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Of all the lies and confusion that still surround the 2010 health reform law, perhaps the greatest is that the Affordable Care Act, or as some call it “ObamaCare,” is bad for seniors.

This is just plain false.  The truth is the new law is helping millions of retirees better afford to see a doctor and fill a prescription.  In Arizona, the 65,729 seniors with the highest drug costs have already saved an average of $562 on their prescriptions.  In Arizona, 637,233 seniors have received free, life-saving tests for chronic diseases.  

The new law strengthens the Medicare Trust Fund by eliminating taxpayer overpayments to insurance companies that provide some Medicare benefits.

Unfortunately the law’s new benefits for seniors are being threatened by what I call the “three R’s” – Repeal, Romney, and Ryan.  

The effort to repeal this law is being fueled by the big insurers and other corporations who have long profited handsomely at our expense.  They are targeting seniors – the highest turnout voting bloc – with shameless scare tactics and misinformation.  So next time your local politician talks repeal, ask them what exactly do they want to take away from us – the lower prescription drug costs?  The free annual exams and screenings for diabetes and cancer?    

Both presidential candidate Mitt Romney and U.S. House Budget Committee chair Paul Ryan (R-WI), not only want to repeal these new benefits, but also replace traditional Medicare with a voucher program.  Under this plan, seniors would receive a small voucher, or coupon, to purchase coverage in the expensive, unfair private insurance market.  Unlike Mitt Romney, who on his recent 65th birthday declined Medicare in favor of private coverage, those who are not rich need affordable Medicare to stay healthy.

Medicare is a core part of the American middle class. It is one of our nation’s greatest success stories, rooted in shared American values of hard work and fiscal responsibility.  For decades, a worker sets aside a small portion of each paycheck to Medicare for the peace of mind of knowing they will have a healthy, secure retirement.  The new law strengthens Medicare and protects the middle class from the terrible greed and unfairness of the private health insurance industry.  Repealing this law weakens Medicare and weakens the middle class.

But seniors care about more than just themselves.  We are happy that the new health law allows our grandchildren to stay on their parents insurance until age 26, giving them time to land a job with benefits.  We are happy that our children’s health is no longer hostage to insurance companies discriminating against pre-existing conditions or finding loopholes to cancel coverage when they need it the most.  Middle class families of all ages need the security of knowing they won’t go bankrupt when someone gets sick.

While the new law makes historic gains for seniors, I worry that with all the fear, misinformation, and name-calling in today’s political climate, not enough seniors know how this law helps them.  We cannot allow these important gains for seniors to fall victim to fear and ignorance.  The term “Obamacare” has been thrown around as a negative thing, but when you look at the facts surrounding the new law, you can see that Obama cares for seniors.  

To protect the health of current and future retirees, we must help our friends and neighbors separate fact from fiction in this new law.

Doug Hart is the President of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans.  For more information, contact AZRetiredAmericans@gmail.com

Originally posted to Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 05:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by Baja Arizona Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There is a real need to reduce health care costs. (4+ / 0-)

    The Ryan plan increases the cost of Medicare with new private profits and administrative costs.

    It does reduce the Federal government's costs by passing those cost on to seniors.

    However, there is still waste in medicare costs.  We need to back the Presidents attempts to reduce those costs intelligently.

    Bob "Trans-Vaginal" McDonnell...just saying...again ... and again....

    by NCJim on Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 06:32:47 AM PDT

  •  Ryan (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, greengemini, Azazello

    has said he wants to model the rest of Medicare to be like the prescription drug program.  Big pharma and the drug plan insurers have been the winners with their expensive brand names. When Ryan said it, brand named drugs were out of sight even for one prescription per month, especially if they are still patented and have no generics.

    Even worse the generics have went up recently.

    Obama has discounted the drug costs for brand names by 50% in Medicare.  One problem with that is big pharma raised the prices of the brand names.  It is still better than it was before, but not as good it would have been if the profit makers had not been so tricky.

    Private insurers are trying to look like miss goody two shoes because they bid down the prescription prices.  Medicare should be allowed to bid for drugs too.  

    A lot of the private insurers have a mail order pharmacy if you choose it.  

    I had to change Medigap insurance because my insurance dropped one of my $500 a month drugs.   Their estimate of my drug cost was $6,250 this year.  This was done by  one of our private insurers which is in charge of the drug plans.

    Most of our GOP government leaders and big business think we are dumb.  There are more people who are smarter than the GOP & the DINOs and big business leaders (and their enablers). The difference has been the shifty, sneaking, coniving of the GOP vs the trust the 99% had for the government.

    Watching them give dishonest facts about Social Security and Medicare is all you need to know about the honesty and caring of our leaders.  

    Even the TV shows who have talk show hosts who act like democrats are not presenting a fair picture of Social Security and Medicare.  

    Medicare doesn't allow the too high charges by doctors and hospitals most of the time.  I would have paid thousands more last year if it was not for Medicare.  Ryan wants us to pay so much more for our share and would allow any charge that was thrown at the elderly.

    They ignore the fact that we paid into Medicare since 1963 to have affordable Medicare when we retired.  The same with Social Security, they try to ignore the fact that is our savings, not theirs.

  •  They should (2+ / 0-)

    Do a better job of letting seniors know what a good thing this is.What are the going to replace  “ObamaCare with

  •  One way to get info to the seniors is to ensure (1+ / 0-)

    that every doctor who treats medicare patients informs them of the fact that "Obamacare" is helping them and how. Seniors will accept what their doctor says more than they will any other person or media. Even if he/she's a young whippersnapper.

  •  I have this elderly relative (0+ / 0-)

    who believes every Republican/Right Wing smear about Obamacare to come down the pike.  She just forwarded some BS from a guy named Sam, Said email carries a youtube link to a video by American Doctors For Truth, and is  basically a rip-off of an anti-Paul Ryan ad.  
    I KNOW it's BS and I'm trying to find proof of it, I've looked on Fact Check, Snopes and Politi-Fact, but none of those sites seemed to have heard of it.

    As of right now, I loathe all anti-choice politicians with an intensity greater than the radiation output of a thousand suns. 3.13.12

    by GenuineRisk on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 09:51:59 AM PDT

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