Tag Archive: Medicare

Christie, trying to get attention, takes on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid

In an effort to recapture the attention and enthusiasm of Republicans, Gov. Christie today in a speech in New Hampshire proposed substantial changes to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. What he calls “entitlement reform” may appear as bold and appealing to conservative primary voters, but the plan is cynical, crafty, unnecessary and contrary to what is needed. It may stimulate discussion, it may backfire on him, or as a third-tier candidate it may not survive many news cycles, but it’s not a sensible plan.

Christie’s plan is cynical as it disregards the needs of less wealthy ageing Americans who would have to wait longer for Social Security and Medicare. Daniel Kurz, who has blogged on Blue Jersey, expresses his outrage on Facebook: “I guess people in their 60’s never get seriously ill in large numbers and can, for the most part, continue to sell their physical labor and compete with 26 year olds. The message from the NJ governor is clear: if you’re 67, and you’re chronically unemployed, and you have been paying into Social Security for four decades, then do us all a favor and drop dead.”

Christie’s plan is crafty because it has no immediate impact, delays the start date and is implemented gradually. Even Tea Party, Evangelical, and fiscally conservative Republicans are on these plans or hope to be. It starts raising the retirement age to 69 (from 67) in 2022 and then only by two months each year until it reaches 69 in 2044.  For Medicare it raises eligibility age at a pace of one month per year, so that by 2064 it would be 69. As Christie explains, “The changes I propose today would not affect seniors currently in these programs or seniors approaching retirement, so let me repeat that, before they start running these pushing granny in the wheel chair off the cliff ads.” He got a few laughs from this ugly remark, and maybe a few sighs of relief.

Aimee Belgard on Social Security and Medicare

One of the most important issues distinguishing Aimee Belgard and her opponent in the NJ-3 Congressional Race is that of the future of Social Security and Medicare.

Today in Willingboro, Phil Rotondi of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare announced his group’s endorsement of Aimee Belgard.

Belgard understands that earned benefits like Social Security and Medicare are part of a complex economic system that makes this country run. In her remarks, she points out how passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and paying a fair minimum wage would make earned benefit systems solvent for decades to come.

Beyond Obamacare

Healthcare.gov will be fixed. People will sign up and reap the benefits of universal health coverage starting in January. So what’s next?

No doubt, the Republicans will continue their quest to reverse the limited progress made to date. They will try to deny coverage to many, eliminate the cap on “administrative” costs to insurance carriers, and cut preventative care, which saves lives and money.

Democrats are counting on the projected ubiquity and success of Obamacare after January to lock it in and to shut down the GOP’s incessant and futile efforts to repeal. They’re wrong. Just take a look at other successful programs like Food Stamps. The Republicans are not hesitant to take food from children and veterans in the name of fiscal responsibility. They’re not even hesitant to shut down the government in the name of fiscal responsibility either, knowing that their shutdown cost tens of billions of dollars. And some Democrats are complicit, confusing “blackmail” with “compromise.”

But for now, let’s assume Obamacare survives the wounds being inflicted by the mean-spirited GOP. Like Medicare and Social Security, the Affordable Care Act will be meshed within the fabric of society while still being constantly attacked. So what’s next?

Does Jon Runyan Think I’m Stupid?

Today, a member of my family received a letter, on official congressional stationery, from Jon Runyan, our Republican congressperson. The letter reminded the recipient that the open enrollment period for Medicare begins on October 15th. The only problem is that the addressee of the letter is not old enough to take advantage of Medicare benefits.

While this is a minor screw-up, I’m willing to give Runyan the benefit of the doubt. But what irks me is the fact that the letter did not mention that tomorrow is the first day that people could sign up for the Health Exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.  Most people know about Medicare – it’s been around for a while. But Obamacare is new, and people may need help in navigating through the system. It certainly would have been a better use of taxpayer funds if Runyan had used his congressional franking privileges to inform his constituents how to get this help.

Runyan blindly follows the Tea Party line and has voted to defund Obamacare and ruin the economy. He needs to be replaced next year.

Another “Crap” Poll: New Jerseyans Support Affordable Care Act

Earlier this week, Governor Christie crudely referred to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll as “crap.” The poll revealed 47% of respondents say it is time for someone new as governor while 44 percent would re-elect him. That was  not to his liking. Now another Rutgers-Eagleton poll indicates:

  •  57% support the US Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while 37% feel it should be struck down.

  •  57% support NJ participating in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion program which would increase the number of people covered by Medicaid, while 35% oppose the expansion.

  • 69% say Medicare should continue as is, while 25% say Medicare should be changed to a system where the federal government gives seniors a fixed amount of money [vouchers] to buy their own health insurance.

    Once again another poll which does not jibe with Christie’s thinking, so one can only imagine what choice word he will use to describe it.

    Nonetheless, this is serious stuff. The opinion of New Jerseyans on these three matters is quite clear.

  • Regarding ACA, Christie must respond to a November 16 federal deadline indicating NJ will set up a Health Exchange, to which he does not seem predisposed. He should also sign off on the revised S2135 implementation bill which the Senate passed and is awaiting passage in the Assembly. As Senator Nia Gill (D-Montclair) says, “For the uninsured and underinsured the exchange is their lifeline to financial stability and to receiving quality care.”

  • Regarding Medicaid, yesterday Senate Democrat leadership urged Christie to take advantage of the opportunity to extend health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of the uninsured by accepting the offer from the federal government to expand the Medicaid program. Almost all of the costs for a number of years would be paid for by the federal government. For more on the huge beneficial impact on New Jersey, read this NJ Policy Perspective report.

  • Regarding the Ryan Republican voucher plan for Medicare, Christie is welcome to support it. As a governor he has little or no influence on this federal program. Given the overwhelming results in the above poll, his support for the Republican plan would only hurt his chances of re-election as governor.  

  • A Quick Blurb that Says So Much

    promoted by Rosi

    Cross Posted from Retire Garrett

    I’ve got to give Scott Garrett credit.  He’ll meet with any group no matter how much damage he’s done to the issues they care about and try to convince them that he’s worthy of their votes in November.

    I saw the following blurb while scanning through The Paramus Post:

    Residents, staff and guests of The Atrium Assisted Living at The Allendale Community for Mature Living recently voiced their questions to U.S. Congressman Scott Garrett during a Town Hall-style meeting at the senior living residence. Congressman Garrett described his role in Congress and answered attendees’ questions about social security, Medicare and the upcoming presidential election. Pictured with Congressman Garrett (second from left) at the event are (L-R) Allendale Mayor Vince Barra and The Allendale Community’s Jolanta Giancarlo, Vice President, and Dr. Hector Giancarlo, President and Founder.

    The senior residence regularly hosts cultural, educational and social events, as well as interactive discussions with elected officials to encourage its senior residents and older adults to address matters that are of concern to them. For more information on upcoming events open to the public, call (201) 818-7979.