published Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Court orders senior citizens to accept Medicare, like it or not

With Medicare headed for insolvency in approximately a decade, it would seem that the federal government would gladly accept any offer by individuals to forgo their Medicare benefits willingly and to pay for private health insurance of their choosing.

But that's not how Washington works.

After all, it would not make Medicare look very good if too many people were to begin taking a pass on its benefits in favor of better private coverage.

Five senior citizens who wanted to buy their own medical insurance sued to have themselves declared ineligible for Medicare benefits.

That would have freed them to pay for and receive full benefits from a private insurer, which will furnish them with only partial benefits so long as they remain Medicare-eligible.

But a federal appeals court has now ruled that once they signed up for Social Security, the senior citizens were forbidden to become ineligible for Medicare.

In other words, the only way they can reject Medicare -- which would save the taxpayers money -- is to surrender their Social Security benefits as well.

Is that not ridiculous?

When federal rules and bureaucracy have become so entrenched that the American people cannot officially opt out of costly government benefits even of their own free will, then can we not see why the federal government is $15.3 trillion in debt -- and why programs such as Medicare are going broke?

Alas, this is not the only way that Washington is compelling the American people to participate in big government health programs.

Under the rules of ObamaCare, most Americans will be forced to purchase government-approved medical insurance. And companies with at least 50 employees will have to start providing such insurance.

That is a recipe for destroying jobs.

Worse still, individuals or businesses caught disobeying ObamaCare's unconstitutional mandates face heavy fines.

There is a lot of speculation about whether Congress will repeal ObamaCare if enough Republicans win seats in the November elections and if President Barack Obama is defeated. There is also hope that the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn the law later this year.

But while we may disagree with GOP presidential hopeful and Texas Congressman Ron Paul on a number of things, he was not overstating the case in something he said during a TV interview in 2010. Congress may or may not repeal ObamaCare, he said, but "the bankruptcy of this country is going to repeal it. ... [G]overnment won't be able to pay anything out."

It would plainly be wise to face fiscal reality before we reach that crisis point.

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We're already paying more than other countries with comparable or better health care, so you know what? Don't complain about costs going up unless you have a better plan.

You don't. You just have complaints. Too bad this was actually a Republican idea in the first place.

February 29, 2012 at 12:21 a.m.
fairmon said...

A better idea would be to do away with medicare entirely, stop restricting the choice to only those approved by the state insurance commissioners. Add to each retail purchase a consumption tax sufficient to provide a health care voucher to every eligible citizen and get the government out of the health care business. The negotiated medicare rates distort health care cost. Borrowing 40 cents of every medicare dollar paid out is not sustainable.

February 29, 2012 at 6:30 a.m.
JustOneWoman said...

Harp, you must not be taking care of any elderly, or otherwise, you would realize that will not work. It sounds good in theory, but go spend some time at some of the retirement centers. You will change your tune. However, I do think that your idea for the method of raising revenue to pay for health care is a good one.

February 29, 2012 at 9:18 a.m.

If obama's health insurance reform act actually addressed healthcare costs instead of torpedoing private health insurers, it might actually work. Too bad it isn't and won't ever work to reduce health care costs. Of course it wasn't really passed to address healthcare. It was passed to destroy private health insurers.

February 29, 2012 at 9:23 a.m.
sangaree said...

The person who wrote this editorial piece is not telling the truth. While Part A Medicare(the hospital inpatient part) is automatic and the client doesn't have to pay a dime for Part A, Part B Medicare IS optional. A client is not forced to take Part B Medicare as suggested in this editorial. Part B is the part of Medicare the client pays a monthly premium for. It covers doctors' office visits, eyecare, and in some cases dental and hearing. Part B is a choice and is not mandatory. An individual can choose not to take Part B and buy their own medical insurance if they so want. However, Monthly payments to Medicare Part B remains cheaper than the private sector insurance companies and has better coverage. This editorial must have been written by someone gunning for insurance companies.

Also, individuals who choose Medicare Part B also have the option to choose from a variety of private insurance companies instead of traditional Medicare B coverage. From Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Humana, United HealthCare and a bunch more other plans. The monthly premium that would normally go to traditional Medicare B is instead payed directly to those insurance companies, or the insured can even choose to pay the monthly premium directly to the insurance company they choose.

I'm not sure why the right side of TFP fabricates so much. Then claim to be so righteous. Do they just take it for granted that southerners are too stupid to know better or too dumb to check what they put into print?

February 29, 2012 at 9:57 a.m.

Sangaree, I don't see the deception you are referring to.. These seniors are trying to opt out altogether. They don't want part a, b, c, or any other part the govt is offering.

February 29, 2012 at 10 a.m.

FPSE, the private health insurers helped write the law for their advantage.

They would have to be insane to want to destroy themselves.

sangaree, don't get in the way of the right-sides reality distortion field. It changes every day.

February 29, 2012 at 10:11 a.m.

Happy, Are you saying private health insurers wrote medicare law?

February 29, 2012 at 10:23 a.m.

The word I used was "helped write" and yes, they have, since it's part of the overall reform law. It's why we don't have a single-payer option as well.

What do you think they spent almost 200 million on?

February 29, 2012 at 10:31 a.m.

So, explain to me how keeping people on Part A and preventing them from buying a policy from a private insurer makes the insurance company money. They most likely spent 200 million preventing the single payer system and the more onerous anti-private insurance portions of the legislation.

February 29, 2012 at 10:39 a.m.

I believe we're talking at cross purposes. You said "it was passed to destroy private health insurer" (it referring to Obama's Health insurance reform act) which I disagreed with, since they'd have to be insane to lobby so heavily for a law that destroyed themselves.

If you want to talk about specific provisions, we would best get into agreement that they did help write the law, and get what they wanted. Are we?

February 29, 2012 at 10:45 a.m.

Not at all. I don't agree that they lobbied for it. Nothing in obamacare helps insurers. Please point out one thing that helps insurers.

February 29, 2012 at 10:51 a.m.

So you think they spent almost 200 million dollars not getting what they wanted?

In that case, the executives in charge of the companies ought to be fired for incompetence.

But there's no point in me offering anything, if you don't recognize their lobbying efforts at all. If you can't accept that they have, then the only thing that I'd say would change your mind is if you were there, watching the Congress members meeting with them.

If you want, try reading their own brief to the Supreme Court:

http://www.ahipcoverage.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/AHIP-Cert-Amicus-Brief.pdf

February 29, 2012 at 11:03 a.m.

So you can't point out one thing in obamacare that helps insurers? I can't find one. Everything in the law was designed to destroy the private health insurance industry.

February 29, 2012 at 11:11 a.m.
sangaree said...

FlyingPurpleSheepleEater said... So, explain to me how keeping people on Part A and preventing them from buying a policy from a private insurer makes the insurance company money

FPSE, Part A is automatic coverage and it is Free. However, it doesn't prevent anyone from buying their own medical coverage, inpatient or outpatient. That's what's so deceptive about this editorial piece and its intent on confusing the easily confusable such as yourself.

There's nothing going on with Medicare than is practiced by the private insurance industry. Medicare just remains cheaper and is a better option. Especially for the working class.

Let me explain this way: Both you and your spouse have private insurance coverage and you carry one another on each policy. Or you have two medical insurance coverages from two different employers. Well one of those insurance coverages will become the primary coverage(the one that pays first) and the other will become your secondary coverage (the one that pays after the primary coverage has paid its share).

Well, that's the way Medicare Part A {inpatient works} for seniors. It is the primary hospital coverage that pays first even when the covered person has a second insurance policy and becomes an inpatient at a hospital. This is also the way it works with Medicare Part B, if the covered person decides to accept Part B coverage. Medicare Part B too is usually always the primary coverage in most cases. Meaning Medicare Part B will most often pay first and the second insurance pays what is left after Medicare has paid its share ( a great deal for any private carrier). Only in a few and often rare cases is Medicare not the primary coverage. It's deceptive and an outright lie to for TFP to even allow someone to make such false statements. TFP should be ashamed. If we can't get the truth from a supposedly trusted news organization where can we get the truth from?

Private insurance can be expensive. Even when you're covered through an employer. Then if you get sick or lose your job through some other means (layoff, etc.), private insurance will offer you the option of continuing your coverage through COBRA coverage, which is EXTREMELY expensive. For one person alone, the cost of COBRA can be anywhere from 300+ and more a month. For a family it can be as high as up into the thousands. Now try paying that out and feeding your family, keeping the lights on and a roof over your head on a Workers' Comp or unemployment check. Both usually only pay out a fraction of what an employee earned on his or her job, and the least little thing you can be cut off.

February 29, 2012 at 11:28 a.m.
sangaree said...

continued...

I worked with a major insurance company for several years. I handle both private insurance, medicare and even military insurance claims. Yes, private insurance companies have contracts(for which they are paid handsomely) with the federal and state government to handle medical and other claims. What they paid out in benefits was pennies compared to what the insured was left to pay out of pocket. Insurance companies are going to pay themselves and their CEOs big bonuses first. They're going to screw their insured anyway they can.

February 29, 2012 at 11:35 a.m.

FREE! Wow, you just persuaded to avoid the rest of your post with that one statement. I guess we can just quit funding Medicare. That will do wonders for the deficit. A silver lining at last.

February 29, 2012 at 11:40 a.m.
sangaree said...

happywithnewbulbs said... I believe we're talking at cross purposes. You said "it was passed to destroy private health insurer" (it referring to Obama's Health insurance reform act) which I disagreed with, since they'd have to be insane to lobby so heavily for a law that destroyed themselves.

Unfortunately, happy, posters like FPSE will never allow truth to get in the way of fiction that's being spoon fed to them. The Obama medical bill will actually help, not harm, the private insurance industry.

February 29, 2012 at 11:41 a.m.

FPSE, really? They pointed out the things they wanted, in their own legal brief, and you didn't see it?

That says you didn't read it, or you didn't understand it, because they said it.

But ok, let's take your statement as true, then they wasted 200 million dollars in lobbying.

In which case, they ought to be fired because they are utterly incompetent.

sangaree: It is getting more and more obvious that such willful denial is the case, because I can't see why anybody would spend so much money and not get what they wanted.

And they especially did, since we have no single-payer option.

February 29, 2012 at 12:05 p.m.
sangaree said...

FlyingPurpleSheepleEater said... FREE! Wow, you just persuaded to avoid the rest of your post with that one statement. I guess we can just quit funding Medicare. That will do wonders for the deficit. A silver lining at last.

Oh, God!! Where do they get these people. Let me try to explain, FPSE. Medicare Part A is only free in the sense that there is no monthly premium the insured has to pay. The same as in the private insurance sector. The monthly premium anyone pays in the private sector is actually to cover doctor's visits etc. Medicare Part A, the inpatient section, just like the private sector, only becomes active if and when a person is hospitalized. Then that's where the Part B kicks in and the insurance pays 80% and the patient is responsible for the 20%.

Saying Part A Medicare is free only means there's no monthly premium the insured has to pay. If you knew anything at all about the insurance industry you'd know this is true for both Medicare and private insurance companies.

Why don't you try doing your own research and finding out the real facts and stop allowing yourself to be spoon fed junk. You do know that junk you're ingesting is bad for your health, don't you?

BTW--FPSE neither Medicare nor SS adds anything to the deficit. They both have always been solvent that is until past presidents started stealing from the fund to support their little ventures. Bush Jr. borrowed a big chunk to fund his little war ventures. What SS and medicare needs is to start call in all those loans, or have the borrowers prosecuted for theft!

Happy, you're right! FPSE is going to twist anything explanation to justify his/her/its lunacy.

February 29, 2012 at 1:24 p.m.
Rtazmann said...

I DO HAVE TO LAUGH HERE,,,,,,,PRES OBAMA JUST SIGNED A BILL THE OTHER DAY THAT IS A BIGGER CLUSTER BANG THAN THIS AND IT IS CALLED A FAILED DRUG WAR GOING ON 50 YEARS,,,,,HE SIGNED A BILL FOR 29 BILLION DOLLARS TO COVER IT,,,,,I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY WE CAN'T GET WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY OURS....AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE TO TAKE THE BACK SEAT TO A FAILED ENDEAVOR.....29 BILLION DOLLARS WOULD COVER US NICELY...OR AT LEAST BE A GOOD START....AMERICANS HAVE TAKEN THE BACK SEAT LONG ENOUGH,,,WE NEED TO MAKE OUR GOVERNMENT SEE THE LIGHT SOMEWHERE DOWN THE ROAD,,....TIME TO MAKE SACRIFICES,,,TO HELL WITH A LOST DRUG WAR RIGHT NOW,,,,IT WILL STILL BE LOST IN 10 OR 20 YEARS FROM NOW ANYWAY,,,,IN OTHER WORDS STAY TUNED FOR A LATER DATE...

February 29, 2012 at 2 p.m.

Well, Rtazmann, this side of the paper won't even legalize marijuana, so don't expect to make good on that waste.

February 29, 2012 at 3 p.m.
01centare said...

happywithnewbulbs said... Well, Rtazmann, this side of the paper won't even legalize marijuana, so don't expect to make good on that waste

Although, they're the ones most likely to heavily smoke it and that other stuff. LOL!! Of course they'd never admit it. Gotta protect that right wing conservative image at all cost, don'tcha knows. LOL

That's a good one happy. 100 thumbs up! ;)

February 29, 2012 at 8:48 p.m.
fairmon said...

JustOneWoman said... Harp, you must not be taking care of any elderly, or otherwise, you would realize that will not work. It sounds good in theory, but go spend some time at some of the retirement centers. You will change your tune. However, I do think that your idea for the method of raising revenue to pay for health care is a good one.

You got that wrong. I have an 89 yo mother in an assisted living facility that I pay for and visit essentially daily. I am also providing for a grand son. I depend on dividends from stocks and investments to supplement my income. I do get irate when I hear people advocating higher capital gains taxes.

A health care voucher sufficient to purchase adequate health care coverage would work better than what we have. A voucher would go to each man, woman and child sufficient to purchase a good policy from any insurer, not just those in state.

February 29, 2012 at 10:10 p.m.
Rtazmann said...

FORGET THE VOUCHER SYSTEM,,,,THEY NEVER WORKED AND NEVER WILL

March 13, 2012 at noon
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