Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Is Medicare in a debt crisis? Does Medicare need to be reformed?

Medicare is a social program that pays for the health care and prescription drugs of seniors. Forbes magazine explains the basic facts of the Medicare funding situation.

First, the facts:

Often lost in the campaign rhetoric and obscured by the opinionated news dominating the television and print media are the following background facts about Medicare, America’s most burdensome entitlement program given both the demographics and the growth expected in health care costs:

• Medicare is a taxpayer funded, government-run insurance program that is financially unsustainable in its current form. By all estimates, Medicare is spiraling into bankruptcy, with an unfunded liability of almost $38 trillion and a hospital insurance trust fund that will become insolvent in 2024, according to the 2012 Medicare Trustees Report.

• Medicare was already the single insurance program most likely to reject a claim, compared to all of the eight comparable private insurance plans studied in the AMA 2008 National Health Insurance Report Card. This rejection rate was double that of the private insurers’ average – those very same insurance companies vilified by President Obama as denying coverage to Americans.

• An increasing proportion of doctors are already not accepting Medicare patients. A 2008 report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent federal panel, said that 29 percent of its beneficiaries who were looking for a primary care doctor had a problem finding one. A 2008 survey by the Texas Medical Association that found that only 58 percent of the state’s doctors accepted new Medicare patients, and only 38 percent of primary care doctors did, a number shrinking due to government- decreed payment that is lower than cost. In the 2008 HSC national tracking survey, more than 20 percent of primary care doctors accepted no new Medicare patients (only 4.5 percent accepted no new privately insured patients) and about 40 percent of primary care doctors and 20 percent of specialists refused most new Medicare patients.

The rest of the article compares the Obama and Ryan plans for reforming Medicare.

Here’s a snippet:

President Obama’s plan for Medicare will not simply reduce access to doctors. According to the Medicare Trustees, Medicare payment reductions under the new law will cause hospitals, nursing facilities, and home health agencies to operate at a loss – 15 percent lose money by 2019, 25 percent by 2030, and 40 percent by 2050. The Trustees Report concluded the obvious – health care providers “would have to withdraw from serving Medicare beneficiaries, or shift substantial portions of Medicare costs to their non-Medicare, non-Medicaid payers.” Can American families with private insurance who already pay almost $1,800 per year – extra – for the underpayment by Medicare and Medicaid, subsidizing public insurance by more than $88 billion dollars per year, afford to add even more because of the president’s law?

Signed into law by President Obama is another nefarious method of reducing Medicare payments. A wholly unaccountable, government appointed 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board, the IPAB, does not just “recommend” changes to reimbursements. It has unprecedented power to reduce (but not to increase) payments to doctors that the Secretary of Health and Human Services is required to implement. To be sure, the IPAB acts independently of the people, immune from Congressional oversight, and even beyond control of the judiciary – ensured in language within the law that isolates it from repeal.

The Paul Ryan plan changes nothing about Medicare for Americans 55 and older. Those who are younger than 55 will be given the option of choosing a private plan and then paying for it with a voucher provided by the government.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Paul Ryan talks about the looming American debt crisis

Whenever I feel sad about how inflation is devaluing my roll0ver IRA, it makes me feel better to listen to Paul Ryan.

To see what Paul Ryan is concerned about, you can see the charts of the federal budget here.

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Republican Allen West debates economic policy on Fox News Sunday

From Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.

Here’s the transcript.

Excerpt:

WALLACE: Congressman West, as we saw in the special election up in New York state this week, where the Democrat beat the Republican and Medicare was a big issue, as we see in the national polls a lot of people, especially seniors, don’t want to see Medicare changed this way.

WEST: Well, I think when you look at Paul Ryan’s plan, first of all, there is no change for anyone who is a senior 55 years and above. But as I sit here right now, I’m 50 years of age. And we already know that the board of trustee has said, you got 13 years and something very bad is going to happen with Medicare. So, what is going to be there for myself when I get 63 to 65?

So, I think the thing that we see is at least there’s a plan out there to try to have some type of reform.

And there was a great article by Mr. Stanley Druckenmiller in The Wall Street Journal back in the 15th of May that talked about the fact that the financial markets, a lot of these, you know, bond markets are looking to see: are we going to have some type of long- term viable solution and plan as we go forward?

WALLACE: But let me pick up on that, Congressman Edwards, because the knock against the Democrats is you don’t have a plan, that congressional Democrats didn’t pass a budget last year. Senate Democrats aren’t offering a budget this year — President Obama talks having an independent panel of medical experts who are going to find $20 billion of cuts somewhere. At least they’ve got a plan.

EDWARDS: Well, I think it’s not true that we don’t have a plan. And, in fact, when we passed the Affordable Care Act last year, we put in some real markers for Medicare that in fact reduced Medicare costs. We invested in preventive care for seniors because we know that the real drivers of Medicare are these long-term costs for chronic care that happens at the — you know, at the end of life.

You know, Republicans are very interesting because in their budget what they would do is repeal preventive care. Prescription drug coverage — we also closed the donut hole there, which is costing seniors a boatload of money and is not very efficient on the system.

So, to say that Democrats don’t have a plan I think is incorrect. I mean, in fact, the plan is to preserve and protect Medicare for future generations. And Republicans want to dismantle that.

WEST: Yes, but I think as you sit here and look at the two of us, one of us has voted to cut Medicare. When you look at the fact you voted for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which had $500 million of cuts of Medicare. And we also have this independent payment advisory board, these 15 bureaucrats, that are supposed to control the cost of Medicare. I mean, that’s something that really does scare seniors.

What we are talking is something that does not affect any senior, anyone 55 years and above. We’re talking about something that does put in some type of viable plan to sustain Medicare for the future, because as we know, it was put out three weeks ago, it won’t be there.

EDWARDS: Well, the congressman thinks the seniors are only interested in what’s good for them. And what we know about seniors, whether they’re in south Florida or in Maryland, is that they actually care about what happens with that next generation. They care about whether we’re going to cover preventive care and prescription drug.

WEST: But if you don’t have a plan, there is nothing for the next generation.

EDWARDS: And that they are — and that they are not sent in the private market to negotiate with insurance companies. We know that that would be a failure. And that’s exactly what the Republican plan calls for. I can’t negotiate on –

WALLACE: Let me move on to another thing, because the biggest difference, it seems to me, looking at your two positions on how to deal with the deficit is over taxes.

Congresswoman Edwards, you have a big plan to increase revenues. And let’s put it up on the screen. You would raise tax rates for the wealthy. You would raise the estate tax. You would tax capital gains and dividend as ordinary income and you would end tax subsidies for oil and gas companies.

So, raise taxes in the middle of a weak recovery?

EDWARDS: Well, let’s be clear — raise tax on the wealthiest 2 percent who have run away with the store for the last 10 years and haven’t put money back into the economy. I mean, that’s a fact, because if that trickle-down theory had worked, our economy would be in good shape right now.

And so, we do — I do subscribe to a plan that says, you know what? Middle income earners, you’ve already shared a fair burden of your taxes. But the wealthiest 2 percent have not.

And there’s no excuse whatsoever for continuing taxes for people who make over $500,000 a year.

WALLACE: Congressman West, you got something there?

WEST: Yes. I got a very interesting article which was written on the 26th of May by Steven Moore for The Wall Street Journal that talks about — we are talking about a 62 percent top tax rate and the absolutely abysmal effects that it will have on this economy.

And one of the great things he says here is, in the end, “The Tax Foundation recently noted that in 2009, U.S. collected a higher share of income and payroll taxes, 45 percent, from the richest 10 percent of tax files than any other nation, including some such socialist welfare states.”

So, I think that we are already getting a lot of the juice from those top brackets. But go back and look at history, Donna, when we looked at Coolidge and Harding. It took those marginal tax rates down to 29 percent. And the percentage of revenues for GDP grew. But after them came Hoover and Roosevelt who took it from 24 percent up to 83 percent, and the percentage of revenues decreased. Even John F. Kennedy, when he came in and saw a 91 percent marginal tax rate said that was too high. He took it down to 71 percent.

He seems to have all the facts and figures at his fingertips! Just like William Lane Craig, except he’s a former Army Lt. Colonel.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bill Whittle scores the Obama presidency at half-time

This is pretty good.

Here are the promises that Obama made when he was running for president:

  1. Roll back the Bush tax cuts
  2. Repeal the PATRIOT Act
  3. Pass cap-and-trade legislation
  4. Pass an amnesty bill for illegal immigrants
  5. Close the Guantanamo Bay prison
  6. Provide civilian trials for terrorists
  7. Sign the pro-abortion “Freedom of Choice Act”
  8. End warrantless wire-tapping
  9. Limit the influence of lobbyists in Washington
  10. Cut income tax rates for seniors

So how did he do so far? He had the House, the Senate and the Presidency.

 

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Washington Post: Democrat health care reform bill would reduce senior care

Story here from the left-wing WaPo.

Excerpt:

A plan to slash more than $500 billion from future Medicare spending — one of the biggest sources of funding for President Obama’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health-care system — would sharply reduce benefits for some senior citizens and could jeopardize access to care for millions of others, according to a government evaluation released Saturday.

[...]…the report questions whether the country’s network of doctors and hospitals would be able to cope with the effects of a reform package expected to add more than 30 million people to the ranks of the insured, many of them through Medicaid, the public health program for the poor.

In the face of greatly increased demand for services, providers are likely to charge higher fees or take patients with better-paying private insurance over Medicaid recipients, “exacerbating existing access problems” in that program, according to the report from Richard S. Foster of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

[...]The report offers the clearest and most authoritative assessment to date of the effect that Democratic health reform proposals would have on Medicare and Medicaid, the nation’s largest public health programs.

Seniors voted 53 to 45 in favor of McCain over Obama.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wintery Tweets

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

RSS Intelligent Design podcast

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Evolution News

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 4,503,769 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,155 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,155 other followers

%d bloggers like this: