Showing posts with label Medicare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Medicare. Show all posts

Friday, September 29, 2023

Bottom line on shutdown--we pay for the temper tantrums of a few

We're all angry members of Congress refused to do their jobs because they cannot get their own way and make demands on the majority of the other members. The minority don't care what they are doing to us, and frankly, they don't seem to care about anyone but themselves.

The bottom line on shutdown--we pay for the temper tantrums of a few!

Our troops won't be paid!
WASHINGTON —Military officials prepared Friday to cut pay for troops and civilians, and close offices and activities deemed not essential to national security as the deadline nears for the government shutdown that is expected to begin at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Troops will remain deployed to hotspots around the world, and civilians in critical chair-borne commands at the Pentagon and elsewhere will remain on job. But none will be paid unless an agreement on government spending or legislation authorizing military pay is reached.

President Joe Biden said Friday that the failure to pay troops would be a “disgrace.”

“We can’t be playing politics while our troops stand in the breach,” Biden said at the retirement ceremony for Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (USA Today)

Social Security and Medicare won't stop. 

Social Security is considered a mandatory program, and it isn't funded by the shorter-term appropriations bills passed by Congress and signed by the president. That means its operations and funding don't stop when the government shuts down.

That's important for a large proportion of Americans, as about 67 million people receive monthly Social Security benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. Those benefits go primarily to retirees but also to people with disabilities, as well as dependents of deceased beneficiaries.

Medicare and Veterans Affairs benefits also continue to be distributed during a shutdown. (NBC News)
Veteran health care is not impacted. VA Medical Centers, Outpatient Clinics, and Vet Centers will be open.
VA benefits will continue to be processed and delivered, including compensation, pension, education, and housing benefits.
Burials will continue at VA national cemeteries. Applications for headstones, markers, and burial benefits processing will continue.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals will continue decisions on Veterans' cases.
VA Contact Centers (1-800-MyVA411) and the Veterans Crisis Line (Dial 988, Press 1) are open 24/7.
VA will not provide Veteran career counseling or transition assistance program activities.
The GI Bill Hotline will be closed.
VA benefits regional offices will be closed.
VA will cease public affairs and outreach to Veterans.
VA will not permanently place headstones or maintain the grounds at VA national cemeteries.
VA will not process applications for pre-need burials.
VA will not print new presidential memorial certificates.

For the rest of the services you receive, contact the provider. We have a home health aide who is a private contractor and she won't be paid, so we won't have her for however long this lasts. 

Sunday, October 30, 2022

What moral values are you willing to sacrifice for the only one you fight for?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 30, 2022

This election is not just about who takes control of the House and the Senate. This election is about the moral character of the people. We have many decisions to make. If one of your decisions is voting to take away the decisions of others before you vote on that one issue, open your eyes as to what else you are voting to approve.

First, consider that when I was pregnant with twins and miscarried, I hemorrhaged. My doctor, my husband, and I didn't have to struggle with any other question than to decide if my life should be saved or if I would be left to bleed to death. Today, that decision is what too many are facing and it is wrong. I wanted the twins but my body had other ideas. Some called me a murderer. The thing is, I made peace with God because I believed God could have fixed the twins, or at least saved the other one, but the truth was, He couldn't.

If you call yourself pro-life, then you need to take an honest look at what will come with the price for voting for politicians that claim they will end the right for others to choose what is right for them, just like me.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. 

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Scripture says that God is God of the living. Jesus gave instructions as to how we are to treat the living. Over and over again it is the premise of all that we do for each other instead of "to" one another. Your values are based on what you believe is a personal decision and protected under the laws of this nation. That same right is also protected and the majority of the people in this country respect that. If you believe all Christians are like-minded on anything, including the debate about the divinity of Jesus, then you do not fully understand, or appreciate the number of denominations that exist in every state, or value the same religious beliefs of other groups also devoted to their beliefs as they see fit to choose or any of the others not attending any house of worship other than their own, or those who simply do not believe at all. Each of us is free to choose for ourselves.

What do your values and scripture tell you about what else you will be approving of since the ones promising to end the right to choose are also planning for the rest of us?

Social Security and Medicare and you can read more of their plan to take away what we paid for, putting seniors out of the only income they have to pay their bills, pay their mortgages and rents, and feed themselves. We will not be able to afford medications or go to the doctor. We will not be able to have operations or receive any life-saving efforts. What about the lives of us that have lived all these years with the assurance that we would not become "freeloaders" as too many of them have called us? You can read more about who is pushing to take all that away and threaten our lives on this ABC news report. They also voted against reducing the costs we pay for medications.

Veterans Benefits, too many in the GOP call the benefits our veterans earned "entitlements" and fight against doing the right thing, just as they did with taking care of the veterans suffering from the results of burn pits. They would not have taken care of them if they were in charge at the time the Democrats put the bill up for a vote. They will also jeopardize the benefits of all other veterans because they have shown more loyalty to Trump than to the veterans that risked their lives serving this country.

They talk about the crime rates yet never mention they were responsible for not just the rise in crimes because of the guns they refuse to limit but protect the criminals that perpetrate most of what the rest of us have to deal with. Mass murders with weapons designed for war being legally purchased by the ones slaughtering children in school and in all other places, are protected by the same people while they claim the laws do not have to be changed to protect the rest of us. As a fact pointed out over and over again, the states with the highest per capita rates are controlled by Republicans.

But that's not all. If you watched any of the January 6th Committee hearings, it was clear that those same people lied to you about what Trump and his people claimed about the results of the election. They did not care about you or the truth. As a person of moral values, the truth should matter. Did you seek it? Did you open your eyes to what the truth is if you claim to be a "Christian" then why are you supporting the father of lies instead of the One you claim to love and vote on that one "moral" issue while ignoring all others when it comes to the living bodies with the soul God breathed into all of us?

Monday, February 10, 2020

Will Seniors have to share rooms with their grandkids?

Seniors need to watch out for budget cuts

If the economy is so great, as POTUS claims, why would he want to cut so much from seniors? Many of them voted for him believing his speeches on how he was not touching Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security...just like his tweet after the budget he submitted.

It proposes steep cuts in many domestic programs and increases in spending on the military and other programs that will appeal to Trump’s base as he campaigns for voters to return him to office for another four years.
Overall, Trump’s budget will seek $4.4 trillion in savings over a decade – $2 trillion of which would come from savings from entitlements, including $130 billion from changes to Medicare prescription drug pricing.

Democrats said that would amount to a half-a-trillion-dollar cut to Medicare, roughly $900 billion in cuts to Medicaid and a $24 billion cut to Social Security.

That was all from an article on USA Today, and you can read the rest here.

Trump's budget reflects campaign priorities but abandons pledge to wipe out deficit in 10 years

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Congress Planning on Hurting Veterans Again?

Veterans groups despair Medicaid cuts to vets

Richmond Register

  • Kery Murakam
  • July 8, 2017

WASHINGTON — The battle over the future of Medicaid in the Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has given little attention to how reduced funding will affect military veterans.
Veterans groups are now speaking out, saying rolling back financial support for Medicaid, the health insurance program for the low-income and vulnerable, could put at risk the 1.7 million veterans receiving Medicaid benefits.
Contrary to popular belief, they report, less than half of America’s veterans, about 43 percent, get health insurance coverage from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Those that don’t qualify have either served less than two years or have non-military related injuries, according to the Congressional Research Service. Still, others qualify but rely on private insurance for supplemental coverage or because they live in rural areas far from the nearest VA hospital.
In addition, about 660,000 spouses of veterans get health coverage through Medicaid, according to an estimate by Families USA, a pro-Affordable Care Act group, based on Census figures.
Paralyzed Veterans for America wrote to senators last week urging them not to pass the Republican health care bill that would also put millions of other Americans at risk if Medicaid is scaled back.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Major Veterans Groups Fighting for Veterans Against More Cuts

Major veterans' groups voice concern over Senate health bill
Jun 27, 2017
"What will become of these veterans as they face higher insurance costs?" Carl Blake, associate executive director of Paralyzed Veterans, wrote in a letter sent to all 100 senators. He pointed to more than 1.7 million veterans now on Medicaid — nearly 1 in 10 — as well as veterans ages 45 to 64 who have benefited from tax credits offered under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
Secretary of Veteran Affairs David Shulkin arrives at the wedding of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Scottish actress Louise Linton, at the Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, Saturday, June 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Major veterans' organizations are voicing concerns about a Senate GOP bill to repeal the nation's health care law, fearing the impact of rising insurance costs and worried the underfunded Department of Veterans Affairs won't be able to fill the coverage gap.

While there are more than 21 million veterans in the U.S., only about 8 million receive health care from the VA. The others rely on Medicaid, purchase insurance on state or federal exchanges, have employer-provided insurance or have no coverage at all.

In a letter Tuesday to senators, Paralyzed Veterans of America, one of the six biggest nonpartisan veterans' groups, criticized an "opaque and closed" legislative process and proposed cuts to Medicaid that could lead to hundreds of thousands of lower-income veterans losing their insurance.

It joins a Democratic-leaning group, VoteVets, in opposing the bill. VoteVets launched a six-figure ad campaign in two states, mostly to pressure moderate Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., who faces a tough 2018 re-election race. Heller, who indicated his opposition to the bill last Friday, says he's worried that too many people will lose coverage.

Two other major groups, Disabled American Veterans and AMVETS, also are expressing concern about the Senate legislation backed by President Donald Trump. They are worried the beleaguered VA — already facing an emergency $1 billion shortfall — won't have enough money to provide federally paid health care to more patients and say VA must be better funded.
read more here

Friday, June 23, 2017

Senator Heller Says No to Hurting Us

Heller won't back Senate GOP health care bill 
By Eric Bradner 
June 23, 2017
(CNN)Dean Heller on Friday became the latest Senate Republican to say he opposes the current GOP health care bill. "It's simply not the answer," the Nevada Republican said at a news conference alongside Gov. Brian Sandoval in Las Vegas. "And I'm announcing today that in this form, I simply will not support it." 

Almost immediately, the pro-Trump group America First Policies decided to launch what a source with the group says will be a major television, radio and digital ad buy against Heller -- a remarkable attack on a member of Trump's own party whose seat is endangered in 2018.
Gov. Brian SandovalSandoval specifically pointed to people who were making a little more than $16,000 per year. "These are our friends, these are our families, and these are our neighbors. ... They are living healthier and happier lives because of that decision -- I don' think that can be overstated enough." read more here

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Donald Trump Wants To Surrender Veterans Affairs

Trumps Veterans' Care
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 1, 2015

This is not a good way to start my day.  Someone is playing a trick on veterans and passing it off as a treat!

Associated Press reporter Jill Colvin wrote a piece on "Trump releases plan aimed at improving veteran's care" that is nothing more than surrendering veterans to the same "care" for profit.
Under Trump's plan, eligible veterans would be able to bring their veterans' identification cards to any private doctor or facility that accepts Medicare and be able to receive immediate treatment. The change, he said, would help improve wait times and services by adding competition.
OK, and exactly how has that improved anything? Ever see a waiting room filled when you wait to be called only to end up stuck in an empty room until the doctor manages to come in for a few minutes and then end up with a huge charge only to be sent to a specialist? Then you have to wait until they have time to see you. Ever show up at an emergency room and have to wait for hours? Ever call a doctor for the first time and hear "we're not taking new patients" and the nearest doctor for your problem is a couple of hours away? City searches for cure to doctor shortage
The city now has two family practice offices — one run by a nurse practitioner and the other that only serves members who pay monthly dues.
There is a bigger shortage for seniors, but why mention the fact that the majority of veterans ARE SENIORS!
Doctor Shortage: Who Will Take Care of the Elderly? As the number of geriatricians shrinks, the future care of seniors could be in jeopardy.
We are not prepared as a nation. We are facing a crisis,” says Dr. Heather Whitson, associate professor of medicine at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. “Our current health care system is ill equipped to provide the optimal care experience for patients with multiple chronic conditions or with functional limitations and disabilities.”
How about hospitals closing?
As rural hospitals struggle, solutions sought to preserve healthcare access
Modern Healthcare
By Paul Demko
May 16, 2015

On March 31, for-profit Parkway Regional Hospital in Fulton closed its doors after more than two decades of business in southwestern Kentucky. Rural Fulton County's only hospital employed nearly 200 and accounted for as much as 18% of the town's tax base.
Parkway was far from alone among rural hospitals struggling to survive. Less than a year before, Nicholas County Hospital, an 18-bed facility in Carlisle in north-central Kentucky, shut its doors, citing “insurmountable” financial challenges. A report issued in March by Kentucky's auditor of public accounts found that 15 of the 44 rural hospitals analyzed were in “poor” financial health. Those facilities served more than 250,000 Kentuckians in fiscal 2013, with about 60% of those patients enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid.
Learn more here

When you factor in the years of politicians complaining about how messed up the Affordable Care Act is, this is an appalling suggestion for veterans. Just because politicians have failed veterans for decades you'd think Trump would actually have a plan to fix the VA instead of sending veterans away.

Trump got the first part right on this.
"Politicians in Washington have tried to fix the VA by holding hearings and blindly throwing money at the problem. None of it has worked," according to the plan.
This is partly right. None on us should trust politicians, or the press for that matter, since they never seem able to remember Congress has jurisdiction over the VA!
"It's time we stop trusting Washington politicians to fix the problems and empower our veterans to vote with their feet."
This is more BS from yet another politician running for political office while unable to believe the office he wants can't do anything to fix anything!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Social Security Disability Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans

Disability Benefits For Veterans Who Have A Veterans Affairs Compensation Rating Of 100% Permanent And Total

Go her for more info Social Security

Banner depicting various veterans.
Starting March 17, 2014, veterans who have a VA compensation rating of 100% permanent and total (P and T) may receive expedited processing of applications for Social Security disability benefits.
What do I need to know about the VA and Social Security programs?
Both Social Security and VA pay disability benefits. However, their programs, processes, and criteria for receiving benefits are very different.
A VA compensation rating of 100% Permanent and Total does not guarantee that you will receive Social Security disability benefits. To be approved for Social Security benefits, you must meet Social Security’s definition of "disability." We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:
  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical 
    condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
If you receive VA compensation, this will not affect your Social Security benefits.
As a veteran rated 100% P and T, how do I receive expedited processing for Social Security disability benefits?
First, you must apply for Social Security disability benefits. You can do this in one of three ways:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Former Veterans Affairs Psychiatrist Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud

Former Veterans Affairs Psychiatrist Pleads Guilty to Medicare Fraud
30 October 2013
Written by YNN

Washington, DC - Dr. Mikhail L. Presman, a licensed psychiatrist employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), pleaded guilty today to health care fraud for falsely billing Medicare for home medical treatment to Medicare beneficiaries and agreed to forfeit more than $1.2 million in illegal profits.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch of the Eastern District of New York, and Special Agent in Charge Thomas O’Donnell of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.

According to court documents, from Jan. 1, 2006, through May 10, 2013, Presman submitted approximately $4 million in Medicare claims for home treatment of Medicare beneficiaries notwithstanding his full-time, salaried position as a psychiatrist at the VA hospital in Brooklyn.

Contrary to his representations, Presman did not provide any treatment to a substantial number of the beneficiaries he claimed to have treated. For example, Presman submitted claims to Medicare for home medical visits at locations within New York City even though he was physically located in China at the time of these purported home visits. Additionally, Presman submitted claims to Medicare for 55 home medical visits to beneficiaries who were hospitalized on the date of the purported visits.
read more here

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Veterans Remember Damage Congress Already Did

Veterans Remember Damage Congress Already Did
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 6, 2013

Florida Republicans in Congress are in trouble. Why? Because we're the number three state with the most veterans and veterans don't like it when someone messes with the country they risked their lives for.

Sure they are just like everyone else with their own political views but no matter what party they vote for, they always think the person they vote for will do right by the whole country. After all, these men and women didn't risk their lives for a state. They risked them for the whole country. They also pay attention.
For Democrats to win a House majority, 17 seats would need to switch to their party's favor. Results show that would be within reach, as Republican incumbents are behind in 17 of the districts analyzed: CA-31, CO-06, FL-02, FL-10, FL-13, IA-03, IA-04, IL-13, KY-06, MI-01, MI-07, MI-11, NY-19, OH-14, PA-07, PA-08, WI-07.

In four districts, the incumbent Republican fell behind after respondents were told their representative supported the government shutdown: CA-10, NY-11, NY-23, VA-02.
They hear something like "we need to make cuts" and remember how much was already cut because these yahoos couldn't figure out how to pass a budget last year. They were not happy then and they are not happy now.
The Washington Post:
The 2013 sequester includes: $42.7 billion in defense cuts (a 7.9 percent cut).

$28.7 billion in domestic discretionary cuts (a 5.3 percent cut).

$9.9 billion in Medicare cuts (a 2 percent cut).

$4 billion in other mandatory cuts (a 5.8 percent cut to nondefense programs, and a 7.8 percent cut to mandatory defense programs).

That makes for a total of $85.4 billion in cuts. Note: numbers here updated to latest CBO figures; thanks to Center for Budget and Policy Priorities for noting the difference from initial OMB numbers.

More will be cut in 2014 and later; from 2014 to 2021, the sequester will cut $87 to $92 billion from the discretionary budget every year, and $109 billion total.

They remember. Looks like no one else in the congress wants to remember what they already put the country through because instead of just doing the right thing now, they fail to take a stand for what is right for the whole country.

As for letting the Tea Party folks dictate anything, veterans also remember how they wanted to cut the VA that takes care of disabled veterans and Medicare seniors not getting disability but are veterans all the same.

They remember when Army Times reported this
Tea party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has unveiled a plan for cutting $400 billion in federal spending that includes freezing Veterans Affairs Department health care spending and cutting veterans' disability benefits.

They also remember this
VA Care End Eyed for 1.3 Million Vets

Budget Panel Eyes End to VA Care for 1.3 Million Vets

The House Budget Committee, chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), has told a veterans' group it is studying a plan to save $6 billion annually in VA health care costs by cancelling enrollment of any veteran who doesn't have a service-related medical condition and is not poor.

Committee Republicans, searching for ways to curb federal deficits and rein in galloping VA costs, are targeting 1.3 million veterans who claim priority group 7 or 8 status and have access to VA care.

Priority group 8 veterans have no service-connected disabilities and annual incomes, or net worth, that exceed VA means-test thresholds and VA "geographic income" thresholds, which are set by family size.

This is the budget that the House voted on to pass and the Senate said "hell no" to. It is stunts like this brought to you by the Tea Party Folks that pushed to have these yahoos elected. How did they expect anything to get done in the government if they were out to prove the government didn't work?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

President Obama needs to keep his promise on Social Security

President Obama,
With all due respect, you were elected the first time to keep your promises but in 2011, you caved in on what John Boehner and his people wanted even though the American people were not supporting what he claimed. For the last two years, they have obstructed bill after bill in the House and Senate. The majority of the American people once again voted for you last month after you said you cared about them but once again you are caving into John Boehner. He was re-elected to his seat in the House unopposed representing the 8th district yet you won the state of Ohio with 2,697,260 votes. Boehner won't even respect the voice of the people of his own state so why expect him to respect the voice of other Americans?

You promised to raise taxes on anything over $250,000 a year but now you are willing cave in on that promise offering John Boehner a deal? You are putting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid at risk for cuts to appease him? For what? You haven't even taken your second term oath yet you seem to expect Boehner will change and work with you?

Maybe it is time you were reminded on one simple fact. The members of the House and Senate are only elected by people in their districts. You were elected by the majority of the voters across the nation with a total of 62,611,250 votes including red states where you lost the state but did receive votes.

Alabama 793,620
Alaska 102,138
Arizona 930,669
Arkansas 389,699
Georgia 1,761,761
Idaho 212,560
Indiana 1,140,425
Kansas 427,918
Kentucky 679,340
Louisiana 808,496
Mississippi 538,260
Missouri 1,215,031
Montana 200,489
Nebraska 289,154
North Carolina 2,178,388
North Dakota 124,490
Oklahoma 442,647
South Carolina 845,756
South Dakota 144,988
Tennessee 953,043
Texas 3,294,440
Utah 229,463
West Virginia 3,294,440
Wyoming 68,780

In the words of Ronald Reagan "Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit." So maybe someone should remind Boehner of that simple fact too!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans talks about news seniors need to know

Alliance for Retired Americans
Here is your September 28 edition:

Past Statements by Paul Ryan Shed More Light on his Policies Regarding Seniors A transcript of a speech made in 2005 by Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan has received renewed attention this week, after the national Catholic weekly publication America published an article on his remarks. Ryan, who has long described philosopher Ayn Rand as one of his inspirations, made the speech at the Atlas Society’s 2005 “Celebration of Ayn Rand.” Rand’s 1964 collection of essays is called The Virtue of Selfishness: A new Concept of Egoism.

In his 2005 speech, Ryan took an extremist stance on Social Security and Medicare. He called Social Security and Medicare “collectivist” and “socialistic” and described his plans for privatization. Ryan stated that he supported, “switching these programs— and this is where I’m talking about health care, as well — from a third party or socialist based system to an individually owned, individually pre-funded, individually directed system.” To see the full article and transcript, go to

Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle commented, “These statements by Paul Ryan reinforce that he doesn’t intend to take the proper steps to protect or strengthen Medicare and Social Security, but sees them as a form of Socialism. Yet, Mitt Romney wants him to be his Vice President.” For quotes from Mitt Romney endorsing Paul Ryan's plans, go to

Early and Absentee Voting is Under Way in 30 States
According to NBC’s First Read (, “…voters in 30 states -- including the battleground states of Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Virginia -- are now casting ballots, either via absentee or early in-person voting.” Yesterday, early in-person voting began in Iowa and Wyoming, while absentee ballots are already being sent to voters requesting them in Alabama, North Dakota, and Illinois. By the end of next week, voters in five more states, including Ohio and Florida, will be on this list.

Many election experts predict that as many as 40% of voters will vote early or absentee for the November 6 election. “The explosion of early voting gives seniors more time to vote in an environment of harsh new voter identification laws in several battleground states,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “The Alliance applauds states that have expanded their early voting programs to make the polls more accessible for all Americans.” To see which states have already begun voting, go to For general voting information in your state, go to

Affordable Care Act Saves Seniors $4.5 Billion on Prescription Drugs
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Medicare beneficiaries have saved a total of $4.5 billion on their prescriptions since January 2011 thanks to the 2010 health care reform law. The savings came both from increased coverage and from drug makers’ agreeing to lower their prices under the law. Through August of 2012, beneficiaries had saved an average of $641 this year. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has also begun to close the Medicare Part D prescription drug “doughnut hole” - the coverage gap that is on schedule to be completely eliminated by 2020.

Romney: Uninsured can get Health Care in the Emergency Room
Asked on the show 60 Minutes recently whether government has a responsibility to provide health care for the 50 million Americans who are currently uninsured, Mitt Romney responded, “Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people—we—if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.” However, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of HHS, the cost of a doctor visit in an emergency room averages $922, whereas an office visit averages $199.

Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance, responded, “Mitt Romney’s answer showed a lack of comprehension of the actual costs incurred by ER visits. He seems to be saying that the emergency room is a viable health care solution for the millions of Americans who will lose coverage or be kicked off their insurance plans if he repeals Obamacare. To suggest that the ER could ever be a good substitution for affordable health care is utterly unrealistic.”

Alliance Leaders: Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly Honors Easterling
The Institute the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly honored Ms. Easterling on Thursday, giving her the Advocacy Award at the Institute’s Annual Gala Banquet. The Institute is a nonprofit and service organization serving New York’s growing Latino and other ethnic/racial minority seniors, and their families. They serve over 100,000 retirees in the New York City metropolitan area. “I want to thank the Institute for presenting me with your 2012 Advocacy Award. This is a great honor,” said Easterling. “Retirees and activists of all ages have much to be proud of, but our work is far from over,” she told the crowd.

Today, Ms. Easterling is speaking at a tele-townhall with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, while Mr. Coyle is addressing the International Union of Police Associations in Bonita Springs, Florida.

NFL Referees’ Strike is Settled
The National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) reached an agreement ending a three-month strike on Wednesday night. The NFL had locked out the regular referees in June, after heated arguments during contract renegotiations with the referees’ union. The main point of contention in the contract negotiations was the referees’ pensions, which the NFL wanted to replace with 401(k)s. NFLRA representatives had noted the unsavory irony of a league generating $8.3 billion in annual revenue wanting to cut retirement benefits.

“The elimination of defined benefit pensions has been happening in too many industries for too long,” said Mr. Coyle. “I congratulate the referees on fighting back.” Football fans everywhere had been up in arms about a call made by a replacement referee at the end of Monday night’s Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers game. This year’s football season, which kicked off in early September, has seen three weeks of controversial calls made by replacement referees.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reasons to always read from more than one source

This is a typical reason to make sure you read more than one source on a story.

Scott says Florida leads the nation in cutting its unemployment rate
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at 4:04 by admin

Gov. Rick Scott said today that Florida has led the nation in reducing its unemployment rate since December 2010 _ the month before Scott became governor.

Based on the latest state-by-state employment statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, Florida’s unemployment rate in July stood at 8.8 percent, a 0.2 percent rise from the previous month but a 2.3 percent drop from the December 2010 rate of 11.1 percent.

Previously, Scott had touted the fact that Florida had the “second” highest decline behind Michigan since December 2010. But Michigan’s July unemployment rate jumped up 0.4 percent last month, allowing Florida to claim the spot for the largest decline in that period. Based on the July numbers, Michigan’s rate has declined 2.2 percent since December 2010, putting it in second place.

“Overall, Florida’s long-term trend is positive,” Scott said in a statement. “Florida companies have added 130,300 more private sector jobs than we had in December 2010. We are focused on making Florida the best place to grow private-sector jobs.”
read more here
Sounds great but when you read about what else is going on Scott doesn't want to talk about you discover what sounds good, usually isn't good for everyone.

Thousands frustrated by Florida's new unemployment compensation laws
Miami Herald

When 65-year-old Raymond Togyer isn’t polishing his resume or cold calling potential employers, he’s spending hours trying, unsuccessfully, to navigate Florida’s labyrinthine unemployment compensation system.

Togyer — who was laid off for the first time in his adult life from a high-paying civil engineering job in June — has spent the last seven weeks sending and resending letters, staying on hold for hours and checking state websites, all to no avail.

He is one of hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Floridians flummoxed by what has become the most tightfisted unemployment compensation system in the nation.
read more here

The other example of this is when you hear some Democrats talkers on radio gleefully talking about the hurricane heading into Florida during the GOP convention. Do they stop to think about what a hurricane means to the people living in Florida? Do they think about the members of the National Guards ready to once again put their lives on the line in case they are needed to save us? Do they think about the police, firefighters and emergency responders, doctors or nurses ready to spend days on end taking care of the wounded?

I moved into Central Florida right before Charlie, Francis and Jeanne hit in 2004. Talking about Isaac hitting Tampa means a lot of lives will be on the line with a lot of extra people taking up hotel rooms because of the convention the displaced will need if their homes are destroyed. Most of them live in mobile home parks and will have to evacuate them to be as safe as possible. These guests of Florida will not know what to expect with hurricane force winds and it is really shameful anyone would get a "kick" out of this happening.

The other side is just as bad. This is what Rush Limbaugh said.

Rush Limbaugh blames Obama for Hurricane Isaac
Published: 23 August, 2012

What did the one giant, detestable blob of hot air say about the other? If you managed to catch conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh’s Wednesday morning rant about Hurricane Isaac, you may already know.

During Wednesday morning’s broadcast of Limbaugh’s nationally syndicated radio show, the legendary host called attention to the tropical storm slated to hit Florida next week right at the same time that Republicans from across the United States are expected to scurry down south for the GOP National Convention.
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Here is another example since we keep seeing the ads put out against President Obama topped off with the speeches being given from the Romney/Ryan team.

Medicaid plan would transform health care in Florida
By William E. Gibson
Orlando Sentinel
Washington Bureau
August 22, 2012

WASHINGTON – Florida'sfast-growing Medicaid program -- which cares for the state's impoverished children and for most senior citizens in nursing homes -- would lose roughly a third of its federal money under budget plans embraced by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan.

The Ryan plan would cut Medicaid nationwide by $810 billion over 10 years and reduce Florida's allotment by $35 billion by 2022 -- about one-third less than current projected spending -- according to an analysis by Families USA, a nonpartisan advocacy group for health-care consumers. An Urban Institute study found similar results: a 31-percent cutback for Florida by 2021.

The biggest impact may be on those who seek nursing-home care.

About 60 percent of Florida's nursing-home patients – 77,239 in fiscal 2010 -- rely on Medicaid. The cost that year was $2.7 billion, 13 percent of the Medicaid budget, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration.

"Many would be left out in the cold," said Brian Lee, executive director of Families for Better Care, an advocacy group in Tallahassee for nursing-home residents. "If nursing homes are not getting paid, they aren't going to take them. So it could be a desperate time for potential residents."
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Monday, August 20, 2012

Florida seniors deserved the truth from Paul Ryan but didn't get it

Let me make this perfectly clear. It doesn't matter if they are Republicans or Democrats. If we don't insist they at least tell us the truth, we all lose so it doesn't matter which party "wins" the election. If we don't insist they live up to what most of us actually do want, the media won't do it either. We end up hearing a lot of nonsense and wonder how things got so bad for us. Be an informed voter! Know what candidates are really up to so you can tell the difference between what they say to us and what they actually do after we elect them.

The truth is Obama's budget and Ryan's make cuts to Medicare. Obama cuts costs, not services. The difference comes from what they plan on doing with the savings. Ryan gives the money to companies and Obama gives it to the recipients. Ryan's budget will cost seniors out of their own pockets. In other words, Ryan's speech was short on truth and more like a dog distracting the hens so the wolf would sneak attack.

One more thing Ryan didn't talk about was his budget also calls for $11 billion cuts to the VA and kicks off 1.3 Million Vets.

In Florida, a conversation with Paul Ryan
By Alex Sanz
WPTV NewsChannel 5
Posted August 19, 2012

THE VILLAGES — U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. warned Florida seniors about the perils of Medicare during a campaign appearance here on Saturday, telling an overflow crowd of mostly retired seniors that President Barack Obama had raided the entitlement program to help pay for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"We want to earn your support. We want to earn victory. So that when we win we have the mandates — the moral authority — to stop kicking the can down the road and get this country back on track," he said.

Ryan, who was joined at the campaign appearance by his mother, Betty Douglas, a part-time Lauderdale-By-The-Sea resident and Medicare recipient, drew clear distinctions between how he and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney would reform Medicare.

"The first thing we have to remember is President Obama raided $716 billion from the Medicare program to help pay for the Obamacare program," he said during a one-on-one interview with FLDemocracy.

Danny Kanner, a spokesperson for Obama for America, defended the president's position on Medicare after the campaign appearance, and said Ryan and Romney had lied to seniors about their plan for reform because its details were "politically suicidal."

"Seniors would face higher Medicare premiums and prescription drug costs and would be forced to pay out of pocket for preventive care," Kanner said. "(Ryan) didn't say that if he had his way, Medicare would be bankrupt in just four years, or that he would give $150 billion taxpayer dollars back to private insurance companies, which raises costs for everyone. He didn't say that they'd turn Medicare into a voucher system, ending the Medicare guarantee and raising costs by $6,400 a year for seniors. And he certainly didn't say that they'd do it all to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires."
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This is from Bloomberg Business Week back in April, long before Romney decided that Ryan should be able to do what he wanted. After all, Romney fully supported Ryan's budget.

The Audacity of Paul Ryan
By Drew Armstrong and Heidi Przybyla
on April 06, 2011

Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, on Apr. 5 did something politicians seldom do: He stuck to principle. The fiscal conservative and Republican rising star stunned Washington with a 10-year budget blueprint that would shrink government, privatize the Medicare health program for seniors, turn Medicaid into a block grant to the states, and lower to 25 percent the top rate on corporate and individual taxes.

The plan would cut federal spending by $6 trillion over the next decade and slash the deficit to 2 percent of the economy by 2022, down from this year's 9 percent, without raising taxes. Among its weaknesses: overly optimistic assumptions, including that unemployment will be a mere 2.8 percent by 2021. By slashing money for food stamps, education, transportation, and scores of other programs, it's also politically untenable to Democrats. And despite the deep cuts, the House Republican plan would not balance the budget until 2040, largely because of offsetting tax cuts. Still, the scope of Ryan's proposal made Washington's nonstop bickering—and the threat of a government shutdown on Apr. 9 unless a deal is reached over funding levels for the next six months—seem small-bore by comparison.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is Ryan's call to convert Medicare, the $500 billion-a-year entitlement program and the biggest reason for mushrooming federal deficits, to a voucher-like system beginning in 2022. A week before Ryan presented his ideas, outside experts involved in the discussions said it was unclear whether the proposal would even cover Medicare. Along with Social Security, Medicare is a crucial part of the social safety net, one that politicians historically have been loath to tamper with, including President Barack Obama in his 2012 budget.

Democrats could hardly contain their glee, believing they'd been handed their talking points for next year's Presidential election. Politically, at least, party leaders see Ryan's proposal as a replay of former President George W. Bush's abortive 2005 plan to create Social Security private accounts, which they used to rally seniors and regain control of Congress in 2006. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) calls Ryan's budget a "thinly veiled attempt to dismantle Medicare" that pulls "the rug out from under seniors."

Republican ambivalence was evident. The party's House leaders, while endorsing Ryan's spending plan generally, largely omitted any references to the Medicare overhaul. The plan is a calculated risk for the GOP. While the proposal could alienate senior citizens in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Florida, and Iowa, reining in spending may help win over independent voters who gave Obama the edge in 2008. Opinion polls show that independents, who represent 29 percent of the electorate compared with 16 percent for senior citizens, now consider the deficit the most pressing issue facing the nation after jobs. Ryan's budget "is not going to have the repercussions everybody thinks it will," says former Representative Tom Davis (R-Va.), who led the House Republicans' election efforts from 1998 to 2002. "A lot of it is going to be messaging," he says, and "the election is ultimately going to be about swing voters."

Republican leaders may be betting that by embracing the broader anti-spending message of Ryan's plan without dwelling on the details, they can show voters a road map to growth that depends in part on paring the debt and controlling runaway entitlements. "This is not simply a deficit-hawk dynamic," says Republican pollster David Winston, who advises House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). "This is going back to Reagan and how you create jobs."

Ryan, 41, would essentially privatize Medicare by giving those over 65, beginning in the year 2022, about $8,000 to spend on private insurance that would replace the government program. Seniors would shop for subsidized coverage in an "exchange" where the government would approve insurance companies' offerings, says Conor Sweeney, a spokesman for Ryan. The plans would compete for seniors' business, and the subsidies would be based in part on income levels. The plan would also gradually raise the eligibility age to 67 by 2033.
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In other words, companies win and seniors lose. Top all of that off with cuts to the VA and seniors I talk to are screaming because no politician is telling them what is really going on.

Congress has not come up with one plan for putting people back to work but then they turn around and point fingers at everyone else. They want their jobs back, well so do we but while they let us suffer all they could talk about was the deficit. They tell us we shouldn't pass on the debt to our kids but never once mention our kids are suffering right now!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tea Party Seniors got their wish, Medicare cuts coming

UPDATE 4-6-11

Budget Would Affect Elderly, Poor
The Republican budget proposal presents a dramatically different vision of the role of government in America.

Say a big thank you to the Tea Party folks since this is what they voted for. Yes, that's right. You get the shaft because they didn't care if you could afford to live or not. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are government run programs, but people like the ones below didn't understand that. This is just the beginning of the senior slaughter of programs we need.

House budget chairman to propose Medicare, Medicaid changes
By the CNN Wire Staff
April 3, 2011 11:54 a.m. EDT

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's spending plan is to be unveiled Tuesday.
NEW: Democratic Sen. Warner challenges Ryan's plan
Instead of Medicare, seniors would get help paying insurance premiums
Medicaid would be cut by up to $1 trillion
Ryan offers few details, but says his plan would balance the budget and pay down debt
Washington (CNN) -- House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan said Sunday he will unveil a Republican budget for 2012 this week that proposes dramatic changes to Medicare, Medicaid and other political lightning rods.
The plan, to be released Tuesday, calls for a controversial overhaul of Medicare, the health care program for seniors, and would impose deep cuts in Medicaid, which provides health benefits to low-income Americans, Ryan told "Fox News Sunday."
Starting 10 years from now, in 2021, elderly Americans would receive government help in paying health insurance premiums instead of enrolling in the government-run Medicare program, Ryan said. He rejected the label of "vouchers" for the payments, calling them "premium assistance" payments instead.
The plan is modeled after one Ryan proposed last year with Alice Rivlin, budget director under President Bill Clinton. The Ryan-Rivlin plan said the amount of assistance would be calculated in part by taking the average federal cost per Medicare enrollee.
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House budget chairman to propose Medicare, Medicaid changes

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Three Florida doctors and 18 others charged with Medicare scam

3 doctors, 18 others charged in Fla. Medicare scam
By KELLI KENNEDY - Feb 15, 2011 5:25 PM ET
By The Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) — Three doctors and 18 other people were charged Tuesday with billing Medicare for roughly $200 million in bogus mental health services for patients suffering from Alzheimer's and severe dementia.

Prosecutors allege American Therapeutic Corp. and its sister companies faked medication and care charts and paid the owners of assisted living facilities and halfway houses to bring patients to their seven mental health centers for therapy sessions that were never held.

Some patients also cashed in on the scheme by providing their Medicare numbers, while others were "not coherent enough" to demand kickbacks, according to the investigation by the U.S. departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.
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Medicare scaml

Friday, October 22, 2010

Feds: Mentally Ill Targeted in $200M Medicare Fraud in Florida

There is an ad here in Florida attacking Grayson and Kosmos along with Nancy Pelosi. The problem with the ad is that while it is true they were part of the millions cut from Medicare, it was against waste, fraud and abuse, just as this report how bad the problem is. No one lost benefits and tax payers were well served by going after this kind of fraud. Whoever is behind the ad, just doesn't care about the elderly or the tax payers when they use an ad doing good but paint it as bad for attempted political gain.

This kind of thing happens way too often and it needs to be stopped for the sake of everyone.

Feds: Mentally Ill Targeted in $200M Medicare Fraud

Hugh Collins

(Oct. 21 ) -- Two Miami health care companies and four owners and senior managers were indicted today in a $200 million fraud scheme that targeted mentally ill patients, federal authorities said.

American Therapeutic Corp. and Medlink Professional Management Group allegedly paid kickbacks to Florida assisted-living facilities to deliver their patients to ATC.

The companies would then bill Medicare therapy sessions that were unnecessary or never performed at all, the indictment said.

Agents with the FBI and Investigations Division of the Office of the Inspector General are seen outside the American Therapeutic Corp. building on Thursday in Miami. Federal agents raided the building during an operation that resulted in the arrest of four in what is being called one of the nation's biggest Medicare fraud cases.

Some of these patients were suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia, and were not aware of what was going on.

go here for more

Feds: Mentally Ill Targeted in $200M Medicare Fraud
Feds: Mentally Ill Targeted in $200M Medicare Fraud

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Clergy discuss health reform

Clergy discuss health reform
By Mindy Rubenstein, Times Correspondent
In Print: Saturday, September 5, 2009

CLEARWATER — Eileen Jacobs of Clearwater drew applause and cheers as she pointed out Friday morning that one of the nation's largest health insurers took in a $5 billion profit this year and asked, "Why are we so afraid of government? … The government is us."

Her husband, O'Neal Jacobs, 87, is a World War II veteran who receives health benefits from the Veterans Affairs Department, including $4,400 worth of eye medicine each month. She pointed out that the VA system is one of the best.

When people say, " 'get government out of my health care', I am appalled," she said.

Eileen Jacobs, 80, was not alone in her pleas. The passions were overflowing Friday morning during a public forum that included about eight clergy from different faith traditions, who came together to discuss health care reform.

"We were a little nervous about opening it up to people, but something told us that we needed to," said the Rev. Abhi Janamanchi of the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater, which co-hosted the forum with Hammock's Unity Church of Clearwater. "The stories that followed were very powerful."

He said the goal was threefold: to urge people to respect the democratic process and respect each other's opinions; to engage in the process, including contacting their elected representatives; and to remind people that we have a moral obligation to speak up for those without health care.

"In this crisis, we have an unprecedented opportunity" to create a fair system, he said.

read more here

You should also read this.

Know the facts before taking stance on health care
By Jan Glidewell, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Sunday, September 6, 2009

Things didn't really get better until 1972 when Congress decided to fund dialysis through Medicare (a, ahem, government program).

Today, some 345,000 Americans, including a dear friend of mine, are being kept alive by dialysis.

At the risk of hammering home a point too hard, it wasn't medical corporations or insurance companies that saved all of those lives, it was government realizing that the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness works better for those who are actually alive.

And trying to make an issue of end-of-life counseling is obviously being ballyhooed by those who have never had to make that decision.

go here for the rest of this

Know the facts before taking stance on health care