Monday, August 20, 2012

The LuLac Edition #2166, August 20th, 2012

Our “Health Care Not Scare Care” logo.  


Republicans are running around the country this election season (some with their moms) saying that the Affordable Health Care Law and by extension President Obama is cutting million of dollars of Medicare for senior citizens. As usual, this is WRONG! That Medicare money is actually going into the Health Care Law as a way of helping seniors. True, the money is being diverted but seniors aren’t going to be losing anything. The money is coming from a program called Medicare Advantage. This was put into operation in 1997 as part of the balanced budget act of 1977. Here’s an overview of what Medicare Advantage is and how it differs from traditional Medicare: 
Medicare Advantage subscribers generally pay a fixed amount (a copayment of $20, for example) every time they see a doctor as opposed to meeting a deductible and paying a coinsurance (typically 20%) under Original Medicare. The copayment can be higher to see a specialist with a Medicare Advantage plan. Under Original Medicare the coinsurance remains 20%, but the actual amount out of pocket can be higher since specialists generally charge more for services. The private plans are required to offer a benefit “package” that is at least as good as Medicare’s and cover everything Medicare covers, but they do not have to cover every benefit in the same way. Plans that require higher out-of-pocket costs than Medicare for some benefits, like skilled nursing facility care, can balance their benefits package by offering lower copayments for doctor visits. A private plan may use some of the excess payments they receive from the government for each enrollee to offer supplemental benefits. Many plans use the excess subsidies to offer hearing coverage, vision coverage, gym memberships and other services not covered by Medicare. As with traditional Medicare, private plan members can incur high out-of-pocket costs, however Medicare Advantage plans typically have an out of pocket maximum ($6,700 for example), which can protect individuals against catastrophic medical bills. Once the out of pocket maximum is reached for an individual, the plan will pay 100% of Medicare approved services for the remainder of the calendar year, with no lifetime maximum, so long as individuals use in-network providers. If individuals voluntarily choose to use out-of-network providers, they generally must pay the full cost of their care and there is no out-of-pocket cap on their expenses. This can be a problem for people with Medicare with costly conditions, who need to use out-of-network specialists or who are hospitalized and are forced to use out-of-network doctors while in the hospital. By law, however, if a patient's in-network physician orders tests or procedures that are not available or provided by any in-network facility or specialist's office, the Medicare Advantage plan must pay for the patient's procedures or services at an out-of-network location at no additional cost to the patient, so long as the necessary services are normally covered by Medicare. 
The other money coming out of the current Medicare set up is the Prescription Drug Plan that was passed in 2003. This is the plan that gave the seniors “the donut hole”. A simple explanation of the donut hole is this: If you have a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, the donut hole is when Medicare temporarily stops paying for your prescriptions. If you are in the donut hole, you have to pay the entire cost of your medications. After a Medicare beneficiary surpasses the prescription drug coverage limit, the Medicare beneficiary is financially responsible for the entire cost of prescription drugs until the expense reaches the catastrophic coverage threshold. With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, people who fall within the doughnut hole will receive a $250 rebate within three months of reaching the coverage gap to help with payments. Seniors in this area already got this. 
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that more than a quarter of Part D participants stop following their prescribed regimen of drugs when they hit the doughnut hole  The 2010 Health Reform bill (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) began to address the coverage gap by creating discounts on brand name and generic drugs purchased within the gap range. Between now and 2020, the gap will gradually be closed to a point where it is completely eliminated.  
So when the GOP ticket starts telling you how Obama cut Medicare, remember these facts. The GOP is lying about health care and Medicare. To me, if the stakes weren’t so high in this Election, it would be funny. It’s almost like the GOP running mates are like the kid who kills his parents and then asks for understanding because he is after all,  an orphan. 


The GOP War On Women continues. The latest is the “southern logic” that when a woman is raped, there are super active hormones that put up Fallopian tube barriers to make sure those rapist’s boys don’t swim upstream. Yeah, right. This wisdom came out of the mouth of an elected Congressman who decided he wanted to climb the Congressional ladder and become a United States Senator. The Congressman, Todd Akin talked about “legitimate rape”. A big deal is being made about this remark but this is nothing new. Our own homeboy Rick Santorum once said that "becoming pregnant by a rapist is a gift from God."  He said it on TV. Live. In front of a camera. I think it’s sadly ironic that these comments are made by men who are not victims of “legitimate rape” and who have to carry the baby for 9 months. I know the Pro Life GOP zealots are for unplanned pregnancies but this is carrying it a bit too far.
We took a tour on Sunday to Coke A Cola Park. From left to right, Paul Komensky, me and David Dellarte. 


Two of my grade school buddies and I did a spur of the moment, Sunday morning phone call, let you know by noon decision to go to Coke A Cola Park to see the Iron Pigs. You remember them don’t you? They were the Triple A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies who used to grace the presence at Lackawanna County Stadium. We were impressed by the ease of access. Also the Food Court had a wide variety of items to choose from and the site lines were very good. We saw a lot of Phillies Red in the stands and saw a Hall Of Famer Ryan Sandburg manage the Pigs. One of the things that caught my friend Dave’s eye was the huge garbage bags that came out in the 8th inning so that the fans could help clean up the ball park. It was a great night for baseball and our biggest regret was that we couldn’t get in touch with the entire LuLac August minor league contingent since it was short notice. Oh by the way, the attendance was 9859 people. Let’s hope the new Stadium in 2013 will be half as efficient and nice as the Allentown digs were last night. The SWB Yankees play the Pigs this weekend Saturday at 6:35PM and Sunday afternoon at 1:35PM. 


At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Southern logic". C'mon, Dave.
Ive lived in the North, the Midwest and Ive lived in the South and by far the biggest idiots Ive ever run across are right here in NEPA. I have also seen more racism here. Lay off the South. Believe me it has its advantages and far fewer rude assholes based on my experience!


At 10:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No matter how you cut it, money is going from Medicare to Obamacare... and that's not going over well with seniors. This from the same President who built a tax break by underfunding an already underfunded Social Security program.

So after decades of hearing how the GOP was going to attack Medicare and Social Security ...this Democrat President actually does it.

November is coming...and this guy is GOING.

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

A republican lying? No! Say it ain't so!! Hell, that's all these damn republicans do is lie. As for SS, it was the republicans that have repeatedly blocked lifting the salary ceiling for SS taxes. If you lifted it, SS would become secure. But, the R's have to protect the rich. VOTE straight DEM this November, we can't afford any more crap from the Republicans!

At 4:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:16, Spoken like a true red neck. I am on Medicare and have been for almost 10 years. My health is not what it was and I seem to be sending more time in doctor's offices than in Kerby Park. I have not seen on thing change in my Medicare. I have never been refused treatment and that includes several specialist. I have Blue Cross 65 Special, it cost me $221 a month and I don't spend a dime on doctor visits regardless of regular MD, Specialist or my foot doctor. People such as you beat the drum but your time would be better spent talking to seniors and asking them how many benefits they have lost. You will find that nothing has changed but 30 million Americans now have health care. Wake up and stop the BS negtive comments. You go with Romney the job killer and become one of the lap dog Americans.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Aggie95 said...

hmmmmm.... The Republican war on women ..... anyone remember this oldie but goodis

In light of President Obama's comments at a White House press conference on Aug. 20, 2012, condemning rape and efforts at "qualifying forcible rape versus non-forcible rape," we the undersigned respectfully urge Pres. Obama to uphold his own standard of condemning sexual abuse of women by disinviting former Pres. Bill Clinton from the upcoming Democratic party convention. Mr. Clinton has a history of abusing women. He has been credibly accused of raping Juanita Broaddrick when he was Arkansas Attorney General, according to reports by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Clinton has been accused by numerous women of exposing himself and unwanted sexual touching when he was Governor and President. Mr. Clinton was disbarred for lying about his sexual assaults. He is unfit for the DNC.

At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:12PM, the problem isthat Akin first heard of his theory from a Doctor who held the same views. He became then Governor Mike Huckabee's Chief Medical Officer. Don't tell me the South isn't entirely stupid. I too lived in the South and some were very nice people. But when a person refers to the Civil War as the "conflict of Northern aggression" and it's the year 2009, it was time to move back to Honeypot.
Also Dave, your cohesive response to the GOP lies is very good. You should be working for a Congressman somewhere.

At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The more I think about it, wouldn't it be great if we just kicked the South out of the Union???
There all a bunch of wacko rednecks anyway. The SOuth has contributed nothing to this nation and its citizens who vote GOP take most of the liberal benefits.
**** 'em. I say not secession, but EXPULSION!!!! ALL the red states must GO!


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