(My comments in parentheses and italics)
9:05 am: Subcommitte chairman Heger: Democrats have head in their sands. We should work together now as the Trustees have asked.
9:10 am: Ranking member Stark: About time Republicans held a hearing. Republicans say premium support means putting insurance companies back in charge. Traditional Medicare cost would not be covered by premium support (of course it doesn't cover insurance costs for 92% of Medicare beneficiaries today).
We are in favor of gutting Medicare Part C as we did in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and putting the money into making Medicare more solvent (of course it doesnt' do that; it gives the money to non-Medicare age people)
As outlined in this recent post, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has crossed the line in her electioneering for President Obama at taxpayer expense. That's why I have filed a Hatch Act complaint to try to stop her costly waste of your hard-earned tax money (and inefficient administration of my hard-earned Medicare insurance).
The U.S. Federal Hatch Act says...
An April 23 "report" from Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebilius hits a new low in crass electioneering that is paid for by the taxpayer dime that also appears to violate the Federal Hatch Act.
President Obama and others are forever saying we need to make sure "Medicare as we know it" continues to exist. The next time you hear that sentiment, ask the speaker two questions:
The debate about Medicare is that simple. Seniors have already voted with their wallets for Wyden/Ryan. They'd just like the whole system to work more simply.
-- Dennis Byron
The independent Government Accounting Office (GAO) has criticized the Obama administration attempt to keep the 2013 Medicare Part C premiums that will be announced in September 2012 -- right before this year's presidential election -- lower than the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated they would be under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Medicare Part C is often called Medicare Advantage and was previously known as Medicare Choice. It offers us seniors much better benefits than "Medicare as we know it" -- including lower costs -- usually in return for joining an HMO. Medicare Part C premliminarily provides better health care, thus lowering Medicare trust fund and general revenue outlays (based on a complicated risk-adjusted capitation formula too complicated to explain in a blog post).
As posted on this blog in six other parts over the last two weeks, the Democratic party newspaper in Springfield, Massachusetts is running a retrospective of stories about former Governor Mitt Romney's short visit to Massachusetts during the middle of the last decade. Recently, the newspaper ran an article about the passage of RomneyCare by the Massachusetts legislature that the newspaper first ran on April 6, 2006. The charts in this and earlier posts (this is the seventh and last on this blog "celebrating" the sixth anniversary of RomneyCare's passage) look at each sentence of the Springfield paper's April 2006 article and compares the promise of April 2006 to the reality as of April 2012.
There's an odd bit of bi-partisan good news about Medicare in the April 19, 2012 New York Times.
It seems that the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services applied the same competitive bidding concept used in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program -- initiated by George W. Bush in 2003 -- to the Medicare Part B durable medical equipment (DME) program -- think of all those stupid scooters you see around town. Yet the Democrats that are so irate about the Bush Part D program are not complaining that doing the same thing for Part B DME is a huge give-away to the durable equipment industry or that the government should buy scooters, etc. itself
Massachusetts' Blue Cross Foundation paid for a report released the week of April 9, 2012 that showed what an out-of-control "budget buster" RomneyCare has become for the state of Massachusetts. Actually Blue Cross' intention was to show the opposite. It even rounded up a few Massachusetts' politicians, hack camp followers and ideologues masquerading as journalists to claim that RomneyCare being $453 million over budget was not a "budget buster" (just a rounding error for venture capitalist wannabees)
But here are the numbers from 2005 and last week. Read them and weep, Mitt.
I first became interested in Massachusetts Healthcare Statistics when I read a claim something along these lines:
“individual premiums decreased 40% in Massachusetts after Romnyecare.”
It was in a column by Ezra Klein of the Washington Post in December 2010 (about half way through the linked article). Or it was in a similar column by David Leonhardt of the New York Times (about 15th paragraph down), I can't remember which. I would have thought any reasonable non-Massachusetts-based journalist, pretending some knowledge of the healthcare insurance debate in the United States, would ask:
“If (individual) healthcare premiums went down at all (not to mention went down 40%) after Romneycare, how come people are not dancing in the streets in Massachusetts given what is happening to insurance rates where I live?”