Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Romney Errs on Medicare Cuts, Medicare Headache for Physicians

Romney continues to get it wrong with Medicare.  Congress takes tiny steps; they want to go home for the Holidays (and we can take a little break).

The Republican Reality-Free Zone - Part 1

From the Debate:  "False and misleading claims were flying again at the latest Republican presidential candidates' debate in Iowa.  Mitt Romney falsely claimed that no president before Obama had cut Medicare, and that Obama favored pre-1967 borders for Israel."

FACTS from the Associated Press:  "ROMNEY: 'Let's not forget, only one president has ever cut Medicare for seniors in this country and it's Barack Obama.  We're going to remind him of that time and time again.'

"THE FACTS: Obama is at least the third president to sign cuts in Medicare that were passed by Congress.  The 1990 budget law signed by Republican President George H.W. Bush raised premiums paid by Medicare beneficiaries and cut payments to hospitals, doctors and other providers.  The 1997 balanced budget law signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton scaled back Medicare payments to hospitals, home health agencies, nursing homes and other providers, as well as raising monthly premiums paid by older people.  It reduced projected payment rates for doctors, putting in place automatic cuts that Congress routinely has waived ever since.  The law signed by Obama strengthens traditional Medicare by improving preventive care and increasing payments to primary care doctors and nurses serving as medical coordinators, but reduces subsidies to private insurance plans that have become a popular alternative to Medicare.  Obama is cutting about 6 percent of spending from Medicare over 10 years.  Clinton and a Republican Congress came up with cuts of 12 percent."

In any campaign, the candidates play fast and loose with the "facts."  Today, thankfully, we have better access to fact checking, although we do have to watch some of the truth checkers.  However, regardless of facts, some people (and they might include us) have core values that shape their truths, regardless of facts.  That's why, logic (and actual, true, confirmed facts) often does not always win out.  What feels "right" or "moral" counts more.  Maybe we're born that way.

Doc Fix

"If Congress can’t finish its homework before it goes on recess, it might be able to get an extension -- but only if it’s willing to trim its winter break.  At least, that’s the case with the 'doc fix' -- a temporary change to Medicare’s troubled provider payment formula that Congress must pass to prevent a deep cut to physicians.  They face a 27 percent payment cut that starts Jan. 1 unless Congress acts."

For Your Information

National Strategy Conference – January 28 and 29, 2012:  "You are invited to join Healthcare-NOW! activists from around the country to plan our strategy to win guaranteed single-payer national health insurance.  By learning and sharing with one another we can build on the tremendous successes of the last year and develop the plan to push Congress to implement single-payer national health insurance NOW.  When: January 28 and 29, 2012.  Where: Hilton Houston Hobby Airport, Houston, TX."

The Republican Reality-Free Zone - Part 2


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