Tag Archives: Medicare

Five Problems Bigger Than the National Debt

I am so tired of hearing politicians talk about the “DEFICIT” like it was the biggest threat to America since communism or some other previous excuse not to deal with real problems…

This is an entirely manufactured “crisis” and the “Conservatives” are trying to use it to kill programs they have always hated  anyway- like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and VA Benefits.  They are also using it as an excuse to cut federal jobs.

For example, I called the Veteran’s Administration 12 times today trying to check direct depositing my Mother’s benefits from my Father’s service.  I wasn’t allowed to do it on the web because it is a Custodial situation.  Each time I got a message telling me they could not take my call because of high call volumes and to call back later.  It took 2 years to get the benefit application approved due to “staffing” issues- and then only with Congressional help…..Hire some people, goddammit!

This is madness….

Anyway….

I’ve had my say on this many times.  We do not have any deficit problem that can’t be solved by higher employment, growth and investment in much-needed infrastructure projects.  The GOP and their Democratic enablers are only making the situation worse by not addressing these core issues responsibly and intelligently.

Someone needs to break the DC bubble and it sounds like maybe, just maybe, there may be some sensibility leaking into the Capitol.

But they still have a long ways to go and need to start by not listening to the Tea Party fools and their Billionaire sponsors or the Corporate chieftains.  Of course ending corporate welfare, such as subsidies to the oil companies, and making the wealthy pay their fair share by closing tax loopholes would also help…

I’ll keep hoping they will hear Paul Krugman’s voice calling from the wilderness.  Meaning outside of DC and it’s suburbs…

From Yahoo Finance:

With even top Republicans such as Eric Cantor beginning to question the political wisdom of waging perpetual warfare over the deficit, it’s possible that Washington may slowly turn its attention to other, more pressing matters.What could be more urgent than deficit reduction? you may ask.My answer: Almost everything.If deficit reduction was ever urgent, it no longer is. We’ve already accomplished most of the deficit-reduction required in this decade, nearly enough to stabilize our debt, but at a great cost to current economic growth. We’ve sacrificed with high unemployment, tepid growth and underinvestment in public goods.Not to mention our inability to get anything else done while we bicker about deficits.The $16 trillion debt sounds like a terrible thing, but no one has been able to show how this high level of debt has had any negative impact on the economy or on the people so far. Has anyone come around looking for your share of it?Interest rates are very low, so the public debt isn’t crowding out private investment. The burden from interest payments is extremely low, less than half what it was when Ronald Reagan was exploding the federal budget back in the 1980s. We survived.

MORE:   Five problems bigger than the national debt – Yahoo! Finance.

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Senior Citizen Support for Romney Crumbles.

I’m tempted to wish the election was today…

But the trends just keep getting better and better for President Obama…

Seniors are usually the most reliable Republican voters, but apparently not this time…

At this rate, by the election, only the Koch Brothers will be voting for Romney….

From Reuters:

New polling by Reuters/Ipsos indicates that during the past two weeks – since just after the Democratic National Convention – support for Romney among Americans age 60 and older has crumbled, from a 20-point lead over Democratic President Barack Obama to less than 4 points.

Romney’s double-digit advantages among older voters on the issues of healthcare and Medicare – the nation’s health insurance program for those over 65 and the disabled – also have evaporated, and Obama has begun to build an advantage in both areas.

via Analysis: For Romney, some troubling signs among older voters | Reuters.

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Romney, Ryan and Medicare: The Facts

This is a great, short video that clearly points out the Romney/Ryan plan to end Medicare as we know it…

It also points out the lies they are spreading about President Obama and Medicare cuts….

Take a look…..and, if you have some “friends” on FaceBook like I do who aren’t so well informed,  I strongly recommend you share it on your FaceBook pages.

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Filed under Health Care, Politics

Benefits of “ObamaCare”-Part 1

The benefits of Health Care Reform, aka “ObamaCare” are starting to slowly become apparent.

 

This prescription drug benefit had a big impact this year.  As someone who manages his elderly mother’s finances I saw it myself.  There was a very big difference in what we had to pay when she hit the “donut hole” this year as opposed to last year.  Really substantial savings…

While I was disappointed Health Care Reform did not go farther and deliver a single payer option, this is a big step in the right direction.  Add in the requirement requiring Insurance companies to actually invest their premiums in coverage and not profit-which I’ll talk more on later- and the other benefits such as being able to cover children on a parent’s insurance until they are 26- and this will really make a difference.  I think it will just take time for the benefits to sink in….

Since the Corporate Media isn’t going to report too much on this, we have to be grateful for this coverage from  USA Today:

 

 

WASHINGTON – More than 2.65 million Medicare recipients have saved more than $1.5 billion on their prescriptions this year, a $569-per-person average, while premiums have remained stable, the government plans to announce today.

Medicare patients are saving $569 per person, on average, on prescription drugs under the new health care law.

That’s because of the provision of the health care law that put a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the “doughnut hole,” the gap between traditional and catastrophic coverage in the drug benefit, also known as Part D.

And, as of the end of November, more than 24 million people, or about half of those with traditional Medicare, have gone in for a free annual physical or other screening exam since the rules changed this year because of the health care law.

“We’re very pleased with the numbers,” Jonathan Blum, director of the Center for Medicare, told USA TODAY. “We found the Part D premiums have also stayed constant, despite predictions that they would go up in 2012.”

The Department of Health and Human Services announced in August that 2012 Medicare prescription drug plan premiums would average about $30 a month, compared to $30.76 in 2011.

Starting this year, seniors who reach the doughnut hole in prescription benefits receive a 50% discount on name brand prescription drugs. Drug companies must provide the discount to participate in the prescription plan. Before the health care law took effect, Medicare patients had to pay full price for their prescriptions once they reached the gap in coverage.

via Health care law changing behavior – USATODAY.com.

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Ron Paul Says Aide Who Died With $400k Medical Bill Didn’t Need Government Help

How can people be so blind- and so cruel?

I guess it’s easy to be hard….

Ron Paul told TPM on Wednesday that even if there’s a “case or two” that makes Americans uncomfortable, the government should stay out of the health care business. Even if one of the cases in question is his former campaign manager, Kent Snyder, who died with $400,000 in unpaid medical bills after being unable to secure health insurance due to a pre-existing condition.

via Ron Paul Says Aide Who Died With $400k Medical Bill Didn’t Need Government Help | Election 2012.

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The Truth About Social Security

This is the best summation of the truth about Social Security and the Deficit that I’ve seen:

 

 

Hat Tip:  MoveOn.org

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Cincinnati Man, Dies From Toothache, Couldn’t Afford Meds

This is just incredibly sad.  And wouldn’t have happened in Canada, the UK, France or most other civilized countries.

This type of tragedy will just continue to play out until people get past their fear of “socialized medicine” and develop a healthy fear of how the insurance companies prevent people from being covered or getting the care they need.

Tell me again how everything is better in the U.S.A and I’ll tell you again to stop drinking the Kool Aid.  The insurance companies played the public like a cheap violin during the health care debate to prevent a public option.

Now we still have inequality and tragedy for the growing number of people without health insurance…

Oh, and don’t forget the GOP still wants to get rid of Medicare and Medicaid for the elderly and the very poor who do have some government coverage.

 

 

Kyle Willis, a 24-year-old man from Ohio, died on Wednesday from a tooth infection, Cincinati’s WLWT reported.

According to the station, Willis’ wisdom tooth began hurting two weeks ago, and dentists said it needed to be removed.

Willis, however, was a single father without health insurance, and couldn’t afford the procedure.

After developing severe headaches and facial swelling, he went to the emergency room.

Although doctors recommended antibiotics and pain medication, Willis could only afford one.

Patti Collins, Willis’s aunt, told WLWT what happened next.

“‘The (doctors) gave him antibiotic and pain medication. But he couldn’t afford to pay for the antibiotic, so he chose the pain meds, which was not what he needed,’ Collins said. Doctors told Willis’ family that while the pain had stopped, the infection kept spreading — eventually attacking his brain and causing it to swell.”

Willis leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter, and family members are hoping to create a fund for her future college education.

Dr. Irvin Silverstein, a dentist at the University of California told ABC news that Willis’ story isn’t uncommon.

“People don’t realize that dental disease can cause serious illness.The problems are not just cosmetic. Many people die from dental disease. When people are unemployed or don’t have insurance, where do they go? What do they do? Silverstein said. People end up dying, and these are the most treatable, preventable diseases in the world.”

Four years ago, 12-year-old Demonte Drived died after his mother, Alyce, couldn’t find a dentist who took Medicaid and bacteria from a tooth abscess spread to his brain.

A Kaiser Family Foundation report found that between 2007 and 2008, the number of uninsured adults rose by 1.5 million.

via Kyle Willis, Cincinnati Man, Dies From Toothache, Couldn’t Afford Meds (VIDEO).

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Marco Rubio: Medicare, Social Security ‘Weakened Us As People,’ Made Us Lazy

People really need to start paying attention to what these Republicans are saying- and the Democrats need to do a better job of publicizing it and calling them out in public.

This Tea Bagger Senator is on every GOP Presidential Candidates short list for Vice President.  Because he’s from the key swing state of Florida.  Well, his value may have just gone down.  This type of talk is not going to go over well in retiree-land….

Oh, one other thing….He seems to think families and communities should look out for their own.  Well, it’s not 1950 and families and communities are not necessarily there for people who have had to move around all their lives for jobs and to satisfy the Corporations they work(ed) for….These guys need to wake up.

From ThinkProgress.org.  Click the link to go to their site if you want to  see the video.  If not, hopefully, you will see it in an attack ad from the DNC soon.

 

Potential vice president running mate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) dismissed the importance of programs like Medicare and Social Security during a speech at the Reagan Presidential Library this afternoon, arguing that the initiatives “weakened us as people”:

These programs actually weakened us as a people. You see, almost forever, it was institutions in society that assumed the role of taking care of one another. If someone was sick in your family, you took care of them. If a neighbor met misfortune, you took care of them. You saved for your retirement and your future because you had to. We took these things upon ourselves in our communities, our families, and our homes, and our churches and our synagogues. But all that changed when the government began to assume those responsibilities. All of a sudden, for an increasing number of people in our nation, it was no longer necessary to worry about saving for security because that was the government’s job.

via Marco Rubio: Medicare, Social Security ‘Weakened Us As People,’ Made Us Lazy | ThinkProgress.

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Eric Cantor Intends to Break America’s Promises

Eric Cantor is evil.  There is no other way to put it.

I’m ashamed he’s from my home state of Virginia.

Virginia used to stand for honor, gentility, manners, culture and education.

Virginians were once known for their tradition of hospitality and concern for others.

It’s the state that gave us Thomas Jefferson and George Washington….

Well, that’s all obviously gone with the wind…

So to speak….

 

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.) on Wednesday suggested that Republicans will continue a push to overhaul programs such as Medicare, saying in an interview that “promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many” and that younger Americans will have to adjust.

“What we have to be, I think, focused on is truth in budgeting here,” Cantor told The Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal. He said “the better way” for Americans is to “get the fiscal house in order” and “come to grips with the fact that promises have been made that frankly are not going to be kept for many.”

He added that younger Americans will have “ample time to try and plan our lives so that we can adjust” to the post-Medicare society.

As Cantor sees it, the existing Medicare program simply must be eliminated for fiscal reasons, replaced with a privatized system. In other words, the Paul Ryan plan that was soundly rejected by voters and policy experts alike is still the preferred model for the House Republican leadership.

As a matter of policy, this is still hopelessly ridiculous, for all the reasons we talked about in the Spring. But on a political level, this is just as misguided. The more Cantor and his allies base their agenda on ending Medicare, the happier Democrats are.

Also note the rhetoric the oft-confused House Majority Leader uses: the United States has made promises to the public, and as far as Eric Cantor is concerned, “many” Americans will simply have to accept that those promises “are not going to be kept.”

Why not? Because Republicans say so. Promises to Grover Norquist are sacrosanct, but promises to senior citizens are not.

This is, to put it mildly, a gift for Democrats. I’ll look forward to the DNC running ads in, say, Florida, telling voters that the leading House Republican believes the United States committed to the Medicare program, but now believes those promises “are not going to be kept.”

And in an ideal political environment, the Republican presidential hopefuls would spend the next few weeks responding to a straightforward question: “Do you agree with Eric Cantor that America’s promises to Medicare beneficiaries should be broken?”

via Political Animal – Cantor intends to break America’s promises.

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Daily Kos: What might FDR have done about the debt limit?

I keep thinking and saying that Obama had an opportunity to do as much for the country as FDR and blew it.  And continues to blow it.  This article supports that theory.  It’s long but worth reading.

I’m becoming more and more disappointed in the President and how meekly he handles the GOP and how little he is standing firm on core Democratic principles.  When he agreed to bargain with cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, he started to lose me…

This article really compares and contrasts FDR and President Obama extremely well.

Here is a brief excerpt to the article by Dante Atkins at Daily Kos:

The only recent president who has faced an economic crisis more prolonged or more severe than the one our economy faces was the progressive legend Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who faced down both the Great Depression and the Nazis with equal aplomb and bested them both, and the contrast between how Obama is handling his economic showdowns with Republicans entering his reelection and how Roosevelt handled a similar time in his presidency could not be more clear. Obama has wanted to bring the nation above politics and create a grand bargain that incorporates ideas from both parties in an attempt to prove that our country is not as divided as our politics suggests, and he has, in his own words, been repeatedly left at the altar by Republicans with no conscience who want nothing more than to destroy him and his presidency. President Roosevelt, by contrast, was ideological: he was convinced that his way of managing the economy—the Keynesian approach of government as the spender of last resort—was right, and the austerity methods of the Republicans were wrong.

Unlike Obama, Roosevelt did not accept the conservative meme that macroeconomics and microeconomics have the same fundamental principles and that government has to “live within its means like families do.” Instead, Roosevelt understood that economic downturns reduce national income and that reduced national income leads to further downturn, creating a deflationary cycle that can only be broken when government steps in to put people back to work and break the cycle—a consideration that came second to balancing the budget.

via Daily Kos: What might FDR have done about the debt limit?.

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