Saturday, December 05, 2009

John Brummett Lies to His Mother

He told her that nothing would happen to her Medicare under the Democrats Health care legislation.

Did he lie to her? Of course he did, even if he can temporarily convince himself otherwise. But don't take my word for it, read the last six paragraphs of this story from yahoo news service. Actually, I will just quote a bit of it below....

Republicans planned to use the sixth day of debate on the bill to offer the third in a series of amendments highlighting the legislation's more than $400 billion in cuts in projected Medicare spending to private insurance companies, hospitals and other providers.

This time Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., will try to eliminate $42 billion in cuts in Medicare payments to home health agencies. The retirees group AARP supports the overall Medicare cuts as getting at inefficiencies and overpayments in the program, so Democrats have political cover to keep them in the bill.

On Friday, Republicans tried to restore $120 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage, the private insurance plan that provides seniors with better benefits than the traditional program.

At the very least the Obama bill will take away her ability to move to a Medicare Advantage plan that likely offers her more benefits for less money than what she has now. By cutting reimbursement rates to providers, it will also make it more difficult for her to find doctors willing to treat her. If rates get low enough then at some point no "provider" will provide it. The Democrats may claim that the benefit itself is not being cut, but that is pure semantics if the reimbursement rates are so low that you can't find a decent doctor willing to work for what the government is willing to pay them.

And of course, if she ever needs a home health agency then she is going to be pinched by the bill, as the article noted.

All of this is separate from the issue of whether or not Medicare can survive in its current form no matter what. It can't. One of the best arguments against nationalized health care is that we can't afford the nationalized health care that we offer just seniors right now, much less pay for it for everybody. That is not a pleasant thing to think about, I wish it were not true. But it is true. John Brummett may lie to his mother, but I won't lie to you.


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