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Fear-mongering on health care

July 27, 2012
The Daily News

EDITOR:Now that the Affordable Care Act is settled law, there is a lot of fear out there....and a lot of fear-mongering. First of all, the CBO calculates that the ACA extends the stability of Medicare for eight more years beyond earlier estimates.

This is done partly by cutting $500 billion out of the Medicare Advantage reimbursements. Originally, Advantage plans were put into place because so many believed that private industry could provide insurance coverage cheaper and more efficiently than any government plan. These plans took the place of regular Medicare, Medicare supplement, and drug coverage, all rolled into one.

Each Advantage plan offered various types of "wellness extras," which differed with each company. Some included dental coverage, some free drugs, some gym memberships. As it turned out, these plans cost 14 percent more than traditional Medicare, and were draining the Medicare funding. So they must now make cuts, but again, each company decides where to cut. None will be permitted to cut any of the basic guaranteed coverage that is offered in regular Medicare.

For those with traditional Medicare, the differences most likely to be noticed are the gradual closing of the donut hole and no copay for annual screenings.

Oh yes, then there is the greatest bogeyman of all, the "death panels." They don't exist, and won't exist unless we listen to Republican Congressman David Dreier of California, who says he doesn't think people with "massive tumors" should be entitled to costly treatment.

Anyone who has had to seek pre-certification from an insurance company for a medical, surgical or diagnostic treatment has already dealt with unelected bureaucrats, so talk of bureaucrats coming between a patient and his doctor is just another red herring, like the death panels.

No, I do not fear Obamacare, but I do fear the Ryan plan, which, according to the CBO, will cost those in their early fifties an additional $6,400 per year in their retirement for medical care. That's after the government gives them their "premium support."

Wages have stagnated for the last 30 years, pensions are gone, and the working poor cannot afford a health savings plan. How are they supposed to come up with the money to pay for their care? Perhaps if one were a surgeon or other "small business," he could afford to pay for care, but most cannot.

Supreme Court notwithstanding, Mitt and company are now running on a promise to "repeal and replace" the ACA. Sound familiar? Indeed, since Congressman Benishek went to Washington, there have been 33 votes to repeal all or part of the ACA. Votes to replace? Nada. Come November, I will vote to repeal and replace Dan Benishek.

Lola Johnson




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