Elderly and Expendable

The Obama Administration and the President’s pals in Congress have been on a deliberate course to write off America’s senior citizens as a lost cause politically. This decision is based on an internal Democrat study indicating that seniors don’t trust Obama.

The Democrats, in fact, have stiffed the country’s seniors: ranging from multi-billion dollar cuts in Medicare to driving physicians to drop seniors as patients by delaying and cutting federal reimbursements to such medical specialists as cardiologists and oncologists, who treat the biggest killers of seniors–heart disease and cancer.

The disdain toward seniors has included cuts in home health care and payments to hospitals to new taxes on medical devices on which many seniors depend. Add to this: increases in the medicare tax on some working seniors and cancellation of the traditional cost-of-living boost to Social Security checks for 2010 and 2011.

During the stretched-out debate over the new health law, seniors  continually heard that Medicare would be slashed by $500 billion. The final bill’s provisions included $132 billion chopped from Medicare Advantage, the enhanced private version of Medicare in which 25 percent of seniors are enrolled.

Implemented over 10 years, it would chip away at their benefits and worry old folks that lower payments will force health providers to stop taking new Medicare patients.

“From all I have been able to tell so far, it’s going to hurt,” said Dalton, Ga., resident Horton Herrin, 72. The retired Georgia state employee has a private Medicare Advantage plan that is targeted for cuts under the health reform package.

Even though Obama’s 2008 election was historic in many ways his performance among seniors (age 65 and over) provided one of the few low points. Exit pools showed that Obama lost to John McCain among seniors 45 to 53 percent.

According to an important 2009 analysis by Democracy Corps, founded by Democrat strategists Stan Greenberg and James Carville, “The central reason that white seniors did not support Obama is that they feared the type of change he would bring. They remained skeptical about whose side Obama was on, distrusted him generally, and specifically were concerned about this level of experience. These feelings that hold white seniors back from Obama were particularly true among white senior men and seniors without a college degree….”

A recent Rasmussen Poll found that 59 percent of voting seniors favor repeal of the ObamaCare law. Well aware of this skepticism of the President’s policies, Obama is certainly not depending on seniors as part of his political support base.

The latest move irking the aging was when the Senate went on Memorial Day vacation without fixing the cut in payments to doctors for Medicare patients. Seniors didn’t know if their doctor bills would be paid. As American Medical Association (AMA) President James Rohack said: “The U.S. Senate turned its back on our nation’s seniors and physicians who care for them by going on vacation…without making a fix in the federal reimbursement rate for doctors who care for Medicare recipients.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) sent letters to doctors informing them that the agency had told Medicare contractors to delay processing Medicare claims for 10 business days. This was to give Congress time to fix the reimbursement legislation. But it left Medicare patients wondering if and when Medicare would pay for a visit to their doctor.

So, some seniors worried from Memorial Day until June 14 when CMS contractors were allowed to begin claims processing since the threatened 21 percent cut to Medicare physicians’ payment rates had been set in the House, but still not determined in the Senate. The American College of Cardiology CEO Jack Lewin branded the Senate’s failure to act “the worst-case scenario for patients and physicians.”

The Administration is further causing seniors to fret in naming a new administrator for Medicare and Medicaid who believes fervently in rationing care. Dr. Donald Berwick, President Obama’s choice to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), is president of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement and professor at Harvard Medical School. “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open,” he has said.

Dr. Berwick made that statement when discussing duties of the Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). That body was part of the original $787 billion stimulus law. CER was created to evaluate the cost of medical treatments and their outcome.  Dr. Berwick is enamored with the British system of health care, particularly the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), which is, as TIME magazine described it: “a rationing panel for British patients.” Dr. Berwick also has been quoted as saying: “I am a romantic about the (British) National Health Service. I love it.”

He also has been quoted as saying “If I could wave a magic want…health care (would be) a common good—single payer (system) a nonnegotiable starting place.” Britain’s CER model “calculates a treatment by quality-adjusted life years, refusing to pay for a treatment…” costing a certain amount that doesn’t “extend a patient’s life by at least one year.”

Of course, Obama hasn’t given up completely on any possible voters in the next presidential race. His Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius sent out a slick four-color folder in May to all Medicare recipients in the U.S. saying the new health law “will provide you and your family greater savings and increased quality care…so that you, and your family, and doctor—not insurance companies—have greater control over your care.”

Republican Senate leaders called it propaganda and inaccurate. They demanded that Sebelius tell who commissioned the message and approved the money to mail it. A request to CMS for the cost of the folder and it mailing is still pending.

  • brimp

    By adding 45 million patients that can start using, non-emergency, procedures at the same time as fixing the cost and reducing the outlays for Medicare, the benefit to the government becomes obvious: Americans who no longer pay taxes will help the bottom line of the American government by dieing. The number of doctors will decrease while the number of patients will increase. This will cause waiting lists. A percentage of the people on these list will die before the procedures are allocated for them. Each person who dies earlier than they would if they had medical care is another person who will not get Social Security checks, long term care, and government issued prescription drugs. The resources allocated for each procedures can be altered to insure that the 'right' people die. Your position in the list might be determined by who you know and who you gave campaign donations to.

    There are other benefits to the government besides genocide. Anyone who challenges a public servants authority to act outside of their constitutional mandate of securing each persons unalienable rights could be drugged or put away in facilities for the mentally infirm. Clearly anyone with such ridiculous ideas must be insane.

    The tax code and the monopolies of the AMA and FDA are the real problems. Health care will be rationed no matter what plan is adopted. A free market approach will have medical providers (perhaps not AMA members) competing against each other based on price and performance. The drugs (perhaps not FDA approved) will compete for the patients money. If the individual is empowered to take control of their own health care, and pay for the care they receive, then costs will be reduced and quality will improve. This is still rationing. If you were/are productive and you did not blow your money then you will get good care. If not, you will get reduced care. The governments alternative approach is to guarantee that everyone (but members of Congress) gets the same expensive care, that is not paid directly by the recipient, and is delayed in receiving it and will be poorer in quality. The tax code could be changed to disallow employers from deducting insurance cost that it pays for employees. This would mean that people would need to make their own arrangements. Insurance companies and medical facilities will compete for the money of each person.

  • Sandra

    What people need to realize is that they ARE paying for health care no matter what. Every time you buy something, like a car for example, you are paying for the health insurance of the person who made it. The costs of heal care are rolled into EVERYTHING. There are many very smart people working to solve this problem either for the good of all the people involved, or for the good of their bank statements. To me the answers are obvious and I fail to see how something that is good for me and my neighbor, but may be bad for some corporation or big business man, is unAmerican. We live in a country where corporations have the same rights as humans and our politicians are businessmen. A businessman will never put the people first even if he swears an oath to do so. These men should be in prison, not running a company, or a country as they cannot keep their oath if it conflicts with their true interests and agenda. The government does little to protect our health from being damaged by private companies, then disallows us to be treated when health problems arise. If the government is going to invest in our health then a lot more needs to happen to protect our health and preventive medicine and education. Free health care is damage control, not a solution. On a daily basis we are exposed to toxic and poisonous chemicals and eat things that were never meant for the human body. There are reasons why people are sick, and lack of care does not produce illness.

    • gpcase

      First of all, corporations are nothing more than groups of people who have banded together to seek legal protection and tax advantages. The corporation allows businesses to raise capital directly from the public rather than from banks and stockholders will force good business practices or abandon them, unlike government operations which continue to waste taxpayer money. The effects of industrial pollution is another matter best left remedied through civil damage awards than government intrusion. If you wish to banish toxins/chemicals, you advocate the de-industrialization of America. Simply compare quality of life, infant mortality rates, etc. of today with the colonial era and one can see the better option.

    • Jim C.

      It's completely ridiculous, Sandra. Every country that we could consider a peer looks at our battle over health care and is mystified.

      Oh, sorry, I meant the lives of our European and Japanese counterparts have been made a living hell by their national health care systems. Some conservative's uncle that lived in Germany for 5 years in the 80s says so. And if we look real hard, we might find a native with an ax to grind, too!

  • fiddler

    REPEAL REPEAL REPEAL–not tinkering around the edges with this sack of Bandini—repeal the WHOLE thing and start over.

    • USMCSniper

      Can do that. They need fresh long pig for the new Soylent Green plants.

  • sflbib

    If Medicare and health insurance are not going to cover your medical bills, why have them?

  • John C. Davidson

    After experiencing how the government runs their VA program, ever senior should be horrified of this bill. Most of the doctors within the VA are unsilled and are just fulfilling residency requirements and they are evaluated at the expense of their patients.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/WilliamJWard WilliamJamesWard

      Exactly John. My late friend Dr. Robin Huntington who worked for the VA for some
      time was horrified at being placed in a VA hospital and chose a peaceful
      end outside of the system, it was one of the sadest times in my life. The VA
      does help many but points out how bad the government is going to be for
      the seniors. Dr. Huntington was a classmate of George Bush Sr. and while
      at Yale was on the newspaper with Bill Buckley, he was a great man and
      it was expressed in his humility and decency, qualities lost to the present
      government and vile administration………Regards, William

      • Len-KC

        William we can only hope that if Dr. Huntington was buried in Arlington, that they haven't lost him.
        How incompetent do you have to be to screw up a cemetary?

        • http://intensedebate.com/people/WilliamJWard WilliamJamesWard

          We made sure of his arrangements, he was and amazing man right up to
          the end,never showed weakness, purple heart recipient and ground pounding
          map maker during WWII he was a genius in many ways. Graduated with
          a double Phd from Harvard but was quite modest and had many interests
          and was sure to not have his remains lost………..Regards, William

  • Richard

    What scares me the most is the way so many of the politicians are talking about how the elderly need to die so the younger people can have their jobs or money. It is looking like the left is moving beyond a right to die to a duty to die.

    • Jim C.

      Such as? Got some quotes?

      • patriot077

        google tom daschle

  • MMcFM

    Just as the SS stripped those Jews coming into the concentration camps of their clothing, humiliating them, and crudely communicating their distain for their lives, the Obama administration is communicating it's distain for the lives of seniors. First, by instituting 'cattle calls' for flu immunization last fall in unsheltered public venues and forcing school employees to enforce restrictions against seniors, the lack of a vote by Congress communicates the same set of values; if you're over the age of 50, you're past your earning years and no longer valuable as a human being.

    And THIS is the party that has for decades attacked Republicans as insensitive and compassionless — Puleeze!

    • Jim C.

      Yeah, the "SS and the jews," great analogy Einstein.

      Let's see–liberals believe everyone should be covered, and have at least made it so you cannot be turned down for a pre-existing condition. Conservatives say "What was wrong with our health care? You're on your own, don't get sick."

      Yep, those democrats sure are insensitive and compassionless. LOL

      Actually, that's not fair–you guys are very sensitive about insurance companies' profits.

      • Len-KC

        "liberals believe everyone should be covered, and have at least made it so you cannot be turned down for a pre-existing condition." Insurance for a pre-existing condition is NOT insurance; it's welfare. Obviously neither you or anyone in this administration is familiar with the concept of risk /reward in a capital driven society. When our system is destroyed by these morons, who will be left to pay the bill?

  • Jim C.

    It's always ironic to me how conservatives love to charge "The Left" with utopianism, when their entire worldview has evolved into pure utopianism thanks to the impossible expectations created by your own media stars. Ever notice there is no politician on the national stage conservative ENOUGH for conservatives–because these politicians have to deal with the real world. Even Ronald Reagan wasn't the Ronald Reagan sung of today. And when you get a guy who actually espouses traditional conservativism, like Ron Paul, he's marginalized as a nutcase.

    Conservatives hanker for an impossible amalgam of 19th century laissez faire and 1950s social order–and they call liberals "utopian?"

  • proud mom

    Ummm…. is it just me or is this website being targeted by liberal bloggers under the direction of the DNC? There is a preponderance of them here in the last couple of days. We know they are well versed and organized in counter attack methods on the internet. I think some investigation is in order.

    • ana wells

      George Soros had another big meeting… reminded them of Sauls rules.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The government has to go and get out of our medical care. The government must
    be taken back in November by the people, the majority of which are honest and
    decent people who understand just how wrong the Democrats have become,
    how dishonest the RHINO's have been and how great the need is for
    good people to come forward and fill in the ranks to be emptied by vote, of the
    most corrupt American government in it's history………………November………..William

  • Jim Johnson

    Perhaps they have not counted the baby boomers just beginning to come on line. This will be a large group of voters. What's more Americans continue to live longer and longer. They aren't just going to die off at 70. They will live into their nineties . That will be quite a voting black to anger. When the baby boomer echo begins to think about retirement the original baby boomers will mostly still be alive. It will be a very large group of voters who will be wondering if the Government wants to pull the plug on them

  • Jim Johnson

    Perhaps they have not counted the baby boomers just beginning to come on line. This will be a large group of voters. What's more Americans continue to live longer and longer. They aren't just going to die off at 70. They will live into their nineties . That will be quite a voting black to anger. When the baby boomer echo begins to think about retirement the original baby boomers will mostly still be alive. It will be a very large group of voters who will be wondering if the Government wants to pull the plug on them

  • Jim Johnson

    The portion of baby boomers born in the 1940s became of child bearing in the early 1960s about time the birth control pill came on line. From the sixties on the boomers had fewer and fewer children. Neither men nor women wanted the burden of having many children. They began to have only one child per family . Some desired no children. Often the women wanted to climb the corporate ladder an thought children would just get in the way.
    The more successful decided accumulating stuff satisfied them more than another human in the family. A woman 55 years old to day who feels she has accumulated great wealth and so does not worry about paying for health care is quite likely to find that the Government may need that money in order to keep them selves in office.
    With out a family to back her up when she gets older she will be at the mercy of the Government and badly run nursing homes. In a nursing home she will fall victim to neglect
    and even cruelty. With no one except a disinterested social worker to go to bat for her she will face a very bleak future. She may even run afoul of the public guardian who in her best interest will help him self to a large portion of her accumulation.
    She may appoint a lawyer to administer her trust. As you know lawyers never dip into the till. " When forty winters shall besiege thy brow……….."

  • Bogiewheel

    I have never been givin a job by a poor person. Liberals will continue to enjoy the fruits of this Country until they run out of other peoples money.

  • Bogiewheel

    Reply to Jim Johnson………

    The main reason fewer children were born was the departure from an agricultural society.
    Early in the last century many of us only had an eigth-grade education because we worked on the farms and that required large families, along with the lack of modern medicine many children did not live beyond five or six years.

    An interesting thing is accuring in China. The Chinese plan of one child per family is effecting their economy. This will hurt China in the years ahead.

    • Sandra

      Since China decided on the one child plan, everyone only wanted boys. I can only guess that they aborted the girls, but who knows. Anyway, now they are reaching this problem of not enough women to marry. People just don't seem to stop and think ahead. What will happen if I, or we, do this?

  • miketx

    rationing is comming soon, and quotas are here. the home health company my mother works for has been informed only 10% of their patients can be diabetics. With my eysight going with age I don't think i could read the numbers on the shot if i were 80 or 90.

  • Dave P

    It didn't take a genius to know what the health care bill was. An attack on the baby boomers who will and are now retiring in droves. Medicare is already broke. Social Security not far behind. By eliminating seniors they believe they can save money. Doctors are opting out of Medicare at record levels. It isn't worth their time to treat someone for for nothing. It is also an attack by leftest lawyers who are running this country to put doctors out of business. Plain and simple. Lawyers already control the Democrat party. Everyone Obama has appointed is a radical Marxist believing follower. This is the new genocide by the left. Where as in Eastern Europe they used hunger to kill millions, it wouldn't look good for them here to just come out and tell everyone exactly what they want to do. Most their base is to dumb to understand anyway. They are easily misled and the left knows they can tell any lie long enough and their base will believe it.

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