Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tell Me Again, Who Is It That Hates Senior Citizens?

Ever since Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his Budget Plan, Republicans have been attacked for hating seniors, wanting to gut Medicare, and wanting old people to die. Or so you would think.

Heck, I think you could say the Republicans were being just plain hateful toward seniors, especially considering the comments by DNC Chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
[snip] "This Republican path to poverty passes like a tornado through seniors' nursing homes." [snip]

Not to be outdone is Rep. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.):
[snip]"Make no mistake about it, the Ryan budget is a war on seniors," she said in a press conference organized by the Congressional Task Force on Seniors. "Newt Gingrich has said Medicare should wither on the vine. Well, this Republican budget would chop it down." The new civility didn't stop there: "Republicans are literally trying to kill Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Democrats will stand of the way of their war on seniors." [snip]

Holy shit, grab the dog, Martha, and hide under the bed! Ahem.

Imagine my surprise, then, while reading my daily paper to discover the following article, "Seniors Face Medicare Cost Barrier For Cancer Drugs." Huh? Wait - how can that be? Isn't the President a Democrat? And the Senate is headed up by Democrats? How can this possibly be?

Oh, wait - I know - because the "health care" plan shoved down our throats by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, cut boatloads of money from Medicare. Not that you'd know it from the way the Democrats are screaming and carrying on now.

But I am getting ahead of myself and this AP article:
Chemotherapy is now available in a pill, but if you have Medicare, you may not be able to afford it.

That's what happened to Rita Moore when she took her prescription for a medication to treat kidney cancer to her local drugstore. She was stunned when the pharmacist told her a month's supply of the pills would cost $2,400, more than she makes.
Medicare prescription plans that cover seniors like Moore are allowed to charge steep copayments for the latest cancer drugs, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year. About 1 in 6 beneficiaries are not filling their prescriptions, according to recent research that suggests a worrisome trend.

Officials at Medicare say they're not sure what happens to those patients — whether they get less expensive older drugs that sometimes work as well, or they just give up. Traditionally, chemotherapy has been administered intravenously at a clinic or doctor's office. Pills are a relatively new option that may represent the future of cancer care. [snip]

Good grief, how could this possibly happen? Oh, wait - I know that, too - because Obama met with Big Pharma before doing ANYTHING else on the "Health Care" bill. And it makes this even more aggravating:
[snip] Private insurance companies that deliver the Medicare prescription benefit say the problem is that drug makers charge too much for the medications, some of which were developed from taxpayer-funded research. The pharmaceutical industry faults insurers, saying copayments on drugs are higher than cost-sharing for other medical services, such as hospital care.

Some experts blame the design of the Medicare prescription benefit itself, because it allows insurers to put expensive drugs on a so-called "specialty tier" with copayments equivalent to 25 percent or more of the cost of the medication.
Drugs for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C also wind up on specialty tiers, along with the new anti-cancer pills. Medicare supplemental insurance — Medigap — doesn't cover those copayments.

"This is a benefit design issue," said Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, a research firm that collaborated in a recent medical journal study on the consequences of high copayments for the new cancer drugs. [snip]

Yep - we helped these companies design these drugs, and now some of the very people who did so cannot afford these drugs to save their lives.

There is more to this article, including the response by Medicare, and how Obama's Health Care Law factors in, but this is the result for Rita Moore:
[snip] Rita Moore had to try to find her own way out of the dilemma.

She decided to apply to Pfizer's prescription assistance program for patients who can't afford Sutent and other drugs the company makes. Pfizer approved a year's worth of free medication, but it took about two months to collect and review all the medical and financial paperwork.

"They were very helpful, but it wasn't a fast process," said Moore, who is still working as the manager of an apartment building for seniors. In the meantime, she wasn't being treated. The cancer spread and is now close to her spine and her body's main artery. [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

Oh, dear - that is just dreadful. I am sure Rita Moore is more the rule than the exception, especially considering this article from The Daily Caller, "Obamacare Doesn't Stop Medigap Providers, AARP Partners From Discriminating Against Seniors." Say what? But wait, I thought it was supposed to be REPUBLICANS who hated seniors. Nope, apparently it is Democrats. Oh no they didn't:
The Daily Caller has learned that Democratic lawmakers omitted a section of Obamacare in the summer of 2009 that would have stopped Medigap plan providers, including American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) partners, from discriminating against seniors with pre-existing conditions.

Democrats removed a section that would have required “guaranteed issue,” or coverage regardless of preexisting conditions, for Medigap plans from an early version of the Obamacare bill.

Medigap plans are supplemental coverage that Medicare recipients may purchase. They insure seniors a step further than the basic Medicare coverage.

TheDC has obtained an early copy of the Obamacare bill, dated June 19, 2009, which shows the bill’s original authors had intended to stop AARP partners and other Medigap providers from discriminating against seniors. But, at some point between then and early fall 2009 when Democrats introduced the bill into the House, that provision was removed.

A House Democratic aide told Kaiser Health News (KHN) earlier this year that the Medigap provision was removed from the bill because it cost too much. [snip]

Oh, yes, they did.

Well, wait - what's the deal with AARP? Doesn't their very name imply they are supposed to stand with senior citizens? So one would think:
[snip] The AARP said numerous times throughout the Obamacare debate that it would forgo profits to cover costs of improved health insurance for seniors. “To suggest there is a commercial conspiracy is ludicrous,” AARP’s chief lobbyist David Sloane told the Tacoma News-Tribune in October 2009, referencing charges that the AARP was supporting Obamacare in order to bolster its partners’ Medigap programs and, thereby, making profit. “As we have said, we would gladly forgo every dime of revenue to fix the health care system.”

The AARP generated more than $675 million in 2010 “royalty revenue,” or “kickbacks” as some of its members refer to them as. More than $440 million of that came from AARP’s partnership with United Health Group, a Medigap provider AARP lends its brand to in exchange for royalties.

Jim Martin of 60 Plus, the conservative version of the AARP, told TheDC that this new revelation shows what he thinks the AARP really is: “The Association Against Retired Persons.”

“They’re betraying seniors while going after the almighty dollar,” Martin said. “I don’t mind them making a profit if they use their own dime to do it. But, as you well know, they’ve received well over a billion dollars in tax dollars throughout the years now.” [snip] (Click here to read the rest.)

And the argument can be made that one would be wrong to think AARP has the best interests of its members in mind. (And this is why I deep six every AARP membership card I receive.)

Well, this does thicken the plot, doesn't it? Seems to me that the Democrats are crying foul lest the focused light is shone on them. Of course, that would mean the MSM would have to actually look at these issues more. As others have said, would that the NY Times and Washington Post spent as much time and energy on the Obama Health Care Plan as they have the Sarah Palin Emails. Then we would not have had to wait for the bill to be passed into law to find out just what the hell was in there.

Hey, better late than never - now that they have all of these volunteers, perhaps they could ask them to take a little look see at the Health Care Law. Just a thought.

One last thing, today is FLAG DAY! Fly it high and proud, friends! Copyright © 2011 by Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy


Mary Ellen said...

Well, maybe seniors can't get that cancer drug to cure them at an affordable cost but I'll bet they will get a great deal for "end of life" care. Seniors are the new "shovel ready" jobs Obama was talking about I guess.

Mary Ellen said...

On another note--off topic, AP had a report that Obama said that there are times he thinks being a one term president wouldn't be a bad idea and his wife and kids are ok with that. (I have the story linked on the bottom of my blog today).

I was thinking...wouldn't it be great if the Dem Party saw that and convinced him to step down (for the good of the party, of course, and got Hillary to run on a ticket instead?) I'm still a little pissed off with Hill, but she would be a far cry better than Obama.

word verification: acizingu. Sounds like another new diet drug.

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Hey, ME -

Exactly right - it is that whole "end of life" thing. Good grief.

It is so disingenuous for the Dems to be playing this card abt Medicare and Reps - they are just doing it to get their votes when MEANWHILE, they have been doing all kinds of underhanded crap. Grrr.

Hey, I'd be MORE than okay with Obama being a one term president. Honestly, I really didn't think anyone could be worse than Bush. Was I ever wrong.

Could you BELIEVE that crap abt the "shovel ready jobs"??? That was a THREE BILLION DOLLAR joke. And it ain't funny...