Buy My Book Here

Fox News Ticker

Please check out my new books, "Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney's Kafkaesque Divorce and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the World's Last Custody Trial"

Friday, July 31, 2009

Seniors Are Scared of Obamacare...and They Should Be

I first heard Dick Morris make this point. The main reason, electorally, that Obamacare is falling apart is that the elderly are rejecting in great numbers. Morris cites a poll in which elderly reject the plan by about 16 points. This is a massive political problem because folks over 65 have about a 70% voting attendance. About 30% of all health care expenses are spent on the last year of someone's life. So, it is the elderly that are the most affected by any health care reform idea. Frankly, the elderly are rejecting Obamacare with good reason.

First, President Obama has proposed, along with the Democrats in Congress, have proposed to pay for some of the health care reform with cuts in Medicare.

Nobody is talking about reducing Medicare benefits," Obama said. "Medicare benefits are there because people contributed into a system. It works. We don't want to change it. What we do want is to eliminate some of the waste that is being paid for out of the Medicare trust fund that could be used more effectively to cover more people and to strengthen the system."

Such assurances haven't stopped Republicans from stepping up their criticism.

"Using massive cuts to Medicare as a way to pay for more government-run health care isn't the kind of change Americans are looking for," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Thursday in a speech on the Senate floor. "Americans want savings from Medicare to be used to strengthen Medicare, not to create a system that would ... lead to a government takeover of health care."

While the President continues to insist that Medicare cuts won't lead to cuts in Medicare benefits, it's hard to see what else that would lead to. By cutting the fees paid to doctors for Medicare patients, that will eventually lead to less doctors accepting Medicare. The elderly should be worried that cuts in Medicare will lead to cuts in Medicare benefits because there's really nothing else that could happen.

Of course, the fear only starts in the cuts in Medicare. Pages 425-430 mandates advanced care planning for seniors. This will mandate that seniors meet regularly with a counselor to plan for their treatment as they near death. On page 429, the Advance Care Planning Consultant will be used to dictate treatment as patient's health deteriorates. On page 430,the government will decide what level of treatments you may have at end-of-life. This is mandated so this is no option. This is a requirement. Since most health care costs come at the end of life, they will be the first to be rationed.

Pages 272-274 analyzes and studies the treatment of cancer. Within this section, the bill mandates this...

The Secretary shall conduct a study to determine if costs incurred by hospitals exceed costs incurred by other hospitals

It's followed by a section on AUTHORIZATION OF ADJUSTMENT. As such, this section will lead to the rationing of cancer care.

On page 268 the bill even regulates the sale and rental of electric wheel chairs.

The reality is that elderly are very worried about what effect this bill will have on them, and they should be. This bill will ration care and since an enormous amount of care happens at the end of life it will be that care that will be rationed first. The bill will cut Medicare costs and that means cuts in Medicare benefits. It will force seniors to see advance care consultants and it will even have government bureaucrats make decisions for end of life. It even regulates electric wheel chairs.


Anonymous said...

Now that we have had time to absorb the full weight of how this proposed law insults and destroys liberty and prosperity, I think the conversation should start to include several other questions such as: where do the people who are writing this stuff really want to take society? What values motivate these provisions, what kind of secular utopia do these people think they will construct with such an architecture? Who would volunteer to live in such a place?

Anonymous said...

I've tried to locate the place in the bill that states that the advance-care consultations are mandatory, but I cannot find it. Can you tell me where the bill states this? Thank you.

mike volpe said...

It's right at the beginning of the section. There's a lot of legalese gibberish and then it says,

"the individual involved has not had such a consultation in the last five years".

So, first it sets out all the parameters for those that will receive it and then it says you'll receive it if you haven't had such a consultation in the last five years.

Anonymous said...

The words "the individual involved has not had such a consultation in the last five years" doesn't mean it's mandatory. The section states that it's an amendment to another law. It amends the section in that law that sets forth the BENEFITS that Medicare recipients get.

What you are calling "legalese gibberish" is what tells you that the section is amending another law, and it's not unimportant to know that.

The problem here is that non-lawyers are trying to read this bill and know what's in it. And they are making these kinds of errors. This is not intended to be a criticism of you, because this mistake did not originate with you, I'm guessing.

This is one of the problems involved with having the public try to decipher legislative language.

If I were you, I would do some questioning of people who are in a position to know Section 1861 of the Social 18 Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1395x) is being amended by this provision. Contact your congressional representative, perhaps.

I hope you won't also be affected by the incorrect stories about "medical homes" that's been appearing on the Web. That story, that residences of sick and old people are going to be created, is also false. A "medical home" is a term of art used in health care administration -- it's not a building.


mike volpe said...

First, I am glad you left your website because that tells everyone that you are in fact biased and not merely an unbiased observer. You benefit from this plan.

This other law that they are amending. What does that plan say exactly? If there is an allusion to having this consultation to the last five years, why is it in there if not to mandate it?

Mike Kruger said...

Politifact calls this claim about mandatory end-of-life consultations a "pants on fire" lie.

mike volpe said...

It's in the bill. You can call it a lie but I am quoting the bill. So, what does politifact say about the part of the bill that says that there will be end of life consultations. Is that a myth? What exactly is part of pages 425-430 if not end of life consultations. If it isn't mandatory, what does it mean when it says that you have to do it if it hasn't been done in the last five years?