Maybe Halloween just came a few months early...  As October begins, it appears the health care reform debate may finally include more than just scary ghost stories and town hells.  The truth about health care reform plans, and especially their impact on seniors, is finally breaking through.  Seniors’ advocates, including our President, Barbara Kennelly, gathered in the Capitol today to urge Congress to focus on the facts.  Seniors need health care reform to curb the skyrocketing costs seen system wide...costs which are also hurting Medicare.    Sunday's New York Times editorial also perfectly describes the cynical fear mongering we’ve seen in this debate so far:  
 “It has been frustrating to watch Republican leaders posture as the vigilant protectors of Medicare against health care reforms designed to make the system better and more equitable. This is the same party that in the past tried to pare back Medicare and has repeatedly denounced the kind of single-payer system that is at the heart of Medicare and its popularity. For all of the cynicism and hypocrisy, it seems to be working. The Republicans have scared many older Americans into believing that their medical treatment will suffer under pending reform bills. "
The Times editorial inspired Barbara to send kudos in a letter to the editor and to pen her own blog post at Huffington Post: 
“You are absolutely on target when you say opponents of health reform have been sowing fear among the elderly. Most elderly have modest incomes and are highly dependent on Medicare — leaving them easily susceptible to the wild claims they hear. What the fear-mongers don’t tell them is the cost of inaction. Many of these same “protectors” of Medicare have been vocal advocates for Medicare cuts. Their voices will become only more strident if something is not done soon to slow cost growth. Medicare cuts in isolation would inevitably result in rationing of care for the elderly, unlike slowing cost growth system wide, which would protect Medicare and make it more affordable both for the elderly and the government. Keeping the status quo is simply not an option, and it is reprehensible that the elderly are being manipulated to oppose the only reforms that could strengthen and protect Medicare.”  New York Times, Letter to the Editor  
“Let’s be very clear about who, in this ongoing health care reform debate, is truly threatening to cut seniors’ Medicare benefits.  It’s not President Obama.  It’s not health care reform proponents in the House or Senate.  In fact, the only threats of benefits cuts have come from private insurers offering Medicare Advantage plans.  Why? Because the industry is at risk of losing billions in federal subsidies--subsidies which have raised premiums for every beneficiary in Medicare (not just the 20% in private MA plans) and stolen more than a year from the Medicare trust fund.  These subsidies continue to amass over time, ultimately costing the Treasury and every senior in Medicare, $169 billion during the first decade alone.  It’s a sweet deal for insurers.  A deal they’re now fighting hard to protect. “  “Cutting Subsidies to Insurers Are NOT Benefit Cuts”, Huffington Post
 Our Truth Squad continues to work busting health care reform myths.  You can find the Truth Squad’s video series on our YouTube Channel.