December 3, 2016: Sick and tired

Privatization of Medicare. Notice a theme this week?

The Friday after the election, House Speaker Paul Ryan put some perfume on his rode-hard plan for voucherizing Medicare as his “fix” for the ACA. For seven years we’ve been hearing about GOP intentions to “repeal and replace,” with a pretty clear idea of the former and a really foggy notion of the latter. The Hated Chait actually did some form of journalism in New York Magazine last year by creating a listicle in paragraph form laying out the annually deferred promises of a Republican vision of healthcare reform. So, now, we know. But we knew four years ago when The Romney/Ryan ticket put out their plan. Shit, we knew what the endgame was twelve years ago when Bush fucked around with Medicare and gave seniors the gift of the doughnut hole (well, many of us did. I can’t find it right now, but there were reports in 2012 of polling on the Ryan budget plan in which respondents rejected the premises of the questions because they wouldn’t believe that any sane politician would actually propose what Ryan did).

As I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, I am immediately concerned with removing or trimming any one of the ACA’s three legs, because I really like the pre-existing condition clauses (Without coverage for my condition, my medication would cost me nearly $4000 a month). But, since — against all efforts so far — it appears I’ll be alive for my senescence, I was looking forward to not having to have a job until I die, and Medicare was part of that vision. It appears that under the guise of “reforming” the ACA, privatizing Medicare will be saddled to it. So, you know, that’s something I don’t like on principle but also out of self-interest.

So the articles below cover the issues described above, while the last is more focused on a segment of Medicare recipients that are undeniably benefited by its coverage, the people who get ignored in the bloodless and rosy accounts of the future offered up by folks who are — and let’s be clear — arguing that the elderly should be pushed into a marketplace built on inducements to defraud them.

I think tomorrow is about the legal system. I’m hanging out in Houston and may not be lucid enough to peck out an intro for it.

Just Wait'll We Get Through With It!

Medicare Is Not “Bankrupt”

Trustees’ reports have been projecting impending insolvency for four decades, but Medicare has always paid the benefits owed because Presidents and Congresses have taken steps to keep spending and resources in balance in the near term. In contrast to Social Security, which has had no major changes in law since 1983, the rapid evolution of the health care system has required frequent adjustments to Medicare, a pattern that is certain to continue.

Article Link healthcare, law, Medicare, policy, and privatization
Good for (1) cremains urn

A Follow-Up on the Analysis of the Romney-Ryan Medicare Plan

The voucher that the House Republicans passed under Congressman Ryan’s leadership gives seniors less than what Medicare is forecast to cost in future years and would increase less rapidly than Medicare costs are expected to increase.

Article Link Medicare and privatization
Sick program, brah

Privatizing Medicare would create more problems than it solves

A solution frequently suggested by Republican candidates is to privatize Medicare by giving people a voucher worth a few thousand bucks they could use to buy coverage from a private insurer. It can seem like a fine idea until you take the time to figure out how it would actually affect people, young and old alike.

Article Link healthcare, law, Medicare, policy, and privatization
Try Not To Be Poor, Please

Risks for Nursing Home Placement and Medicaid Entry Among Older Medicare Beneficiaries with Physical or Cognitive Impairment

Almost two-thirds of community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries with PCI have three or more chronic conditions. More than one-third of those with PCI have incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level but are not covered by Medicaid; almost half spend 10 percent or more of their incomes out-of-pocket on health care. Nineteen percent of individuals with PCI and high out-of-pocket costs entered Medicaid over 14 years, compared to 10 percent without PCI and low out-of-pocket costs.

Article Link healthcare, Medicaid, Medicare, policy, and privatization