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Post Election Deficit Deal Threatens Medicare and Social Security

The solution is Improved Medicare for All

By Kay Tillow –

After the November election, there will be a major effort in Congress to pass a budget deal that will make cuts in Social Security, raise the Medicare and Social Security eligibility age, and perhaps more–unless we act to stop it with a solution that is close at hand.

There is agreement from the Wall Street Journal’s David Wessel to liberal economists Dean Baker and Paul Krugman that the pressure will be on to reach a Simpson/Bowles type of compromise. Such a bipartisan plan would damage our most cherished programs and excuse the dastardly deed by asserting that the cuts are small and necessary because of the deficit.

Those who relentlessly scream at us and finance ads to persuade us that the deficit threatens our grandchildren are obscuring the truth. The fact is that the transfer of wealth from public funds and the rest of us to the super rich is the real crisis. But those who have gorged themselves on this massive transfer of wealth also seek to undermine the Medicare and Social Security which are our grandchildren’s heritage from generations of struggles for a better life.

The projected cuts are not minor but very harmful. Even a small decrease in the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment would deliver an ever increasing downward push on benefits while corporations continue to threaten secure pensions by turning them into lump sums that will fade with the stock market.

Raising the Medicare age to 67 would be disastrous. There will be no affordable health insurance for those in their 60’s. The Affordable Care Act allows private insurance companies to charge premiums three times higher based on age. Under popular pressure, there were regulations placed into the health care reform bill to stop insurance companies from charging higher premiums based on pre-existing conditions. But the companies were allowed to charge three times the premium based on age.

Because of this allowed age discrimination, the Kaiser Foundation estimates that an individual of age 60 in 2014 with an annual income of $50,000 will pay a health insurance premium of over $10,000, or over 20% of income. That does not include out-of-pocket costs which can add up to an additional $6,000 annually. That brings the total to 32% of income—a bankrupting figure.

There is a solution that the single payer movement must place on the nation’s table. Even Bill Clinton said that we could save $1 trillion a year if we adopted the health care system of any of the other developed countries in the world. No more stewing over the deficit!

An Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, HR 676, would save Medicare, end the uncontrolled, gargantuan rise in all health care costs, ease the deficit pressure, and actually bring universal health care to the nation.

This single payer legislation, HR 676, introduced by Congressman John Conyers and co-sponsored by 76 representatives, would divert $400 billion annually from profits and waste generated by the private health insurance industry into care for all. Care would be expanded and costs bought under control through bulk purchasing, global budgeting, and the elimination of administrative expenses forced upon our system in the pursuit of profit.

Doctors would be freed from insurance industry interference with care. Patients would be freed to choose their physicians. Dental, eyeglasses, hearing aids, prescription drugs, long term care, doctors, hospitals, home health, mental health—all medically necessary care would be included. Our health care costs would stop driving us over the cliff and level off just as Canada’s did when that country fully implemented their single payer health care.

Co-pays and deductibles would be banned ending today’s growing problem that health insurance policies are so miserly that even the insured forego care because they can’t afford it.

Our country spends about twice per capita what other industrialized nations spend on health care, yet our health care system lags far behind at number 37 in the world.

So why are we even debating cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid when the solution is at hand that would bring us both better care and cost controls? HR 676, an improved Medicare for All, is sitting in the Congress, awaiting the rising of a movement that will insist upon its passage.

Comments

10 Responses to “Post Election Deficit Deal Threatens Medicare and Social Security”
  1. Julia Campbell says:

    We must pass HR 676. This austerity meme is a scam.

  2. Adam Eran says:

    The word needs to get out that the Federal “debt” is completely unlike household debt. The entire “we’re out of money” meme is B.S. and needs to be laughed out of existence.

    For more, see http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2010/02/wray-the-federal-budget-is-not-like-a-household-budget-%E2%80%93-here%E2%80%99s-why.html

  3. Bruce says:

    CATFOODIATE the Lame Duck PU$ILLANIMOU$ PU$$YFOODER$! They’ll NOT turn US Eternal Flamers’ (aka ‘baby’ “boomers”) halcyon days into our children’s and grandchildren’s HELLSEEIN’ YEARS! THEY will not seek, and We Will NOT ACCEPT CUT$ to Social Security, Medicare and/or Medicaid if THEY expect another term as the “representatives” of US citizen constituents!

  4. Juanita A Cruz says:

    I agree that ” this austerity meme is a scam”. Pass the HR676 bill!

  5. It is very sad that the wealthy leadership in this country has so little regard for those of us who made them wealthy. No one is looking for a free hand-out except for the greedy wealthy not willing to be responsible for the harm they are doing to the people in this country. As Americans we only look to live in a safe, free environment so generations who follow us can live a healthy and productive life. Those who are greedy and wealthy have no idea the power they hold, and how temporary it can be. They have no understanding or regard of the consequences of their actions. The houses of Congress, and the Senate, show that the only game in town is to win, and to become wealthy due to the position they hold with no regard to the people they serve. I suggest that all the profits that the congressmen and senators make should go back to us to pay for our health benefits, social security, and the deficit, then maybe there would be no deficit and we won’t go bankrupt or be forced to work past retirement age of 65.

  6. Jeff Joseph says:

    I worked for and in the Defense Dept as a an Aircraft Weapons system Engineer. We spend over one Trillion dollars a year on Defense, Homeland Security and the CIA. I for one don’t feel safer than I did before 911.
    The Mil Ind Complex is going full time to keep from having their budget cut, as required by this so called sequestration law. All the congress people who voted for it are backtracking saying it will cause the loss of thousands of jobs here in Virginia. And Obama says nothing Romney says he will increase Military Spending. Since when is the Military a jobs program ? We need to start spending our money on things that are useful. Not 120 Million Dollar Fighter Jets.

  7. Healthcare-NOW isn’t a partisan organization, but everyone should know that the Green Party and the Green presidential nominee Jill Stein have been aggressively promoting Medicare For All/Single-Payer and opposing cuts to Social Security. Unfortunately, the debates are owned and run by the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which is owned and run by the Democratic and Republican parties and their corporate sponsors for the express purpose of excluding all other candidates. Dr. Stein (a physician) is on most state ballot lines, but the CPD has barred her from participating in the debates.

    We need at least on voice in the debates that will talk about winning Medicare For All and saving Social Security. Regardless of who you plan to vote for, please support Jill Stein’s inclusion in the debates. Here are some web sites with more information:

    • Visit the ‘Occupy the CPD!’ web site and sign on to the statement (http://occupythecpd.org)

    • “Expanding the Debate Exclusive: Third Party Candidates Break the Sound Barrier As Obama-Romney Spar”: Watch responses from Green Party candidate Jill Stein & Justice Party candidate Rocky Anderson on Democracy Now!, hosted by Amy Goodman and broadcast during the first Obama-Romney debate on October 3 (http://www.democracynow.org/2012/10/4/expanding_the_debate_exclusive_third_party)

    • Read this article (by me) “Open the Debates: Demand inclusion of Jill Stein and Gary Johnson!” (http://my.firedoglake.com/scottmclarty/2012/09/20/open-the-debates-demand-inclusion-of-jill-stein-and-gary-johnson/)

  8. Mary Rosenthal says:

    We have waffled long enough. Let’s keep/increase the pressure to pass HR676. It’s our best bet.

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