Monday, August 24, 2009

The LuLac Edition #917, Aug. 24th, 2009

SNAPPLE "REAL FACT" #776, ferret comes from the Latin word for little thief.



Millions of older people face smaller Social Security checks next year, the first time in a generation that payments would not rise. The trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting there won't be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next two years. That hasn't happened since automatic increases were adopted back in 1975. By mandate, Social Security benefits cannot go down. But monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to increase. "I will promise you, they count on that COLA," said Barbara Kennelly, a former Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut who now heads the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. "To some people, it might not be a big deal. But to seniors, especially with their health care costs, it is a big deal." Cost of living adjustments are pegged to inflation, which has been negative this year, largely because energy prices are below 2008 levels. Advocates say older people still face higher prices because they spend a disproportionate amount of their income on health care, where costs rise faster than inflation. Many also have suffered from declining home values and shrinking stock portfolios just as they are relying on those assets for income.
This situation comes at a very bad time for the Obama administration. With the GOP’s claims that Medicare will suffer under the new Health Care Reform as well uncertainty among Seniors on the economy, this can only add confusion and more fear to the debate. Plus locally, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania has asked for an increase in its non group Medicare Supplemental plans. If they get the increase, seniors will actually be losing money and economic ground by paying that higher premium.


At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Healthcare will be Obama's down fall. He has dropped the ball several ways on this issue. Why he did not propose his own plan and go out and sell it is beyond me. He is not as adept a politician as Bill Clinton and he will not rebound from this colossal failure.

I think Hilary will step down soon. Slim down and make a primary challenge.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blue Cross should be looked at

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Through all of this, the 800 pound gorilla in the room is the number of uninsured Americans. There are hidden costs passed on to taxpayers from the uninsured. It is more than just "paying their bills" if they couldn't afford to pay for either insurance or medical bills. Folks without insurance often do not see doctors regularly. They don't have regular exams and workups where high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, and many other serious issues can be addressed early. Instead, their "doctor" is often the emergency room, where they arrive with an illness that was either preventable or controllable had they simply had affordable access to medical care. In short, when they finally get care, they're sicker and it costs far more to treat them.

I believe health care reform is necessary. I believe a way must be found to cover the uninsured while preserving the insurance of those who have it. I also think it's time to reform the health insurance industry. I know first-hand how devastating "pre-existing conditions" can be for those who switch insurance companies. Years ago, when I changed jobs, my wife had a recurrence of severe migraines. After all the testing was done, I ended up on the hook for thousands of dollars when the insurance company used PEC to deny payment for her procedures. I had a great new job with more money, but the first few years I lost ground paying down medical bills.

I believe reform has to be done without a government-run plan. The Administration has dropped the ball so thoroughly on Health Care reform that this probably won't happen anyway. But reform without a government-run plan is possible. One plan I am going to read in more detail is the one Mitt Romney signed in Massachusetts. 440,000 people got health care who didn't have it previously, and it was done without a public option. The plan isn't perfect, but it was a solid step in the right direction. I also think PEC's and underwriting to determine rates based on risk ('re a woman...or you have a that wallet!) was thrown over the side in Massachusetts as well. By passing the ball to Congress and crossing his fingers, the President essentially voted "present" and invited disaster. As John Adams said: " useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a Congress."

Lastly, my own recent experiences have given me pause to ignore the rhetoric from both political parties and speak my own mind. Just a week or so ago I had a cochlear implant performed at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). Come Labor Day weekend, I'll get a processor and will start learning to hear again. I've been completely deaf since spring (oddly enough, about a month after we had that marathon lunch at Haystacks. I knew it was vanishing, and that's probably one of the reasons I talked too long and was all over the board. And don't forget...I owe you dogs at Abe's at some point.)

When the welcome kit arrived from the processor company, there was a statistic in there that jumped out at me: Only 8% of those who can benefit from a cochlear implant in the U.S. have had the procedure. David, without insurance there is no way I could afford the procedure. And so, again...the 800 pound gorilla crossed my mind. Among the uninsured deaf who might benefit from this procedure, that number is probably pretty darned close to 0%.

Without this procedure, I was considering pulling back from many of the things I am active in. I knew some doors would be closed to me. The procedure has given my hope.

And it's made me think a bit more about those who have none...

James O'Meara

At 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blue Cross STINKS!!!!!!

At 3:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always get nervous when someone tells me what they are doing is for my own good. And what are you drinking yonki that you still believes there is a plan somewhere? When will you Kool Aid drinkers realize that what you elected is the penultimate Campaigner. He knows all the glittering generalities and buzz words, but he’s never held elected office long enough to know how to actually get things done. Plan? He expects everyone else to do his work by reading his mind and then taking what they’ve found there and turning it in to Health Care Reform that will please everyone. Then, and only then, will he step forward and take credit for it. If, on the other hand, it turns out to be a turkey that no one is satisfied with, he will blame all and sundry for not having the courage of his convictions.

At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wonder what james meant, i fell asleep reading his long winded diatribe. i will try for the third time to get through it

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 3:53
You are right. After such a great man who had the courage of his convictions, he just didnt know what they were until Karl Rove or Dick Cheney told him, Obama would of course be a letdown. We gave W
8 years, rightie, could you give this man a little more time before you pass judgement or was that a predone issue?

A socialist who pays a small fortune for health care.

At 8:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

James always means well.

At 9:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least James has the brains to make a passionate statement in what he believes, and the BALLS to sign his name. What about you other clowns? James makes another point- Having to go out-of-town for some services. Areas like ours have decent care for run-of-the mill items, but can't treat everything. Some insurance plans either don't allow it, or make you pay through the nose for it....

At 5:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People want to walk in to any facility for health care, get it, hand over a card and walk out.

THAT costs money. Think about all the people that make something like that happen. ALL the representatives, clerical, supervisors, etc. needed. They require pay - what is minimum wage now? it keeps going up - benefits, work area, parking, equipment. That stuff adds up.

Health insurance providers are seldom non-profits, and besides non-profit is such a "fuzzy" term. They make profits, they just have to spend every penny they make.

I had no health insurance until I was 32 years old - it was the furthest thing from my mind and, ya know, I didn't mind paying the doc out of pocket when I had to.

If I knew I was included in the X million without health care I'd laugh out loud because I didn't give a sh!t.

How many of you are assuming Social Security isn't going to fund your retirement needs and are making those hard choices?


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