According to the CBO report, the fiscal shortfall is largely due to the growth of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and interest payments as a share of the country's gross domestic product, while tax revenue stays relatively steady and spending for other programs drops..Adjuvanted Flu Vaccine.On Wednesday, with a vote of 21-3, the Senate Finance Committee voted in favor of advancing the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. If confirmed as Secretary, Burwell will oversee the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security programs, and she will also manage the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act..Increasing the payroll tax rate. Survey results have also shown strong support for a gradual increase in the payroll tax rate from 6.2% to 7.4%. An increase of that size would amount to an extra 50 cents per week for the average worker an amount that most feel is fair and practical..Increasing life expectancy, longer retirements, and an increase in the number of retirees all mean that a larger share of the population will be utilizing health services and receiving benefits from Medicare. DCW jobs are currently among the fastest-growing occupations in the country, though their training programs and earnings fail to reflect their incredibly important roles. A recent report by the Brookings Institute found that personal care aides, and nursing, psychiatric and home health aides have median earnings of ,000 and ,000 respectively..But those "extraordinary measures" can only last so long. Without congressional action, the Treasury Department will run out of borrowing authority in just a few months and it won't have the funds needed to pay the country's bills including Social Security benefits and Medicare reimbursements..While Congress was busy debating the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, the federal government hit the debt ceiling on March 15th. Since then, the Treasury Department has been using "extraordinary measures" like postponing contributions to retirement accounts for federal employees to buy time and prevent a default on federal debts, including the money that the U.S. Treasury owes to the Social Security Trust Fund..Seniors know how important Medicare is to their well-being, both health-wise and financially. But many doctors have long complained that Medicare does not pay them enough. And until the coronavirus came along, cuts in the reimbursement rates paid to doctors were scheduled to take place..The non-partisan Center for Retirement Research at Boston College released the following comparison to help you learn where the candidates stand on Social Security:

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If you own a pet and have been to the vet lately, the bill may have taken a big bite out of your budget. Like human healthcare, the cost of vet services is growing several times faster than inflation. But unlike human healthcare, the cost of vet services has been growing even faster than the cost of medical services from your doctor 68% faster in 2013 alone. And although you may have Medicare or some other type of health insurance for yourself, chances are you don't have health insurance for your pet meaning you foot 100% of the vet bills..In a Wednesday speech on the House floor, Speaker John Boehner stated, "What we are dealing with is a President who has ignored the people, ignored the Constitution, and even his own past statements. In fact, on at least twenty-two occasions, he has said he does not have the authority to do what he did." In response to the bill's passage, White House officials issued a veto threat and said "there's no reason to tinker with the administration's actions at all.".According to a report in BGov News, "… younger seniors have shown a greater appetite for vaccines than their older peers. Initially, the opposite was true, as governments sent inoculation teams into nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Recently, the numbers have flipped, adding support to the idea that some elderly residents -- especially those outside structured-living arrangements -- are simply having trouble navigating the system." … Continued

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Accelerate or postpone discretionary medical expenses when feasible. The new health law reduced the amount of unreimbursed medical expenses that you can claim when itemizing the deductions. Taxpayers under the age of 65 can claim deductions for expenses that exceed 10 percent of their adjusted gross income. If you are age 65 and older you may still deduct total medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross temporarily but that ends in 201If your expenses are right on the borderline, you may want to take care of any pending medical services and appointments now, so you can boost your deduction for 201If your expenses were too low to claim the medical expense deduction for 2014, consider postponing discretionary services a few weeks into the New Year..CLASS Program Closer to Being Repealed.The more you learn about the COLA, however, the more the anemic annual boosts of our past decade raise questions. The very first COLA ever paid was 77%. No, you read that right, this is not a typo. It became payable in 1950, one year before I was born, and a full ten years after Ida May Fuller received the nation's very first Social Security benefit check for .54 - the equivalent of 0.90 today. … Continued

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