Tuesday, March 20, 2012

GOP Death Sentence for Seniors and Bankruptcy for You

Paul Ryan has announced the new GOP budget that "reforms" Medicare, and it apparently contains a death sentence for seniors. It also promises that the rest of you, those who love your parents, will likely go bankrupt because of their medical needs. And when you retire the same will happen to you.

This isn't a fabricated threat like Sarah Palin's big lie about the non-existent "death panel" she claimed was in the Affordable Health Care Act.

This is the real deal.

It's a five-word concept: "annual expenditures would be capped". In honesty, I must note that these five words are those of the media in reporting on how the GOP plans to "reform" Medicare. I haven't read the GOP budget myself because it was just released. But if the New York Times is being accurate in its reading of the proposed budget, these five words are frightening.

The phrase "annual expenditures would be capped" commonly means that, after a pre-set amount of coverage in a given year, you are on your own in paying your medical bills. It's this provision in private medical insurance that killed a friend of our family.

He was a young man, only in his forties. He got cancer and was being treated, apparently successfully. Then his coverage, provided by his employer, ran out.  He next spent all his savings and every cent he had from his income on trying to continue treatment. But it wasn't enough. He was too proud to ask any of us for help. (I would have mortgaged my house to save him.) He had to abandon medical care.

And so he died. Needlessly.

He died bravely. But somehow that just makes it worse. We as a people failed this good man.

Now the GOP is planning to do this wholesale to us seniors. Will you, our children, be able to resist jumping into the breach and spending your hard-won savings to save us when our Medicare coverage reaches its cap? Can we even bear to accept such sacrifice from you?

This inhuman scenario proposed by the GOP is their way of avoiding raising taxes on the very wealthy. The horrific cuts to Medicare they propose are in lieu of raising taxes to meet the budget deficits ahead. Thus the money of the very rich is more sacred than the lives of the elders, we who built this country from which the rich have milked so much into their own pails.

If the GOP's sinful proposal is not repudiated in this election, if the majority of the House is not snatched away from them, if this heartless greed-saturated GOP takes control of our government entirely...... let me die. When I hit the expenditure cap, just let me go. I have loved this country passionately through the Great Depression, World War II, and all the post-war decades that have seen such great advances in human rights. I don't want to live in a Garden of Evil version of America.

How about you? Do you want to live in such a country?

Or are you willing NOW to do all possible to save your parents? Can there ever have been a time when an election mattered so much? The choice is yours. You can acquiesce in the evil or take up the cudgels and fight for the Democrats and for your parents. And, please, if you choose to fight, direct some major part of that effort to recapturing the twenty-five seats we Democrats need to take back the House and repudiate the likes of Paul Ryan and the Tea Party.

And do it for the young man who died that needless death. Let him not have died in vain.


  1. Hey Ma, I just went to my doctor this morning. (I live now in Norway) My doctor, a very nice Norwegian woman in her late 50s runs a good practice and is a 5 minute walk from my apartment. Her office is located in a residential area, a good place for an office. I love going to the doctor here. They never ask for medical history or paper work or insurance of any kind. I pay about $40 for the visit unless its a chronic condition (In that case its free) I will never see any medical bills in the mail. I have seen some of the amazing care facilities here, where the staff often outnumber the patience. I have been to the emergency room here a couple of times and had the same experience. No paper work, no big bills, just good quality care. Believe it!

    1. I hear the same kind of report from people who have had medical care in Singapore, France, and elsewhere. If the election this fall goes badly or the Supreme Court wrecks the Affordable Health Care law, there will likely be a whole lot more Americans joining you in Norway.