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What Will Obamacare Do –To You? Part 4

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After guests Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic and Henry Aaron of Brookings –both supporters of Obamacare– appeared on today’s program, the e-mails began to flood in. The transcripts of both interviews will be posted here later. Here’s a long thread of e-mail responses:


I have a cancer that, like so many, is treatable, but not curable at present. The same disease that has killed Peter Boyle and Roy Shieder, and that Geraldine Ferraro and Hobie Alter are currently suffering from – multiple myeloma.
Treatable means that big horrible greedy pharma co’s need to keep coming up with treatments. I’m taking Revlimid, which is a derivative of Thalidomide – so consider the faith that Celgene had to have to stick with such a scary drug to use today to save my life.
I have no confidence at all that once things shake out, and the Public Option sucks the INVESTORS out of the game, that the funding of what the miracle of medical science will continue at nearly the same rate that capitalism brings to game.
And as someone that once the president of an Ins. co that booked 90% of its premium in A & H I know that a public option funded by by a printing press in Philadelphia, controlled by a Congress in D.C. that within 10 years there will be no choice left.
Which, I guess to end my digression, will parallel the hospital industry, which has the same investor paradigm and will leave us with gov’t run hospital/clinics where we can wait in line.
Oops; one more digression. The abuses that will be used by those looking to make money off of such a large part of our economy suddenly run by Feds will be a thing to behold. Maybe you remember what we used to call “Rolling Labs”; they were big old RV’s that would roll into a strip mall offering free physicals. Once they had your Soc. Sec. and health plan number the diagnosis started coming in from all angles. Can you imagine the Fed plan giving a rip? My wife worked for IRS in Ziggaraut Bldg in Laguna Niguel and I’m here to tell you that one walk through the hallways of that facility give you great pause as to who we actually even employ in our Fed gov’t… but there needs to be a place for everyone willing to work, sort of work that is… 😉


Your guest was not accurate about Medicare fee cuts to doctors. There is a 21.5% cut scheduled for 2010. By 2014 the total cut will be 40% according the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The are cuts in nominal dollars. Doctors’ fees will also be reduced by inflation, as we have experienced the past few years when fees were “frozen.”


Hello Hugh,

For 2010, Medicare Advantage [ obtained through my former employer]
will cost me $273.93 per month. Traditional medicare [also through
my former employer] would cost me $357.90 per month. Both totals
include prescription drug coverage. Jonathan Cohen’s statement that
traditional Medicare would cost less for the Medicare participant
LESS is clearly wrong!

New Kensington, PA


The gentleman you’re speaking with has the preprogrammed salespitch for single payor healthcare down quite well. Unfortunately it’s a ruse. The spiel that the “savings” are based on savings in Medicare Advantage programs is made for publication. In reality, there is NO way the gov’t would save more than a pittance by eliminating Advantage coverage. All Advantage participants pay a premium for additional services. Often the benefits received by the plan participant do not exceed the premium. (I.e., there are a lot of “services” offered for partial coverage, but the number of enrollees that utilize the majority of those services is not that significant)
Medicare supplements (that provide coverage for patients with Medicare part A, part B, and part D) are increasingly expensive. The graph of the cost escalation for this coverage is necessitated by the “gap” from Medicare reimbursement.
The number of medical clinics that are refusing new Medicare patients is rising. In the twin cities, MN, there are more each and every day. Without private pay or “good” third party payors, there is no way a competent physicians’ practice can afford Medicare. Good examples are radiology, anesthesiology, specialty surgeons, and a growing number of professionals with outstanding quality care.
With the collossal number of states well within the financially destitute range, the amount of Medicaid expenditures for poor seniors necessary medical services that Medicare does not cover is skyrocketing. This is no where in the media. Since the number of poor elderly patients is growing rapidly, the state outlay is growing. It is easy to see why Arizona is marketing the state capital. The question is… What is the state budget item that is growing the fastest? The answer is clearly Medicaid for the elderly.
Your guest’s statement regarding nosocomial infection prevention is somewhat valid, but horrendously myopic. It is liberalism without objective thought. Realistically, dialysis patients with multiple depressed immune status’, immunosuppresssion, and a high need for medical treatment, are at major risk for acquired infections. No resistance and multiple ports of entry are a virtual guarantee. To not cover care for these patients is ridiculous. Liberalism is devoid of fundamental analysis. Conclusions based on trend line analyses fail to incorporate legitimate facts pertinent to quality medical care. Generic criteria used to generalize “how to save” by policy makers have a chronic history of ineptness.
Have a good week,
Gene in St Paul


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