[Hope you had an enjoyable Fourth of July. In case you missed it, please take a look at our first "Occasional Editorial" -- Nothing More American Than Medicare.]
The long weekend saw only few Medicare-related items for our consideration.
Minor Medicare Cuts OK
A new poll has found some support for minor cuts to Medicare; the support depends on where the savings would go. "Forty-five percent of Americans are fine with minor cuts in Medicare spending to help trim the federal deficit, for instance. Only 18 percent favor major cuts for deficit reduction, though."
"What about changes to Medicare that would accrue to the health program for the elderly and disabled? There's definitely more support for that approach. To prevent Medicare bankruptcy, 42 percent of Americans would support minor cuts in Medicare spending. And nearly a third -- 32 percent -- would support major spending cuts."
Those figures are from the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: June 2011. Also see: Public Willing To Accept Minor Medicare Cuts, Poll Finds.
Medicare Under Siege
Opinion from Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Rep. Doris Matsui: "Forty-five years ago today [July 1], Medicare began operation and senior citizens started to use their brand new Medicare cards to obtain medical care. As President Lyndon B. Johnson stated, older Americans began to receive guaranteed access to care 'not as an act of charity, but as the insured right of a senior citizen. July 1, 1966 marks a new day of freedom for our people.'"
They continue: "Unfortunately, our national commitment to Medicare is once again being tested. The Republican budget that passed the House last April would end Medicare as we know it and return to the days when senior citizens had to depend on private insurance companies for care. The incoming generation of seniors would be denied the ability to enroll in traditional Medicare. Instead of choosing their own doctor, they'd have to select a private insurance company -- which would then select doctors and decide which treatments they would provide. Private insurers would get a voucher worth only a fraction of the cost of coverage."
We Must Protect Medicare
Opinion from Rep. John D. Dingell: "Hubert Humphrey once said that the moral test of a government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the twilight of life, and the shadows of life. Medicare helps America pass that moral test. For all the political difficulty and long journey the Medicare program has endured, it stands as the most significant piece of social legislation written in our nation's history."
"Its launch 45 years ago immediately satisfied millions of Americans who were in desperate need of health coverage, especially for the elderly and disabled, and throughout its life, the program has continued to improve and today delivers quality care with remarkably low administrative costs -- much lower than those from private insurers." Recommended reading because it touches base with the foundation of why Medicare is important to America.
Support for Major Changes of Lieberman - Coburn
Opinion from Andrew Rubin: "This week Senators Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Tom Coburn (R-Ok.) introduced a proposal to eliminate $600 billion from the Medicare system. They should have been applauded, commended and celebrated around the country. Instead, democrats swiftly rejected their proposal. No questions asked. They were portrayed by liberals as attacking the benefits of seniors and of being out of touch with main stream America. I would argue they may be the most "in touch" members of the Senate." This is a rational plea for significant changes along the lines suggested by Senators Lieberman and Coburn.