (IA, MN, ND, NE, SD)
402 553-6316

Bob Martina
NRLN VP- Grassroots

PS: Please feel free to share this with other retirees who may or may not be NRLN members. After they see the issues and experience the use of the above methods, they may wish to join, adding another voice.

                      Three Items of Interest to Avaya Retirees

Here is the site that you can track the progress of the Avaya bankruptcy filing in court. This will provide information about the case, including access to court documents.
Pension Service number is 1-844-868-6236


As required by a public company, Avaya filed two 8K's with the SEC when they announced their quarterly results. One was covering their results and one was covering the bankruptcy. You can find them here:
SEC filings are available on Avaya’s Investor Relations site at this link:

If you have not signed up or know any others that have not yet joined our NRLN Avaya Chapter send them this link and ask them do so here:


The Avaya forum has received a new topic, "Represented retirees HRA agreement (non-mgt)".
The text of the post is :
"I just received a call from CWA regarding an agreement the company reached regarding our covered medical.
A letter went out on 1/18/17 to the CWA locals stating the HRA's would be funded as follows:
2017 - $6400
2018 - $6400
I do not have a copy of the letter. Contact your local for more information.

Vern Larson, President – Avaya Retirees Chapter of the NRLN

                                        NRLN, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Suite 900, South Building, Washington, D.C. 20004-2601

Message for Retirees from Bill Kadereit, NRLN President


Click To View Documents: Facebook Action Alert Stop the Effort to Privatize Medicare.pdf (594KB);

NRLN Action Alert
Stop the Effort to Privatize Medicare

Click here to access the NRLN Action Alert to Stop Effort to Privatize Medicare.
For years, the NRLN has opposed the efforts of Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-01), now the Speaker of the House, to replace Medicare with a voucher plan (premium support) for seniors to use to purchase their health care coverage from private insurance companies.  If Rep. Tom Price (GA-06), President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, is confirmed by the Senate, Speaker Ryan will have a powerful partner. Representative Price has long supported privatizing Medicare with taxpayer dollars going to insurance companies who make big contributions to members of Congress. Rep. Kevin Brady (TX-08), Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, has pledged to support the proposed changes to Medicare.
Speaker Ryan has received $845,239 in campaign and leadership PAC (Political Action Committee) contributions from the insurance industry during the 2015 and 2016 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.Org, the Center for Responsive Politics. Rep, Price, currently Chairman of the House Budget Committee, has received $184,600, and Rep. Brady has received $397,500 in campaign and leadership PAC contributions from the insurance industry during the same period. Could their desire to privatize Medicare be overly influenced by the big contributions they receive from the insurance industry? 
You are the NRLN.  If Medicare is important to you as part of the NRLN, then stand with the other members to tell Congress not to support turning Medicare over to insurance companies that will certainly lead to seniors paying more for health care. Please email the NRLN’s sample letter to your Representative and Senators to urge them to prevent the privatization of Medicare. 
Bill Kadereit, President                                    Bob Martina, Vice President – Grassroots
National Retiree Legislative Network             National Retiree Legislative Network
Here are the easy steps to follow:

  1. If the “Click here” link in the first paragraph above doesn’t work for you, go to: http://nrln.org/congress.html#/48 to access the NRLN’s sample letters.. The NRLN Action Network system will identify for you the letter to be sent to your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators. If you have a problem with this link, go to www.nrln.org and click on the “Take Action Now” near the top of the NRLN website home page.
  2. When you have accessed the NRLN sample letters, to the left of the letters are windows to type in your contact information required by members of Congress so they know they are receiving an email from a constituent. If you have sent previous NRLN emails to your members of Congress your contact information may be automatically displayed.
  3. Personalize the letters by editing in your own comments.
  4. Click on the "Preview" button and the letters addressed to your Representative and two Senators will appear. Their names will be automatically added in the letter’s greeting.  Check to make sure the letters to your members of Congress appear correct and then click "Send".

 Please consider using these additional tools:

  1. After you have emailed your letter to your members of Congress, you will have the option to select a number of publications from a news media list to send a message to the editor.  With regard to the present Action Alert, the composed message asks the editors to write an editorial to urge members of Congress not to support the premium support plan for Medicare.
  2. You have the option, if you have a Facebook page, to click on a Facebook icon to post a link to the NRLN's Action Alert on your Facebook page.  After you click on the Facebook icon the link to the Action Alert will appear and the option to "Write Something" is proved.  You may want to type in something like Email the NRLN's sample letter to your members of Congress. Click the "Share" icon to post your comment and the Action Alert link.
  3. You also have the option, if you have a Facebook account, to post the NRLN’s message on your Representative’s or Senator’s Facebook page.  Most members of Congress have a Facebook page. Click on the attachment to this email for the steps to follow to post on your legislator’s Facebook page.
  4. Also after emailing your letter there is an option to post to your Twitter account if you have one. Scroll down to "Send a Tweet" and click on the "Submit" buttons to send the short message to each of your members of Congress.
  5. Scroll down further to "Tell a Friend" and you will have the option to quickly email a message to your friends to ask them to access the NRLN Action Alert.  Simply type or paste in their email addresses into a window.
  6. Further down the webpage is "Share on your Web Site". That is only for the use of Webmasters.

 NRLN, 601 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Suite 900, South Building, Washington, D.C. 20004-2601

Message for Omaha Works IBEW Retirees from Bill Kadereit, NRLN President
Although I have been gone for 45 years from the Omaha Works where I began my Western Electric career I still hold a kinship with Omaha.  Rose and I still have family and friends in Omaha and we regularly drive there for visits from the Dallas area where we have lived near our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren since I retired in 1995.  I’m still an avid Huskers fan.
After I left Omaha I worked at eight company locations and two of them were also IBEW locations at factories in Indianapolis and Columbus. I note this because this message is being sent to Omaha Works IBEW retirees. Based on these years at IBEW locations and having served on the Lucent Retirees Organization’s Board for three years before the LRO encouraged me to become the President of the National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) in 2008, I think I have a pretty good idea of what concerns retirees, including IBEW retirees. I continue this retiree work because I feel I owe a little pay-back to people I had the privilege of working with over the years, who certainly don’t deserve benefit losses incurred or might be lost.
For those of you who did not accept Alcatel-Lucent’s pension buyout offer or were not eligible for the offer, you want your pension protected. You might not be aware there is a new form of financial reengineering by companies which is the merging of pension plans as part of a strategy to benefit the plan sponsor by combining plans with very different levels of plan assets and liabilities. Defined-benefit pension plan mergers can also be very damaging to the vested rights of plan participants when a well-funded plan (as your plan currently is) is merged with one or more not as well-funded plans. Your plan is well funded, and we don’t know that Nokia has any current intensions to change that. You may want to follow updates on LRO’s website at www.lucentretirees.com.

In December 2015, NRLN and Retiree Association leaders met with officials of the Department of Treasury and the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation in an effort to protect retirees from pension losses due to pension plan mergers where a well-funded plan’s assets are confiscated and added to at-risk plans to create one plan that is poorly funded. While the Treasury and PBGC officials now understand retirees’ concerns about pension plan administrators’ having unilateral authority to merge plans, it is generally believed that legislation would be needed to protect retirees. The NRLN will be urging members of Congress and their staffs to introduce and pass legislation to provide specific protections for pension plan participants during the NRLN Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, DC, February 8-10.

The new Speaker of the House of Representatives has stated Medicare and Social Security will be there “when you need them” but also has suggested a revamp of the programs.  We know for sure that a growing number of policy makers want to “privatize” Medicare 100% into insurance company hands. The NRLN is a strong voice for the more than 2 million retirees it represents to protect Medicare and Social Security if Congress attempts to damage these programs you rely on for your retirement.
In 2015 there were 13 bills introduced in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate that the NRLN supports that, if passed, would result in prescription drug cost savings to Americans and in some cases also to Medicare. We will be advocating the passage of these bills next week in Washington, DC during the NRN’s annual conference. We advocate letting Medicare get competitive bids, allowing FDA approved safe drugs from Canada to be imported and we want legislation to prevent drug companies from paying off others to keep generic products off the market (so called pay-for-delay).
Now that your email address is in the NRLN’s secure database you will only receive messages from the NRLN — never any spam. When you receive an NRLN Action Alert on a legislative issue important to retirees, I encourage you to send the NRLN’s sample letter (or letters) to you U.S. Representative and Senators. 

Actually, sample letters are currently available for you to send to your members of Congress to urge them to pass bills the NRLN is supporting to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Go to: http://www.congressweb.com/NRLN/38 to access the letters. Enter your contact information next to the letters that members of Congress require in order to know they are receiving the letter from an actual constituent. Then click on the “Preview” button to see that your Representative and Senators names are automatically entered on the letter and click send.  We always encourage our “grassroots advocates” to edit their personal comments into the letters.
If the link above should happen to not work for you, go to www.nrln.org the NRLN’s website and click on the “Take Action Now!” headline to access the Action Alert then click on the “Write Your Legislators” button under the Action Alert. You may want to explore the www.nrln.org website to learn more about the NRLN.
I hope you will want to continue to receive emails from me.  I suggest you enter contact@nrln.org in your email address book to reduce the potential for emails from the NRLN to be trapped in your spam filter.  If you decide you do not want to receive NRLN emails, you may click the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this email or any future NRLN email.
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Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network
Email: president@nrln.org


                                                                                  Omaha Works / IBEW Retirees
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February 1, 2016

The Honorable Deb Fischer
The Honorable Ben Sasse
United States Senate
386A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Fisher and Sasse:

The hearing conducted by the Senate's Special Committee on Aging in December into soaring drug prices was a positive action. Now it is time for all Senators to get serious about reducing the cost of prescription drugs for Americans, especially seniors living on fixed income.

The following bills are pending in Senate committees and if passed would results in savings to Americans and in some cases also to Medicare. The bills with an asterisk have a companion bill in the House. I urge you to examine these bills and let me know which ones you support and will work for their passage.

S. 31* - The Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2015
S. 122* - The Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act of 2015
S. 131 - The Fair and Immediate Release of Generic Drugs Act of 2015
S. 648 - The Medicare Formulary Improvement Act of 2015 of 2015
S. 1790 - The Safe and Affordable Prescription Drugs Act of 2015
S. 1884* - The Medicare Prescription Drug Savings and Choice Act of 2015
S. 2023* - The Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015
S. 2019 - The Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act of 2015

Too many Americans are having to choose between paying for food, housing and other necessities, or try to stretch out their drug supply by cutting the prescribed dose or worse, simply going without their medicines. Senators need to come together and form a consensus on which bills to pass to best address skyrocketing drug costs.