President Obama to speak via televised town hall on how the new health care law affects seniors

On June 8, 11:15am – 12:45pm, the Alliance for Retired Americans will take part in a one-time, national “tele-town hall” broadcast on C-SPAN and on-line via web streaming at In South Carolina, Alliance members and allies are invited to watch the event together at the Modjeska Simkins House, 2025 Marion St., downtown Columbia. Free snacks and beverages provided, or bring your own bag lunch. There is a deli across the street.

President Obama will field questions regarding the new health care law and how it benefits seniors. Topics to be covered include the $250 checks for seniors caught in the Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole” coverage gap, and efforts to combat scams associated with those checks. The CSPAN and phone portion of the town hall will start at 11:15 with Sec. Sebelius.The President will come on at approximately 11:40, and will speak until about 12:45.

For details, call 803-808-3384 or email

SC Alliance for Retired Americans talk shop

The SC Alliance for Retired Americans held an informational drop-in on May 20 at the Modjeska Simkins House in Columbia. The national Alliance’s Bob Kearney and regional director Bill Cea outlined some of the more pressing issues facing seniors and retirees in 2010, including the new health care law, the Fiscal Commission and efforts to privatize Social Security.

SC ARA is one of 30 Alliance chapters in the country. To find out more or to get involved, email or call 803-957-8740.

Bill Cea

Bob Kearney

Click here to see more photos from the drop-in.

Care about seniors?

Get off the couch, and get active with the SC Alliance for Retired Americans!

Join us for a casual drop-in May 20, 5–6:30 pm

Modjeska Simkins House  •  2025 Marion St., Columbia

Hear Bob Kearney of the national Alliance for Retired Americans
talk about the most critical issues facing seniors in 2010.

The SC Alliance for Retired Americans needs YOU to help educate, energize and mobilize retirees and seniors in the Palmetto State. Join us, and help protect the health and economic security of South Carolina’s older citizens.

FREE and open to the public! Enjoy snacks, beverages and live music.

For more information, call 803-957-8740 or email

SC Retirees Must Keep Sharp Eye on New Spending Panel

A new federal commission is meeting for the first time today in Washington, and Julie Harbin, president of the South Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans (the newest member of the SC Progressive Network), is encouraging retirees in the Palmetto State to pay close attention in the coming months.

The panel, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, is a bi-partisan group charged with recommending ways to lower the federal debt. US Congressman John Spratt serves on the Commission, which will offer its recommendations in December.

Harbin fully supports the goals of the Commission, but is deeply concerned that some are urging the panel to recommend changes in Social Security as a way to reduce the federal deficit. “If the commission takes a thorough and honest look at Social Security, it will see one of our nation’s greatest success stories. Social Security has helped generations of retirees stay out of poverty. South Carolina’s retirees want to make sure that Social Security remains strong for our children and grandchildren,” Harbin said. She noted that for over 25 percent of retirees, Social Security is their only source of income. With an average monthly benefit of only $1,164, she said that Social Security is, “a tenuous lifeline for many seniors.”

Harbin said that Social Security did not cause our large deficits. Since 1983, American workers have paid enough Social Security payroll taxes to accumulate a $2.5 trillion surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund. But between 2001 and 2006, Washington gave away $2.48 trillion in tax cuts.

To help retirees better follow the panel’s work, the Alliance for Retired Americans has written the Commission to urge that its work be conducted in open, televised sessions and that it hold field hearings across the country to listen to public testimony.

SC Alliance for Retired Americans President Julie Harbin.