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The Voice of the Retired Public Employee
get it passed,” says Association Legislative Director Shawn Duhamel. “I should also make it clear that this remains a bipartisan issue, with for- mer Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) still actively involved.”
Duhamel joined Association President Frank Valeri on Capitol Hill in late January for the first round of serious discussions on WEP reform to take place since Democrats gained control of the House earlier in the month.
“There is a strong commit- ment amongst elected officials, Congressional staff and the members of our national coalition to finally get a deal done. That said, we still have a lot of work to do. Just the physi- cal logistics of the change of power in the House takes time to imple- ment. We met with staff who are still unpacking moving boxes. I’m con- fident that we’ll see the details of a
new WEP reform bill come together over the coming weeks,” said Valeri.
While legislation has been filed again this session to fully repeal the WEP and Government Pension Offset (GPO), Association officials do not believe the proposal has a realistic chance of passage.
“For 36 years efforts to fully repeal WEP and GPO have proved fruitless. We do not have the votes or support to pass such a bill. This is why, in 2014, we shifted our posi- tion to develop a realistic proposal to reform the laws. More and more retirees are harmed by these awful laws every day. Compromise is needed if we’re ever going to deliver relief,” explained Duhamel.
Starting in 2014, Neal and Brady have been working together with our national coalition to pass a reform of the WEP law. The two Congressmen and their respective staffs have since crafted a series of proposals specific to WEP reform. In 2016 legislation, nearly made its way to the House
floor for a vote before being held in Committee due to concern over the lack of a transition period for changes relative to future retirees.
“We remain committed to reform of Social Security and will not falsely lead our members to believe that a full repeal is possible. The fact is that we do not and will not have the votes to pass a full repeal. Reform legislation is the best chance at put- ting money in retirees pockets,” added Valeri.
With Neal Committee Chairman and Congressman John Larson (D-CT) serving as Chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee, the specifics of a new proposal are now a work in progress.
Larson, a former Connecticut high school history teacher and football coach, represents the state’s 1st Congressional District, which includes the City of Hartford. Connecticut teachers, like their Massachusetts counterparts, do not participate in Social Security and are
Following a series of increased copayments and deductibles over a five-year span, the GIC has opted to leave current out-of-pocket costs largely unchanged for FY20. The last major increase in copayments or deductibles occurred in 2017 and impacted FY18.
“We are still questioning the need for the increased copayments and deductibles in FY18, which was a year that posted a $114 million sur- plus for the state and upwards of a $28 million surplus for GIC enroll- ees. That year’s surplus followed a FY17 surplus that ran into the tens of millions,” says Association President Frank Valeri. “Until we see a full accounting of recent costs,
which must include a detailed report on out-of-pocket expenses, as well as trust fund balances, the GIC will have a hard time justifying any fur- ther increases.
“It is also clear that a growing number of retirees are struggling to afford their insurance costs. The GIC has been studying the issue of healthcare affordability for nearly a year. We anticipate a report this
spring. We must find a way to cap costs for those living on fixed incomes. The current system is sim- ply not fair for many members.”
Retirees and active employees insured under non-Medicare plans will see a change in copayments for
 ‘It is also clear that a growing number of retirees are struggling to afford their insurance costs... The current system is simply not fair for many members.’

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