Sunday, August 5, 2012

Seniors Cut their Own Throats.

We remember the late
Andy Griffith.He campaigned
for the health care reform

this was originally posted
11/17/10 as "Remember the Seinors
who cut their own throats"

Remember the elderly guy who voted in the Tea Party because he was sick of government spending, only to realize that his social security he needs to live on is government spending and the Tea Party wants to eliminate it? He also forgot they want to eliminate medicare too. When I was in high school debate (so long ago Nixon was President and Watergate just being thought about) a family of four lived in poverty if they made less than $4,000 a year, according to HEW. Now if they make $19,157 or less they are in poverty. A family of 2 with no children make less than $12,000 are in poverty. A single person 65 who makes less than $9,060 is in poverty. 37 million or 13% of our population in poverty.

social Solutions to poverty.

Using this poverty measurement, 37 million people, or 13 percent of the population, currently live below the poverty line. If a more realistic formula for counting the poor were used, without the flaws of the current poverty threshold, the number of poor would rise to at least 50 million.

These figures put the United States in the dishonorable position of having the highest poverty rates in the industrialized world.
10% of our seniors or 4 million live in poverty. now they face major cuts in their medical. Wait don't say "what different does that make I'm more well off than that." Middle class poor can wiped out in a minute with disease or stay in the hospital. Very few seniors are able to do without medicare or social security. Make no mistake, cuts are coming in both!

Center for Economic and Policy Research

One of the important untrue items circulating in policy debates in Washington is that we can have substantial budget savings if we cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for "wealthier seniors." Peter Peterson, the billionaire Wall Street investment banker regularly announces that he doesn't need his Social Security when highlighting his efforts to reduce the budget deficit.

In fact, everyone in the policy debate knows that there are very few people like Peter Peterson among Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries and it would not matter one iota if we took away their benefits completely. The billionaires or even millionaires are such a small share of the senior population, that it would barely affect the finances of these programs even if we could find a simple way to take back all their benefits (we can't).

This is why it is incredibly dishonest when the Washington Post puts forth its case in an editorial for cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits for "wealthier seniors," a change that the paper describes as making the programs "more progressive." Invariably what the Post and others mean when they use this line is cutting benefits for people with incomes of $50,000 or $60,000 a year. While these incomes would put a senior household way above the $29,700 median for the over 65 population, these incomes would not fit anyone's definition of wealthy. By contrast, President Obama put the cutoff at $250,000 when setting an income floor on people for raising taxes.

Medicare population is growing. By 2030 it will be 76 million Americans. Medicare is the third largest government program.(Health Care Crisis, Programing on PBS). Can seniors do without it?

(Ibid, PBS)
In 1999, Medicare beneficiaries spent approximately $400 out-of-pocket on drugs, and many expect this number to rise. But those seniors who can't afford to pay for their medications often don't fill necessary prescriptions, or they take their medicine irregularly. The consequences can be dangerous, or even deadly. “Original” Medicare does not cover the cost of prescription drugs outside the hospital, which means that more than a third of Medicare beneficiaries lack coverage for outpatient prescription drugs. That number is expected to grow as private sources of coverage get more expensive. This coverage gap becomes more of a hardship as drugs grow more expensive and more important in treating the ills of old age. But some seniors have some drug coverage under other plans, including Medicare HMOs. HMOs and other forms of managed care are often able to negotiate lower prices for drugs from the manufacturers, but people paying for their medications as individuals cannot take advantage of these discounted rates. Logically, people who do not have drug coverage are less likely to fill the prescriptions their doctors give them, and less likely to take medication that could improve their health and prevent more serious effects of chronic diseases.

Drugs still account for only 7 percent of all U.S. medical spending, a figure that is expected to reach 8 percent in 2003. Though the amount spent on drugs may seem small, it is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. America is the only industrialized nation with a free market for pharmaceuticals, or without government restraints on drug prices. In 1998, there was a record number of new drug launches, and the industry spent $1.3 billion on direct-to-consumer advertising ­ four times the 1994 amount.

We fought off five major cuts in medicare this year. Where was this during the political Palaver of the camping just a week ago? No one campaigned on this. The dems gun shy form health care over the summer, the Tea Party is going to gut the aid so don't want to say anything. The seniors who just got through putting them in power are now faced with feeling their wrath when these major cuts go through.

They just got through cutting their throats so there's no one to champion their cause.

13 News
By Summer Smith, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Doctors worry that looming cuts to Medicare could leave patients without care.

On Wednesday afternoon, doctors, medical staff and Medicare patients held a rally in Bradenton to protest the pending cuts. The rally was just one of many protests held around the United States.

Physicians are slated for a 23 percent cut in Medicare reimbursements on Dec. 1 and another 6 percent Jan. 1.

The reduction is being mandated by the federal government as a way to reduce the budget. The cuts are based on a formula that guides Medicare funding.

So far, Congress has stepped in three times this year to block those cuts from happening. Another push is underway to block those cuts again.

Dr. Andrew Clark, a family physician in Bradenton, said the change would impact his practice. About a third of his a patients are on Medicare.

"It would basically stop us from being able to take care of Medicare patients," Clark said.

Dr. Aaron Sudbury agreed, saying the cuts would limit the number of physicians Medicare patients can see.

"Medicare rates are our lowest paying," said Sudbury, who practices obstetrics and gynecology. "So if we reduce that rate even further, it negates my ability to care for those patients because I can't cover my costs to my office."

Patients like Norma Dunwood are also concerned about the cuts.

"We worked hard for it, they promised it," she said. "Therefore they should stick to their word."

The Manatee County Medical Society recently conducted a survey that found if the cuts go through, 20 percent of doctors say they will stop seeing new Medicare patients. Ten percent said they will opt out of Medicare altogether.

For Barbara Cook, it's a double-edged sword. Not only is she on Medicare, but she also works as a medical assistant.

"If they cut Medicare, then we'll have to cut back with our office staff," said Cook.

The cuts would not only affect Medicare patients, it will also impact private insurance because they base their rates on what Medicare does.

Clark said those cuts could be devastating to the entire medical community.

"It would inhibit us from adequate healthcare," said Clark.

The American Medical Association urges citizens who oppose the cuts to call their Senators and Representatives using the Association's toll-free Grassroots hotline at (800) 833-6354.

These cuts are not the fault of the New republicans but the republican congress of the 90s. Yet there now the new tea party budget assassins are in and they have a mandate to cut all aid and murder the poor and elder. No one to stop them. The chickens are about to come to roost.

Yahoo News

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Associated Press – Sat Nov 13, 12:16 am ET

WASHINGTON – Breast cancer surgeon Kathryn Wagner has posted a warning in her waiting room about a different sort of risk to patients' health: She'll stop taking new Medicare cases if Congress allows looming cuts in doctors' pay to go through.

The scheduled cuts — the result of a failed system set up years ago to control costs — have raised alarms that real damage to Medicare could result if the lame-duck Congress winds up in a partisan standoff and fails to act by Dec. 1. That's when an initial 23 percent reduction would hit.

Neither Democrats nor newly empowered Republicans want the sudden cuts, but there's no consensus on how to stave them off. The debate over high deficits complicates matters, since every penny going to make doctors whole will probably have to come from cuts elsewhere. A reprieve of a few months may be the likeliest outcome. That may not reassure doctors.

"My frustration level is at a nine or 10 right now," said Wagner, who practices in San Antonio. "I am exceptionally exhausted with these annual and biannual threats to cut my reimbursement by drastic amounts. As a business person, I can't budget at all because I have no idea how much money is going to come in. Medicine is a business. Private practice is a business."

The cuts have nothing to do with President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. They're the consequence of a 1990s budget-balancing law whose requirements Congress has routinely postponed. But these cuts don't go away; they come back for a bigger bite.

Doctors have muddled through with temporary reprieves for years. This time, medical groups estimate that as many as two-thirds of doctors would stop taking new Medicare patients, throwing the health program for 46 million older and disabled people into turmoil just when the first baby boomers will become eligible.

that was a republican congress too, and who in there now? Will the new Republican tea party congress fight for medicare? You think? We will soon see.

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