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The Fight to Preserve Medicare Continues

In less than three months, the Occupy Wall Street movement has changed public discourse. Because of Occupy, countless organizations and individuals voiced their opposition to any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and opposition to the very existence of the Super Committee. In the end, the Super Committee was not able to come up with a proposal.

We are not surprised.

We didn’t need a Super Committee to tell us how to solve the United States’ ballooning national debt: we already know that universal single-payer healthcare would give people–regardless of age, race, pre-existing condition or socioeconomic status–the medical care they need while reducing annual healthcare costs by $400 billion.

However, the fight’s not over yet. As part of the original agreement that spawned the formation of the Super Committee, its members’ failure to propose a $1.2 trillion reduction to the deficit will cause that amount to be automatically cut from both domestic and defense spending–including $123 billion in cuts to Medicare between 2013 and 2021, the bulk of which would be reductions in physician reimbursement rates.

Politicians are trying to tout this as a protection for Medicare beneficiaries, but slashing the amount the federal government reimburses healthcare providers who care for Medicare enrollees will make it more difficult for senior citizens and people with disabilities to find doctors who will care for them.

We at Healthcare-NOW! see this as another attack on our society’s most vulnerable populations. When Medicare was implemented nearly 50 years ago, our government acknowledged healthcare as a human right for people 65 and older in the United States.

Now it is time to make healthcare a human right for all.

Instead of cutting Medicare funds, we should be improving and expanding Medicare-for-all. Here’s how you can help:

Join us at our annual National Strategy Conference on January 28th and 29th in Houston, Texas to help develop our action plan for 2012. We will be discussing how to organize for single-payer Medicare-for-all in an election year, and how to protect Medicare from being cut any further.

Join a local single-payer group near you (check out our local contacts page for more info).

Organize a single-payer group if there isn’t one in your area (we have some great organizing resources on our website).

Become a monthly donor to Healthcare-NOW!.

We can’t count on Congress or the President to insert single-payer into the national debate, but we know we can count on you.

For questions, comments, or ideas about next steps, email vanessa@healthcare-now.org.

Comments

2 Responses to “The Fight to Preserve Medicare Continues”
  1. Robert Recht says:

    Use “Escript” to raise funds. We do it locally in St Louis, Mo sucessfully
    for many orgs. Don Bechler in Calif has been informed on this. They may be doing it too.
    314 629 6219.
    Email to major networks re: vurtues of
    medicare for all” (single payer) can help greatly too. Members of HC-NOW can do this effectively, and continuously till the message gets thru.

  2. Carly EngageAmerica says:

    In 2014, when the major coverage expansions of the health law begin to take effect, national health spending is expected to grow 8.3%. By 2020 the number of Americans with employer-sponsored insurance is expected to drop to 168 million as a result of baby boomers joining Medicare and employers dropping health coverage for workers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, by the end of the decade, 3 million fewer people will get health insurance from their employer http://eng.am/nE0nnN).

    In order to curb this out-of-control growth, reforms in several areas can be implemented that, if adopted, would save $9.4 trillion by 2035 when compared with Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baselines. The government should implement cost caps (approximately $5,500) on catastrophic illness. This would reduce the use of secondary policies and decrease overutilization of medical resources. Also, the government needs to implement an additional premium on beneficiaries to cover deficits within the Hospitalization Insurance Program – it cannot receive funds from general government revenues to finance its deficits, and will be insolvent by 2020, according to the CBO. Furthermore, beneficiaries’ contribution toward Part B of Medicare should be increased gradually from 25% to 35% to reduce the fund’s reliance on general tax revenues. The same policy should be implemented for Part D of Medicare. Finally, benefits for the wealthiest recipients should gradually be phased out (http://eng.am/uO83aB).