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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.

Washington Post: "Tired but Not Retired" by N.C. Aizenman

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.

Originally posted to VA gentlewoman on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 08:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (122+ / 0-)
  •  Jesus Hussein Christ, the Entire Staff Must'v Been (37+ / 0-)

    off thinktanking their Murdoch defense to have let this slip into print.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 08:35:32 PM PDT

  •  Neither my parents nor my in laws (39+ / 0-)

    could have afforded to purchase health insurance under the Ryan plan.  They worked their whole life, raised their children, lived responsibly, and lived on social security in their retirement.  Under the Ryan plan they would have been bankrupt and/or dead.

    "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

    by ahumbleopinion on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 08:37:54 PM PDT

  •  I have always thought it's ridiculous to have a (12+ / 0-)

    metric that describes poor people as having incomes "200% of the poverty line" -- it makes them sound rich, for heaven's sake!

    It seems like a frame of reference Republicans would love, and Democrats should try to change it.

    But then, we wouldn't want to admit that people can work hard, earn some money, and STILL be poor!

  •  "modest" changes (28+ / 0-)

    to Medicare and to Medicaid seem trivial to the millionaires who don't know the price of milk but they are of great importance to the poor who depend upon safety net programs.
    Thanks for this reminder.

    Dr. Aaron Roland is a family physician in Burlingame, CA. Follow him on Twitter @doctoraaron

    by doctoraaron on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 09:10:12 PM PDT

  •  OK it is time for all true Americans to do their (7+ / 0-)

    patriotic duty by burning the Medicare cards and then going ahead and dying, durn moochers.  If you can't work and contribute to the lifestyle of those born into millionaire families, you are useless and should die before you use up more resources that the well connected may want

  •  When talking about retirees, $21k income is not (4+ / 0-)

    quite the same thing as a working person making $21k. A lot of retirees have already paid off their mortgages, and have no kids to support. They only draw what they need from their retirement savings. This is the reason why Medicaid will look at how much assets a retiree has when they determine eligibility.

    Also- let's not confuse the Ryan plan, which is a nonsensical expense cap, with Obama's floater- means-testing for Medicare.  The latter would only increase the  cost on wealthy seniors. As progressives, we could and should support this type of progressive change.

    •  Not a current picture (11+ / 0-)

      A lot depends on whether the retiree is 67 or 87. Those of us who are younger still have mortgages and are paying very high utilities, food bills, medical bills, and of course gas for the car.

      I think I'm not the only one who would work more hours if clients or employers had more work to give us. That means our income is low through no fault of our own, just like the younger people.

      True, a lot of us have older, cheaper mortgages. Our cars are paid off, and if we're lucky our auto insurance costs less. But dental bills aren't covered by Medicare, nor are mental health services. Car repairs are needed to keep those old vehicles safe. We need eyeglasses, and we need to replace our worn-out shoes and kitchen appliances.

      Younger people have their expenses, we have ours.

      Let there be light. Then let there be a cat, a cocktail, and a good book.

      by JG in MD on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 05:01:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Ryan's plan never had a chance, nor do any other extremely draconian plans.

      There are ways to cut without shedding blood, but they're behind the scenes and require a lot of research. It angers me that they're keeping our President busy with these "negotiations" and other nonsense when he could be reviewing staff analyses of the budget and identifying cuts he can make unilaterally. In fact, there are a thouseand things he could be doing in his own methodical way to make our lives better, or at least less bad, but they've got him hogtied.

      Let there be light. Then let there be a cat, a cocktail, and a good book.

      by JG in MD on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 05:06:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why do all you people blandly yak about "how (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gulfgal98, Marie, denise b

        the budget can be cut" and "how there are cuts he can make unilaterally" and how he is so methodical?

        There are two big expense issues as I understand it, and both of them are the War Department, at $1.3 trillion A YEAR, which is, given expectable growth, over $14 trillion over ten years. And on the other side, the basic problem with revenues is the Bush tax cuts on the actual US operating expenses, and in the area of prepaid social insurance, also known as Social Security, there is the FICA "cap," which is really a get-out-of-paying-free card for the higher earners who are already getting all the other goodies out of the national grab bag.

        Stop talking about "what kinds of cuts we can stand, somehow or other, for the common good," and STAND UP to the SOBs on the Wrong side of Everything. Those people do not give one steaming turd for the common good, or the general welfare. It's time to stop playing in their sandbox.

        "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

        by jm214 on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 12:15:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's a big difference .... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      A working person getting $21K/yr has time to better their skills, improve their outlook, absorb and recover from mistakes in the Markets -- in short "a raise" is possible.

      A retiree on $21K/yr is NOT going to see their income go UP ... though with inflation and poor portfolio performance -- it can very well go DOWN.

      Now "having paid off their mortgages" ... not universally true, but never mind ... there's still real estate taxes and maintenance on the house ... and the insurance ... and the groceries -- and the medical bills

      You may have heard (in TV advertising for Medicare Wrap Around Insurance) that "Medicare doesn't pay for everything."   How true!  Medicare pays 80% of "reasonable and customary" for in-hospital care.  So figure, even a moderate heart attack or stroke from which one recovers generates out-of-pocket expenses of tens of thousands of dollars.

      Now, these "wrap arounds" ... when they're any good ... cost about $5,000/yr -- more like $8,000 with a drug benefit that covers proprietary medicines.

      The point is, while $21k/yr (15% tax bracket) isn't exactly living in a cardboard box and eating out of dumpsters ... but it doesn't include Premium Cable.

      There's a reason movie theaters  and restaurants offer Senior Discounts to fill the empty seats -- and it ain't the kindness of their hearts.

      •  The point is you draw what you need (0+ / 0-)

        You are thinking of seniors living on fixed income, when a lot of them are supplemented by 401k savings. With 401k savings- you only draw what you need when you need it. So a senior living comfortably in his/her own home could very well live on $21k just fine, even when he has $500k in the bank. He doesn't need to draw any extra from that because he doesn't need it.  That is my whole point about seniors and income. When it comes to retirees, you need to state both the income and the savings to give a complete picture.

        •  And how many of those people, whose 401ks were (0+ / 0-)

          demolished by the Great Bubble Crisis, do YOU know, coffee? The ones I know and see as a nurse are a pretty desperate bunch, and I doubt you have numbers to back up your assertions about how relatively comfortably any significant portion of these folks live. Here in FL, many are losing their homes, because either they still carry a bit of a mortgage or cannot afford the taxes and insurance or both. Not to mention the effects of catastrophic health problems, and the need to bankrupt themselves before Medicaid will provide for long term "placement" in one of our horrible "institutions."

          But maybe the idea that floats like a black cloud above many of the comments here is what's best for "America" is for all us older folk to just DIE, and leave whatever we have left of wealth and worldly goods to the next generation who are so deserving, after all...

          "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

          by jm214 on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 12:52:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "You draw what you need." (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          denise b

          Well, my point is that $21K even Tax Free is not exactly a middle class lifestyle.  It's survivable.   And if you own a home, sell it and move into a trailer park in Tennessee, you probably can afford to eat out once in a while and have Premium Dish TV services l--and maybe even an Internet connection.

          BUT if this $21K is coming out of a 401k ... you're paying $15% tax on it.  Also ... it's not a checking account you can draw against as needed.  You must structure your pay-out, although you can modify it annually.

          Now, to return $21K/yr at current rates of return, 401ks ... any investment/savings portfolio, for that matter ... you need to be reverse-amortizing a holding of around $500,000 ... assuming that you only intend to live another 30 years ... that there is no significant inflation ... and there are no major medical bills ... nor any "Residual Estate" to pass on to heirs.

          Now ... how many  "Greatest" or "Boomer" retirees have accumulated half a million bucks in their working lives.  How confident are you that YOU will be able to put a half million away during YOUR working lifetime?

          You also want to consider that the "fixed income" of Boomers and Greatests are coming from a combination of Social Security and defined benefit pensions provided ... which are usually "Union", "Military", or "Municipal Employee."  

          YOU of course, are very unlikely to have a defined benefit pension.   Your retirement will be funded by your social security and what you have been able to save in the course of a lifetime ... subject to what The Markets do to your savings.

          If your income is not in the $125K+ range (in today's money,  adjusted for inflation) for twenty five or so years of your career -- well, "just don't get sick that's all."

          But if, as happened to me "retirement" comes in the middle of a massive market melt-down.

          Well ... thank god for the Second Amendment.

          •  Basically impossible to save $500k in 401k (0+ / 0-)

            I agree with a lot of the things you pointed out there. The evengelists touting 401k's are delusional. It's basically impossible to save enough on your 401k to last your entire retirement.

            •  My husband and I are the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              perfect example -we had $700,.000 saved in a 401K - then the Tech bubble burst in 2000 and we didn't have one penny in Nasdaq - then 9/11 happened and now the recession and we're down to $375,000 with low risk investments.

               We wanted to sleep at night so we parked what was left in a Money market fund at .03% interest therefore we've been eating away at our capital for the past 3 years - our future does not look rosy and doubt our money will last very much longer under these circumstances. We saved as we were told to do and now we have to carry the burden in order for the rich and corporate America to continue to enjoy their tax cuts - It's absolutely obscene!

    •  No to means-testing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Yes to raising the limit on those who pay into the system.  It is $100,000 or around there.  If you means-test it, it will be gone soon.  Just another welfare program.  

  •  People calm down. They are talking (8+ / 0-)

    about cutting expenditures not benefits.

    They are different.

    Look, if you cut out hospital acquired infections which kill some 100,000 patients a year and cause a lot of suffering to many more, you save a huge amount of money since you won't have to pay for care while you try to rectify the hospital caused damage. Much of the time the patient winds up in the terribly costly intensive care which is horrible for the patient.

    The infection rate for placing central lines was as high as 50%. Now some hospitals have brought theirs down to 0. Yes, zero, through some very simple, not costly means.  That cuts expenditures and certainly does NOT hurt patients.

    Having bigger cuts to Medicare expenditures places more pressure on getting drug companies to cut their costs. But it would take a Democratic House and Senate to get that law repealed if they wanted to get centralized purchasing or at least bidding.

    Latest evidence is showing that 1 in 3 Medicare patients who are hospitalized have a serious medical error made on them. Since that was from a survey of living patients it probably understates the problem since those that died from their mistakes don't answer surveys. (At least not too often — it's not like voting ;-).  )

    Eliminate as many errors as possible and the savings will multiply and the patients and their families will be a whole lot better off.

    Please calm down. Notice that Pelosi and Hoyer are saying no benefit cuts.  

    I am more concerned about the SS chained inflation measure but that can be undone or fixed in a few years. It's like the AMT that gets adjusted upward each year.

    We really do as a country need to cut deficit spending. President Obama has promised to do that but in a careful surgical manner. I am confident that for the most part he will be able to steer the cuts to the right things. He is taking advantage of the Repubs craze to cut, cut, cut.  But he is getting some tax raises out of it. Yes, some of our favorites will get trimmed a little. You never get everything you want your way in a negotiation. But I'l bet there will be much more pain on the Republican side of the aisles when this is pushed down their throats.

    nite, nite

    I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

    by samddobermann on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 05:14:39 AM PDT

    •  And the "rembursement rates?" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Snud, itsbenj

      One similarity between Obama and Clinton ... one has to parse ever keyword very very carefully -- and particular attention must be paid  to what they is NOT said.

      So ... sure "no benefit cuts."  That doesn't mean no "changes to the way benefits are calculated,"  or the age at which they can be accessed.  It doesn't mean "no cutting provider reimbursement rates" much less "no freezing" those rates."  It doesn't mean "no exclusion of 'unproven' medical procedures".

      Make no mistake:  health care is an enormously labor-intensive enterprise that also uses shockingly expensive tools and consumables.  The idea that the difference between the care people need and the care  a Republican/Teabaggist Congress is willing to pay for "fraud, waste and malpractice insurance premiums" is laughable on the face of it.

      And, as you observe,

      Having bigger cuts to Medicare expenditures places more pressure on getting drug companies to cut their costs. But it would take a Democratic House and Senate to get that law repealed if they wanted to get centralized purchasing or at least bidding.

      In a word:  "wanna bet"?  

      When the  Donut Hole Plan was floated  Democrats had the seats to send a "negotiate for prices" bill to Bush for veto.  Presumably THAT would have created "pressure" ... probably so much that there would BE a Democratic House and Senate today.

      Now let's remember that the Great Negotiator came to the table offering three parts "cuts" and 1 part "revenue measures."  That's "our" STARTING position.

      But the Republicans are doing their Brier Rabbit routine: "Pleeeeeeeze don't throw me in that there briar patch" ...  and as with the  ACA  the The Brothers Democrat can't seem to remember that "briar patch" is where Brier Rabbit LIVES and they can't follow.

      I don't know what the answer is.  The Republican Party is poised to "Liquidate the Proletariat" ... and the White House will be really really SORRY  (but not in the least to blame)  if they do.

      Well, we'll know our fate in about three weeks.  

      And when it turns out that the "bottom 50%" HAVE  been sold down the river, again (sic)  ... will the President's Enablers repent in sackcloth and ashes?

      Or will they tell us (again) how "Helpless" they all are and how it's Not Their Fault.

      •  my husband almost died (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        just before Christmas because it took 3 days for the hospital to find a urologist who would accept Medicare. That urologist told us that he does not accept Medicare and accepted to operate on my husband as a favor to the doctor who was treating him in the hospital, therefore my husband would have to find another urologist for his follow up visit

        Also he cannot find a family doctor who will accept Medicare - he's found a clinic which will allow him to be seen by interns only and we've just been told that they are no longer accepting medicare patients and this is a clinic which serves mostly people on Medicaid.

        Cutting reimbursement further will only end up with medicare/medicaid patients being rationed to bad/ mediocre  doctors and the worse hospitals. That's the reality today!

        It's still beyond comprehension that a democratic president and democratic members of congress would even consider inflicting such pain on such a fragile segment of the population

    •  How about unnecessary surgeries? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marie, hannah

      My mom suffered a spiral ankle fracture two years ago.  The orthopedic surgeon was pretty aggressive in recommending surgery on a then 77 year old, who, at the time was morbidly obese, and an insulin dependent diabetic, with COPD.

      Thank goodness my older sister works in health care (at the same hospital), and knew what questions to ask, because all I was thinking was "fix this".  We got a second opinion, with someone more experienced in gerontology, and my mom's chronic medical issues.  We were all concerned with outcome, certainly not cost, but I was unnerved by the answers.

      When questioned, the original surgeon concurred that the outcome wasn't likely to be much better than it would be with casting and physical therapy.  The likelihood of osteoarthritis in the damaged ankle wasn't going to be any less with surgery.  The total recovery time (given her age and infirmities) wouldn't be appreciably less.  Given that, surgery just didn't seem worth the risk.

      I don't think the surgeon was thinking about money, I just think that he was an ankle specialist who was used to dealing with much younger, healthier patients, and it was a case of "when what you have is a really nice hammer..."

      •  You were right to be concerned (0+ / 0-)

        about the outcome, not the cost.

        So why do you bring this up in a discussion about budget cuts? Would you have liked the decision to made based on cost instead of what was best for your mother?

        My mom had her knee replaced at age 85. It might very well have bought her another 10 years or more, as it has allowed her to remain active and healthy, instead of sedentary and miserable. Her sister lived to 99.  I am very glad that no one made the cost a factor in the decision whether or not to operate.

        We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

        by denise b on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 04:40:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No one has said to base a decision like that on (0+ / 0-)

          cost. But you have to look at the cost and benefits to the individual patients. What people in health care mean by costs usually means costs to the patient involved In your mother's case the benefits were obviously worth it but for another woman aged 85 year old it could not be.

          When a knee replacement is made on an 85 year old woman who had moderate Alzheimer's disorder, was going downhill and was confused about where she was — as well as having diabetes and other deteriorating conditions, who couldn't follow the follow up exercises, it really was a waste of services and cost. And it put her at risk of being one of the 100,000 people who die from hospital acquired infections each year.

          These things can't be decided by cost to the system in isolation. But if we don't look at some things sensibly — which doesn't mean shorting any patient who can benefit from a procedure like your mother — the system as a whole is at great risk.

          The high and growing costs are what embolden the Repubs to try to do draconian cuts and outrageous cost shifting as they are right now.

          Unless we do something about costs AND quality the system will kill itself off.   The comment above talks about a more conservative and safer alternative to a high cost and higher risk option that a knowledgeable relative was able to show that there are other options. The choice was made solely on the personal characteristics of the patient.  That's how it should be and almost everyone within the people who are trying to make changes want it.

          I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

          by samddobermann on Fri Jul 22, 2011 at 07:33:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Please don't tell me (0+ / 0-)

      to calm down because Pelosi and Hoyer are saying no.

      They can say no right up until the day they say yes. They often have.

      We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

      by denise b on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 04:31:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  sometimes the hospital causes their own (4+ / 0-)

    problem  my wife gave them  my VA medical card (my primary caretaker as I am 100% disabled by military service) and she also gave them a copy of my Medicare Part A card  before I left MUSC in April the Social worker told us she was changing the computer to show that I was a VA patient and that they would pay the bill and I would not have any co-payments

    last week I got a Medicare statement where they paid 35,570 dollars for  room, meals and tests  but I got a bill for 1170 dollars for meds and incidentals  tie down straps to keep me from ripping out the IVs  footies  etc

    I sent them a letter back and told them since they billed it to the wrong govt agenncy and if they had billed it to the VA I would not have a co-pay and I objected to this bill but now that they billed Medicare  the VA will NOT pay any partial bills  either they pay the entire bill or none of it  since I was in the ICU for my cardiac issues which I am service connected for  it is the VA's responsibility and none of the VA hospitals in SC  have a congestive heart failure unit and they send everyone to MUSC anyway  it is across the street from the Charleston VA  they have computer interfaced programs as they do so much business together

    since I am 100% SC disabled and the VA pays my medical bills there is no reason why I should pay Medicare Part B   I have gotten better care at VA facilities than I ever did at local hospitals in Augusta Ga  when I had Blue Cross  or NALC health coverage

    my hate for the VA  is with their compensation claims department known as the VARO  the VAHC is excellent

  •  Spread the Word That (7+ / 0-)

    The Republicans have no credibility on deficits. The last Democratic president balanced the budget, while the last three Republican presidents successively outdid each other in creating record deficits. The Republicans have no credibility on deficits.

    Far and Wide.....

    The man who knows and knows he knows not is a wise man

    by OpherGopher on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 08:24:57 AM PDT

  •  I thought Medicare went to healthcare providers nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  The republicans think... (3+ / 0-)

    ...she is a drain on our society and we need to cut her off the national teat. Apparently, so does the president and all too many so called dems in congress. Wait a minute, maybe I am the so called dem, let me check...nope, I am still fighting the same battles I have been for over 30 years. I don't think it was me that left the party, but if this continues I am afraid I may have to!

    •  Apparently they all think (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      churchylafemme, jm214

      people like her need to "hurry up and die."

      "I wish I could tell you, in the midst of all of this, that President Obama was waging the kind of fight against these draconian Republican proposals that the American people would like to see. He is not." -- Senator Bernie Sanders

      by Sagebrush Bob on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 10:12:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you gentlewoman for this diary. Please (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VA gentlewoman

    forgive me for posting a low brow link to Debbie Harry.  She has moved beyond her generation, and mine,  to rap artists.  

  •  pathetic (0+ / 0-)

    right up front you need to know i want universal single payer government controlled health care.  i think the easiest way to make this happen is to lower the medicare age.  and as a bonus - this would be the biggest jobs program ever seen - since millions would be able to quit their jobs - most of the 55-65 are only hanging on to them for the insurance - lots of them would start businesses - and lots of businesses would hire more people if they didn't have to offer insurance - and lots of others would
    finally get their feet on the bottom run of the career ladder if everyone moved up a rung.

    that said:

    i am so provoked that no where has any one actually
    run the numbers - numbers not percentages of WHO IS PAYING THE INSURANCE COMPANIES FOR FULL COVERAGE?

    how many people are on medicare
    how many people are on medicaid
    how many people are covered by tri-care (military)
    how many people have no coverage whatsoever.
    how many people are visiting tax payer free clinics
    how many people are paying for supplemental insurance

    when you add that staggering number up* and compare it
    to the wage earners who have premiums deducted from their paychecks, and companies who pay that matching
    premium or pay the full benefit for some of their more
    fortunate employees, you see that singlepayer/universal/government run health care is already in place for the majority - that businesses and
    wage earners are the only ones still in the grip of the insurance companies.

    you would assume that if the true numbers were presented, the tide might change when the few realize just how badly they are getting screwed.

    * i have tried to access those numbers but unless you have access to federal and stategovernment computers an individual cannot fnd those totals.

  •  How did entitlements dominate? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    denise b

    How did the GOP turn this discussion into entitlements.? Is Obama the bad guy here?  I wish he had more spine.  I hope Biden would have slammed his hand on the table and said the big 3 are OFF the table.  Like the Tea Party did with new taxes.  Time to find a nerve in the GOP and press it.  The left is getting killed by them.  I'm not buying another false equivalency about shared sacrifice when our social safety net is full of holes, meager, and is not a problem right now while what Bush did wrecked us big time and we have to deal with people who need to be in a padded cell.  How about transaction fees on Wall Street.  How about taxes on jobs sent overseas.  How about making corporations pay taxes here when they park their money overseas.  How about ending the wealthy tax credits.  How about a people's media with a Progressive voice.  The White House could listen to their Progressive caucus instead of controlling everything.  This is their 3rd double-cross and I am very cranky.

  •  It ain't broke so why are they trying to fix it? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marie, Oh Mary Oh

    SS has always been a separate entity from the Federal budget so the propaganda soundbytes about suddenly, by some osmotic process or vapor-induced action, social safety nets are a drain on the federal budget and contribute to the deficit is complete bullshit!  Lies, lies, lies - oh yes, and damned lies!

    SS is a solvent program.  Not a goddamn thing is wrong with it.  But here's what is wrong: Stage 4 carcinogenic greed and absolute corruption has consumed the oligarchs and most pols.  SS is this big, fat, juicy, irresistable pot o' gold that can easily be stolen from the filthy, ignorant peasants - and here's the beauty part: the Democratic Capitulator/Caver in Chief is willing to drive the getaway car!

    They don't care about you, not one little bit!  Actions speak louder than words.

    When everybody talkin' all at once no one can hear the wise one speak, So just be still and silence will provide the wisdom that you seek - by Tori del Allen

    by Dumas EagerSeton on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 01:51:20 PM PDT

    •  They already got the big, fat, (0+ / 0-)

      juicy pot o' gold.  They just had to leave an IOU in the coffer.  The crooks elected and appointed to manage our retirement fund forgot to mention that last part to the idiot voters who thought they would be the ones that would get something for nothing.  So, the fight now isn't over the pot of gold but whether or not we demand to be repaid.   So far, Obama and the GOP say no, the fat cats can be deadbeats and the mythical little people can eat catfood.

  •  It would work for me (0+ / 0-)

    if the elected politicians had Medicare.  It would work better for us all, I bet.

    I can't believe these men who have so much and whom we have taken such good care of  want to take away what little the rest of us have.  

    They have no principles.

    •  that's exactly what I've been saying (0+ / 0-)

      all along - It's galling that these millionaires for the most part, with taxpayer funded cadillac health insurance and golden pension plans will not COLA their pensions or means test their own health insurance and pension plans - what a  bunch of hypocrites!

  •  Medicare and Medicare dollars do not (0+ / 0-)

    get into the pockets of patients.  They represent a steady stream of income for care providers and drug companies.  The thinking has always been that if patients have to pay out of pocket, they won't run to the doctor for every scrape and ache and pain. But, this presumes that most people are hypochondriacs.  Which is not the case.
    However, the medical establishment, perhaps out of revenge for having been screwed around and made to fill out all those forms, have adjusted their practice by making it more routine and regular by scheduling patient visits and screenings, as dentists learned to do some time ago. Patients with insurance are "encouraged" to pay routine visits, like well-baby check-ups. If you're not sick and don't show up on a regular basis, your files are likely to be put in storage and you get written off.
    The medical technology industry is rapidly morphing into human husbandry--the exploitation of humans by their own kind to their detriment.  It's what happens when you have a profit-oriented enterprise.

    by hannah on Wed Jul 20, 2011 at 04:39:31 PM PDT

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