Here is one of the best editorials describing the facts about health care reform and seniors we've seen in the main stream media. It's well worth a read...share it with your friends. Kudos to USA TODAY
for taking the time to get past the rhetoric and spin to provide seniors the truth about health care reform.
USA TODAY EDITORIAL:
Our view on medical reform: GOP revives ‘scare Grandma’ tactics to kill health bill
Proposed Medicare cuts aren’t as big, or painful, as critics imply.
Scaring seniors about losing their Medicare benefits is deceptive and irresponsible, but it's a political winner. Both parties have played the game shamelessly over the years. This time, it's Republicans who are doing it, and it's as if they're trying to set a new, lower bar for demagoguery
How else to explain why Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., a doctor who ought to know better, would warn seniors that the Medicare cuts in the health reform plan being debated in the Senate mean "you're going to die sooner." Or why Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., would plead: "Don't cut Grandma's Medicare."
The occasion for this and other over-the-top rhetoric was an effort by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz
., to remove the nearly $500 billion in Medicare cuts from the Senate measure. McCain argues that the cuts are so big, they'll inevitably and unfairly harm seniors' health care.
Tellingly, even the nation's leading advocacy group for the aging, AARP, opposes McCain's amendment
, noting that the Senate plan "does not reduce any guaranteed Medicare benefits." It's also interesting to note that McCain and other Republicans haven't always felt so protective of Grandma. McCain suggested even larger Medicare cuts during his presidential campaign last year, and he and some other GOP critics voted for cuts more than twice as big when Congress approved the Balanced Budget Act in 1997
What's different today? Republicans are trying to derail President Obama's health overhaul, and they want to get Democrats on record as voting to cut Medicare. Some key reasons why their arguments are bogus:
— The Medicare cuts aren't nearly as big as critics imply. The cuts would take place over 10 years, at a time when Medicare would spend an estimated $7.1 trillion. Add back money for improved benefits, and the net cuts amount to about 5%. There's at least that much fat in the program.
— Critics charge that Medicare providers such as hospitals — which would be cut about $140 billion over 10 years — would have to scale back services to seniors. It's odd, then, that the hospitals themselves agreed
to accept about $155 billion in cuts. Why? Because health reform would provide so many new patients with insurance — including many that hospitals now treat for free — that hospitals would come out ahead.
— Another big cut would come from Medicare Advantage, or so-called private Medicare, which was created to show that businesses could run Medicare plans more efficiently than the government. Few succeeded, so Congress made the program richer.
Today, Medicare Advantage is a gold-plated program that requires taxpayers to kick in a 14% subsidy
to help it compete with government-run Medicare. Are Medicare Advantage beneficiaries upset that some of their benefits might go away or cost more? Sure. Is that unfair? No.
No matter what the Senate does, the aging of the Baby Boom generation will drive up Medicare costs rapidly. The Senate plan would trim the increase from about 6.5% a year to about 5.5% a year, while providing much of the funding necessary to expand medical coverage without crippling the federal budget.
What's scary isn't what will happen to seniors and their Medicare benefits. They'll be fine. What's frightening is how many people will continue to suffer with bad insurance or none at all if the scare tactics succeed.