Thursday, August 16, 2012

Medicare, Medicaid and Old Folks

As thinking, feeling, caring human beings (whether Christian or not), we ought to care deeply about the plight of poor people.  That doesn't seem to be the case when it comes to discussions of Medicaid funding, so for those pseudo-Randians that are willing to let the poor die off, it should also be noted that Medicaid pays for 60% of nursing home patients.  60%.  They don't all start out poor.  But with an average cost of $75K per year for a semi-private room, at some point they (or should I say "we"?) are going to burn through their savings, maybe their families' savings and then have to give up their remaining possessions (house, car, etc) in return for Medicaid coverage.  If you're poor, it's tough to get get old but if you're old long enough, you're almost certain to get poor.

So the Republicans try to scare older folks by accusing the Obama administration of cutting Medicare benefits to pay for "Obamacare" (without telling them that some of the benefits of the ACA help them like closing the donut hole in Medicare prescription drug benefits and that oh by the way, the Ryan budget proposal made similar cuts but then gave the money to the 1%ers).  The idea is apparently that Medicaid only helps "those people" - the Republicans are not very specific about who "those people" are but they certainly insinuate that they're not "us".  But unless you really are a 1%er or you've had the foresight to buy long-term care insurance (and really, very few people even know it exists) or you die a quick death, you're likely to be in a position where you'll either need Medicaid or you'll bleed your entire family's finances dry or I guess you'll die in a gutter.

So what's your plan?

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At 3:22 PM, Anonymous BK said...

Live, work and play as hard as you can until you can't and then die young.

At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, what is your plan? And when all that debt turns USA-future into Greece-Present, what then?

- Special K

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Tony Plutonium said...

BK - well, that's a plan. Not a GREAT plan, but it's a plan... :-)

CK - Comparing the US to Greece is sort of like comparing an apple to a hammer - not a lot of similarities. For starters, we have our own currency and print our own money as opposed to Greece being tied to the Euro. Why not compare us to Sweden? Higher standard of living, longer average life spans and a 50 year history of social democracy.

You are also ducking the point - Ryan/Romney ads are trying to scare seniors into thinking that the Obama admin is cutting their benefits (not true - they benefit from the Obama plan) while not admitting to the fact that the Ryan plan cuts Medicare spending as a way of paying for tax cuts for the rich and on top of that, cuts deeply into Medicaid which covers many, many seniors.

They're lying liars.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure thing. The issue is the ability to sustain the debt load. Greece can't sustain theirs and can't get spending under control without slashing costs which equals slashing benefits which is causing riots and pain and suffering. Their national debt per person is about $40k.

In the US, our debt is about $51k per person, but we are a rich country with the standard currency, so we can sustain more. The debt of Sweden? $20k per person. (

I answered your question. Care to answer mine? -CK

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Tony Plutonium said...

Happy to go beyond the point I was making - that Medicaid cuts don't just affect poor people.

We should be borrowing and spending like drunken sailors for the next couple of years. Take advantage of essentially zero interest rates, rebuild the infrastructure that we've let erode for the past 40-50 years, put millions of people back to work and break the vicious circle we're in now that austerity measures will only exacerbate. If you want to look at Europe, look at Spain.


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