Washington DC



On February 27-28, 2023 four NCRO members (Howard Baron, Rich Brown, Jay Kuhnie, and Deb Morrissett) participated in the NRLN winter fly-in to Washington D.C. to advocate for retiree/senior issues.  The NCRO members had Congressional meetings with Senators, Congresspersons or their staffs from Michigan and Ohio.  In addition, Jay Kuhnie met with senior staff from Senate Committees on Finance and HELP (Health, Labor, Energy and Pensions).

Significant Congressional meeting discussion items included:

  • Pension De-risking – Many employers are converting their pension plans to third-party insurance company annuities.  When “de-risking” occurs with the purchase of an insurance annuity pension, plan participants lose the protection of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and ERISA.  If an insurance company fails or is otherwise unable to make good on the annuity payments, the retiree’s benefits are backed solely by state guaranty associations.  The maximum coverage of state guaranty associations varies widely by state, but most states guarantee only up to $250,000 per person per lifetime.

The NRLN advocates that the most straightforward remedy to prevent the potential harm of de-risking is for Congress to require that annuity contracts require the purchase of reinsurance that is sufficient to provide a replacement annuity of equal value from a third-party insurer that is independent of the annuity provider and financially capable.  The reinsurance must travel with the annuity if the initial annuitant sells the annuity to another insurance company.

Several other requests included the requirement for the annuity provider to send an annual report showing financial status of the annuity to the recipients; require that a pension plan after a partial annuitization remain at least as funded as before the annuitization on a per person basis; etc.

  • Reduce Prescription Drug Prices – Congress is commended for its August 2022 legislation which will help reduce the cost of some prescription drugs for older Americans.  However Congress needs to do more to reduce the cost of lifesaving medicines.  Legislation is needed to end “pay-for-delay” and other brand name drug makers’ tactics that obstruct generic drugs from coming to market.  Legislation is also needed for importation of safe and less expensive drugs from Canada and other countries that meet FDA quality standards and to establish an emergency supply of key ingredients used in essential generic medicines and incentivize domestic manufacturing of these ingredients to build a more resilient domestic supply chain.
  • Prevent Privatization of Medicare – (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid) CMS is using taxpayer subsidies to private insurance companies for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and ACO REACH will receive even more subsidies as a move toward the privatization of Medicare. The NRLN opposed the use of MA and ACO REACH to privatize Medicare. After 37 years (1985-2022) of doling out over $450 billion in rebates to private insurers for MA, these programs are not competitive with original Medicare Fee-for-Service. In 2023, CMS will pay private insurance companies between 4 and 6 percent more for MA plan enrollees than they will pay for original Medicare Fee-for-Service.  MA chronic care special services are denied to original Medicare enrollees. ACO REACH is turning healthcare for seniors over to Wall Street investors.  
  • Medigap Plan Prices on CMS Website — CMS provides on its website a range of prices for Medicare supplement plans (Medigap) by zipcode. NRLN advocated that CMS should provide the actual price of Medigap plans by zip code. This would provide seniors with actual prices of specific Medigap plans so they can compare the prices against prices they may be offered by a Private Medicare Exchange (PME), an insurance broker or insurance agent.

It was also advocated that there is limited ability for traditional Medicare plus Medigap people with pre-existing conditions to change Medigap plans.  This is also true for people with a MA plan to change to Medicare plus Medigap after the first year of MA.

  • Make HCTC Permanent — NRLN urged the reintroduction and passage by Congress of the bill to make permanent the Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC). This will help retirees ages 55-64 cover the cost of health insurance if their pensions have been taken over by the PBGC, or if their job was outsourced abroad under Trade Adjustment Assistance.
  • Pass Susan Muffley Act — The House of Representatives passed  the Susan Muffley Act to recover pensions for Delphi salaried retirees on July 27, 2022.  However, the U.S. Senate failed to take up the legislation. The bill has been re-introduced in the House as H.R. 735, Susan Muffley Act. The NRLN advocated passage of the legislation that would recover the pensions that Delphi salaried retirees lost during the Delphi bankruptcy.  Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is developing a companion bill in the Senate.

In addition to Congressional meetings on the 28th, and Monday the 27th included the following activities:

  • NRLN Board Meeting in the morning.
  • In the afternoon, attendees were briefed on the issues they would advocate for during their Congressional appointments by Jay Kuhnie, Ed Beltram (NRLN VP of Communications), and Bill Kadereit (NRLN President).
  • Alyson Parker (NRLN Executive Director) provided a Capitol Hill perspective.
  • Two guest speakers from the Kaiser Family Foundation made presentations on Medicare Advantage and ACO REACH. 

Previous Fly-Ins



NCRO believes that the information on this website was accurate at the time of its publication or presentation. NCRO makes no warranty of any kind regarding this information and is not liable or responsible for any losses or damages that may be sustained due to reliance on this information. This information does not in any way constitute legal or professional advice. The agencies and websites referred to below are independent of NCRO and NCRO is not responsible for any information or actions of such agencies or websites.



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