Thursday, August 11, 2011

Medicare in Peril

 There are times when I am tempted to be kind to my blood pressure and throw up my hands in defeat.  When I mentioned to my daughter that I was considering stopping listening to the news or reading about it she said, "But Mom, we can't give up now.  It's too important."

For my dear daughter I am taking up the cudgel once again and am prepared to fight for the Single Payer Medical System .  Weary though I am, it seems we now have to start with preserving the steps already in place with Obama-care.  The Republicans are determined to do away with it.  ("Can't let that alien in the Oval Office have a success, now can we?.")

Hatred is an ugly word and an uglier emotion, but I am descending into that feeling as I watch the obstructionists in Congress demean and lie about the benefits of Obama-care.  

To do away with health care for all the Republicans are chipping away at it.  I am enclosing a notice on what is afoot now.  Please read it an join me in the battle.   This was published by the organization Medicare For All.

Fact Sheet: Medicare and Medicaid in the Debt Deal

Summary: On August 2nd, 2011, Congress passed a plan to reduce the federal deficit despite grassroots demands across the country to look at ‘Medicare for All’ as a solution to the health and fiscal crisis. The deficit reduction plan implements $900 billion in cuts immediately, mostly to education, defense, and domestic spending. Medicare and Medicaid are not affected in the first round of cuts. However, the rest of the $1.5 trillion in cuts must be determined by the end of the year by the “super committee” and could be included in the next round of cuts. [1]

Super Committee: A twelve member Joint Committee (3 from each party and chamber) tasked with identifying at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction from an undefined baseline and no restrictions on recommendations. Unlike previous committees formed to discuss the deficit, the Super Committee is given unprecedented power to look at cutting any government program.  They must report by November 23rd, 2011 with fast-tracked simple majority and amendment-free vote required in both chambers by December 23rd, 2011.  Failure to report at least $1.2 trillion will “trigger” across-the-board spending cuts sufficient to bring total savings to $1.2 trillion, beginning on January 1st, 2013. [2]

Medicare is subject to across-the-board cuts in the super-committee, and if the trigger is pulled, provider payments will be slashed up to 2 percent. Cuts to providers result in cuts to access to care. Discussions on raising the eligibility age to 67 could be seen on the table again, and/or an additional $500 billion in cuts to Medicare. [3]

Medicaid: This program is subject to cuts by the super-committee. The Republican position, as seen in the Ryan budget, is a devastating 35 percent reduction in the next ten years, even as health costs rise. (However, Medicaid is protected from any cuts if the trigger should go off). [4]

Action: As advocates for improved Medicare-for-all, our advocacy outside of the beltway helped build political opposition to cutting Medicare and Medicaid outright. In the coming months, our work to protect Medicare and Medicaid, while offering a solution to the health and fiscal crisis, remains the highest priority.  Working with allied organizations and Healthcare NOW! affiliates, we can affect the political will to protect these important programs, build the movement for the improved Medicare-for-all solution. Join us at to find out more.



joared said...

Yes, our work is cut out for us. Seems as though it never ends and we the people must educate, inform and defend ourselves more than ever.

Your dedication to research and writing contributes greatly to that effort.

Jack Jodell said...

Medicare for All has been a dream of mine for a very long time too. It is clear the Republicans are far more interested in keeping an unnecessary and already far too bloated insurance industry's profits up rather than to see that ALL people get the best medical care possible at all times.I am glad you have chosen not to surrender to these criminals. Every attempt they make to further strengthen corporations at our expense makes me more determined than ever to defeat them. WE SHALL OVERCOME!!

Joy Des Jardins said...

Thank God you tell it like it is Darlene...and I for one am so appreciative of your efforts to keep us informed. It's a hell of a lot easier reading what you have to say than trying to figure out the 'mumbo-jumbo' coming out of's all so disheartening.

Darlene said...

*Joared - I thought old age was for rocking chairs not war, but it appears we have been chosen to do battle for the next generation. Fight on, Sister.

*Jack Jodell - I know you are a fellow warrior in this battle for Medicare for all. I will try to keep the faith.

*Joy Des Jardins - Thank you for your nice comment.

Hattie said...

I echo what Joy says. And I am very glad at this time in my life that I belong to Kaiser. I never would have said that in the past, but managed care I can count on is a big deal right now.

Darlene said...

*Hattie - Medicare or all. yea!

Lydia said...

I did not realize that it was subject to the Super Committee. I will definitely read up on this and follow your link. Knowing that you have stirred others to be active in the fight will, I sure hope, be good for your blood pressure!

When you write about even small exchanges between you and your daughter I am reminded of such precious times with my mother.

Your profile picture is, truly, one of the most beautiful portrait shots I have seen. It is a treasure of an 86th-year image.

Darlene said...

*Lydia - You do say the nicest things. Thank you.

My daughter is my blessing and I do treasure her. I remember you writing about your mother and the series on her music. I know you miss her terribly.