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Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:51 AM

Is Medicare worth saving?

Or will "Obamacare" replace it?

We know that the program has a shortfall in revenue. But it is a matter of priority. We can fund it or we can de-fund it? The choice is ours.

Can Medicare be fixed? How difficult would it be to fix it? What takes its place if we negotiate it away? How much of the Democratic Party dies when Medicare dies?

Are these questions disturbing or do we think it is not in the line of fire?

67 replies, 3989 views

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Arrow 67 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is Medicare worth saving? (Original post)
kentuck Nov 2012 OP
leftstreet Nov 2012 #1
kentuck Nov 2012 #2
leftstreet Nov 2012 #4
kentuck Nov 2012 #5
leftstreet Nov 2012 #6
kentuck Nov 2012 #8
leftstreet Nov 2012 #9
kentuck Nov 2012 #16
Iggo Nov 2012 #56
lalalu Nov 2012 #12
kentuck Nov 2012 #17
lalalu Nov 2012 #21
dkf Nov 2012 #14
lalalu Nov 2012 #22
dkf Nov 2012 #24
lalalu Nov 2012 #25
dkf Nov 2012 #45
lalalu Nov 2012 #58
dkf Nov 2012 #59
lalalu Nov 2012 #60
dkf Nov 2012 #65
lalalu Nov 2012 #66
dkf Nov 2012 #67
SheilaT Nov 2012 #26
lalalu Nov 2012 #28
dkf Nov 2012 #46
RebelOne Nov 2012 #34
lalalu Nov 2012 #37
jeff47 Nov 2012 #33
lalalu Nov 2012 #38
jeff47 Nov 2012 #44
lalalu Nov 2012 #57
jeff47 Nov 2012 #63
lalalu Nov 2012 #64
NCTraveler Nov 2012 #55
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #30
cbayer Nov 2012 #3
dkf Nov 2012 #7
lalalu Nov 2012 #10
former-republican Nov 2012 #15
former-republican Nov 2012 #20
lalalu Nov 2012 #23
former-republican Nov 2012 #11
closeupready Nov 2012 #13
kentuck Nov 2012 #18
Proud Liberal Dem Nov 2012 #19
former-republican Nov 2012 #29
Proud Liberal Dem Nov 2012 #36
SheilaT Nov 2012 #27
glowing Nov 2012 #31
dchill Nov 2012 #51
Egalitarian Thug Nov 2012 #32
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #35
CreekDog Nov 2012 #61
bluestate10 Nov 2012 #39
lunatica Nov 2012 #40
dmr Nov 2012 #41
Cleita Nov 2012 #43
Cleita Nov 2012 #42
karynnj Nov 2012 #47
loyalsister Nov 2012 #48
B Calm Nov 2012 #49
hrmjustin Nov 2012 #50
David Zephyr Nov 2012 #52
Angry Dragon Nov 2012 #53
brokechris Nov 2012 #54
TheKentuckian Nov 2012 #62

Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:52 AM

1. Prove your assertion

We know that the program has a shortfall in revenue

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:54 AM

2. I think it is common knowledge...

That Social Security is OK financially but that Medicare is running a huge deficit? I have heard that on every network and read it in every newspaper. Do you have other information to disprove that?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:57 AM

4. I heard on every tv that Iraq had WMD

You can google Medicare and solvency and pick through the links for truth

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #4)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:58 AM

5. Can you find one?

That says Medicare is solvent and in good shape? Just one?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:00 PM

6. You first. You made the assertion n/t

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:01 PM

8. You are the one disputing it.

It is up to you to prove it wrong. Get to work.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #8)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:06 PM

9. Jesus

Can you at least link to the tv shows and newspaper articles?

Or maybe describe, to the best of your ability, the programs you watched or the papers you read where you gained this 'common knowledge?' How do we know you didn't see this on FOX, a highly suspicious source?

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #9)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:11 PM

16. All of them.

I don't have the time to waste on your nonsense.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:39 AM

56. Nice post, Sarah Palin.

"All of them"?

Really?

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Response to lalalu (Reply #12)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:13 PM

17. Thanks!

That is info that we all need during this debate. So, the question is, are we ready to put Medicare on the chopping block?

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Response to kentuck (Reply #17)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:26 PM

21. There is no need to and it won't happen.

 

It is as popular as social security. If anything I see Medicare being expanded and improved. This is why I believe republican governors throwing tantrums can be good. It opens the door to offering federal programs like Medicare.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #5)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:08 PM

14. Only Medicare Part A - hospital has a fund. That will become insolvent in 2024.

 

Parts B - doctors and D - drugs have no trust fund and are majority funded by income taxes with only 25% funding by medicare user premiums.

If 47% of taxpayers do not pay income taxes, they are not funding medicare part B or D til they receive it and pay the minimal premium cost. Medicare has a direct impact on the federal budget and the deficit. You could say medicare part b and d is being funded by the Chinese and Japanese.

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Response to dkf (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:30 PM

22. "If 47% of taxpayers do not pay income taxes"

 

Here we go with the 47% again. A lot of those 47% people are seniors who produced a surplus social security fund that could and should have been used to fund Medicare. Instead it was used for other federal budgets and never put back. Many of those 47% people had their money misappropriated by congress. They aren't getting a damn thing from China or Japan.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #22)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 01:58 PM

24. Excess social security receipts are what is represented by the trust fund

 

Realistically yes it was all spent ages ago. But theoretically it exists in the SS trust fund which is now using those trust funds as receipts no longer exceed outlays.

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Response to dkf (Reply #24)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:00 PM

25. "yes it was all spent ages ago"

 

Then return the excess that was spent and there won't be any problems.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #25)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 10:43 PM

45. The excess is the SS trust fund.

 

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Response to dkf (Reply #45)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 10:11 AM

58. And where did the excess go?

 

What part of the excess should have gone to Medicare don't you get? Instead it was used by congress for other things. It seems everyone ties social security and medicare together any other time. Yet when it comes to saying excess funds from social security could have been used for medicare all of a sudden everyone pretends they are soooo far apart.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #58)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 12:49 PM

59. The excess is also the Medicare part a trust fund.

 

Last edited Thu Nov 29, 2012, 05:46 PM - Edit history (2)

The date when the funds are insolvent is the date when the excess funds have been used by participants.

The thing is in the future the payroll taxes coming in won't cover the payments going out. The trust funds were funded to provide for those gaps. Upon expiration congress will either need to increase payroll taxes or cut benefits or use funding from the general fund which is already $16 trillion in debt.

This is also why the general deficit has future implications. It may not provide any flexibility to curb the cuts when the funds expire. When social security runs out of its trust funds, benefits need to fall by 25% or payroll taxes will need to be increased every few years.

They can also raise the cap but that would mean higher payouts when those folks retire. It might not sit well if we see some receiving million dollar social security paychecks.

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Response to dkf (Reply #59)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 01:43 PM

60. No, the excess funds were not used by recipients. That's the lie.

 

Congress took those excess funds to finance other programs and tax cuts. If the excess funds had been left alone they could have been used for the so called gap.

Payroll taxes won't cover temporarily because many boomers are retiring. The fact people miss is that when baby boomers started entering the workforce decades ago they generated a huge surplus because there were way less retirees than working boomers. That continued to be the case for decades and congress put their greedy paws on the funds.

The money did not go to recipients because payroll taxes from boomer more than paid for retirees at the time and generated excess. The solution is simple. Congress needs to replace every dime they took that was not used for social security or Medicare. Stop the lies and blaming retirees.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #60)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 01:49 AM

65. Already receipts are not enough for benefits. If there were no trust fund they would have to cut

 

Benefits Or raise taxes.

The entire benefit gets paid now because of those trust funds.

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Response to dkf (Reply #65)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 10:43 AM

66. I have explained this to you several times.

 

If you want to continue believing the lies then do so. Most people know the truth as the election has proven.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #66)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 09:40 PM

67. If those funds were already spent how is it the total benefits are being paid?

 

Here is the trustees report:

http://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/index.html

Here are the relevant numbers:

482.4 in payroll taxes
87.8 in general fund reimbursements for the payroll tax holiday
22.2 in taxes on benefits.
For a total of 592.4 billion

Now if the trust fund did not exist there would not be the interest paid on this trust fund of 106.5.

Then the fund would not have been able to cover the 603.8 in benefits.

So without interest on the fund the receipts are 592.4 so it would be short funds to pay the 603.8 expenditures.

So the fund does exist and allows the payout as promised. Of course the fund is an IOU from the general fund which is kind of a joke but it does exist.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #22)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:03 PM

26. Umm, if you pay payroll taxes, you're paying into Medicare.

A very large portion of that 47% are paying payroll taxes.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #26)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:05 PM

28. So where did I say anything else?

 

I clearly stated that many of the 47% not only contributed but they created a surplus that was stolen by congress. A surplus that could have been used for Medicare instead of other budgets.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #26)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 10:45 PM

46. Payroll taxes only pay for Medicare A, hospitals, not doctors or drugs.

 

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Response to lalalu (Reply #22)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 04:25 PM

34. I am on Social Security and paid into it for over 50 years.

And I also paid income tax, so I deserve SS and Medicare.

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Response to RebelOne (Reply #34)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:03 PM

37. Exactly

 

and you are one of many who actually helped to create surplus social security funds which should have been used for Social Security and Medicare only. Instead congress took the excess for other things and now have the nerve to blame recipients. It is unbelievable how some people fall for this crap.

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Response to dkf (Reply #14)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 04:17 PM

33. Wow are you wrong

Only Medicare Part A - hospital has a fund.

/headdesk

http://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11396.pdf

There are two medicare funds. B and D are funded by the second one.

That will become insolvent in 2024.

/headdesk

Only if you believe medical costs will continue to grow so that they consume more than 40% of our GDP by then.

I have a very hard time believing that will happen.

You could say medicare part b and d is being funded by the Chinese and Japanese.

/headdesk

Who actually buys our debt? We do. The vast majority of US debt is owed to US people, US corporations and other US entities. We don't have to sell our debt only to other countries.

China is the largest non-US holder of US debt, but their share is small and dropping - China only bought US debt to shore up the Dollar vs. the Yuan so that "cheap Chinese goods" would remain cheap. But that's like stopping the flow of a river by using a bucket to carry the water back uphill. Eventually, there's too much water to keep up. So China's no longer buying massive amounts of US debt.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #33)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:08 PM

38. There is also the fact that American coporations

 

not paying taxes were allowed to invest their money in China. I think it is strange how all of a sudden China had so much money in their banks. They went from a country where many of their citizens were close to starving to everyone had fat bank accounts.

I still believe American corporations funneled money to Chinese leaders in exchange for cheap labor and zero regulations. The money we borrow from China is just tax money corporations should have been paying in the first place.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #38)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 08:00 PM

44. China has their own currency and own their banks

Their banks have as much or as little cash as the Chinese government wants. If they want more, they just print more money.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #44)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 10:06 AM

57. Duh, of course they have their own banks and currency.

 

You think their banks only get money from Chinese people? I bet you think American banks only get money from Americans. You probably also think wealthy Americans and corporations only put their money in American banks.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #57)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:45 PM

63. There are two verbs in that subject. You missed the second.

1) China has it's own currency.
2) The Chinese government owns all of the Chinese banks.

You were claiming the money going into Chinese banks must come from outside investment. My point is the money can easily come from the government's printing presses.

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Response to jeff47 (Reply #63)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 04:07 PM

64. Yes but I don't believe that is where the money came from.

 

China was suddenly flush with money at the same time multinational corporations were moving to their shores. Too much of a coincidence. Chinese workers were making even less than they are now and yet supposedly had huge bank accounts?

I agree China can just print money and are actually engaging in shady bank practices now. That is because their sudden growth was built on a lie, outsourcing is not working as well as imagined, there is growing social unrest, and they are stuck with a massive amount of unsold goods many of their own workers can't afford.

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 09:15 AM

55. And we crushed Iraq. nt.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #2)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:11 PM

30. Medicare is running a huge deficit? what?

 

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:56 AM

3. IMO, Medicare is currently undergoing a renovation that will lead to single payer.

There is no point in starting from scratch when it provides a decent enough framework for a universal, single payer system.

There have already been significant gains in eliminating some of the fiscal nightmares including over-utilization, lack of oversight, fraud, abuse and lack of evidence based protocols for care.

I think this has been the plan all along and why Dr. Donald Berwick was initially named the CMMS director. It is truly a tragedy that the congress failed to officially appoint him, but he is hopefully still in a direct advisory role.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:00 PM

7. Neither of those controls cost of care enough.

 

Bah we have to wait for the finances of the Federal Government to be consumed and collapsed by health care costs in order to do something.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:06 PM

10. Medicare is fine and a great program.

 

In fact we would be wise to set up Medicare as an exchange and open it to more people.

If we pump billions into nation building foreign countries and making private paramilitary groups flush with cash then we can add a few billion to Medicare. Bring the troops home, tax offshore accounts, eliminate the cap on social security, and open Medicare to healthy young adults. There will be enough for Medicare and even some spare change.

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Response to lalalu (Reply #10)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:10 PM

15. only a libertarian President would ever do that

 

"If we pump billions into nation building foreign countries"


No democrat or republican President is going to stop foreign aid.

Or nation building.

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Response to former-republican (Reply #20)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:31 PM

23. Agree

 

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:08 PM

13. Not only worth saving, but strengthening.

K&R

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Response to closeupready (Reply #13)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:16 PM

18. Bingo!

And that should be the message of our Democratic Party. We should accept nothing less. Anything less is a betrayal.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 12:17 PM

19. I don't know exactly what the status of Medicare is

but it does make me think that integrating it somehow restructuring and integrating it with ACA might not be a bad idea- perhaps it can become the "public option" that we wanted- for the elderly as it is now at first and, over time, can be expanded into single payer.

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Response to Proud Liberal Dem (Reply #19)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:09 PM

29. That would be giving Medicare entirely over to private medical insurance

 

That sounds more like Ryan's plan of vouchers.

I don't like it.

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Response to former-republican (Reply #29)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:02 PM

36. That's not what I was suggesting

n/t

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:04 PM

27. Medicare is not only worth saving, but needs to be expanded,

probably over a period of time, to everyone. Everyone should have basic coverage. There need to be "buy-up plans" such as I have through my employer, for those who want or need or can afford more.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:15 PM

31. Make Medicare for all. Cut down the costs on becoming

health professionals in the first place, and with a systematic wholesome approach to nutrition, Drs, etc, we would create a much healthier society in general... And that would cut down costs very much.

But there's a lot of monied hands in the business of health care and I believe that is a bit immoral on the other hand, cutting edge technology and keeping population well, should be rewarded.

Medicare should be for all! The young healthy workers would pay for the older people who are retired or more costly, knowing that its there for us young ins when we are older.

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Response to glowing (Reply #31)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:55 PM

51. Yes. This is what must be done.

Younger, healthier participants will lower costs. It's the perfect "public option."

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 03:19 PM

32. Of course it is. We do need to make some changes that makes the rampant fraud

 

much harder, and part 'D' needs to be dramatically changed or scrapped, but overall it is a great program.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 05:49 PM

35. I hope so.

It's the only chance I have at health care . . . in 8 years. Obamacare is going to fuck me over real good having to pay out money I don't have for for-profit insurance that won't cover me for anything. I know I can't wait.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #35)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:04 PM

61. if you don't have any money, then Obamacare will pay for your premiums or provide Medicaid

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:10 PM

39. Yes. It has been a cost efficient use of national resources. nt

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:11 PM

40. It made the end of my mother's life much better

It covered Home Hospice. She died in the comfort and quiet security and serenity of her own home. Surrounded by love, even from the pets who she loved.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:43 PM

41. Social Security deducts monthly premiums for both Medicare and prescriptions.

So, not only is it financed by a portion of payroll taxes/employers, recipients also help finance it. I forget how much I pay monthly, I do know it's well over 100 dollars.

I point this out because it's not like we are getting something for nothing. We do pay into our health coverage.

I've Stage IV Breast Cancer, Medicare is keeping me alive.

The prescription drug co-pay coverage is increasing in January. For a drug I now pay a 9 dollar co-pay it's increasing to 44 dollars. My cancer drug is increasing to 90 dollars, a 50 dollar increase.

It's going to present a hardship, but without it, I'd be dead real soon. :sigh:

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Response to dmr (Reply #41)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 07:55 PM

43. Thanks for bringing this up.

I get $120 deducted from my SS and then I have to pay an additional $190.00 for a supplemental private insurance. So no matter what anyone thinks. It's not free.

I'm sorry to hear that you are so sick. I hope you get better.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 06:49 PM

42. Wash your mouth out with bleach.

There is nothing wrong with Medicare that can't be fixed with three steps:

Make Medicare Part D stop being a candy store for Big PhRMA and allow Medicare to barter for drugs like the VA does.

Get rid of the Medicare Advantage programs that are candy stores for private insurance companies. Offer a supplement to be administered by Medicare and which will be cheaper altogether than what people get from the advantage programs.

Lift the FICA cap on rich people and fix both Medicare and Social Security at the same time.

It is my hope that in time Medicare will replace Obamacare, which could run into fiscal problems down the line.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 10:54 PM

47. Ryan pushed replacing Medicare with voucher care - and said the plan was like Obama care

The facts are:
- Medicare is a single payer plan with overhead of about 2%
- The alternative plans the voucher could be used for have about 20% overhead because they need to advertise and make a profit.

Now, consider what happens if you spend the SAME money on the two. Which has more money going to medical costs? It is simple math - the single payer plan.

Now, consider they are speaking of this as a solution that spends LESS money - meaning that in reality either people get less care or the cost is shifted to them.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:00 PM

48. Not replace

But I think there may be an opportunity to combine the best parts of ACA and Medicare to build a better, stronger plan.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:29 PM

49. Replace with national health care for all!, and tax the rich

to pay for it!

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:32 PM

50. Yes it is worth saving. My parents can see a doctor because of it.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Wed Nov 28, 2012, 11:56 PM

52. Yes. And expanding to all Americans.

K&R.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 12:49 AM

53. Single Payer

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:29 AM

54. it has to be saved because as far as

I know it is harder than hell to get health insurance when you are over 65 and very expensive to pay for it if you could get it. So Medicare is the only option for Seniors. (This is what I have learned from reading--I would love to hear from actual Seniors who could tell me if they have private health insurance and what it costs).

It is also a promise to our Seniors that we can't just renege on.

One thing I am very curious about--and hopefully someone will know. ACA says insurers can't discriminate against pre existing conditions--but can they still discriminate based on age? (i.e. dropping people just because they get old--even if they want to keep their insurance?) Because if they can do this---we need to fix that.

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Response to kentuck (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 02:18 PM

62. Kinda but I think we should actually expand Tricare to the nation the more I think on it.

Failing that, expand Medicare to all, failing that then absolutely.

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