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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Medicare on my Mind.

No matter what work you did, even if you worked for yourself, you probably contributed to Medicare, knowing that in your senior years, when you needed health care the most, the program would guarantee that major hospitalization and surgery bills would be paid off.  You couldn't anticipate how sick or feeble you'd become after a certain age, and even if you owned the farm, and the implements to operate it, you could never know how your health might bankrupt the family business.

Medicare has been around for a long time because people have seen its usefulness and are willing to maintain it. 
The program, however, is becoming costly.
All of our medical expenses are becoming out of control.

Medicare doesn't even cover all the expenses seniors face when their health is poor.
Most seniors purchase additional insurance, Medigap, to cover anything that Medicare doesn't cover.

So, how much of seniors' income is spent on medical expenses?
A big wallop!

Premiums for Medigap and Medicare Part B and D (these are newer parts added in the last few years to expand the coverage of the original Medicare that covered only major medical) and dental coverage, can be as much as half of the Social Security Benefit payments seniors receive.

In other words, medical costs are out of control. And yet, we are still fighting each other on how to deliver medical coverage to people without bankrupting them.

You say we can't afford these benefits?
I say, we can't afford not having these benefits.
We need to figure a way to contain costs and to insure everybody, so that in the richest country in the world people don't die of diseases and poor care.  Our infant mortality is one of the poorest among developed countries. 

How did we let that happen?
Now, we're proposing cutting benefits, or curtailing them for seniors.
Our senior mortality will be the poorest in the world.
Not really what we want is it?


38 comments:

Helen said...

Oh, Rosaria ... heavy on my mind as well.

Velva said...

I strongly believe that in a country this wealthy and powerful, there is no reason why any person would be without good health care.

Barbara said...

Taking insurance companies out of the mix could go a long way toward cost containment. You would be amazed how much of our health care bill goes just toward billing, rebilling, and rebilling insurance companies trying to get paid. I know. I was a provider before I retired.

Joani said...

I agree with Barbara, taking the insurance companies out of the equation. All they care about is their bottom line for the stockholders. I'm furious when the legislature wants to give the Medicare Advantage, of which is held by insurance companies, more premium money instead of giving it to the seniors as in a raise or less premium for Medicare. It still goes back to the people who have the most money make the rules. Look at the oil companies.

Cloudia said...

we put profits ahead of people!



Warm Aloha from Waikiki


Comfort Spiral

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Terra said...

Yes, we need to keep Medicare going, and health costs keep going up since folks are living longer and medical advances mean treatments can be very expensive. I am sure glad we have Medicare.

Laura said...

I saw a presentation on single payer health care put on by the Mad As Hell Doctors this week.

I'm climbing on board to do whatever I can to improve health care.

We can do it. We need to become more powerful than the ones profiting.

www.pnhp.org

PurestGreen said...

How backwards, just as a tidal wave of baby boomers are going to be needing these services more and more. There seems to be just knee jerk reactions and a complete lack of rational planning. Grrrrr.

Brian Miller said...

i dont understand really...when it comes to the money our govt makes and what we spend it on...i do think we need a plan to provide health care for everyone...others have done it and i dont know why we can not...

Eva Gallant said...

The only way these problems of social security and medicare can be fixed is when all of congress are switched to social security and medicare. The problems would be solved so fast your head would spin if that ever came to be!

quilterliz said...

G'day Rosaria. It's a real problem here in Australia as well. Take care...

potsoc said...

We Canadians have universal coverage but we have to be very careful since powerful lobbies are trying to water it down and the main culprits, big insurance companies, are based in our fine southern neighbour.

RNSANE said...

It really is a sad state of affairs, especially as our life span is increasing, our health coverage is decreasing. I went to a retirement seminar put on by the city and county ( an all day program ) six months before my job ended where we were told we would have not only Medicare at age 65 but our Blue Cross which would subsidize the Medicare. Instead, what has happened is that Blue Cross has become a "Blue Shield 65
Plus HMO" which handles our Medicare. Instead of supplementary coverage, it is our ONLY coverage and our copay went from $10 to $20 - and our montly payment went from $60 to the $100 charged by Medicare. Bait and switch!

Donna said...

HUGE problem, Rosaria! Being a nurse you see so many that connot afford these medical needs and have such a problem paying for just medicines. Some doctors offices have been told they cannot give out samples for the poor anymore either. Health care is a right for all, but so many abuse it that are able to work and do not, that it causes the truly deserving to be without. Is there social justice? Not at the moment.

Jane said...

Rosaria as often as not I envy Americans, and for many reasons. But among the exceptions are our health service, the BBC and education provision. The cost of health care for older folk and those on low wages must be a constant worry :O(

yaya said...

I think many of us who are baby boomers and just entering the retirement picture will see many medical procedures being denied because of age..total hips or knees at age 90? Forget it. Many other procedures and tests possibly being denied because the costs is not worth the life of the aged. I've actually heard Docs say: "We keep old people alive too long"...sad but true. I worry that I'll have to work until age 100 just for the insurance! I work in the health care field and cannot afford to get sick!

NitWit1 said...

My husband I stuck with original Medicare and military TRICARE FOR LIFE which is a supplement to Medicare for 20 year retired veterans, NOT all veterans. It has been sufficient, except savvy medical facilities refuse assignment frequently.

Now needing an heart procedure I am having to search for a place and physicians which accept assignment, which means they accept only what your insurances pay. which usually much less than what the procedures and physicians charge. In this case, I cannot affor to pay the increasingly enormous balances.

Arkansas Patti said...

I agree with Eva. If they had to live with the same sevices we do,think there would be immediate improvements.

Footprints of Peace said...

Unfortunately, everyone has needs and it is always the seniors who get the short end of the stick. As a nation we really need to figure out what we can truly do without, but, agin, everyone has needs, and everyone wants those needs met.

Maggie May said...

I guess seniors over here are used to making do with little (though some are very rich) however we have all got a reasonable healthcare....... so far, that is. Its all about to change.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

ellen abbott said...

I'm going to have to be facing this myself very soon. I've never had health insurance, ever being a self employed artist.

becky said...

Depressing, this situation. What are we to do about it? Insurance is taking over...such is capitalism.

The Red Angel said...

Healthcare should be the number one service in this country. It should go without saying that everyone should have access to healthcare

I have to rely on Medicaid since I have a disability (and have had one since when I was born), and sometimes it is so hard to be provided the services I need for my disability.

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

Saz said...

good to be back...when l lost my domain and so my blog ...temporarily...l also lost my fave bloogers on my sidebar..

am getting round to y'all

at long last


saz x

Sightings said...

I'm no expert but doesn't strike me that the insurance companies are the "bad guys." Yes, insurance is expensive (and going up all the time), but any medical procedure you get is ridiculously expensive. And if something goes really wrong -- like cancer or major heart problem -- you can run up a half-million dollar bill in no time at all.

I'm for a national health care plan of some sort, to provide good basic health care for everyone. But don't kid yourself, there will be some rationing. They may not call it "rationing"; they may call it "best practices" or something like that, but the govt. will have to tell some people, sorry you can't have that expensive or experimental treatment that's predicted to extend your life by only six months.

Rob-bear said...

I wish you folks could live with us in Canada. Our Medicare is facing some difficulties — particularly those which have arisen because of our failure to plan. But ours beats America's profit-oriented plans, and relatively feeble government programs.

Interesting study reported in medical literature a while ago. People in not-for-profit facilities do better than those in for-profit facilities. Care to guess why?

#1Nana said...

So many of the decisons I have made about retirement are because of health care coverage and cost. I agree that we have to attack cost containment. I think about Maslow; is't our health a basic need? How can we ever feel safe if our basic needs cannot be met.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. I gather the American system is challenging to one and all .. Good Luck ..

Old age is just $ or £ sapping unfortunately ..

Look after yourself and enjoy the summer in your haven of coast life .. lucky you! Cheers Hilary

Pat transplanted to MN said...

I spent a good part of my 34 year state gov't career in the health care financing area and long term care. Today expensive tests must be ordered regardless as the md's try to protect themselves from lawsuits. When I was a state auditor and saw the massive fraud in medical billings, 30 years ago in CA, by out of state and out of country billers. There is ample savings to be had in removing fraud and tort reform. Healthcare is not a right at any cost--where does quality of life come in? And as my old Uncle John said, "how long does someone have to live until they are old enought to die?" We fund acquisition of exquisite expensive equipment and more research. Many questions to this complex problem. Better focus on prevention for sure. And if people think insurance companies are bad wait until they deal with the effect of government intervention, they will wish for insurance co...ahh so much can be said and heard on this issue.

Marguerite said...

Very thought provoking post! I guess the best defense is to do everything possible to stay healthy.

Rob-bear said...

A further thought after Canada's federal election yesterday.

My friend potsoc has outlined the Canadian situation. The problem is that we now have a far-right government, almost far enough to be tea party, which would happily sell Canadians to big American health insurance companies.

Most Canadians don't buy into the myth that is government is bad. Government handling of medicare has been very cost-effective, much more so than private insurance companies. Where we do have problems is that governments of all stripes, at the federal and provincial (state) levels, have not planned effectively for changes in health care needs. That failure to plan is not confined to health care.

Ann Best said...

Health care today isn't health care. It's big business.

It's been on the minds of everyone who's getting "older." Something does need to be done.

I'm excited too about my book's release. Thanks for stopping by and cheering me on. In the face of disasters (and possible disasters) there are always the "little" pleasures.

Phoenix said...

This is so sad. What a shame if the US becomes a third world country because they no longer recognize that they need to take care of the old, the very young, or women's health.

So very tragic and needless, this attitude that we shouldn't take care of others.

Trish said...

Here's what I don't understand. We can afford to give Pakistan $18 BILLION dollars in the last ten years, be involved in three wars (counting Libya), can bail out banks and businesses and everyone else on Wall Street, but we can't afford universal health care for the citizens of our country?

What's wrong with this picture? Health care should not be for profit. We're the only country in the industrialized nations who has this sort of corrupt system.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I am astounded that costs for seniors are being cut. Well don for highlighting the issue.

Cloudia said...

still have my vote!

She Writes said...

It's ageism. We don't value aging in this culture, nor children. Nobody likes to admit it but cuts in the budget for the old, the young and the poor are staggering.

♥ Braja said...

Oh, I never forgot you for a minute :)) I'm back, lovely Rosaria, and intend to bug the heck outta ya :)))