Today's Washington Post Health section had a revealing article that helps to get past the rhetoric about Medicare, Medicare expenditures, and Medicare recipients. I encourage everyone to read it.
Did you know that 47% of Medicare recipients live at or below 200% of the poverty line, an income of $21,780 for an individual or $29,420 for a couple. Those 47% spend on average a mind-boggling one-fourth of their total income on health care.
The Ryan plan would more than double the average out-of-pocket spending of these seniors.
Did you know that only 5% of Medicare recipients have a family income above $80,000?
The Post article profiles a still-working 74-year-old whose total monthly income (from Social Security) is $1450. (Hmmm, that's more than I'm projected to get...)
She has serious arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Her Medicare and Medicare supplement insurance costs her one-fifth of her income every month. As a result, at 74 she is still working at her social service job four days a week. So much for the myth of a plush retirement.
The problem now is that the Republicans (and evidently President Obama) think that, of all our national expenditures, she is the best place to find money to cut the deficit, just when funding for her job has expired. More below the fold.
So here is this woman who has worked to care for others for her entire career. She worked her way through college at night. The Republicans think she is a drain on our society and we need to cut her off the national teat. These are the Congressional Republicans who have to have a private barbershop and a private subway system and who vote themselves raises.
It's disgusting, isn't it?
We truly are facing a national challenge as to whether our best use of federal funds is to buy more tankers and bombers and guns and oil subsidies or to care for children and the sick and elderly.
Mr. Obama and Mr. Boehner, Mr. McConnell and Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi, and (God bless me) Mr. Cantor and Mr. Ryan: The reality is that 64% of Medicare recipients make less than $30,000.
These people are at the end of their rope, for the most part. It is your obligation, and the wish of a majority of the people of this nation, that you don't just hand them enough to hang themselves.
Thanks to the Washington Post for an article that really should have been on the front page this week, not buried in the Health section.