AARP’s Endorsement of Obamacare puts pressure on Social Security Benefits

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 29th, 2012

Week in Review

AARP endorsed and helped pass Obamacare into law.  In exchange for an exemption from the very law they supported so they can sell their “Medigap” insurance policies easier than their competitor Medicare Advantage could sell theirs (see AARP latest to receive Obamacare break by Matthew Boyle posted 5/19/2011 on The Daily Caller).  Good for AARP.  But not for the senior citizens they represent.  For Obamacare will lower the quality of US health care.  And increase health care costs.  Especially for seniors.  So whenever AARP starts quoting Ronald Reagan one should be suspect as they are no friend of Ronald Reagan.  For Ronald Reagan would not have approved of what AARP did to help pass Obamacare into law.  Even if he and Tip O’Neill worked together to pull Social Security back from the brink of insolvency (see Ronald Reagan’s 9 Wisest Words About Social Security by Alejandra Owens posted 12/19/2012 on AARP).

That legislation, negotiated by President Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O’Neill, focused on what was needed protect Social Security for the long term. Reagan understood that Social Security is a separately funded program unrelated to problems in the rest of the budget, and he clearly stated that: “Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit.”

Indeed, today the Social Security trust funds hold $2.8 trillion in government bonds. These reserves have been built up with the contributions that workers and employers have paid into the system for the dedicated purpose of paying Social Security benefits. These funds are held in legally established trusts and cannot be used for any purpose other than paying benefits. According to the latest Trustees’ report, Social Security can pay full benefits through 2033, and roughly 75 percent of benefits beyond that time.

The Social Security Trust Fund?  There’s no trust fund.  The government raided it long ago and replaced it with IOUs.  Government bonds.  Current Social Security taxes go to pay for current benefits.  There is no pile of cash earning interest anywhere.  No personalized savings accounts for individual Social Security contributors.  If there were then there would be no Social Security crisis.  No, that money is gone.  Spent by the government to fund their current spending obligations.  Which are so great that even by raiding the Social Security Trust Fund they still can’t find enough cash to prevent a deficit.

The government spends our Social Security contributions for every other purpose they want to other than paying our benefits.  They just launder the money first through the Treasury Department.  Exchange IOUs (i.e., government bonds) for that cash.  Then they go and spend that cash.  And when it comes time to redeem those government bonds they’ll probably just print money.  Inflating the money supply.  And depreciate the dollar.  Making it ever harder for a senior to live on their retirement savings.  And because of what AARP did to help pass Obamacare into law there will even be less money available for Social Security benefits.  Requiring more printing of money.  And more devaluing of the dollar.  Making life a living hell for the retirees they supposedly represent.  At least according to that article in The Daily Caller.

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Too Sick or too Old? Sorry, no Health Care for You in the NHS or in Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 8th, 2012

Week in Review

Critics of Obamacare warned that this national health care system would contain death panels.  Too sick or too old?  Sorry, no health care for you.  That’s ridiculous said the supporters of Obamacare.  There was no mention of ‘death panels’ anywhere in the bill.  And there’s probably no mention of death panels in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).  But elderly patients are left to die all of the time.  Precisely because they are too old (see Sentenced to death for being old: The NHS denies life-saving treatment to the elderly, as one man’s chilling story reveals by John Naish posted 4/6/2012 on the Daily Mail).

When Kenneth Warden was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer, his hospital consultant sent him home to die, ruling that at 78 he was too old to treat.

Even the palliative surgery or chemotherapy that could have eased his distressing symptoms were declared off-limits because of his age.

His distraught daughter Michele Halligan accepted the sad prognosis but was determined her father would spend his last months in comfort. So she paid for him to seen privately by a second doctor to discover what could be done to ease his symptoms.

Thanks to her tenacity, Kenneth got the drugs and surgery he needed — and as a result his cancer was actually cured. Four years on, he is a sprightly 82-year-old who works out at the gym, drives a sports car and competes in a rowing team…

Sadly, Kenneth’s story is symptomatic of a dreadful truth. According to shocking new research by Macmillan Cancer Support, every year many thousands of older people are routinely denied life-saving NHS treatments because their doctors write them off as too old to treat…

This kind of ‘professional opinion’ appears to be costing more than 14,000 lives each year, thanks to routine discrimination by doctors who assume older patients are too frail for surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy. 

This is according to experts at Macmillan Cancer Support, who warned last week that every day up to 40 elderly cancer sufferers are dying needlessly because they are being denied the best treatments. This is particularly true, it says, for patients over the age of 70.

The charity estimates that if the treatment of older patients matched that on offer in the U.S., as many as 14,000 lives could be saved every year…

Last week, the respected health research charity, the King’s Fund, warned that prejudice about older people means they often go without treatment for conditions such as depression, and are not even tested for illnesses such as heart disease.

This is despite huge advances in medical care which mean that patients can now successfully undergo major surgery at ages where they would not previously be expected to survive.

In America, doctors pioneering the field of ‘geriatric surgery’ regularly perform open-heart surgery on people in their 90s…

Last year, research by the National Cancer Intelligence Network found evidence of widespread age-based discrimination in the NHS on women with breast cancer.

Its study of 23,000 sufferers found that 90 per cent of those aged 30 to 50 are offered surgery to remove tumours, compared to 82 per cent of those aged 60 to 70, and 70 per cent of those in their 70s…

So if you’re elderly and you live in America you better get your health care fast.  Before Obamacare kicks in.  And decides you’re too old to treat.  For if they’re doing it in the NHS they’ll be doing it in Obamacare.  Not because they are mean and hate old people.  But simply because of the economics.  Doctors will advise families that there is no money to spend on their loved ones.  But don’t be upset.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

It is ironic that the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) supported Obamacare as they are supposed to represent the elderly that pay their membership fees.  Why you ask would they do something like this?  Well, they sell insurance policies to seniors that pay for what Medicare doesn’t cover.  Medigap policies.  And to get AARP onboard with Obamacare the new health care law exempts AARP from pricing formulas restricting the amount of their premiums spent on non-health services.  Allowing them to charge higher premiums than Obamacare allows other insurers to charge.  At least according to The Daily Caller.  So when Obamacare denies seniors life-saving treatments AARP can tell their families not to be upset.  It’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

Advocates of national health care like to point to the NHS and say that is the model to follow.  And we are now moving in that direction with Obamacare.  Which can mean only one thing.  Death panels will follow.  Even though they are not specifically mentioned in the bill.  Because when it comes down to it health care is a game of numbers.  Accounting decisions.  Especially when the government runs it.  And the only way to control costs is by rationing services.  And what better way to ration services than by simply withholding them from the greatest consumers of those services?  The elderly.  Don’t think it will happen?  Just look at the NHS.  That is our future.  Where health care isn’t about doing what’s right for the patient.  But controlling costs.  But it’s nothing personal.  It’s just business.

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H.R. 2 “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act”

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 7th, 2011

Real Deficit Reduction Starts with the Repeal of Obamacare

The rallying cry last year was ‘repeal Obamacare’.  Those who promised to make that a priority are now sitting in Congress.  Some of those who voted for Obamacare are not.  The people have spoken.  The candidates have promised.  And now they are going to deliver.  At least they’re going to try.

The Republicans new and old are getting down to do the people’s business.  H.R. 2, aptly titled “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” will try to do just that.  But the Left is digging in their heels.   First of all, they aren’t all that keen on the title of H.R. 2 (see Health repeal message-war ramps up by Brett Coughlin posted 1/7/2011 on the Politicol).

The White House released talking points and a “fact sheet” about the law, leading with how it creates jobs — a rebuttal to the title of the bill, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.”

But they’re only getting started.  They then step it up.  And do what they do best.  Be disingenuous.

The White House stays on message about the law saving money, citing the Congressional Budget Office official estimate that the reform law reduces the federal deficit by $124 billion over 10 years. By contrast, the CBO said the House Republican package that repeals the law costs $230 billion.

So repealing a law that will extend benefits to every man, woman and child will add to the deficit?  Funny.  When I buy more stuff I pay more.  Because more stuff costs more money.  Doesn’t it?  If I buy an iPhone for my kid I pay for one iPhone.  If I buy an iPhone for everyone’s kids, I pay more.  So I’m pretty sure about this.  More stuff costs more.

So what kind of math is CBO using?

Robbing Medicare to Pay for Obamacare

Well, it ain’t calculus.  It’s just a variation on their old go-to formula.  Tax and spend.  With a twist.  They actually include spending cuts (see BREAKING: CBO Says Repealing ObamaCare Would Reduce Net Spending by $540 Billion by Philip Klein posted 1/7/2011 on The American Spectator).

The Congressional Budget Office, in an email to Capitol Hill staffers obtained by the Spectator, has said that repealing the national health care law would reduce net spending by $540 billion in the ten year period from 2012 through 2021. That number represents the cost of the new provisions, minus Medicare cuts. Repealing the bill would also eliminate $770 billion in taxes. It’s the tax hikes in the health care law (along with the Medicare cuts) which accounts for the $230 billion in deficit reduction.

So, yes, more stuff does cost more.  $770 billion in new taxes.  And $540 billion pulled out of Medicare.  (Which puts the cost of Obamacare at $1.31 trillion dollars).  Do the math ($770 – $540 = $230) and you get your $230 billion in deficit reduction.  A combination of one big-ass tax and a gutting of Medicare.  Now I understand their math.  They just told a bunch of lies.

AARP’s Backroom Deal to Endorse Obamacare

But didn’t the seniors oppose Obamacare?  I remember them fuming at the town hall meetings during the run up to Obamacare.  They were spitting mad, telling their representatives to keep their hands off of their Medicare.  To which their representatives replied not to worry.  Look, they said, AARP supports Obamacare.  And they only support things that are good for you old coots.  I’m paraphrasing, of course.

Well, AARP did endorse Obamacare.  And it does gut Medicare.  So why would they do this to the old coots?  Well, a good place to start would be to follow the money (see ObamaCare endorsements: What the bribe was by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann posted 11/6/2010 on The Hill).

The AARP got a financial windfall in return for its support of the healthcare bill. Over the past decade, the AARP has morphed from an advocacy group to an insurance company (through its subsidiary company). It is one of the main suppliers of Medi-gap insurance, a high-cost, privately purchased coverage that picks up where Medicare leaves off. But President Bush-43 passed the Medicare Advantage program, which offered a subsidized, lower-cost alternative to Medi-gap. Under Medicare Advantage, the elderly get all the extra coverage they need plus coordinated, well-managed care, usually by the same physician. So more than 10 million seniors went with Medicare Advantage, cutting into AARP Medi-gap revenues.

Presto! Obama solved their problem. He eliminates subsidies for Medicare Advantage. The elderly will have to pay more for coverage under Medigap, but the AARP — which supposedly represents them — will make more money. (If this galls you, join the American Seniors Association, the alternative group; contact sbarton@americanseniors.org.)

So that’s why.  They screwed their dues paying members so they can extort higher insurance premiums from them.  Boy, I’d hate to see what a group that isn’t paid to protect them would do to them.  Then again, I guess we’re going to see that real soon as Obamacare kicks in.  If it kicks in.

Obamacare Result in Higher Unemployment and a Longer Recession?

So they’ve been lying through their teeth and making backroom deals.  Tax and spend as usual.  Well, not quite as usual.  Because they have taken the spending thing a bit too far (see Deficit must fall to prevent economic crisis, Bernanke warns by Neil Irwin posted 1/7/2011 on The Washington Post).

If federal debt were to rise at the pace assumed in a plausible scenario analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office – such as extending most of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts as spending rises at a steady rate – “diminishing confidence on the part of investors that deficits will be brought under control would likely lead to sharply rising interest rates on government debt and, potentially, to broader financial turmoil,” Bernanke said. He added that the high borrowing rate would limit private investment and push up the nation’s foreign debt, hurting U.S. incomes and standards of living.

There won’t be any income or standards of living if there are no jobs.  And just how is the jobs front after the stimulus they passed to keep unemployment under 8%?  It’s dropped unemployment all the way down to 9.4%.  But the drop probably has less to do with new jobs than it does with people just throwing in the towel in their job search.  So what’s the forecast?  According to Bernanke, bad.

“With output growth likely to be moderate in the next few quarters and employers reportedly reluctant to add to payrolls,” it will take five years before the unemployment rate has returned to a more normal level, he said.

Lovely.

Repeal Obamacare:  Real Deficit Reduction

It would appear that Obama, Pelosi and Reid are trying their all to destroy this country.  The economy is still in the toilet.  And, according to Bernanke, it’s going to stay in the toilet for another 5 years.  Or more.  And it will only be 5 years if we reduce our deficit.  If we don’t do that, all bets are off.  According to Bernanke.

Hmmm, deficit reduction.  If I’m not mistaken, there are two ways to cut a deficit.  I believe you can raise taxes.  Or cut spending.  One is good for the economy.  And one is bad for the economy.  So what to do?  Umm.  Of course, when you’re trying to revive an economy to pull it out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, you’re not going to do that by raising taxes.  No.  That doesn’t work.  Which leaves only one choice.  You have to cut spending.

Someone needs to knock the Left upside the head (figuratively, of course) and tell them to stop with the raising of the taxes already.  And the lying.  Yes, the deficit is too high.  But it didn’t get too high because of tax cuts.  It got too high because of spending.  I mean, if they didn’t spend so damn much all this talk about raising taxes would be a moot point.  Taxes are a function of spending.  Spend more; tax more.  Spend less; tax less.  More stuff costs more.  Less stuff costs less.  You know, that really is a difficult concept to grasp.  Unless you’re a Congress person, I guess.

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