By Mary Sanchez

‘Grand Bargain’ May Be Anything But

December 17, 2012 12:00 am Category: Memo Pad 110 Comments A+ / A-
‘Grand Bargain’ May Be Anything But

They say that Social Security is the third rail of American politics: Touch it and you die.

That dictum extends to Medicare and even Medicaid as well. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind President Obama and members of both parties in Congress of why that is.

If you are an ordinary American worker, you might be unlucky enough to learn a new buzzword of the health care industry: memory care. It refers to the health care assistance some older people need to do basic things like take the correct pills on the right day, get bathed and dressed safely, and remember whether they already ate lunch.

This care is incredibly expensive — several thousand dollars a month in a live-in facility. If your mother or father needed memory care, how would you pay? With costly private long-term care insurance? Savings? Would you or your spouse cut back work hours or leave the workforce to provide the care? Or should Medicare and Medicaid pick up some or all of the cost?

The AARP estimates that two-thirds of people over the age of 65 will need long-term care of some sort. Median costs in the U.S. for an assisted living apartment are $3,300 a month, usually paid for with private funds. Nursing homes are more expensive, with a median annual rate of $81,000, costs that can be covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

It’s not surprising that talk of “entitlement reform” and “grand bargains” and “hard choices” coming out Washington make voters nervous.

We’re supposedly hurtling toward a “fiscal cliff” in January, when drastic federal budget sequesters will kick in unless the president and Congress can avert them with a budget agreement that enacts some combination of tax increases and spending cuts.

What should be cut? Both Obama and members of Congress have suggested that $400 billion could be cut from Medicare. Another idea getting a lot of play is to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67.

This may sound good to some, but it will amount to robbing Peter to pay Paul. A Kaiser Family Foundation study estimated that doing so would mean “increased state and private-sector costs would be twice as large as the net federal savings.”

If put in place by 2014, Kaiser estimated $5.7 billion in net federal savings, but $11.4 billion in higher health care costs to individuals, employers and states. Hardly a grand bargain.

Besides, how many 66-year-olds are employed with the full benefits of health care? Or can rely on pension plans with health care coverage intact?

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‘Grand Bargain’ May Be Anything But Reviewed by on . They say that Social Security is the third rail of American politics: Touch it and you die. That dictum extends to Medicare and even Medicaid as well. I'd like They say that Social Security is the third rail of American politics: Touch it and you die. That dictum extends to Medicare and even Medicaid as well. I'd like Rating:

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B6RROC4IUESHT322QS5VJVPYRM Lynda

    Starting in January 2013 Medicare will receive $104.50 of my Social Security check each month, up from the mid $90 range. I would certainly be willing to have that increased to help maintain the program into the future. Paying a little bit more is a small price to pay for the continuation of Medicare. Making cuts just to save money at the expense of programs is short-sighted and wrong. We have institutions and programs that serve a good purpose and it is the duty of our elected leaders to figure out how to fund them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

    Yes, spending is a problem. Hopefully every Republican in Congress knows what contributed to the increases in the national debt during the last few years. The irresponsible Bush tax breaks eliminated the budget surplus he inherited and resulted in the resumption of deficit spending. With insufficient funds to cover outlays, at a time when we were engaged in two crusades that included huge expenditures targeted for nation building in countries where we are hated, we had no choice but to borrow to pay for what we refused to pay for ourselves. The subsequent accumulation of debt was hidden to project an illusion of fiscal integrity where none existed.
    When President Obama was elected he not only nger inherited an economy bordering on collapse, financial institutions and corporations on the verge of bankruptcy, and two unfunded wars, he also made good on his promise of transparency in government. One of the first things he did was move the hidden cost of war to the general funds for everyone to see.
    Not surprisingly, the GOP, cynically, used his decision – and the cost of Bush’s TARP since that piece of legislation was signed on 10/3/08 and, therefore, it appears in the FY09 – and blames Obama for what a Republican president with the full support of his party did.
    President Obama is only responsible for the stimulus package ($1), without which the U.S. economy would not be on a path to recovery today. Everything else was the responsibility of his predecessor, programmatic, or involves liabilities associated with Social Security and MEDICARE that should not be confused with actual debt owed to foreign or domestic creditors.
    Mr. Boehner should take his chart and shove it!

    • http://twitter.com/dickivy Richard Stewart

      Then there’s the mental health problem in this Country………

      • nobsartist

        Created by republiCON governors and raygun.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

        I should have included the revenue losses caused by the high unemployment related to the Great Recession that began in 2008, and the subsequent increase in unemployment benefits. I should have also mentioned the increases in interest payments on the debt.
        I believe we have to do three things to restore sustainable growth and the economic might we once had: (1) we must increase revenues substantially to pay for the things we need and benefit from, (2) we must reduce spending, with emphasis on avoiding impact on our most vulnerable citizens or lowering our standard of living, and (3) we must invest in infrastructure, modernization, R&D, alternative energies, and especially on EDUCATION.
        The GOP likes to talk about personal responsibility, unfortunately, their policies and record demonstrate the opposite. They want the most powerful military in the world, but don’t want to pay for it. They happily get us involved in unnecessary wars to expand our sphere of influence and to achieve geopolitical goals, but don’t want to pay for it. They want spending reductions, but promise to restore MEDICARE and DoD savings. Their anti-abortion posture, euphemistically called pro-life and considered a reflection of religious values, contrasts with the way they neglect the living, their support of the death penalty, their tendency to use war to solve international problems or remove obstacles, and their unconditional support of the NRA and the arms industry even in the face of heinous tragedies made possible by the availability of lethal weapons.

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/GGHNYPK4GNCRYZLXWVZ447WHJM Plznnn

          Dominick, the great recession you stated “officially” ended in June of 2009. The “revovery” under Obama is worse than the recession.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZJ5BBSQIGTUMERPZFALES6HQNY Bill

            Please tell me how things are worse since June off 2009. The stock market is thriving since then (all major indices are up at least 50%), there has been jobe increases every month for over the last 2 years, the housing market is improving and consumer confidence is up. So please let me know in what world this is worse than the recession.

          • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

            A 200,000 job gain Vs an 800,000 job loss in Republican parlance is tantamount to disaster. Similarly, a decline in foreclosures, bankruptcies, increases in construction, real estate sales and rising house prices are unmitigated disasters when compared to the mess we had between 2007 and 2009. Don’t forget, Republicans must pass negative logic with an A plus to be bonafide members of the conservative movement. They are, otherwise, RINOs unworthy of benefitting from the wisdom that emanates from FOX, Limbaugh, Beck, and the rest of the gang.
            Could it be that they have short memories, or that they hope the rest of the world suffers from amnesia?

          • TheOldNorthChurch

            Employment participation and incomes are at an all time low

          • elw

            Funny, I would guess your favorite News is FOX.

          • charleo1

            See, this is just the kind of statement that cost Romney, and a lot
            of Republicans the election. “Obama didn’t cause the recession,
            but he made it worst.” Which is ridiculous. Any fool, half way
            paying attention, knows the Stock Market is not at 6000, and
            the economy is not still shedding 7 to 8 hundred thousand jobs
            per month. The conditions when Obama took office. Then, they
            wonder why they have this big credibility problem.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/UVBBXHRPLYYL5ZAWACRRUZ2X2U Steve p

            Still stinging from the but beating got in the election.It will get better

          • Lisztman

            Plznnn: That’s bait and I’m not taking it.
            How are you measuring “worse”?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gary-Godfrey/100000665142650 Gary Godfrey

            In my state the recovery is on track and doing well. Unemployment is now officially at 5.1% and continuing to improve from there. Lots of skilled jobs are hard to fill. How is that worse than in 2009? Of course, some areas are harder hit, and don’t forget that unemployment is a trailing indicator. What do you think things would look like under McCain and Palin? McCain doesn’t know how to use e-mail, doesn’t know how many houses he owns, and Palin, well, we all know about Palin, don’t we!

        • TheOldNorthChurch

          Dominick this recession is only two months longer then the recession of 1981. Time for us all to have reality check.

          The Great Depression lasted 3 years 7 months, The 1981 Recession 1 year 4 months, this Recession 1 year 6 months. Let’s quit giving the Political Class a break on this. They have just royally screwed up the recovery.

    • montanabill

      So all of our problems would have been solved if only, Bush hadn’t cut taxes or gotten into two wars. You need to look a little closer at Clinton’s ‘balanced budget’ and then give us your solution to radical Islam. Why are you absolving Obama of TARP? He fully supported it. There is absolutely no proof that the Stimulus package put us on a road to recovery, since this recovery has been far slower than all those that preceded it and it has been three years.
      I get the impression that you are among the many people who believe all problems can be solved, if only, we had enough tax money…from somebody else.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1280768593 Jason Largo

        montanabill – you have been deluded like so many of your fellow believers. Yes, Obama had to take on TARP and the other ‘rescue’ programs to try and put back together what Bush and his party took away from our country. It will take many years to fix our economy. Thank God for sensible, intelligent people like Pres. Obama.

        • montanabill

          Actually, it was ‘affordable housing’ and sub-prime mortgages, the darlings of the Democrat party that caused the collapse, but never let facts get in the way of a good accusation. The economy will only be fixed when American business feels comfortable enough to risk investing money in growth. It is the ‘sensible, intelligent people like the Pres.’, who either don’t understand that or deliberately don’t want it.

      • William Deutschlander

        Good ole Montanna Bill, still has his head up his anal canal!

        • montanabill

          I see you still believe insults are better than facts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

        My solution to Muslim extremism is (1) use spies and informants to identify and deal with their leaders. (2) Withdraw from a part of the world where we our help and presence are not welcome. (3) Tke a more robust and fair approach in solving the Israeli-Palestinian impasse. (4) Demonstrate with deeds that the United States is not an evil superpower determined to impose its values and interests on other nations by force.
        The TARP was drafter by Secretary Hank Paulsson and signed by George W.Bush on 10/3/08. I actually don’t have a problem with it. I believe that regardless of the root causes for the near debacle of our financial institutions, something had to be done to save capitalism and the TARP helped us do that. My only objection is pinning the cost of the TARP on Obama.
        The stimulus package and the TARP helped us preclude the unthinkable. Programs such as cash for clunkers, replacement of appliances with energy efficient units, credits to first time home buyers and other such programs helped stop our economic decline. Investments in infrastructure helped minimize unemployment, espcially in the construction sector, which was one of the most affected by the Great Recession. Bailing our GM and Chrysler helped keep tens of thousands of auto workers, car dealers and suppliers employed.
        Obviously, there are many contributing factors for our economic recovery, improved consumer confidence is one of them. What was definitely not a contributing factor was obstructionism and saying no. If we had embraced the GOP solution put forth by Sen. McCain in 2008 -letting our defunct market forces take the lead – there is a good chance the talk today would have been about how to get out of the Second Great Depression.

        • montanabill

          I’m glad you are thinking about a solution to muslim extremism. I’m sure the CIA does it’s best to use spies and informants, but that type of leader is extremely paranoid. We have withdrawn from several such places, only to see them used to grow more powerful. Arafat had a fair deal but refused to accept it. I believe the Palestinian goal is the ultimate elimination of Israel and so can never accept a settlement that would thwart that goal. The U.S. has demonstrated since 1918 that we are not an imperial power. But we do foster the American ideals of people freely choosing their own government, having freedom of expression, freedom of religion and a freedom from fear of their own government. We do not go to war just to impose those values.

          As a businessman, I have a far different take on government help programs. I don’t think did much of anything to help the economy. The President only bailed out union auto workers. The bankruptcies proceeded as needed except that union contracts and pensions could not be renegotiated. Neither of those companies was going to be liquidated.

          The obstructionism and saying no is simply a demand that new spending must be offset by cuts elsewhere. If Democrats would simply find a way to pay for their desired programs without the continual increase in taxes or the requirement for government to take over more and more of our lives, the Republicans would quit saying no. It is just that simple.

      • Fubom

        Really tired of you Bush apologist. He, and his neo con handlers are responsible for everything that happened in this economy from Jan. 21, 2001 to Oct. 30 2009. If this is hard for you to comprehend, then maybe you should do some research before you shoot off your misinformed mouth.

        • montanabill

          Speaking of doing some research….

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/GGHNYPK4GNCRYZLXWVZ447WHJM Plznnn

      Enough about blaming Bush already, what has Obama done with 4 years of power and 4 years, 2 under Bush and 2 under BO with complete control of Congress? He increased our debt by 5 Trillion with no good results, gave Amnesty to 1.7 Illegals while 23 Million Americans are unemployed, and the Democrat party and their supporter like you Dominick, always critisized the Republican Party on every attempt to make SS & MEdicare solvent, by screaming that they are against seniors and doing “NOTHING”, but kicking the can further and further, meanwhile taking $716 Billion from Medicare. Lets focus on just where most of the blame truly lies and fix the mess instead of blame, blame, blame Bush.

      • charleo1

        I guess you’re another Righty that never heard of the Senate filibuster. Although,
        Republicans used it a record 386 times since the election of Barack Obama.
        Now, I suppose one could call a 60 vote advantage in the Senate total control.
        If herding cats is their idea of control. But, here’s the deal on Bush, and why
        the red ink he put on the books, and the wild ride Wall Street took on his watch
        sill matters. The deficits from the unfunded wars, about 2.5 trillion. More if we
        count the estimated 30,000 injured soldiers, and the rebuilding of a military
        worn down after a decade of war. Now along with the lower tax rates, which
        represent 1 trillion dollars in taxes that would have ben collected, if Bush,
        (There’s that guy again!) If Bush, and the Republican controlled Congress had
        kept the rates where Clinton had them. Of course, tax cuts are always popular.
        But the problem with these particularly generous, particularly skewed to the
        wealthy tax cuts, became painfully obvious when the economy instead of growing,
        as was promised, actually collapsed in their 8th year. Okay, you say. Bush went
        back to Texas, and anything going forward is on the tax, and spend Liberals,
        right? The reality is, Republicans are keen to absolve their responsibility for
        this fiasco. Debt? What debt? Oh yes, that Obama is an outrageous spender!
        The problem with that is, a lot of people still have functioning memories.
        Especially the accountants over at the CBO.

        • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

          Don’t forget what Bush called the debt: IOUs…pieces of paper!

      • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

        You are right, it is not just Bush, it is Republican policies in general. Bush had a Republican controlled Congress during his first six years in office, when sole source contracts to companies like Halliburton for projects that were never completed were the norm, when the cost of two crusades justified by deceit, were the norm, when deregulation plaved the way for ENRON, AIG and the near collapse of our financial institutions and some of our largest corporations. Of course you don’t want anyone to mention the root causes for the fiscal and economic problems we experienced since the last quarter in 2007. I wouldn’t either if I was a Republican.
        President Obama gave a two-year amnesty period to illegal immigrants that entered the USA as small children. Most of them grew up in the USA, were educated in the USA, many of them speak only English, and many served in the U.S. Armed Forces or are attending high school or college. Yes, I suppose we could engage in ethnic cleansing like so many communist countries did a few decades ago, but that is not who we are.
        Would you have preferred Bush’s and McCain’s guest worker program? Texas Gov Perry’s decision to extend college tuition benefits to children of illegal immigrants? Newt Gingrich’s proposal to give amnesty to ALL illegal immigrants who had resided in the USA more than 20 years? Our problems have little to do with illegal immigration, which is down to a trickle as a result of the Great Recession and improved economic conditions in Mexico. In fact, almost one million illegal immigrants have left the USA voluntarily. Our problem, when it comes to illegal immigrants may be the inability of American farmers being able to find cheap labor to plant and harvest their crops. If that happens, they will have no choice but to triple or quadruple salaries to attract American workers, which will create an inflationary trend in the USA that will devastate our economy and bring the prices of consumables to the same level as those in Western Europe, Japan and other industrialized nations.
        Social Security is solvent, in fact, it is running a surplus. The only thing I would do to it is increase the contribution cap to ensure it remains solvent for decades to come. The problem is MEDICARE which is running a 17% deficit and needs assistance from the general fund to cover outlays. The MEDICARE problems are caused by the 2003 Part D reform, and by widespread fraud and abuse by service providers. President Obama tried to correct the latter by putting in place better controls over what service providers can charge. The GOP enthusiastically embraced the idea…and then promised to restore the $716B in MEDICARE savings to scare seniors during the last campaign. Additional changes must be made to MEDICARE, but every effort must be made to do it without impacting benefits to people who contributed into the program throughout our professional lives and continue to pay high MEDICARE fees after retirement.

        • Justin Napolitano

          Dominick, the deficit is not that high and it is not being funded by the general fund. Please google Medicare financing and you will find there is 250 billion dollars in the medicare fund which is paying medicare deficit.
          I don’t know way people insist that there is no fund from which we pay SS and Medicare benefits. All it talks is a little time on the internet to get the real and complete picture.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZJ5BBSQIGTUMERPZFALES6HQNY Bill

        Where did Obama find a .7 illegal, was he straddling the border but mostly on the US side?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KOPKDFAUQPIIRAFI3HEXNMSHLQ Ed

        You really should lay off the Kool Aid untul your blood pressure drops.

      • Justin Napolitano

        Plznnn, you can repeat those lies as much as you like but no one believes them anymore. The election is over.

    • elw

      You are 100% correct.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/43ZQGGZPH4XAL3T4CNK5A2DTYE Bill

      Well Put Dominich, Also seems I remember Bushs presentation to congress and the american people that the cost of his Iraqui war would be paid for by restoration and sale of oil from their massive reserves. So, wheres the money. That income should reduce debt by a trillion or so. Then, our nations teasury lost in two wars, not just in costs of war but in plain theft of billions by officials in both countrys and some of our security employees, If we know this, why isnt our government seeking restitution of these assets. Lastly, we bailed out wall street and the banks, so wheres the money for repayment to our treasury and why hasnt these same inities who bankrupted and foreclosed on our citizens paying for their financial transgressions. Is ist just plain easier to befuddle the public ans seek cuts and increases? Does anyone in washington see there may be significant financial recovery as a result of thesed transgressions? I dont believe we will ever see an answer to this question.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.vila.1 Dominick Vila

        Even an intellectually challenged George W. Bush realized that appropriating the national resources of conquered countries would have put us at par with the socialist and communist countries whose tendency to appropriate private property we so rightfully condemn.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Johnson/1354867656 Alice Johnson

          Yeah, but bush43 thought that was our oil there. How did our oil get under their desert, anyway? It wouldn’t be appropriating national resources to take that oil – they didn’t need it anyway. And it’s ours!
          Just like Romney said once – “I’m gonna go get that oil for us.”

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/43ZQGGZPH4XAL3T4CNK5A2DTYE Bill

          Maybe so but my point is he went on National TV, in the halls of congress and made that statement shortly after our ill conceived invasion of Iraq. This hasnt happened . Iraqui was pumping ans selling oil at this time and had billions in the New York banks. Finally, our boys spent their lives and bodies, for what.? Why does China now own the Oil fields in iraq? I still beleive Iraq owes us for rebuildingd their infrastucture with american tax dollars and should be paying now that their oil producton is up; and running.

    • RobertCHastings

      Thankyou, Dominick. This is a point I have been repeatedly making in several other areas on the National Memo, and a point the president should be making, loudly and often!

    • onedonewong

      Lets restore Clinton’s tax rates and his federal spending that’s a win win for everyone

  • Hornsea1

    Social Security & Medicare money came from payroll deductions. Had it been invested wisely, there wouldn’t have been a crisis. It is not Government’s money – it is your money.

    • Justin Napolitano

      The money is invested in special issue treasuries. Please take note.

  • http://www.facebook.com/FishRouge Ronnie Loga

    I couldn’t live without Medicare. I started working when I was 15 , 4 months before I was 16. I lied about My age so I could work and help out My Family. Why should I be cut out after paying into Social Security all these Years. The Company I was working with gave Me an early retirement at 55 years old. I’ve had open Heart Surgury with A double bypass and had a Stint since then and had to have both My knees replaced. Now My back and left Shoulder/arm is hurting so bad I can’t hardly do anything. Ronnie Loga

  • Jim Lou

    The GOP Governors, except for Perry, have to deal with the realities. They understand what happens when cuts are made. The states have to make up the difference.

    Of course what they can do is to pass it to the local governments, something that has happened in the past.

  • nobsartist

    I have not heard anyone mention the CIA budget. Until the SECRET budget of the CIA is made public and drastically cut, none of these jackass’s are serious about fixing our “financial” problems.

    If they modify social security or medicare, which I have paid into for 40 years, I am going to demand ALL of my money back with a legal, usury interest rate.

    If President Obama caves on this, like he has on everything else over the last 4 years, it will simplify who the traitors are.

    Both parties will pay.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    While mental health is a problem, how do you reteach adults to be responsible parents and recognize that guns in a household with troubled children are not a good sign of mental health?

    And, if we start on a campaign to have regular mental health checks for everyone, some of the most dangerously mentally ill would come from those with the biggest power obsessions. It would be instant replay of the 1600′s when the insane were hunted down. Until the mid-1950′s, the mentally ill were institutionalized and not always in the best of facilities. Their treatment was slightly above that of a stray dog.

    The reality is that it starts with gun buyers. We must know who they are the minute they pay for weapons and ammunition. Their names should be on a public registry along with gun owners who called themselves “law abiding citizens.” Let’s see just how law abiding they’ll be when they know everyone will be aware of how many guns they are buying.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Johnson/1354867656 Alice Johnson

      Sure, I’ll go for that. Extensive accurate lists of who buys guns. That alone will curtail some of the egregious gun collecting that is the sign of a person with – um, ‘issues’. Sort of like the sex offender registry; something I can access so I know if the crazy guy up the street has automatic weapons.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    No matter how you try to avoid the 800 lb gorilla in the room, it’s not SS, Medicare or Medicaid that’s the problem. Every pay period, deductions are taken from our paychecks to pay for that. Would the Republicans do the same to the payroll deductions for 401Ks? You bet they wouldn’t. Now, ask yourselves why not. Because, even though there’s trillions sitting in those 401K accounts, they are an advantage for Wall Street. SS, Medicare and Medicaid deductions in the trillions are not.

    The Republicans have wanted to get rid of SS since FDR instituted this program to protect future Americans from having Wall Street do what it did to so many in 1929…Take every dime in savings to spend on reckless, high risk investments. This is the bottom line of what the GOP wants to return to.

    So..when you look at GOP motivation, it comes down to helping Wall Street which helps the Corporate Socialists and reduces the security of Main Street Americans. We are not a safety net for reckless Wall Street moguls. Let them rely on their money…not our to play their high risk games.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Johnson/100001480820996 James Johnson

    Doesn’t anyone understand, that if the wealtist paid their fair share as do those of you under the 100k, that those eyetems would be in good shape. Look it up after yu pass a ceartain amount you stop paying in to Social Security. But you can and should bet they wil draw their portion out just like they paid in as the rest of you all. This is just Dumb, Dumb, Dumb. Wake up everyone. Speak out. I do but I just get ignored. So far this doesn’t effect me, as I am diabled from the war and working for Homeland Security seaching for bombs. Heavan help us all.

    • TheOldNorthChurch

      That simply is not true. We do not pay into a fund that is invested to provide for us when we retire. We pay so that those that are retired may receive a check for more then was ever funded for them in the first place.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

        Replying to TheOldNorthChurch -

        Unfortunately, the Social Security fund has been raped for decades in order to provide a rosy revenue picture for the administration in power at any given time.

        THAT IS WHY IT IS A TAX!!!! NOT A SECURITY BLANKET.

        AND AS A TAX, IT SHOULD BE ACROSS ALL INCOME LEVELS, NOT JUST THOSE WHO EARN LESS THAN $110,000 PER YEAR!!!

        • Justin Napolitano

          The funds are not raped. They earn interest just like every other bond issued by the government. The problem is that the federal Government does not count this borrowed money as a part of the deficit. Now that is a problem that should be addressed.

      • Justin Napolitano

        Indeed we really do pay into a fund for these programs. Yes the money is borrowed by the Federal government and used for what ever they want but the fund contains special issue treasuries which earn interest just like every other bond issued by the government. Please google Medicare and Social Security finances to get the real picture.

        • TheOldNorthChurch

          Justin the point I am making is if we paid into a “Real Retirement Fund” when we retired it would not be necessary for anyone to ever pay into it again, because our money would be there and be invested to pay us regardless. This is how annuities work. Social Security and Medicare requires those working to fund those who are no longer working. It is simply a slush fund to be taken advantage of by the “Political C;ass”. There maybe Special Issued Treasuries, but in order to pay them back, we the American People who paid into the fund need to pay ourselves back.

          Get the 2012 Trustee Reports for both Social Security and Medicare. It will give you the real picture of what is going on here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Johnson/1354867656 Alice Johnson

      James Johnson,
      Thank you for your service!

      I agree that no one will pay attention to individuals, no matter how well informed or smart we are. We need some people like Paul Krugman, and some economics professors, especially one who understands Keynesian Economics; we need some people from the Office of Management and Budget and some other congressional offices who work with budget numbers all the time… and when we get the superstars all together, maybe they can explain to the country why giving the wealth even more wealth does not create jobs; if it did, there would have been a zillion of them between 2001 – 2008. Or what the stimulus did or didn’t do; what raising the minimum wage would do; how much wealth is concentrated in the hands of just a tiny few; and most important, what do we do now!

      I’d give a lot to see a seminar led by Paul Krugman with guests of a caliber who can speak about how the economy has been working and will work in the future. Americans are so confused about that, probably because they can only repeat talking points they heard on Rush Limbaugh’s show (for example).

      Meanwhile, I continue to write to my state and national congresspeople and senators and my governor. I don’t know how much good that does, but I want to be counted among those who care when the governor’s office counts among their constituents who supports him and who doesn’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1280768593 Jason Largo

    As the Republican party plans to eliminate social benefit programs, they are going to kill themselves and any future elections they might want to win. We need more than a ‘one party syestem’, but the Republicans are no longer for the people. The Constitution spells it out very well; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!!

    • TheOldNorthChurch

      Jason you are right about what the constitution says, but what does it mean?

      That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4HKCTSVHCQJCJUU2VYCERLWWDE Richie T

    Congress
    John Dingell, (H)
    Democrat
    Over 57 years and he’s STILL in office.
    At this point, 14 members of Congress have been in office at least 36 years
    Surprised?
    They screw us, we re-hire them, why should they stop?

    None of this b# effects them or their families
    Start throwing them out he next time they come up for re- election, It’ll probably take a couple of elections, eventually the ones in office will finally realize they work for us we don’t work for them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mayorj12 Jack Ragan

    As a 91 year old Iwo Jima vet, who is still attempting to stay in my home and who has never asked for any help except for Social Security and Medicare. But those 2 service were responsible in my efforts because my wife had many physical problems her last years and had it not been for them I probably would be stone broke, except for my present Soc Sec Check. In case the lessening of either or both , I probably would be on Medicaid in an expensive nursing home, since I have Parkinson’s and Diabetes, it would be more costly to the programs.
    If possible, make room in the budgets to take care of the many like me.

    • jarheadgene

      Mr. Ragan. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Because of veterans like you, you stopped 2 totalitarian goverments from overthrowing the entire world. Hirohito and Hitler were so power hungry they did not care what happened to their own country as they sought the conquest of the world. Now we have ego maniacal “emperor wannabes” trying to rule the U.S. at any and all cost to our own country. They mostly stand under the GOP flag. Thanks to forward thinking voters we are dispatching them as fast as we can. They would call you a “47% moocher” but we know the TRUTH. Your earned everything this country should be giving you, and then some….again Thank You for your service to this country.

    • northroader1775

      Thank you for your service Sir. And yes I agree there should be a place in our buget planning for people like you. Remember there are people in this counrty that thank God for the contributions you and your comrades made and continue to make.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Johnson/1354867656 Alice Johnson

      Thank you for your service!
      I have always believe that vets should get an automatic benefit of health care for life. Instead, the VA has waiting lists for surgery, terrible hospitals with no maintenance to the facilities, not enough staff so the employees do the work of two people – hence, the waiting lists.
      This is morally wrong. I am entitled to my social security, because I’ve earned it. But you, sir, are entitled to everything the country can give you because your work entitles you to it. I worked as a computer programmer for companies that made money from my labor. You worked for the country who was able to be kept free and safe from your labor. No comparison.
      I hope Mr Obama can do something about this while he is in office. He has an awful lot on his plate, but maybe after the fiscal issue is addressed, we can get to the veterans’ issues.

  • Fubom

    I am sick and tired of this welfare state. There are way too many getting a free ride. I am fed up with every time someone screws up they put their hand out to the taxpayers of this country for a “bail out”. I am disgusted with those that pay no taxes, but have no problem making use of the commons provided by those that do pay taxes. I am talking to the “Too big to fail Banks”, and insurance companies that drove this country into the worst recession this nation has seen in 80 years. I am talking about the oil companies that make “billions” in profits every quarter, yet find a way to avoid paying taxes, all the while taking subsidies from the taxpayers of this country. I am talking about big Pharma, that takes grants from the government for research, then charges the people that paid for that research the highest prices in the world for the medications they need to survive. I am talking about defense contractors that get cost plus no bid contracts from the coffers of the hard working taxpayers of this country, then find every way they can to waste as much money as possible so they can add to their bottom lines. I am talking about corporations that move our jobs overseas, then take a tax credit for the expenses of moving their equipment. These are the real freeloaders sucking the nation dry! Before the President or our legislators even think about cutting benefits from programs that WE have paid for, they need to address the real leaches that are responsible for our deficit problems. Eliminate endless wars, subsidies for hugely profitable corporations, tax shelters for wealthy cheats that hide their riches in off shore tax havens. Here is an idea: If you do actual work for a living then your maximum marginal tax rate should be no more than 20%. If you make money from speculation in the stock or commodities markets, live on dividends just sitting by the pool waiting for the check to come in, then you pay a minimum tax rate of 75%. Why? Because you add nothing to this economy. The only wealth you create is your own, and the only jobs you are responsible for “creating” are for your servants.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Johnson/1354867656 Alice Johnson

      I agree with many of your points! Especially the last one – we need to explain to the public what a “job-creator” really is. OMB has good data on how jobs really are created, and how the money earned and spent by workers actually creates more money as it is spent, then given to workers who earned their wages at the businesses where the original wages were spent. The money keeps going, over and over, creating more money as it rolls along. But NOT when it is given to rich people! With them, the money stops at their bank account. Or, as you said, with their servants.
      The OMB has lots of data on this.

  • TheOldNorthChurch

    Mary the problem is that we have all been lied to regarding these programs. We have been told that they are trust funds and some magically balance sits in a sort of bank so if we need it we can get it to pay our system. We have also been told that we paid into this fund all our lives and so we deserve it. What would happen if we were told the truth? The money we have paid in has paid for those on the system today, it is not money set aside for us! Would we listen? If we take all the money paid to Social Security at the max amount for a $106,000.00 a year earner, what should we receive per month back?

    It is worst for Medicare. There is no way that the amount we are taxed could ever conceivably pay for our medical care after age 65. Again we were not told the truth.

    During the Vietnam War, President Johnson needed these payroll taxes to be counted in the General Fund so as to pay for the War. That is why there is no real cash in the Trust Funds today. There are instead promises to pay. Do you believe it will happen? It simply can not.

    Defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Interest on the National debt equal over 80% of the entire National Spending. To correct our financial position as a country we need to address this now. American Families and Individuals addressed the problem several years ago. It is time for our elected officials to be responsible and quit lying to us. These five areas need to be reduced 20% in real spending to make a difference. Leaving any of them out of the equation will not work.

    • Justin Napolitano

      Social Security and Medicare, through payroll taxes, make up 40% of the total income to the federal Government whereas the government is spending 43% on these two programs. The 3% difference is covered by the trust funds for these programs. And yes there are trust funds which are invested in Special Issue Treasury Bonds.
      Just google Medicare and Social Security funding and you will be able to log into a government site explaining the trust funds.

  • howa4x

    All this talk of retirement reform is a coverup to keep taxes and loop holes for the wealthy. Why not tax investment income, or estate income over $500,000 instead?Why not cut the over bloated defense budget, pull our troops out of Europe? Are we healthier as a nation to have ships in Japan? With the advent of drones do we need so many battalions? It wasn’t all those troops fighting in Afganistan that killed Bin Laden, our reason for the war, it was special forces. Most of Al Qeada has been wiped out by drones, not the navy or air force. We have the largest and most expensive military to fight who?Why do we need another bomber, or fighter jet, that costs 1 billion/plane. The reason is the defense industry placed facilities in many congressional districts. This is the Republican idea of a very costly jobs program.
    We can cut 700 billion out of medicare easily since that figure is what the IOM says is fraud, waste, un needed surgery, too many tesst and our failure to negotiate with Big Pharma. Actually the ACA will make huge cuts in medical delivery just by forcing the system to be more efficient. So what this theatre boils down to is the republican are more than willing to shift the burden of the budget onto the seniors, and middleclass rather than the upper income bracket and corporate profits

  • Lovefacts

    First, we have to stop calling SS and Medicare entitlements. They are earned benefits.

    However, IF the congress is serious about controlling the debt here are a few entitlements they can abolish.
    -Allow Medicare negotiate for medications. Passing a law that prevents them from doing so is an entitlement to big Pharmco.
    -Remove the ceiling from SS tax deductions. Have no ceiling, that means everyone pays for it no matter how much they earn.
    These two will go a long way toward keeping SS and Medicare solvent.
    -Stop subsidies to oil companies and big agri business.
    -Do away with capital gains and dividend exclusions on everything over $30,000.
    -Do away with tax deductions and shelters that only the wealthy use. Have everyone use the same forms.
    -Insure the tax structure helps businesses that keep or in source jobs, not off-shoring them.

    Increase jobs in the US by doing the last above and assisting businesses like wind and solar energy companies that keep their manufactoring and workforce in the states.

    • northroader1775

      I don’t want to let FAUX NOISE redefine another perfectly good word. Entitlement and earned benefit is the same thing if you earned a benefit you are ENTITLED to collect it. We let Faux redefine conservative and now it apparently means dangerously deranged under-educated blowhard. I used to be a proud conservative but am now considered a greenie, a liberal, a tree hugger, etc….

      I know it’s trivial but when we let them hack away at the very language we use to describe problems it takes a lot longer to get around to solving the actual problem. They are entitlements and it is a perfectly servicable word.

      Also benefits delayed are EXACTLY the same as benefits DENIED. Raising the age to 67 is just another way of saying FU working class…thanks for the 65 years of effort but FU.

      It’s just like the horse in Animal Farm..thanks for the effort, now off to the glue factory.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Johnson/1354867656 Alice Johnson

      entitlements – that has always been offensive to me. Not because I’m not “entitled” to my social security – I AM – but because the phrase was coined and used originally with dripping sarcasm which was meant to convey that deadbeats ‘thought’ they were entitled to something when they really weren’t. Republicans still say that word with sarcasm, and I hate it.
      Republican legislators – now THERE’S an entitlement. They get pensions and health insurance for the rest of their lives, just for serving two or more years. They did not earn that – they’re not “entitled” to it at all. So I use the word, dripping sarcasm, whenever I talk about legislators who don’t think I’m eligible for social security, tax for which I have paid all my working life.
      Yes, entitled means that it legally and morally belongs to me – but the word is tainted now. Let’s use something else.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/T22KNTWIIRGDWN2F63CO65BJHM Sweetness

    Why do the GOP always want to pick on the elderly, and the poor? every time there’s and issue with the budget or the debt ceiling cut programs from the poor, there are plenty of areas to find cuts, so go find them Mr. Boehner along with your rest of your GOP Crew, Seek and ye shall find! if your willing to look. You people are heartless, why were you elected anyway, to do what? What have you done to help the American people? WE ARE WAITING MR. SPEAKER FOR YOUR ANSWER. ALSO, MR. BOEHNER NEEDS TO BE REMINDED THAT HE WAS ELECTED TO BE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, NOT THE “POTUS”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

      Replying to Sweetness -

      They pick on the elderly and poor because these are the easiest targets they can find. If you are old and/or poor, you cannot provide a good defense against the BIG MONEY AND POWER.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZZ2M43AHZHCIJP44Z3MDNPX2SI golfer78015

    Let’s stop talking about Social Security and Medicare and start talking about the bloated military budget. Eisenhower’s warning about being afraid of the “military-industrial complex ” becomes more relevant every day. The US currently spends more on the military than the next 10 countries combined. That is rediculous!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Johnson/1354867656 Alice Johnson

      I am told that legislators and lobbyists will sometimes push for a certain project or expense in the military budget – not because it is needed, but because it benefits a city where there is a military-contracted factory. I’m told that these projects can be as big as many billions of dollars, spent on equipment that will never be used, just to get money into a legislator’s home state. I think this is where we need to start.

  • Justin Napolitano

    testing

  • sambilano

    Now the Republicans are on board maths from speaker B.And even with all that it still not adding UP.

  • elw

    OK lets say that there is a spending problem and everything is on the table. I think it is only fair to include the generous retirement and healthcare plan our elected representatives get for serving as little as one term in the Senate, House or Presidency. After all, are those not paid by our tax dollars? Look I paid into Social Security and Medicare for decades before I even got one penny from either one. There are many middle-aged working people out there who have included those two programs as part of their retirement planning. So if the”entitlements” for the working middle-class is on the table, than I say it is only fair that the “entitlements”for those making decisions end up with the same exact cuts. Personally, I would like to see our congressional representatives be covered by Medicare, just like I am. I still can’t figure out why they deserve a premium health care plan and yet Medicare is good enough for me. I worked just as hard and for much longer to get my entitlements than any of them. Or do our elected representatives think somehow they are better than you or me and deserve a bigger share of tax payer dollars?

  • almatab

    Dear Mr. President Please Do Not Give In To The House Speaker And Others Like Him. Because We Don’t Need More Cuts To Medicare Or Medicaid Its Bad Enough That These People Cannot Get The Care They Need Now. Explain For One If You Are A Diabetic And You Need The Shoe Here In Mobile Alabama You Cannot Get The Shoes On The Medicaid We See It Happen Too Many Time Here In Mobile, Alabama What John Boehner Is Asking Is Still Hurting The Poor People. It Is Not Fair We All Are Human Too. Also You Must Know Are Thinking About How Some Of Us End Up This Way. Well You Have A Lot Of People Work The Shipyard And Had No Ins. Because We Could Not Buy It. This Is What We Call Middle Class Worker We Still Lives Please Mr. President Do Not Let John Boehner Use We The People Again Because After All We The People Has Spoken WHAT MORE DO THEY WANT WE HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO GIVE. Thank You For Reading God Bless You And God Bless American.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Johnson/1354867656 Alice Johnson

      Excellent. Have you emailed this to the white house? Do it. It’s good.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KOPKDFAUQPIIRAFI3HEXNMSHLQ Ed

    And then there is the age oldproblem- One man’s waste is anothers mainstay.!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/43ZQGGZPH4XAL3T4CNK5A2DTYE Bill

    Plznn, seems you have forgotten the party of no in our legislative branch of government. They are still there, though weaker., but our national problems can not be corrected until our government begins to work together, A president cant function without support and consent of our congress.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/RGOUPZ3JYNMPBVOHLZRCRVRD6Q ivory69690

    Yet Congress has failed to enact commonsense measures to control that growth — such as using Medicare’s market power to negotiate cheaper drug prices/// this is because the GOP ding dongs are in bed with the drug dealer. thy are with the greedy bastards 2 % some how and way

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

    I didn’t catch this until I took a close look at the chart. If you check the Green zone, the revenue took a HUGE drop between 2006 and 2008. At the same time, spending SPIKED by at a factor of at least two.

    After George the Second was finished, President Obama actually began cutting the spending side of the equation. (NOT MY WORDS!!!! THESE ARE ON THE CHART SHOWN BY REPRESENTATIVE BOEHNER!!!)

    ALSO, REPRESENTATIVE BOEHNER CONVENIENTLY STARTED THE CHART IN 2006, WHICH DOES NOT SHOW ANY OF THE DECREASES IN REVENUE OR THE INCREASES IN SPENDING FROM 2000 THROUGH 2006 WHEN GEORGE THE SECOND WAS IN OFFICE.

    THE CHART SHOULD START IN 1996 SO WE CAN GET A TRUE PICTURE OF WHAT SPENDING AND REVENUE REALLY LOOKED LIKE BEFORE GEORGE THE SECOND WENT ON HIS “WELFARE FOR THE WEALTHY” BINGE ALONG WITH HIS SPENDING BINGE.

    The spending side of the chart shows that spending will remain flat or will fall slightly until at least 2016, when President Obama leaves office. But the real problems begin in 2021 and later.

    Maybe it is just me, but it looks like Representative Boehner is predicting a Republican win in 2016. Or maybe in 2020.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

    One of the quickest and most fair methods of increasing revenue is to lift the cap on social security and medicare taxes.

    If a secretary making ten or twelve dollars an hour can “afford” to pay over 15% or her total pay for these “benefits”, there is no reason why someone making over a million dollars a year cannot pay the same rate as the secretary. (Her total pay would include the portion paid by her employer. After all, if the employer did not have to pay that portion, it is highly unlikely that the employer would pay that extra money to the employee. That would just become more profit for the employer.)

    I CANNOT WAIT TO HEAR THE HOWLING AND SCREAMING FROM THE RIGHT WINGERS ABOUT THIS COMMENT!

  • emadis41

    Entitlements are not all free, SS and Medicare are paid for over the years one’s working life. Also a reminder to Boehner and others what their fiscal guru Reagan said : “Social security has nothing to do with the deficit”
    If you are retired, you receive SS (Max $2514/month) you pay $104 into Medicare part B and if you add suppl. you pay $200+ (in addition to the Donut-Hole $2460) and if you add all of together it adds to no less than $7K/y ($14K for 2). hardly free.
    Raising the Medicare to 67 will not save much, since most work until their 70s. It will make diff. only if you are fired or let go and forced to go on Medicare, because Cong. made Medicare primary, even if you are covered by COBRA for which you pay between $400 and 1100/m. Apparently one example of their hastily crafted-stupid laws, like the laws that they will empower during a fiscal cliff. Usually, that is what we get from these GOPers.
    Mr. Boehner should look at another chart, which shows the rich getting more richer while the Middle Class income is flat for the last 30 years, and no jobs to show for.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Rei/100001727442607 Andrew Rei

    Yes, we have a spending problem….spending on tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations, including corporate welfare….we also have a revenue problem…since those greedy and fascist a-holes pay little or no taxes, in addition to getting welfare, we don’t get the revenue we should. The numbers are staggering…$90 billion per year in corporate welfare…another $90 billion in tax breaks for people who don’t pay taxes…$650 billion in lost revenue between big corporations and the wealthy…oh…did I mention the $600 billion or more spent on the defense/military budget? Those tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations are the TRUE entitlement program/Ponzi scheme and those who received them are the TRUE Welfare Queens :( ssmdh

  • charleo1

    And, Dick Cheney. “Deficits don’t matter.”

  • charleo1

    I agree with every well stated point. And if we want to know how the corporate elite
    has managed to mostly decouple themselves from the broader domestic economy, we
    need look no further than the Republican primary process. This is where people like
    Norquist, and Rove, representing a cabal of corporate entities, and big money
    ideologues like the Koch Brothers. Republican candidates are presented with a choice
    mimicking the silver, or bullets decision used by the drug cartels on law enforcement,
    and public officials in Mexico. Norquist has famously said he wanted government
    small enough to drown in a bathtub, and then, of course to drown it! Who talks like
    that anyway? If he were Middle Eastern, he might find himself on a terrorist list
    somewhere! But his backers make him the VIP of Republican primary politics.
    And that in turn, makes him one of the most powerful men in Washington.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ES2UMKTR4CDLPP22JNGQN3Z7SE Jackmack

    this Republican Congress will do anything to protect the rich Boehner and the rest of his Republican Idots

  • nobsartist

    I wonder why republiCONs didnt propose deducting the cost of the wars that they lied us into as a payroll deduction like social security and medicare?

  • RobertCHastings

    I watched the 1984 version of The Christmas Carol, starring George C. Scott last night. As he quoted Dickens, Scrooge’s character said “then decrease the surplus population.” Very appropriate to the task at hand for the Republican party.

  • Justin Napolitano

    Please visit the following link to see Medicare finances:

    .ssa.gov/pressoffice/pr/trustee12-pr.html

  • Chrysippus

    Mr. Boehner needs to realize no cuts in social programs will be tolerated. Raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 per year and cut the fat out of the DOD budget. Why the Speaker of the House keeps focusing on the deficit and not on putting money in people’s pockets is beyond rational comprehension–unless, of course, it’s just a politcal shell game to benefit the very rich.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Johnson/1354867656 Alice Johnson

      Just so.

  • jstsyn

    By ‘learn the hard way’ I know you mean protests in the streets and voting out any politician that hacks Medicare, medicaid, or Social Security. They should be off the table and let Medicare bargain. The reason America is in the shape it is, has been done on purpose just to cut these programs. The solution is simple and has been in place before. We have low life politicians that are causing the problem and we all know who they are. Enough is enough. They need to be shown the door. With violent street protests if need be. If they don’t think we mean business they will walk all over us. As they are doing now.

  • ChristoD

    It really is quite simple folks. If we want to keep the GOVERNMENT managed retirement benefits for our CHILDREN and GRANDCHILDREN we need to belly up to the taxes bar. If we don’t raise them for these social programs, we will hit a wall it the not too distant future. It will require EVERYONE getting a tax increase…EVERYONE even if it is small on the low income level. It is called ALL paying their dues for the common good and assuring a basepoint for retirement.

    Now if you REALLY want to understand why this fiscal crisis is happening look to Reagan, Bush I and Bush II sponsored tax DECREASES ( for the very wealthy primarily), unfunded wars and an unfunded Prescription Drug program and you will see a devious push by the Republicans to drive the National Debt through the roof ($12 + trillion of it happened on their watch with the Senate and House controlled by Republicans). Why ? To create this crisis to force these programs into the private sector so that they can realize their ideological goal of smaller government and they and their Pals can make money off of them. Not a bad idea IF we can be guaranteed that we will have a steady income in our retiremnt ala the existing programs. Therein lies the rub.

  • Germansmith

    Yes, we all want all the necessary medical care we need even after stopping paying for it . The fact remains that as we are increasing life span and we will see more expensive medical care being used by an aging population that now can expect to live 25 to 30 more years after retirement…and all these while we are reducing population growth and decreasing tax collections because our economy is in the tank.

    WE CAN NOT AFFORD IT ALL. We need to develop new models how to take care of the elderly and sick…or go back to old ones.

    In my house we take care of my mother in law who has been bed ridden for the last 2 years. It is not very pleasant and it is a load on the family….not on the government.

    I agree we need to increase taxes to those who can pay, but unless we rein in the entitlements we are not solving any problems….people are going to need to learn that they need to plan for the future and that Daddy USA is not supposed to take care of all your problems.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alice-Johnson/1354867656 Alice Johnson

      My mother is aged and ill; however, she’ll last for a while longer. Medicare pays for her doctors’ visits, but she needs someone to come in and help her bathe, clean up, make food to eat. Up until recently, Medicare didn’t recognize any gray area between staying at home with family – and being in a nursing home. (Nursing homes are tremendously expensive!) I’ve been told now that Medicare is redefining some categories to allow helpers, both of the domestic type and the medical type to come to the home to give medication and treatment, but leave the patient at home. You can’t exactly get your kidneys flushed out twice a week, or chemotherapy at home, but lots of things can be done at home. I hope this trend continues.
      I watched a TV show, 60 minutes, last night, about the cost of ‘end of life’ care. It seems that doctors and hospitals alike will call for tests and referrals to an astounding extent – to make money and to protect themselves against liability. One patient, in the last 6 months before her death, paid for 25 – that twenty-five – referrals to different doctors. A psychiatrist because she was depressed (wouldn’t you be?); an ob/gyn, for a pap smear. (WTF?) and endless MRIs, because the hospital had just acquired a brand new MRI machine, and it only makes money if the MRI schedule is full – so everybody in that hospital had to have an MRI, as often as they could document the ‘need’ for it. Etc, etc.
      This outrages me. Medicare is expensive because of this kind of crap. Patients don’t have to pay for it, so they don’t complain. They generally don’t even read the bill. They’re busy dying, anyway.
      I, myself, have a family doctor who actually does review my treatments and medications fairly often to see if we don’t need them anymore, or if there’s a cheaper way to do it. Kudos to him. But because of malpractice insurance, he is required to refer me to another doctor if something is not expressly within his purview. If I get a splinter in my foot, I have to be referred to a podiatrist. Well, not really, but you get my meaning.
      The cost of medical care has all kinds of reasons for being astronomically high. We could look to other countries to discover how they handle that problem.

      • Germansmith

        Well, I understand your frustration, that is what we live with everyday

        Would you believe, they did a pregnancy test on my mother in law (she is 84 years old)? and charged it to Medicare !!!!

        Day after day I see TV advertising for companies that help people attain disability benefits (the new Welfare), companies that advertised a free cell phone to those who receive food stamps. Last month I visited a potential client that receive Medicaid, but drives an Escalade and have a 90″ flat screen TV in their living room of their well furnished house (are this people really poor???).

        The reason a lot of people are angry is not at the excessive generosity of our entitlements or because they do not believe in helping the least fortunate, BUT because they see a system badly managed and growing out of control.

  • tax payer

    If you have to cut something cut Medicaid because we paid to have Medicare and Social Security, and to me our life comes first over anyone else that didn’t pay to have these benefits. To make cuts in Medicare is not what we expected, when we first began to pay into the system because we thought we were set for life, but now those that don’t work are set for life while we will be put aside and forgotten.

    • english_teacher

      So are you saying that it’s OK to cut Medicaid for poor people and their children as well as some people with disabilities just because they haven’t paid into it? How very empathetic of you.

      • tax payer

        I am not rich, but provide for my family as you do too, so why expect us to pay for the Healthcare of the lazy of this country? The poor are poor because they want to be poor since they know we pay for their food and the healthcare of their children. You as a school teacher should know you don’t get any benefits since you earn a good income and your taxes pay for the benefits of those that don’t know what work is, and then expect us to feed them and care for their children. I have insurance because I worked all my life and the poor work to parasite off the tax payers, and you think it’s all right that we provide for them. Most of your students come from low income families and I can tell you they eat better then your family.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kenneth.stevens.3152 Kenneth Stevens

    I agree that we must protect the soundness and adequacy of all of our basic safety net programs. One question jumped out at me though after reading the third paragraph of your article. Why should “memory care” be so incredibly expensive? It seems to me that a very simple checklist type data base could be created very easily, and utilized by relatively inexpensive staff at the assistant level. This type of care requires no medication, advanced technology or facilities, or skilled practitioners. Unless you are talking about the costs of actually having someone live in a facility instead of at home.

  • onedonewong

    70% of the federal budget is transfer payments and yet barak wants to increase that with added revenue. 1st order of business is to reign in beneficiaries. It was under Clinton that illegals and those who have never contributed were made eligible for SS, Medicare and Medicaid. Next stop state and HHS from having meetings with the Mexican govt outlining how their citizens can qualify.
    That would be a start that every American can get behind

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Walter-Gregory/1390006447 Walter Gregory

    Dominick Vila, AMEN!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1118543425 Robin O’Brien

    Attention John Boehner and all of your Republican corporate hooligans:

    I’ve grown weary of working for your blood sucking companies. I’ve decided to take an early out with a bankrupt airline and find a job that makes next to nothing. I’ve reduced my household spending….buy from second-hand stores…reuse/repurpose what I have…I’m not buying any more crap from your companies. I have shut down…..I give up. I don’t have the dreams and aspirations that I used to…..Are you happy?

    I’m only 53 but would rather take off the worker-bee handcuffs and live the life that I want not what you determine. I will collect Social Security and/or Medicare at either 65 or 67 but for the next 12-14 years don’t count on me being around for you to kick to the curb. You can wonder why the economy won’t turn around….but we all know that the blood suckers have sucked the life out of 98% of the US population.

  • AliceR51

    Well i know people who r disabled.They bring in only small amount of money-how they to sirvive??

  • Lisztman

    Well stated, Ms. Sanchez.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Norma525 Norma Price OGrady

    I think the cuts should start with congress, house and senate cut their medical, cut their wage by at least 1/2, take all their perks. They have lost reality with the poor and middle class and elderly and disabled. If they really had their best interest they would leave these entitlement programs alone. The programs to help poor and disabled Americans.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SDOPYQEXAFU6XM6TSMI2E3ZK7A craig

    too much spent on the war machine in this country, and too little on the well being of its citizens, and on the maintenance of the infrastructure needed to maintain a good economy. the gop seems to be stuck in a “we can’t do” rut.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/JMT6C3LHLJDD4RX4NB4KY5ICAE gargray

    Most retires especially the ones that do physical labor do not make it to 65. Replaced hips, kneess shoulders, arthritis, heart problems, high blood pressure and disabilities create a dysfunctional body. Many die before reaching 65 and the old ones are dieing off at a alarming rate. The tax payers will have to take of care of these people anyway, so why destroy Socia Security and medicare, it is really a insurence program that has worked and has taken care of my folks and is taking care of your folks now. It has paid for the disabled, kept kids out of poverty when their dad was killed on the job and it should pay for college. The selfishness and greedy are trying to
    eradicate programs that have worked for many years. Let us vote these despotic House members out and advance toward a definate goal.

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