For What It’s Worth….
Here are some compromise solutions that Congress is ignoring. Obviously, congressional Republicans are resisting any solution that the administration might claim credit for during the next election cycle. Regardless, here are some ideas that we can push for.
Medicare and Medicaid are major issues. Unfortunately they are dependent upon a clear and rational health care program. Many of the basic issues are discussed under the topic, Social Security Suggestions.
One basic fact that must be grasped throughout any Medicare discussion is that Health care costs are going up faster than inflation for everyone! It is only reasonable that any insurance program will see premiums rise accordingly.
A second basic fact that must also be grasped is that cutting benefits from Medicare and Medicaid programs will only shift the burden to individuals at a time when they are least capable to shoulder the financial burden.
One of the major financial drains to Medicare is Part D, the medical prescription drugs provisions. Twice now the Republican side of the aisle has killed efforts to allow the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for the best possible price. Once in 2003 and again this last year! These actions have seriously undermined the financial stability of Medicare.
Another threat to these programs are plans to severely reduce payments to care providers. Even though the actual reduction has been delayed for the time being many physicians now decline Medicare patients. Many more have announced that they, too, will drop Medicare patients if/when the reductions are put into effect!
There all also all too many examples where doctors have had billing "quotas" at their hospitals. Some doctors will order MRI's where an x-ray is more than sufficient "just to see what's happening." These examples don't even include blatant abuses like ordering a PAP smear for a terminal 83 year old Medicare cancer patient!
Skyrocketing lawsuits have let to excessive testing is the result of defensive medicine. There are many areas that are losing physicians because of overly liberal malpractice laws and thus malpractice insurance rates are soaring. With decreasing compensation from programs like Medicare and Medicaid physicians are dropping out from accepting those patients or moving their practice to safer regions. Additionally, high risk patients are often referred out to an emergency room to avoid possible liability issues.
Summary: Many, or most, retired persons cannot carry the burden of medical charges without Medicare Part B, Part D and Medigap. Doctors are now and are threatening to withdraw from providing services to Medicare patients. Politicians continue to twist these facts and pander special interests.
Suggestions to Improve Medicare Health Care:
2. Increase the Medicare payroll contribution by at least .25%. These contribution are NOT taxes! They are insurance premiums for future coverage. Like it or not, all insurance premiums are going up. Medicare cannot be an exception. Deal with it!
3. Kill any attempt to substitute a "voucher" system for Medicare coverage. Health care and insurance is a complicated arena. A "voucher" program would leave retirees without any knowledgeable watchdog to prevent abuses and overcharges. There already is a scandalous level of fraud even with federal penalties. It will only get far worse without audits.
4. Increase the penalty for fraud and abuse to include hefty fines, criminal prosecution and even removing their license to practice for repeat offenders. Congress has known about this problem for decades but has failed any serious attempt to attack it.
5. Do not reduce payments to physicians! Guaranteed, if payments are cut even more physicians will refused to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. The costs of care will be shoved off on the elderly!
6. We must prevent any form of rationing health care, especially for the elderly. On the other hand we must also accept that not everyone can expect to receive "Cadillac" care while paying "Chevrolet" premiums.
7. Finally, There are numerous emerging efforts to cut what politicians choose to call "entitlements." If allowed to proliferate unchecked we will be creating an impoverished underclass with few options to control their lives. Our aged community is often isolated with few personal options even now. Alternative options like receiving help from friends, family and their church are totally asinine in today's environment.
Beneath all the political verbiage there are significant, ignored facts and considerations that we need to be aware of. And, this is what Fogcutters is all about.
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Searching for solutions avoided by politicians and activists!
Millions of individuals have paid into Medicare over the years. As currently established, Part A (hospital coverage) is pre-paid by retirees. Part B and Part D and Medigap are additional insurances that retirees can purchase through the government and/or private insurance. Most political leadership acknowledge that this fund is significantly under funded. The political rancor is over increasing the premiums or reducing benefits.
Medicaid: Now, this program is a real mess and a discussion here would be complicated and beyond the scope of this page.
Fraud & Abuses are costing the programs Billions of dollars. Congress "promises" to crack down on fraud -that is part of their cost estimates for the current "Obama Care." See: Examiner.com for a recap.
P.S. So why hasn't Congress already cracked down on fraud? Remember "Past is Prologue."