Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Health Care Bits and Pieces

The Government Wants to Kill Senior Citizens

President Obama tried Tuesday to sell his health care plan to older Americans, as members of Congress said they were deluged with calls from constituents worried that their Medicare benefits might be cut to help finance coverage for the uninsured. “Nobody is talking about cutting Medicare benefits,” Mr. Obama said.
A provision of the House bill would provide Medicare coverage for the work of doctors who advise patients on life-sustaining treatment and “end-of-life services,” including hospice care. Conservative groups have seized on this provision … The Family Research Council, for example, said the bill would “limit end-of-life care.”
Rep. John Boehner said, “This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.”
In the department of “We’re finally getting the publics message:”

Some liberal Democrats, like Senator John Rockefeller IV and Debbie Stabenow, expressed reservations about concessions being made by Democrats to keep a few Republicans on board. Rockefeller said he was unhappy that the legislation would end the Children’s Health Insurance Program and could reduce the scope of benefits for 11 million children in the program.
That’s right, Republicans would be happier with a bill that does away with children’s health. And they’re completely comfortable with the way that looks. No constituent push back or outrage. Those are the kind of people we’re dealing with.

Reining in Hand Outs to Insurance companies for Taking Medicare Patients and Wiping out the Donut Whole
In the House, the fiscally conservative Democrats — members of the Blue Dog Coalition — said they were not satisfied with the offers made Monday by the chairman Henry A. Waxman. They drafted a counteroffer. House Democrats said their bill included provisions that would help older Americans. The bill would gradually close a gap in Medicare coverage of prescription drugs known as a doughnut hole. It would eliminate co-payments and deductibles for most preventive services in Medicare and make it easier for low-income people to get help with the cost of their Medicare premiums. The bill would cut more than $160 billion over 10 years from the projected growth of Medicare payments to insurance companies that manage. “We’ll eliminate billions in unwarranted subsidies to insurance— giveaways that boost insurance company profits but don’t make you any healthier,” Mr. Obama told AARP members.
There is the usual threat by the insurance industry, at a time they have some political support. Bad move.
… a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, said that if Congress made those cuts, “beneficiaries would face higher premiums and reductions in benefits, and in some parts of the country, they might lose access to their Medicare Advantage plans.” When Congress cut Medicare payments in the past, he said, insurers withdrew from some counties.

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