Tag Archive: Medicare

In elections senior citizens rock

Young people in New Jersey have recently been a driving force in politics, advocating for gun legislation, immigration rights, marijuana legislation, taking over Republican held congressional seats, and more. Nonetheless, they have historically voted in much lower numbers than older Americans,…
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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.