Congress Returns With Same Issues Waiting
"With Congress set to return to town this week, staff-level bipartisan discussions are underway over how to pay for extensions of the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance and the so-called Medicare 'doc fix' beyond the end of February, when they’re set to expire. The private meetings are a continuation of the December showdown, which ended with two-month extensions of the three provisions and a guarantee that the House and Senate would negotiate a year-long measure. But many of the factors that made the two month bill so contentious remain in place, and threaten a new brinkmanship at the very beginning of this session of Congress."
MORE: "With the House returning this week for a short session and with one week to go before the president’s State of the Union address, Republicans are on the clock to unite around a message on a package to extend a payroll tax holiday, unemployment benefits and Medicare payments."
An interesting discussion of the variations and nuances at play.
Romney Pitching Same Medicare Story
From Kaiser Health News: "In last night's GOP presidential candidate debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, front-runner Mitt Romney described his approach to Medicare, which includes charging wealthier recipients more and including 'premium supports.' He also attacked the health law, the only candidate on the stage to discuss the law."
Romney calls the new health care law the "Fourth Entitlement." Video excerpts and a transcript of the health care parts of the debate.
Fixing Medicare Via the Healthcare System
"Simplistic rhetoric that Medicare is 'broken' fails to diagnose where the real challenge lies in creating enduring financial stability for this critical program. Medicare is doing exactly what it was designed to do: draw in funds from working individuals and beneficiaries to help millions of older Americans and people with disabilities pay for medical care. A fundamental problem is how Medicare pays for services and how the delivery system responds to that payment structure. The current medical care delivery system that Medicare pays for is fragmented, uncoordinated, favors the health care provider over the person receiving care, and is exceedingly expensive."
Well thought through, and one of the few pieces that draws into consideration the chronic care needs of the elderly and disabled. This is a critical concern as people age and acute care is replaced by chronic or long term care.
Healthcare - Civil Right
"We should move to an Improved Medicare for All system, in which we share the cost of covering everyone, as we do for other valued services such as education, police, and the fire department." "Concerned that this is socialized medicine? Not at all. The U.S. has a high-performing socialized medicine system in the Veterans Administration, which owns hospitals and employs doctors and enjoys high patient satisfaction. Improved Medicare for All is not socialized medicine. The bills would be paid by one source, but medical practices and non-profit hospitals would continue to be independent."
Easy to read and informative. Highly recommended.
The Republican Reality-Free Zone
Mitt Romney Downplays $374,000 In Speaking Fees As 'Not Very Much' -- Wanna bet? $10,000.