Medicare reform Part 2

The Paul Ryan budget was I believe fully adopted by the GOP and passed the House on a mostly party line vote with four GOP defecting. Of that aspect of the Ryan budget that I wish to address here, was his desire to “reform” Medicare and basically turn it into a public subsidy where the seniors and the elderly can use it to buy private insurance. Well, there are a few problems with that approach:

  • Many seniors and the elderly already have private insurance.
  • This reminds me of Medicare Part D, where the government was not in a position to negotiate a lower drug price with big Pharma.
  • Ryan doesn’t want Medicare $$$ going to immediately reimburse the doctors who treat the elderly. However, we all know just how much insurance companies don’t care to cover all ailments, procedures, and treatments. Which is why Medicare was initially designed to cover those medical costs that private insurance did not.
  • If the idea is to “save money;” well it was recently reported that insurance companies were raising their premiums. So claimed in a letter to the editor in the Spokesman-Review. Well now, if the fear of Medicare going bankrupt is the going concern in the Ryan budget; that is a sure way to make it go bankrupt. Unless of course, just like the GOP in the Idaho state legislature who can somehow find public money to cover some personal agenda that they somehow “can’t” find to finance public education; Ryan can find the tax dollars to make insurance companies happy on the public dime.
  • Shouldn’t they not add a new layer of some form of bureaucracy between the patient and the doctor? And quite frankly, isn’t this simply an expansion of government?

It really amounts to a political bait and switch.  “Fear” Medicare bankruptcy and put yet another business interest on the public dole.  “Cut” this massive public debt and shift the direction where you will simply “see” it increase.  Insurance companies can demand an annual cost of insurance at a minimum of $2,000.00 annually.  A subsidy “given to seniors” to buy this private insurance, would that subsidy a.) cover the full cost of insurance, b.) or only a portion of the cost of insurance?  Either way, it would make a helluva drain on the federal budget.  Which is why it should be asked; if Medicare is only “threatening” the increase of the federal deficit and also “threatening” to go bankrupt if it reimburses patient and doctor; why does that “threat” not exist if it went to mega-million dollar companies?  I think that we already know the answer to that.  Anything to make the people who contribute heavily to Ryan’s campaign war chest happy, right?

I believe that Rep. Paul Ryan is one of those “TEA Party” politicians.  The guy who claims that he wants to “shrink” government, end the spending.  Uh, from what I can tell; the spending doesn’t exactly “end,” it just gets put in someone else’s pocket.  The government doesn’t actually “shrink,” it just changes focus on who benefits the most.  Which also argues that the “TEA Party” that puts this guy into office must be some truly gullible and trusting types.  Yeah, Ryan’s “budget plan” very boldly states this is actually what he wants to do.  Don’t invest the public dime back into the pockets of those who actually contributed to it to supplement their medical costs, let’s just put it in the pockets of people who have no compunctions at increasing those costs at every turn.  Big Pharma, for Medicare Part D.  And now big insurance for over-all “reform.”

The Democrats went ballistic of course.  Saying much the same thing about “Medicare reform” that the GOP had about the Affordable Health Care Act.  Only, it is a fact that the insurance companies do have a history of looking for ways to get out of covering medical insurance claims.  But I am also quite sure that they would be more than happy to take the public’s money and add to their private profits.  The Democrats do have something of a point to make in that. 

I am nearing retirement age myself.  57 since two days ago this month.  I am one of those people who simply can not afford health insurance, I have contributed to Medicare out of my payroll, as a tax.  I am also one of those people born at the tail end of the World War ll baby boom generation.  And as such, my contributions to Medicare, and placed in a public pool to be drawn on as needed, would also according to the spin doctors, political pundits, and etc. go down the tubes the moment I had to visit a doctor at say the age of 65.  Actually, I haven’t visited one in years, especially when the doctors at one of our immediate care centers decided that my COPD was either a temporary bronchitis or simply post nasal drip.  The antibiotics did not cure the former.  And when you are coughing up wads of foamy phlegm, cough syrup isn’t going to cure the latter.  The reason why they misdiagnosed the problem?  Because they first asked if I smoked at all.  No.  Therefore, it couldn’t possibly be some kind of COPD.  It is almost like being dismissed as nothing more than a hypochondriac.  There’s really nothing wrong with you, we recommend cough syrup for (chest tightness, burning pain in the lungs, strangling cough…)  Uh, no.  I don’t believe that cough syrup will cure that.  Like they say of COPD, those who suffer from it have better days and really bad days.  And my one saving grace is that I walk.  Walking is a helluva lot cheaper than having a doctor take the insurance money and deciding that you don’t have a real problem.  That being the case, how about an insurance company that has no problem taking the public’s money and deciding that the senior who bought the plan can simply go to hell.  Sure there’s been Medicare fraud.  But how well can you account for public money spent on some fly by night operation.  People who scam through the internet, claiming to be a trusted insurance company, and manage very easily to bilk the government of all those subsidies.  Would Rep. Ryan take that into consideration?  Or is he simply too busy trying to satisfy his corporate sponsors?  A “cure” that literally invites more problems than it would solve.

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