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Where Are The Facts?


Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE


The New York Times wrote an editorial “Medicare Scare-Mongering.” The editorial contained no facts proving its proposition.

“It has been frustrating to watch Republican leaders posture as the vigilant protectors of Medicare against health care reforms designed to make the system better and more equitable.”

Both Democrats and Republicans know that Medicare is unsustainable in its present form. Both parties are posturing for the public and political power. Neither are attacking the problems in the healthcare system to make the system sustainable.

Why? Repairing the healthcare system threatens the vested interests of secondary stakeholders that fund politicians’ election.

“ This is the same party “Republicans” that in the past tried to pare back Medicare and has repeatedly denounced the kind of single-payer system that is at the heart of Medicare and its popularity.”

Both parties are trying to pare back Medicare because Medicare is unsustainable. Each party’s methodology is different.

“For all of the cynicism and hypocrisy, it seems to be working. The Republicans have scared many older Americans into believing that their medical treatment will suffer under pending reform bills.”

Seniors have evaluated the Democrat’s proposals. They understand the implications of the various proposals. Seniors are convinced that the implications are going to have a negative impact on their present level of care. They mistrust the political rhetoric and understand bureaucratic inefficiency. .

“The general public believes that, too. The latest New York Times/CBS News poll of 1,042 adults found that only 15 percent believe changes under consideration would make the Medicare program better, while 30 percent think they would make it worse.”

It would be very simple for the New York Times editorial board to explain how the Democratic proposals would improve Medicare coverage. The editorial does not do this. It is more rhetoric.

“The Obama administration and Congressional leaders are hoping to save hundreds of billions of dollars by slowing the growth of spending in the vast and inefficient Medicare system that serves 45 million older and disabled Americans.

If Medicare is inefficient, how is the administration going to do to make it efficient? It cannot do it by increasing bureaucracy. 

The Obama proposals are ignoring the two most wasteful aspects of Medicare, defensive medicine and the healthcare insurance industry’s abuse of outsourced administrative services.

The inefficiency in Medicare will only increase when the government controls healthcare coverage of an additional 45 million people.

There is only one logical way for the government to reduce costs. It must ration care. Reducing Medicare payments by $500 billion dollars over the next few years is not going to decrease bureaucratic inefficiency.

The editorial also complains about Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage. Both programs were terribly constructed. They rip off both patients and the government. Complaining about them and throwing money at them will not make them more efficient. Medicare Advantage must be eliminated and Medicare Part D must be redone in a logical way and not to the advantage of the healthcare insurance industry.

“by enhancing their drug coverage, reducing the premiums they pay for drugs and medical care, eliminating co-payments for preventive services and helping keep Medicare solvent, among other benefits.”

Why isn’t the editorial board attacking the healthcare insurance industry that is making billions of dollars from Medicare Part D at the government’s expense? Why isn’t the NYT editorial board demanding that the government negotiate the same drug price it pays for military and veterans administration drugs?

The House legislation, the only bills in near-final form, would reduce and ultimately eliminate a gap — the so-called doughnut hole — in Medicare drug coverage that currently forces more than three million beneficiaries to pay for drugs entirely out of their own pockets once they hit specified spending levels.

It will create a great government deficit.

Republicans are not the villain. The current proposals are the villain. The proposals will restrict access to care, ration care, and waste $1.1 trillion dollars on top of the yearly loss presently.

But the Republicans have done far too good a job at obscuring and twisting the facts and spreading unwarranted fear. It is time to call them to account.

The New York Times editorial board does not present a stitch of evidence for the statement below. I think liberals are so tired of the senseless debate that they will accept any declaration.

What the Republicans aren’t saying — and what the Democrats clearly aren’t saying enough — is that in important ways, coverage for a vast majority of Medicare recipients, those in traditional Medicare, should actually improve under health care reform.

The New York Times editorial board is clearly pro Obama and has done a poor job analyzing the content of the proposals.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

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