OWL the Voice of Women 40+

OWL the Voice of Women 40+

Another Social Security Red Herring?
What do you buy someone for Social Security Payroll Tax Freedom Day? Nothing they can't buy for themselves! That's because the 'holiday' is the day the top one percent of Americans finish paying their annual Social Security payroll taxes. (It was February 11 this year, in case you want to send a belated card.)

The reason you probably missed this holiday is because 94 percent of us make less than $118,500 in wages, so most people don't realize it is only the first $118,500 subject to the Social Security payroll tax. The reason the tax cap is this low is wage stagnation; if wages had kept pace with the projections made in 1983, the cap would be about 27 percent higher than it is. (Experts made those predictions because in the five years leading up to 1983, the average annual wage increase was 8.3 percent. In the five years leading up to 2014? A mere 1.7 percent.) As a result, the tax today applies to only 83 percent of wages, down from 90 percent in 1983 - excluding the employees who have seen the greatest growth in wages.

It's important to keep these facts in mind as we follow the latest act in Social Security political theater - this time over the Disability Insurance Trust Fund (DI). The Social Security payroll taxes are split between the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and the disability fund, with the funds working in tandem, they are depicted as separate for accounting purposes. Only Congress has the ability to allocate the payroll taxes collected between the two funds; the DI needs more of an allocation in order to pay out full disability benefits starting in late 2016.

Read the rest at the Huffington Post.

OWL Intern Chosen for South Africa Learning Project
Natasha Ray, a social work graduate student at Howard University and OWL intern, has been chosen from a field of several hundred applicants to be part of a delegation participating in an International Service Learning Project in Cape Town, South Africa as an alternate spring break.

Natasha Ray - Social work graduate Howard University

The program builds on the legacy of the late Nelson Mandela. Now in its sixth year, the International Service Learning Project grants students an opportunity to put their skills to the test on a global platform.

Insurance Plans Making Medicines for Chronic Diseases More Expensive
Avalere Health has released a new analysis of 2015 health insurance exchange plan formularies which finds that the percentage of plans placing all medicines to treat a chronic disease- such as HIV, cancer, and multiple sclerosis - on the highest drug formulary cost-sharing tier is increasing. "Enrolling in a plan that places all medications for a particular disease on the specialty tier can mean significant out-of-pocket costs for consumers, particularly if they do not qualify for cost sharing reductions," said Caroline Pearson, Vice President at Avalere. "Plans that place some drugs in a class on lower tiers may allow consumers to find lower cost alternatives."

Senators Introduce Resolution to Double Dementia Research Funding
Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) have introduced Senate Resolution 74 (S.Res.74). The legislation declares the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's disease by 2025 an urgent national priority, recognizes that bold and dramatic increases in funding are necessary to meet that goal, and resolves that the Senate will strive to double the amount of funding the United States spends on Alzheimer's disease research in FY 2016 and develop a plan to meet the target of $2 billion in annual research funding over the next five years.

To watch video of the floor speeches by Senator Collins and Senator Klobuchar, click here.

To read the letter of support from the LEAD Coalition executive director.

The issue is of particular importance to women. Consider these statistics:

  • > Almost two-thirds of American seniors living with Alzheimer's disease are women.
  • > An estimated 3.2 million women aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's.
  • > Among those aged 71 and older, 16 percent of women have Alzheimer's and other dementias, compared with 11 percent of men.
  • > At age 65, women without Alzheimer's have more than a one in six chance of developing Alzheimer's during the remainder of their lives, compared with a one in 11 chance for men.
  • > Women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer's disease over the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.

Men Taking Pledges to Support Inclusion of Women
Foreign Policy magazine CEO and Editor David Rothkopf is pledging not to appear on panels that don't include any women. Rothkopf made the pledge in a piece titled "Still Waiting for Davos Women," where he noted what he calls the inexcusable lack of women at the prestigious annual retreat. He pointed out that in 2014 only 16 percent of its credentialed participants were women. This year, it was 17 percent on corporate boards. It is not just appallingly low - it is inexcusable.

He joins venture capital lawyer Ed Zimmerman who made a similar pledge last year. "Zimmerman is not a fan of quotas, per se; he just knows that zero women at any professional table is wrong," he tells Forbes who checked in with him this year. "Zero out of two I can understand. Zero out of six or 10 I'm not sure I understand why. Zero out of 20 just seems silly," he says. He purposely avoided strict guidelines for his pledge, opting instead for what he calls "measurable guidance."

Read more here.

Stop Strategies to Overcome and Prevent Obesity Alliance
Dr. William Dietz, director of the Alliance, of which OWL is a member, is the co-author of a paper in a series recently published in The Lancet. This Series explores current food environments and the exploitive relationship they have with the biological, psychological, social, and economic foundations of obesity; it finds that the origins of obesogenic environments are extensive, and that recognizing the total influence that our surroundings have on obesity in a population is critical.

OWL is the only national nonpartisan organization that focuses solely on issues affecting the economic security and quality of life for the nation's estimated 78 million women over 40.
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