Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Finally, Someone in Congress Is Talking Some Common Sense...

There has been lots of talk recently about the Health Care Bill, what it contains, how it will be run, and who it will cover. Many folks claim that since the government does such a bang-up job with Medicare, it should be no problem for them to pick up millions and millions more people with no problem. Uh huh. Sure. Here's the thing - Medicare/Social Security is fraught with problems of its own, and is, by no means, a perfect program. Ask any senior who has had to figure out just which Supplemental Program they should get, and how they are going to pay for it, if you don't believe me.

One other issue that has just arisen was detailed in my local paper recently,"Millions TO Face Shrinking Checks; Trustees: No Cost Of Living Adjustment For Two Years." It details how Social Security checks, for the first time since 1975, will get no "Cost of Living Adjustment." None. Here are some of the more salient points:
By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly.

"I will promise you, they count on that COLA," said Barbara Kennelly, a former Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut who now heads the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. "To some people, it might not be a big deal. (Emphasis is mine.)

But to seniors, especially with their health care costs, it is a big deal."

Cost of living adjustments are pegged to inflation, which has been negative this year, largely because energy prices are below 2008 levels.

Advocates say older people still face higher prices because they spend a disproportionate amount of their income on health care, where costs rise faster than inflation. Many also have suffered from declining home values and shrinking stock portfolios just as they are relying on those assets for income.

"For many elderly, they don't feel that inflation is low because their expenses are still going up," said David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP. "Anyone who has savings and investments has seen some serious losses."

No kidding. But that sums it up nicely.

As does my fellow NQ writer, Bronwyn's Harbor, in this post, "I've Changed My Mind About 'Death Panels,'" in which Bronwyn's neighbor's travails of the effects of no COLA are laid out in stark relief. The neighbor is being forced to choose between medicine and food, a horrible choice for any person, but especially one who has no other source of income.

It makes my head just swirl. Representative Mike Rogers details some other choices Americans will have to make. Or rather, choices that will be made for us, in one of the most common sense statements I have heard yet about the health care policy the Obama Administration is trying to institute, along with some actual provisions of the bill:

I don't know to which party this man belongs, and I don't much care. What I DO care about is that he seems to care about US, the average U.S. citizen. And I appreciate his calling out the Congress for its desire to over-function. That is to say, when the functional people have to work extra hard to compensate for the dysfunctional (as in not fully functioning, not mentally unstable or physically disabled) people. It does not bring up the dysfunctional people. On the contrary. All it does is pull down the fully functioning people (Rabbi Dr. Friedman discussed this issue frequently in his practice). It sounds like that is exactly the same thing Abraham Lincoln was saying, as quoted by Rep. Rogers noted above.

Choosing between food, shelter, and medicine as a result of government run programs sounds to me like programs that are not run to the benefit of the people. And that will bring all of us down. There has got to be a better way...


Mary Ellen said...

That is an amazing video! Like you, I have no idea if that guy is a dem or repug, but he's speaking common sense.

You and I both know how the Senior Citizens are going to take a hit if this bill is enacted. My mom is on a medication that she's been taking since she had breast cancer. The meds are supposed to give her a much higher chance of not getting the cancer back, but it's very expensive (even with insurance). Under this bill, I have no doubt that because my mother is 83 years old, that they will tell her that she can no longer take the meds because they are too expensive and she's "not worth the risk".

Of course, with Obama's deal with big Pharma, she will never be able to shop for a cheaper price on those meds either.

She has Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance as her primary and Medicare as her secondary. What will happen if she loses her Blue Cross because she is forced into the Government program? I'd say that her life expectancy will suddenly become must shorter.

Oh..and after he read the part of the bill where the government has the right to take individuals off their private policies....and then listen to Obama spew those lies about how we can "keep our insurance if we want to", just lies, more and more lies. He makes me sick.

Great post, Rev. Amy!

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Thanks, ME!

I sure hope it doesn't come to pass, at least with the provisions it has now, because I fear you are absolutely RIGHT abt the meds and age. (I am glad your mother survived her breast cancer - what a blessing!)

I don't know if you saw the Greg Palast article, or heard him on Air America, but he - a huge Obama fan - is outraged abt the meeting with Big Pharma. One of the things he discovered is that Big Pharma MIGHT save the US up to $80 billion, but it is not guaranteed. That is the max. limit, not a flat amt on which they agreed. It is essentially meaningless over the course of 10 yrs anyway, with the budget the US has. Just more behind-closed-doors machinations by the Obama Admin. - so much for airing it on C-Span, like he SAID he would do. (Oh, my - Obama lied- AGAIN?!?! Shocking! Cough, choke. The only thing that would be shocking is him NOT lying abt something. Just sayin'.)

Get this - speaking of lying - the clueless interviewer said, "but he's so charming when he's lying!" I am NOT kidding you! WTH is WRONG with these people??? Sheesh.

There are just too, too many unanswered questions abt this health care program and some of the points we DO know abt scare the hell out of me, as Rep. Rogers pointed out.

MI should be very proud of Rep. Rogers. Makes sense why they are also losing interest in Conyers. I understand he is not doing so well in the polls these days...

Love your comments, ME!