Showing posts with label Medicare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medicare. Show all posts

Sunday, August 18, 2013


BATON ROUGE, La. - U.S. Sen. David Vitter told a packed town hall meeting Thursday that he will support a federal government shutdown this fall rather than agree to pay for President Barack Obama's health care law.

"I'm going to fight like the dickens. I'm going to vote to repeal, to delay, to defund," the Republican senator said.

Vitter said he won't vote for legislation to continue paying for U.S. government services beyond Sept. 30 if it contains money for the health care law's implementation.
In the midst of cries of, "Shut it down!" you have to wonder if the people at the town meeting think at all about consequences. 
He [Robert Ordeneaux] and several others in the audience said they'd be willing to temporarily lose their government benefits through Social Security, Medicare and other programs listed by Vitter that would stop issuing checks in a shutdown.
Well, yes they do.  Temporarily?  For how long?  The folks who are so willing to sacrifice had better prepare for the long haul.  Who knows when the Republican clown show in Congress will get around to funding the federal government once again in this age of deadlock? 

Senator Vitter's support of a government shutdown is despicably reckless and irresponsible, and he'd be very foolish to believe his supporters will not flood his office with phone calls demanding their checks.  Vitter draws the line at the suggestion by his supporters to impeach President Obama, because he says it could backfire.  If  Republicans succeed in shutting down the government, Vitter will soon know the meaning of backfire in spades, for the voters will not blame Obama and the Democrats.  When Social Security payments don't arrive, and Medicare stops paying the bills, the blame will go squarely where it belongs - on reckless and irresponsible Republicans who would rather destroy the country than not have their way.

The Health Insurance Marketplace, part of the Affordable Care Act, is due to begin taking applications on October 1, 2013, and the Republicans are fearful that the marketplaces may actually work and citizens will see the benefits, so they want to stop it in its tracks.
Open enrollment starts October 1, 2013. Plans and prices will be available then. Coverage starts as soon as January 1, 2014. 
Republicans are afraid, very afraid.

On a side note, Vitter says he supports Rep. Bill Cassidy (R) in the Senate race against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), but the Tea Party folks don't much like Cassidy because he's too liberal (Ha ha).  Rob Maness is their boy.  Maness says Cassidy is just another Mary.  Landrieu is a right-leaning Democrat, so since Bill Cassidy is comparatively sane, but still quite conservative, Maness is probably not far off in his comparison.  I will support Landrieu, though I don't always agree with her policies and votes, because any Democrat in the Senate is better than a Republican.  To see two Republicans mix it up in the primary will do my heart good.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Dear Mr President: 

After reading your budget plan, I'm wondering why I supported you. For one thing there is no link, nor should there be in the talking points about Social Security and Medicare. The fix for Social Security is simple: lift the cap. 

True, Medicare will eventually need to be addressed, but let's keep the two separate. They are two different programs and are funded differently. 

Do you really think Republicans will suddenly become serious because you offer them cuts in two of the most popular programs of the federal government? They will not, and they will find a way to use the offers against you. 

 Please stop worrying about possible future Republican presidents and concentrate on governing now. You are the president now, and you need to do the right thing by the people who supported you. 

Thank you for your attention.
Why, why, why does Obama continue to think if he cuts vital programs which are popular throughout the country that the Republicans will play nice?  Why does he make concessions before negotiations even begin?  I'm exhausted from having to goad a Democratic president and Democratic legislators to do what progressives elected them to do.

My next effort was to call Mary Landrieu's office to appeal to her to vote for background checks for those who purchase firearms.  When I asked what was her position, I was told she had not made up her mind on whether to vote for the bill or not.  I left the message with the staff member that I  couldn't understand her hesitation.  The background checks are not even comprehensive, as the law will not apply to private sales.  Why is her support of the measure even  in question?  Yes, I know the senator will be up for reelection in 2014, and she may have a tough fight ahead, but sometimes getting reelected should not be the top priority.  Sometimes you just do the right thing.

Come on, Democrats, throw me a bone.  Show me that I don't waste my efforts in supporting and voting for Democratic candidates.

UPDATE: Post edited to remove the inaccurate report from "The Raw Story" that Mary Landrieu voted against ending the filibuster.  The two Democratic senators who voted against are  Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.).  I am pleased to make the correction.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Mr President and Democrats in Congress, do not cave in to Republicans, and raise the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 67.  If you recall, Republicans lost the election.  Think about it.  Not everyone works in a comfortable chair at a desk in a climate-controlled office.  Some folks in their 60s are on their feet all day  Do you know what is the condition of their legs?  Some folks in their 60s do hard physical labor in all sorts of weather, which takes a toll on their bodies.  What if these people lose their jobs?  How many are likely to find jobs, much less jobs with health insurance benefits?  If the people in their 60s find jobs without benefits, how will they pay for health insurance?  Democrats won the election.  If you must, let the tax hikes go into effect.  Go over the fiscal cliff, which is actually a gentle slope.  In the next Congress, the numbers of Democrats in both houses of Congress will rise, so your negotiating position will be even stronger.  We did not elect you to put in place Republican policies.

If I could wave a magic wand, I'd adjust the premiums somewhat and lower the eligibility age for Medicare to 60 or 62 to get younger, healthier people into the pool, or I'd even allow anyone to buy in.  The rest of the citizens of the country ought to have the same access to health care as you do, Mr President and members of Congress.  Raising the eligibility age for Medicare is a really bad idea.  

Paul Krugman agrees:
Yet the idea just won’t go away. It’s almost surreal. What’s going on here?

One answer is that conservatives badly want a rise in the Medicare age, never mind the policy virtues or lack thereof. Why? Partly because liberals hate the idea: pay any attention to right-wing rhetoric and you learn that spite against liberals, even if there’s no gain for their side, is a major motivator. Beyond that, there is some actual strategic thinking here: by reducing the number of people receiving Medicare, they hope to undermine support for the whole program.
Right.  That's what Republicans want, but they lost the election.
The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the federal government could save $125 billion over the coming decade from such a change. But opponents note that the feds would simply be shifting costs from Medicare onto other payers, whether they be private employers, retirees or Medicaid.

A study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that raising the eligibility age would actually cause total U.S. spending on healthcare to increase, even as it saved the federal government money. The study predicted that costs would go up for both the seniors newly ineligible for Medicare -- they'd obtain coverage from less cost-effective private insurers -- and for those who stayed in the program, because the Medicare population would be older on average and riskier than before.
See?  The math doesn't work.  Republican math did not work during the campaign, and it doesn't work now, which is why we voted for Democrats.  Get it, Sirs? 
Increasing the eligibility age for Medicare saves money for the budget. But that’s no great policy feat – just kick some people off the rolls and boom, you’ve got some savings. In fact, it raises costs for the larger system (see here), while potentially leaving 65-66-year-olds with a less access to affordable coverage. That’s not “reform” — it’s a short-sighted attack on a critical, highly efficient program motivated not by efficiency, but by antipathy to social insurance.
Why is changing the eligibility age for Medicare on the table in negotiations?  Why do Democrats even mention the possibility?  The only reason Democrats should talk about the change in age requirements for Medicare is to repeat over and over that no such change will happen.  Thank heaven for women in the House and Senate:
[Rep. Nancy] Pelosi then went on CBS's "This Morning" and said Democrats would "object" to raising the Medicare eligibility age. Democrats in the House and Senate backed Pelosi.

“I haven’t heard any Democrat in our caucus say they’re open to raising the eligibility age,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) said, according to The Hill.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), speaking for many Senate Democrats, said raising the Medicare eligibility age would be a "nonstarter."
Cautionary note: The link just above is to a far-right website, but they make my case for me.

Image from The Other 98%.

Friday, November 30, 2012



Excellent column by Paul Krugman in the New York Times.
The important thing to understand now is that while the election is over, the class war isn’t. The same people who bet big on Mr. Romney, and lost, are now trying to win by stealth — in the name of fiscal responsibility — the ground they failed to gain in an open election. 

Consider, as a prime example, the push to raise the retirement age, the age of eligibility for Medicare, or both. This is only reasonable, we’re told — after all, life expectancy has risen, so shouldn’t we all retire later? In reality, however, it would be a hugely regressive policy change, imposing severe burdens on lower- and middle-income Americans while barely affecting the wealthy. Why? First of all, the increase in life expectancy is concentrated among the affluent; why should janitors have to retire later because lawyers are living longer? Second, both Social Security and Medicare are much more important, relative to income, to less-affluent Americans, so delaying their availability would be a far more severe hit to ordinary families than to the top 1 percent.
President Obama and congressional Democrats hold the cards since the election.  Let's hope they play the game to the advantage of the great majority of the citizens of the country.  Keep in mind that the fiscal cliff is not that at all, but is rather a fiscal incline, and, if it comes to that, the slide down the incline will play a lot worse for Republicans than for Democrats.

Note to Mr President and Congressional Democrats: Hold the line!  (You don't need to tell me; I know I'm mixing metaphors.)

As for Thelma and Louise, they landed safely and moved to Mexico.

Monday, July 2, 2012


How many times have you heard that the costs of Medicare will bankrupt the country? Have a look at the chart below. Why do we need the middle man, the for-profit health insurance companies, to rake in huge profits from people who get sick? Why not Medicare for all?

H/T to Rmj at Adventus for the chart.  His post titled "Am I my brother's keeper?" is well worth reading.