Sunday, June 12, 2011

Reponse to letter to the editor in the Herald-Zeitung

Arvin Brehm’s recent letter to the editor he says, “Obama took $500 billion from Medicare to pay for the so-called health care bill that the Democrats passed”. That is a patently false assertion, the $500 billion referred to is from restraining growth in spending as shown here by

“Growth in future spending of the program is being restrained to less than it would be under current law, over 10 years. But seniors’ basic Medicare benefits packages wouldn’t be cut – in fact, the law doesn’t allow it: Section 3601 says: ‘Nothing in the provisions of, or amendments made by, this Act shall result in a reduction of guaranteed benefits under title XVIII of the Social Security Act’ (the part of the U.S. Code that establishes the Medicare program).”

The savings comes from reducing payments to for profit insurance companies who offer Medicare Advantage which provides additional benefits and often unnecessary inducements like health club memberships. The insurance companies get an extra 15% above what Medicare would pay for similar benefits.

Brehm also takes issue with my claim that the Ryan plan is terrible but then doesn’t refute any of my reasons for saying that. The Ryan plan makes no provision for requiring private insurers to cover people like me with several chronic conditions or those with a history of heart attacks or other acute medical issues. The Ryan plan would cause millions of seniors to lose access to any kind of health insurance at all.

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