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MEDICARE: Obama plan will raise seniors’ costs

Letter by Billie Jean Tilstra, Graham on Aug. 20, 2012 at 12:36 pm with 32 Comments »
August 20, 2012 1:21 pm

Re: “Facts get in the way of GOP’s rhetoric on Medicare” (Eugene Robinson column (TNT, 8-17).

It is quite obvious that Robinson is not cared for through Medicare services. He is very blithe that President Obama’s removal of $700 billion from Medicare will not affect seniors because its purpose only is to slow the growth of payments to Medicare service providers. He states no impact is felt by seniors themselves.

Who does he think will provide the care for the seniors? Service providers are only being paid a pittance of what their services actually cost. If lowered even still, many will no longer be able to afford to care for Medicare patients.

I already know of one senior whose doctor, although caring for her for years, told her she must find another doctor because he can no longer afford it.

Robinson states seniors’ benefits and costs will remain the same. Seniors already are seeing their costs rising. When this amount of money is taken away, it is seniors who will be paying the difference.

Where will the doctors come from? We are already short of physicians. Not many will be interested in pursuing a career in medicine.

When Robinson receives the same care that we seniors do, then he can preach to us. In the meantime, he should stop letting his biases get in the way of real reporting.

Leave a comment Comments → 32
  1. LeePHill says:

    Another of Billie Jean’s “I hate Obama” letters.

    Same as usual, it’s full of false information that has been corrected at least a dozen times in the media today, and I’ve lost track of how many times in the past couple of weeks.

  2. Harry_Anslinger says:

    Repeating the absurd medicare lie is definitely getting old, especially when the last sentence refers to stopping bias getting in the way of truth.

  3. According to the Obama administation the $719 billion removed from medicare funding will be used to partially pay for the Affordable Care Act…..AND EXTEND THE SOLVENCY OF THE MEDICARE PROGRAM FOR EIGHT ADDITIONAL YEARS!!!! Next time you mail in your check for the mortage ask your lender if the funds can also cover your car payment and the college education of your children.

  4. fanciladi says:

    oldoc…good one!

  5. And of course everyone knows that the $719 billion comes from careful reductions in unnecessary tests, procedures and treatments about which experts agree. Nobody will be denied proper, adequate medical care. The repubnuts are really trying to scare people. Telling the truth is against their religion.

  6. menopaws says:

    Lord I am getting tired of this STUPID argument. Go to Fact check.org—that entire piece of propaganda from Romney and Fox News is not true………Why do people think they can say the same lie over and over and it suddenly becomes the truth???? I think everyone needs to go to this blog or the CBO report, both of which PROVE that this is an incorrect reading of what Obama is doing….But, hey truth never appears to be a source of comfort and integrity is not a word that is ever used when this slime is hurled…….Climb out of the sewer and check your facts……..You should be embarrassed—this came up last week and was disproved by CBS News , CNN, PBS and our own newspaper, along with the Oregonian………Are all of those new organization liars???? Only Fox tells the truth?????

  7. Meanwhile – the Ryan/Romney plan removes $7billion from Medicare to pay for tax cuts for the 1%

  8. err….make that “removes $700 billion from Medicare”

  9. And…the Ryan/Romney will raise seniors’ costs by over $6,000/year.

  10. averageJose says:

    I was checking “fact check” and couldn’t find what you’re asserting bB. Be kind and give us a link please ;)

  11. Nice #ows plug. When the other 50% pay some income taxes, you can whine about the 1%. Until then, you and all of us owe them a heart felt ‘thank you’.

  12. MyBandito says:

    The Right wants to part out Medicare and Social Security. That’s the best way to get rid of both.

  13. lylelaws says:

    menopaws,

    Please don’t ever think about not sending in your comments because I am a Romney/Ryan supporter and your rants…… are about as good of a gift to……. my party……as Joe Biden’s.

    So…..please keep trying to slime…..Republicans with your “Looney Tunes” observations.

    All the best.

  14. LeePHill says:

    lyle….and “looney tunes” isn’t sliming??????

    Thanks for your daily dose of hypocrisy.

    I’m so glad that CT has pointed out (again) that almost half of all Americans don’t make enough money to pay income tax. Sad state of affairs for the “wealthiest country in the world”.

  15. took14theteam says:

    And in _hill fashion, there is the attack on Lyle for the reply to the paws.

    I never see you defend attacks on the “CONS”, as you so love to call them, by your leftist (you included) buddies.

    I wonder why that is?

    Could it be that you have overdosed on hypocrisy?

    I would have to say, YES! ::::Applause::::

    You must get a tingle up your leg when you comment here.

  16. took14theteam says:

    O and _hill, you were off topic, AGAIN…………

  17. alindasue says:

    Ms. Tilstra said, “Who does he think will provide the care for the seniors? Service providers are only being paid a pittance of what their services actually cost.”

    Next time you receive a claims statement from your insurance, take a good look at it. Like with Medicare, insurance companies only pay a fraction of what the doctors charge. In exchange for a steady supply of patients, the doctors agree to accept what the insurance is willing to pay for the service, just like they do when they accept Medicare patients.

    As I understand it, Paul Ryan’s plan would have seniors buying insurance with vouchers or paying for a government run insurance plan… the effect, from the doctors’ point of view, would be the same. They would be paid what the insurance or government plan would be willing to pay.

    Same problem.

  18. Don’t pay enough according to an arbitrary income level. What amount of income should one have to earn to pay for our national defense?

    Half do not pay. Do you get that? Yes, I blame Bush for the line. BHO supports it with passion. Terrible state of affairs.

  19. menopaws says:

    lylelaws—Looney tunes is way over your head and mental capacities………Don’t ever think you can match most of the “lefties” on this blog…all you have is insults—-the refuge of the ignorant is insults and name calling…….Enjoy the security of that–it’s all you’ve got to offer isn’t it????

  20. Menopaws wrote: lylelaws—Looney tunes is way over your head and mental capacities………Don’t ever think you can match most of the “lefties” on this blog…all you have is insults—-the refuge of the ignorant is insults and name calling…….Enjoy the security of that–it’s all you’ve got to offer isn’t it????
    ___________________________________________________________

    I could hardly believe my eyes. Menopaws, who constantly preaches politeness and courtesy, resorting to a bit of namecalling. Does the preacher get a pass?

  21. commoncents says:

    CT8 – Who do you think serves in the military? I think both sides owe a heartfelt thank you to each other.

  22. Publico wrote: And of course everyone knows that the $719 billion comes from careful reductions in unnecessary tests, procedures and treatments about which experts agree.
    ____________________________________________________

    Medicare/Medicaid have been law since the middle sixties….did waste, fraud and abuse just creep in during the past few years? Congress is charged with overseeing the programs created by the laws that they pass….aren’t they? Why wasn’t something done years ago? Very simple, but probably way beyond the grasp of many on this forum. The $719 billion medicare funding reduction was simply an accounting ploy to keep the pricetag of the Affordable Care Act from exceeding the President’s target of limiting the cost below $1 trillion. It had the additional political talking point of lowering the total Medicare/medicaid cost sufficiently to claim that that program solvency was thereby extended for an additional eight years.

    Seniors should note that no thought was given by the administration toward using the entire $719 billion to extend the solvency of the Medicare/medicaid program for 16 years instead of just eight. What a joke!

    Of course many experts will agree that “careful reductions in unnecessary tests, procedures and treatments” can save a lot of taxpayer money but these experts do not hold the purse strings. The chances of many of these economies being actually implemented are iffy at best. Our government is a spending machine, not a savings machine. The sooner that we all come to the inescapable conclusion that taxpayers have to pay for government “giveaways” the closer we will be to facing up to our massive national debt problem. I don’t hold out much hope since it appears that the takers will very soon outnumber the payers.

  23. menopaws says:

    Good post, oldoc…….I agree with some of what you had to say………..Medicare was created because seniors couldn’t get decent health care……Realistically, courtesy of the insurance industry and other health care corporations–they still can’t!!!!! It’s a mess out there……..I believe Obamacare is a start–but, not the ultimate solution……I do like that now, the law requires insurance companies to spend 85% of paid premiums on health care—or issue refunds. I like that those who have conditions like asthma, cancer, diabetes must be covered. If you only insure the healthy, what’s the point?
    Where I get off the train with Romney/Ryan is the voucher system to buy insurance….Those who can afford to will take their vouchers, shop around and spend some of their own $$$ for good care. those who can’t will stay with Medicare…..Eventually, physicians will quit accepting Medicare and those seniors will again, be without health care. I also find the refusal of Republicans to admit how broken this health care system is disturbing…and reality challenged. We baby boomers, I agree, will overwhelm they system…..But, we did pay into it and promises were made. One last point—more Medicare fraud has been prosecuted by the Obama adminstration than any prior one…….Over $500 million recovered……No one ever gives them credit for that and it is a very concerted effort to weed out the waste and fraud from the system. Again a good start, but whoever wins needs to follow through on that and not hand over profits to health care corporations and drug companies with no audits in place.

  24. Same as usual, it’s full of false information that has been corrected at least a dozen times in the media today…

    By what media? msnbc? The atlantic?

    Repeating the absurd medicare lie is definitely getting old…

    Speaking of “lies”. And speaking of “getting old”, Billie is absolutely correct. Maybe you should prove her wrong before accusing her of “lying”.

    But the biggest laugher:

    And of course everyone knows that the $719 billion comes from careful reductions in unnecessary tests, procedures and treatments about which experts agree.

    That so? Hmmm, what does the Actuary at the DHHS have to say about Billie’s point:

    DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    7500 Security Boulevard, Mail Stop N3-01-21
    Baltimore, Maryland 21244-1850

    Office of the Actuary

    DATE: August 5, 2010

    FROM: John D. Shatto
    M. Kent Clemens

    SUBJECT: Projected Medicare Expenditures under an Illustrative Scenario with Alternative Payment Updates to Medicare Providers

    In the 2010 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds, the Board warns that “the actual future costs for Medicare are likely to exceed those shown by the current-law projections.” The Trustees Report is necessarily based on current law; as a result of questions regarding the operations of certain Medicare provisions, however, the projections shown in the report do not represent the “best estimate” of actual future Medicare expenditures. The purpose of this memorandum is to present an alternative scenario to help illustrate and quantify the potential magnitude of the cost understatement under current law.

    Overview

    Among the most important factors in projecting Medicare expenditures are the annual payment updates to Medicare providers. The estimates shown in the 2010 Trustees Report are complicated substantially by mandated reductions in these payment updates for most Medicare services. In particular, Medicare payment rates for physician services as determined by the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) system are scheduled to be reduced by roughly 30 percent over the next 3 years. For most of the other categories of Medicare providers, the recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), as amended, calls for a reduction in payment rate updates equal to the increase in economy-wide multifactor productivity. As described in more detail below, in our view (and that of the independent outside experts we consulted), neither of these update reductions is sustainable in the long range, and Congress is very likely to legislatively override or otherwise modify the reductions in the future to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to health care services.

    https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/ReportsTrustFunds/downloads/2010TRAlternativeScenario.pdf

    Nobody will be denied proper, adequate medical care.

    Your definition of “proper and adequate” might fall in line with the “just take a pain pill” attitude of 0bama’s death panel – aka Independent Payment Advisory Board – but I can’t find it in my dictionary.

    The fact is that 0bamacare, through its use of central planning, emphasizes government control. 0bamacare empowers a panel of 15 unelected government officials – the Independent Payment Advisory Board – to make changes to the Medicare program that will reduce Medicare spending: primarily paying doctors and hospitals less. But hospitals and doctors are already feeling the pinch of the 30% rate reductions mentioned in the above HHS report. Estimates are approximately 50% of hospitals nationwide are operating in the red – largely because of Medicare non-reimbursement, or reimbursement reduced to unsustainable levels.

    Thus, fewer doctors willing to take on, or keep Medicare patients, and more out-of-pocket compensation required to retain good quality care – not to mention pay for certain “unnecessary tests, procedures and treatments”. about which experts agree (LMAO, )”.

    “Unnecessary tests, procedures and treatments about which experts agree”? LMAO, what people???? Death panels???? Yeah, pub, these unspecified items are ALL “unnecessary”… until YOU need them.

  25. LeePHill says:

    short and to the point?

    Oh well….

    “According to the Obama administation the $719 billion removed from medicare funding will be used to partially pay for the Affordable Care Act….”

    As usual, the Obama Administration is being misquoted….again

    As to the Palinism “Death Panels” (don’t let her speak, but quote her), what do you think “policy limits” in private insurance are?

  26. Policy limits are established in the policy – not the premium. In the vast majority of instances, you know what’s covered/ for how much and what’s covered not before you need the “test, procedure, or treatment”. No one’s sitting in a dark smoke-filled room deciding whether you even get the “test, procedure, or treatment” – never mind how much, if any, will be reimbursed to the doctor or hospital.

    Anyway, in your usual apples-to-oranges fashion, you’re conflating private insurance and Medicare.

    Please try to stay on-topic.

  27. Should read:

    “In the vast majority of instances, you know what’s covered/ for how much and what’s not covered before you need the “test, procedure, or treatment”.”

  28. menopaws says:

    ClamatO—One million $$$$ lifetime cap…If you are 55 and get cancer, you could hit that cap within 2 years and still have time to wait before you are eligible for Medicare……8 years in fact. So, please tell us your solution to that…And, by the way, that million $$$ is not exaggerated. I had a family member with kidney cancer who fought long and hard and was $10,000 away from that cap on his policy when he died. You are full of criticism. Now, how about a solution to the problem I presented you with…..Get rid of Obamacare, this patient is uninsurable anywhere else, still has cancer and has 8 years before he qualifies for Medicare…….Tell me how he gets care and stays alive………All this bluster—let’s get a clear answer to a real problem faced by many every damn day in this country…….Put up–shut up……We await your solution.

  29. ClamatO—One million $$$$ lifetime cap…

    Uhmmm… 0bamacare? LOL.

    Seriously, meno, I have no clue what the hell you’re talking about. Care to elaborate?

    Put up–shut up……We await your solution.

    Indeed.

  30. here are multiple errors and misrepresentations in Niall Ferguson’s cover story in Newsweek – I guess they don’t do fact-checking – but this is the one that jumped out at me. Ferguson says:

    The president pledged that health-care reform would not add a cent to the deficit. But the CBO and the Joint Committee on Taxation now estimate that the insurance-coverage provisions of the ACA will have a net cost of close to $1.2 trillion over the 2012-22 period.

    Readers are no doubt meant to interpret this as saying that CBO found that the Act will increase the deficit. But anyone who actually read, or even skimmed, the CBO report (pdf) knows that it found that the ACA would reduce, not increase, the deficit – because the insurance subsidies were fully paid for.

    Now, people on the right like to argue that the CBO was wrong. But that’s not the argument Ferguson is making – he is deliberately misleading readers, conveying the impression that the CBO had actually rejected Obama’s claim that health reform is deficit-neutral, when in fact the opposite is true.

    http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/13047-newsweek-obama-attack-draws-intense-fire

  31. LOL, bB, I think Ferguson himself sums up Krugman’s lame rebuttal of his Newsweek piece best in his (Ferguson’s) rebuttal of Krugman:

    You know you have hit the target when Paul Krugman takes time out from his hiking holiday to accuse you of “multiple errors and misrepresentations” … but can only come up with one truly feeble objection.

    Talk about a weak and misleading header.

    Here’s the rest of Ferguson’s reply:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/20/newsweek-cover-rebuttal-paul-krugman-is-wrong.html

  32. I’m guessing you haven’t seen the article commenting upon Ferguson’s “embarrassing” defense which was, essentially, “my critique of Obama was intentionally obtuse and misleading”.

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