An alternative to popular faith

I just received a note from Mark Kirk, Republican Congressman, listing the cuts to be made in Medicare. I don’t know how factual they all are, because frankly the new program not only is complex, but evolving.

In any event, this is what the Republicans (and Democrats) should work on, rather than the “repeal and replace” political effort that has no chance to succeed. Forget the McCain, “There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year” attitude. Focus on correcting the negatives rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

By the way, every one of these cuts could be eliminated if wrongheaded, deficit paranoia were eliminated. The federal government can and should pay, via deficit spending, to eliminate all these cuts. Consideration of real damages to real people should take precedence over imaginary, unproven damage from federal deficits

Here is what Rep. Kirk wrote:

2010: Medicare Cuts to Hospitals: The federal government will reduce Medicare reimbursements for hospitals who provide seniors with long-term and inpatient and rehabilitation care.

2011:Medicare Advantage Cuts Begin: Approximately 121,000 Illinois seniors will be dropped from their chosen Medicare Advantage coverage. Drug Discounts for those in Medicare Part D “donut hole” begin: The federal government will impose a new requirement on pharmaceutical companies to provide a 50% discount on “brand name” prescriptions. Increased Medicare Part D Premiums: Seniors with incomes above $85,000 for individuals and $170,000 for couples will be forced to pay higher Medicare Part D premiums. Medicare Imaging Cuts: The federal government will cut Medicare reimbursements for seniors who use MRI and CT scans. Medicare Cuts to Ambulance Services and Durable Medical Equipment: The federal government will begin cutting Medicare reimbursements for seniors who use ambulances or durable medical equipment.

2012: Medicare Cuts for Hospitals with Readmissions: The federal government will cut Medicare reimbursements to any hospital with a high readmission rate. Medicare Cuts for Hospice Care: The federal government will cut Medicare reimbursements for seniors on hospice care. Medicare Cuts for Dialysis Care: The federal government will cut Medicare reimbursements for Americans – both youth and seniors – on dialysis.

2014: Medicare Board Cuts: The federal government will establish an Independent Payment Advisory Board with powers to make further cuts to seniors on Medicare.

2015: Medicare Home Health Cuts: The federal government will cut Medicare reimbursements for seniors who depend on home health care.

I’d be interested in hearing from those of you who think reducing federal deficits is more important than eliminating these cuts, together with your evidence that deficits are harmful in any way.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
http://www.rodgermitchell.com