Advice for the Joint Committee
"Congress flooded its supercommittee with a jumble of advice Thursday about taming the government's out-of-control debt, with top agriculture lawmakers readying a bipartisan plan to pare food and farm aid while others urged an aggressive hunt for savings coupled with warnings against cutting cherished programs. Most of the suggestions came from Democrats on 16 Republican-run House committees who sent letters to the special debt-cutting panel. Generally, their advice was to create jobs, raise revenue and avoid damaging cuts to public works, health care and other programs they said are crucial to an economic recovery."
None of this is very startling or revealing. It seems that many of the same old ideas keep coming up. Makes one wonder if they're played out -- or if something more is going on behind the scenes. I believe -- number one -- that our pre-paid public benefits must be protected. At the same time, I'd like to see some new and creative ideas for doing so.
Whose Failure? Medical Practice or Medicare?
Opinion: How Medicare Fails the Elderly -- "HERE is the dirty little secret of health care in America for the elderly, the one group we all assume has universal coverage thanks to the 1965 Medicare law: what Medicare paid for then is no longer what recipients need or want today. No one then envisioned the stunning advances in medicine that now keep people alive into advanced old age, often with unintended and unwelcome consequences. Indeed, scientific reports have showed the dangers, not merely the pointlessness and expense, of much of the care Medicare is providing."
While I agree with some of the author's points, I need to say that everyone can find a few things with Medicare that need to be fixed. These are important, but not always consequential, in the bigger scheme. When we look at issues in delivery of care, it's important to fully understand that the real problem is the practice of medicine not the content of Medicare. Medicare makes options and choices available; it offers coverage that people might need. It's up to physicians and other health care practitioners -- along with patients and families -- to determine the best use of the available coverage.
The Republican Reality-Free Zone