Friday, September 16, 2011

Saturday Satire: Rick Perry Edition

   Since it would seem that Rick Perry has become the Republican Party’s hopeful savior, is it not appropriate to take a few jabs at this Texas con-artist? The late night comedians certainly have had a few laughs at Perry’s expense, and you should also.

Conan O'Brien:"People are saying that Rick Perry is really tough because he has executed over 200 people. And that was just while he was on vacation in Florida."

"Texas Governor Rick Perry distanced himself from George W. Bush by saying, 'I went to Texas A&M. He went to Yale.' In other words, his idea of instilling confidence is by saying, 'Don’t worry. I’m not as smart as George W. Bush.'"

Jimmy Kimmel: "Perry is an attractive candidate for many conservatives, because he wants smaller government, to cut national spending, and he knows how to fire a grenade launcher. He’s like the Sarah Palin of politics."

"Gov. Rick Perry of Texas shot a coyote while he was jogging. Who carries a gun while jogging? I can barely manage my iPod. I like the idea of runners carrying guns. Think of how interesting the Boston Marathon will be."

Jay Leno : "It turns out that Texas Gov. Rick Perry got a D in Principles of Economics. So he can't be president, but he can get a job on President Obama's economic team."

"Texas Governor Rick Perry now says his wife has been encouraging him to run for President. Remember first he told us God told him to run; now his wife is telling him to run. Of course, the big difference; if you ignore what God says you don't have to hear about it until the afterlife. That's the only difference."

"Texas Gov. Rick Perry referred to the Mexican city of Juarez as the most dangerous city in America. In his defense, he probably just thought it was an American city because there were so many Mexicans there."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Congressional 'Supercommittee': Debt Panel or Death Panel?

     I ran across the following article and thought that you might be interested in the writers look at our so-called  ‘ Supercommittee ‘ especially since many of the members are very close friends of those nasty weapon manufacturers which donate to almost each committee member. Did I mention that many of these government critters have those manufacturers in their districts? I bring this up only because military spending cutbacks have been put on the deficit-cutting block and it is highly unlikely that the weapons makers are going to just lie down for this cut in their profits. Read on, please.

    From   Wednesday, September 14, 2011

    By Medea Benjamin and Charles Davis

When it comes to government handouts, there's no bigger welfare queens than the Pentagon and the legions of mercenaries and weapons manufacturers profiting from America's half-dozen ongoing wars and its global empire of military bases. In fact, more than half of U.S. income taxes are funneled, not to welfare mothers and underprivileged youths, but to what President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial
Endless war and a global empire are costly, as it turns out, with U.S. military spending roughly doubling since 2001 thanks largely to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. And that's not counting the moral costs associated with being a nation whose greatest export these days is violence, the perpetration of which Barack Obama
notably defended even as he was accepting a Nobel Prize for Peace. Military aggression doesn't just take its toll on those of the receiving end of America's liberating Hellfire missiles and cluster bombs—our last domestically manufactured goods.
Yet despite the riches it receives courtesy of the American taxpayer, no group feels more entitled than military contractors and their intellectual mercenaries on Capitol Hill fighting for ever more handouts, fear-mongering talking points in hand. War profiteers have even banded together to safeguard the money they make from death and destruction, forming the group “
Second to None” to counter the “threat” of military spending cuts.
Unfortunately for taxpayers and poor foreigners alike, no one in a position of real power, conservative Republican or liberal Democrat, is seriously entertaining the idea of dismantling the U.S. empire. And that's a shame, because U.S. spending on “national security” has become so divorced from the idea of defense and so bloated – coming in at more than $1 trillion a year, according to
some estimates – that it now roughly equals what the rest of the world spends on bombs and tanks combined. But that trillion-dollar-a-year entitlement is not the one lawmakers are talking about cutting.
Take Washington Senator Patty Murray, co-chair of the recently created debt commission tasked with slashing federal spending. Murray is generally considered one of the more liberal members of the Senate and is the only woman on the panel, with that latter fact alone enough to win her praise from some progressive groups. One organization,
MomsRising, is even urging the nation's mothers to sign a petition preemptively praising Murray’s work on the panel, promising to “deliver a real superhero cape, tennis shoes with wings, and your signatures directly to Senator Murray.”
We suggest that mothers who don't want their children sent off to kill and be killed in unjust wars hold off for a bit. After all, there's nothing heroic – or motherly – about sending other people's kids off to kill and be killed in a foreign land, something Murray has voted to do time and again.
Though she laudably opposed the invasion of Iraq, Murray has consistently voted to fund America's wars and has been silent in the wake of evidence her fellow Democrat, President Obama, has killed dozens if not hundreds of mothers and their children as part of his expansion of the war on terror. Indeed, according to Amnesty Internatinoal 14 women and 21 children in a single
cluster bomb attack in Yemen. At least 140 civilians were killed in a single strike as part of Obama's escalated war in Afghanistan, including 93 children. Yet Murray has provided the administration a blank check, only meekly repeating boilerplate platitudes such as the need to “ask tough questions” and “insist on a clear plan,” which we suspect doesn't mean a whole lot to any Afghan mothers.
Murray has been such a reliable friend of the military-industrial complex that she has taken in well over a quarter-million dollars from the war industry in the last four years alone, more than any other member of the debt panel she co-chairs. And Murray's worth every penny. In a
recent ad, she celebrates the fact she “put Boeing back in the game” to win a lucrative Air Force contract it originally lost – you can't make this up – after it was caught committing bribery, which is illegal when it involves government procurement officials but not, so it seems, politicians. It's hard to find a better example of the endemic corruption in Washington than a corrupt lawmaker helping a corrupt company get a contract it gained – and at one point, lost – because of corruption.
“Senator Murray leveled the playing field,” the senator's ad boasts. “Because we should build these planes. And that means jobs.” Jobs for Americans, obviously: it would be macabre to brag about creating work for Pakistani funeral directors.
Don't expect much from Murray's colleagues on the debt committee, either. According to
the Associated Press, the six Republicans and six Democrats on the debt panel “represent states where the biggest military contractors – Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co. and Boeing Co. – build missiles, aircraft, jet fighters and tanks while employing tens of thousands of workers.” That means they're even more anxious to please the military establishment and weapons manufacturers than your average politician. Collectively, members of the committee tasked with cutting $1.2 trillion in federal spending have, since 2007, taken in around $1 million in campaign contributions from military contractors.
And as Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe
observe, “these companies plan to 'cash in' on these donations to stop real cuts to big war contracts.” They have good reason to feel optimistic. Just look at who else is on the panel.
Senator Max Baucus, a Democrat from Montana, has been an even more reliable supporter of the warfare state than Murray, having backed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and every subsequent escalation of the war on terror, a fact that's netted him more than $139,000 in campaign cash over the last four years, second only to his colleague from Washington. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, meanwhile, has been in favor of just about every U.S. military intervention in the last two decades, from Iraq to Libya. Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen's top campaign contributor is none other
than Lockheed Martin.
And while some self-styled spokesmen for the Tea Party
have said they are open to cutting military spending, the same can't be said for Republicans on the committee. Asked about the impact of reduced military spending on his state's war industry, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey responded that “we all have very good reasons to try to prevent” such cuts. So much for that.
The Obama administration has also been clear about its desire to safeguard spending for empire. Leon Panetta, the president's hand-picked choice to lead the Defense Department,
even declared that cuts to the military “would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our military's ability to protect the nation.” So much for subtly. His suggestion? Raise taxes and cut Social Security and Medicare instead.
Like a James Bond villain, you have to hand military contractors this: they're diabolical, yes, but they're also pretty smart. Beyond just campaign donations, they have spent decades consciously spreading their operations across the country to the point that no congressional district lacks its own well-paying weapons factory. As a result, almost every lawmaker is in their pocket, with even the staunchest conservatives channeling their inner Keynesians to promote militarism as a jobs creator.
Fifty years ago President Eisenhower warned Americans that this would happen – that the rise of a massive arms industry, an industry that profits from war and loses money as a result of peace, threatened to “endanger our liberties [and] democratic processes,” creating an institutional incentive for ever more spending on war and empire. That's no longer a threat, these days: it's the sad reality.
Doing something about it will require a lot more than politely asking our politicians to, pretty please, stop funneling our money to those who profit from war. Instead of sending superhero capes and tennis shoes to our lawmakers' offices, as the group MomsRising suggests, we ought to be occupying them; instead of just sending letters, we ought to be engaging in direct action and demanding that they end the wars that have wracked the U.S. economy. Politicians, being politicians, respond to pressure, not politeness.

Medea Benjamin ( is cofounder of Global Exchange ( and CODEPINK: Women for Peace ( She is author of Don’t Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart.

Charles Davis has covered Congress for NPR and Pacifica stations across the country, and freelanced for the international news wire Inter Press Service, primarily covering U.S. policy toward Latin America and the war on drugs in particular. He has also worked as a researcher for Michael Moore on his movie Capitalism: A Love Story.  Also, he's currently looking for a job. He may be contacted at davis.charles84 (at)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Six True Things Politicians Can't Say


  I am I n the middle of switching to a different cable/Internet provider due to the fact that my last one ( Brighthouse ) has raised their rates once again. It is a sad day when one cannot afford their cable bill, but, shit happens.

  Due to my current lack of Internet, I have been posting other articles from a few other political websites, and it appears that I’ll be doing this for at least a few more weeks as I do not have the time to stay home and wait for them to arrive.

   That being said…

Six True Things Politicians Can't Say

by Pericles   Tue Sep 13, 2011

Remember how things were in high school? If a truth was unpopular, you'd be ridiculed for saying it, no matter how obvious it was. Even people who knew you were right wouldn't defend you, because then they'd be ridiculed too. They might even think they had to speak against you, just to be safe.

Politics is like that, but mostly just on one side. The rich and powerful can emphasize the effect when it works for them (by hiring professional ridiculers) or minimize it when it works against them (via spokesmen and front groups who absorb ridicule until things are safe for conservative politicians). If the PR professionals do their jobs well, the pro-wealth politicians don't have to offer evidence or answer opposing arguments, they can just laugh and scoff -- like the cool kids used to.

But a popular lie that damages the poor or even the middle class can go unchallenged for a long, long time. If we want to hear the corresponding truths, we'll have to start saying them ourselves.

[from The Weekly Sift]

1. Most government money is well spent. The opposite idea -- that government pours money down a rat hole -- is broadcast every day. But strangely, anybody who sets out to find this wasteful spending and eliminate it ends up firing teachers, getting rid of food inspectors, letting bridges fall down, or cutting off somebody's medical care.

I'm sure the people in the path of Texas' wildfires appreciate the "waste" Gov. Perry managed to cut from the budgets of volunteer fire departments and the Texas Forest Service. When the antibiotic-resistant plague gets rolling, I'm sure we'll be similarly grateful to House Republicans for the "waste" they're finding at the CDC.

Speaking this truth in public takes courage, because the ridiculers can point to famous anecdotes of government waste -- bridges to nowhere, $600 toilet seats -- and nearly everyone knows some story of a mismanaged local project, an acquaintance who scammed disability, or a lazy civil servant who can't be fired.

But the private sector has its own examples of spectacular waste. How many welfare cheats would it take to equal the $300-500 million CEO Dick Fuld "earned" by managing Lehman Brothers into extinction and touching off the 2008 financial collapse? I can find waste in my own apartment -- things I didn't need, never used, or paid too much for. A certain amount of waste is the natural friction you'll find in any human activity.

Government is a human project, so it has waste in it and always will. Except for unnecessary wars, is it more wasteful than the private sector? Does its inevitable waste cancel out the vital services it performs? Could we get those services without waste? No.

2. Regulations save money and lives. Corporations can often make a short-term profit doing something that eventually costs the public far more than the corporation makes. (The guy at Hooker Chemical who suggested burying toxic waste at Love Canal saved the company a bundle. He probably got a raise.) Stopping those bad deals is what government regulation is all about.

We hear every day how much companies spend complying with regulations, as if that were the whole story. What we gain from that spending is far more valuable. In the 60s and 70s, the auto companies fought tooth and nail against making cars safer. A car with seat belts used to cost extra. Air bags weren't even an option, much less standard equipment. Hard, unpadded, and sometimes even sharp steering wheels killed thousands.

Traffic deaths in the U.S. peaked in the late 70s, even though the number of people, cars, and miles driven keeps going up. That's government regulation for you.

Or consider this: Taking the lead out of gasoline has made American children measurably smarter. What's that worth to our future economy? What's that worth personally, to them and to us?

3. The rich are job destroyers, not job creators. You can't have a mass-production economy if the masses can't afford the products they make. So when the rich get too rich, growth suffers.

The last time the rich captured this much of our nation's income was 1929 -- the last time the economy crashed this badly. (Check out this graph.) It's not a coincidence.

4. Rich heirs are parasites. In political rhetoric, rich people are all hard-working, risk-taking entrepreneurs. Because politicians need contributions from the rich, they can't point out just how useless most second-and-third-generation millionaires and billionaires are.

We are encouraged to resent the unemployed worker who doesn't try hard enough to find a new job, but not the heir who never works. We're encouraged to resent the black or Hispanic who gets into Harvard through affirmative action, but not the "legacy" Ivy Leaguer whose test scores are even worse.

Our plunging inheritance tax has increased inequality in the worst possible way, and makes us more like the hereditary aristocracies of 18th-century Europe. In spite of the pop-culture vampire revival, we're still missing the underlying social metaphor of the original Dracula: Those exotically beguiling aristocrats are sucking our blood.

5. The U.S. government can't go bankrupt (unless it decides to). Even President Obama has been invoking the spectre of government bankruptcy, but it can't happen in any literal sense.

Why? The overwhelming majority of federal government's expenses are in dollars. Its debt is in dollars. So what are dollars? Whatever the Federal Reserve says they are.

The Fed creates dollars the way that Delta creates frequent flier miles: It enters them on a spreadsheet. The U.S. Treasury has an account at the Fed, which the Fed can replenish by creating dollars to buy government bonds. Or it could just let the Treasury's balance go negative. No sparks would fly out of the Fed's computers. Negative numbers work just fine.

The only way the U. S. government can go bankrupt is if it creates a crisis for itself, like the recent debt-ceiling debacle. As long as Congress is willing to authorize the government to pay its debts, the government can pay its debts.

Though it can't go bankrupt, the government could pay a penalty for running a big deficit in two ways: The markets could drive up interest rates (which isn't happening), or the Fed creating dollars could increase inflation (which isn't happening, but should).

6. Some inflation right now would be a good thing. The official mandate of the Federal Reserve is to balance inflation against unemployment. It doesn't. The Fed goes on red-alert at every hint of inflation, but the current unemployment is not inspiring similar alarm.

An easier money policy would lower unemployment at the "cost" of inflation -- which would actually be a benefit. Anybody who lived through the 70s remembers the mindset inflation brings: You don't sit on piles of cash. You buy or invest now, because stuff is only going to cost more later.

Corporations are sitting on a trillion dollars of cash. Rich people are probably sitting on even more. A little fear of inflation would get that money moving again.

Originally posted to Pericles on Tue Sep 13, 2011
Also republished by The Royal Manticoran Rangers and Community Spotlight.


Monday, September 12, 2011

If Obama Opts For Raising Medicare Age..

   … then those of us not yet on Medicare can kiss our asses goodbye, and while you are doing that, you can kiss Medicare goodbye. Raising the age from 65 years to 67 years will only save the government some money on paper. In the real world, that is not going to happen. Private insurance at those ages? Only in your dreams!

  From CatM @ DKOS om Friday, September 9,2011

Supposedly proposals have been floated by the president to raise the Medicare age to 67. This is in line with the Social Security retirement age of 67 for people born after 1960.

The premise is that shifting expenses for individuals 65 to 67 years of age from Medicare to private insurers will save taxpayers a lot of money without hurting access to coverage because, since these people will theoretically be employed to age 67, they will receive affordable private insurance through an employer or the insurance exchanges as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

As Joan McCarter rightly highlights in her excellent diary, this would "[shift]costs to individuals, employers, and states. These increased costs would be twice as large as the net federal savings."

Who believes employers and insurers will eagerly absorb these higher costs? And that states will not raise taxes or fees to cover their increased expense for extended Medicaid to provide sole coverage for any people in this age group who meets the legal definition of poor (which, by the way, leaves out a lot of poor people)? Ultimately, the cost of this care will land on the back of the healthcare consumer, through increased premiums, higher coinsurance/copayments, reduced wages, and more taxes.

Even outside of a recession and despite anti-discrimination laws, it is challenging for older adults--even those younger than age 65--to find employment, and for older people in labor-intensive positions, early retirement may not be optional. We will have to confront the consequences of problems post-65 year retirement in the years to come, which was likely the point when politicians decided to "save money" by raising the Social Security eligibility age. After all, the real-world consequences of that decision would burden another president and another Congress down the road, while scoring political brownie points for the current officeholders.

Of course, somewhere in the decisionmaking process, someone neglected to explain to Congress that guys like Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke do not concern themselves with laws and do not wait for people to reach the legal age of retirement before making a career-ending introduction.

Since I am more familiar with cancer than most other diseases and it accounts for approximately half of Medicare spending, I will limit most of my analysis to how individuals with cancer might fare if we were to increase the Medicare eligibility age.

Who Gets Cancer?

Cancer can strike people of any age, but it is more predominant among Medicare-eligible Americans. The following are the median ages at which cancer is diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

TOTAL: 66 years
Men: 67.0 years     Women: 65.0 years

One theory for why cancer is more likely to be diagnosed in older individuals (e.g., two-thirds of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in those age 65 and older) is that the genetic mutations that cause cancer take time to accumulate. These mutations occur in response to environmental influences (eg, radiation, chemical exposure) and health conditions (viral infection, immunocompromise) that trigger mistakes during the DNA replication process. Most of these errors are harmless, but too many can lead to a cancer-causing mutation (an oncogene). More recent research suggests that in a small proportion of cancer cases, it only takes one mutation to cause cancer. Your risk of cancer is even greater if you already have certain cancer-causing mutations in one copy of a gene (like BRCA).

No Diagnosis? No Cancer!

Another reason why U.S. cancer rates might jump at age 65 is that nearly 100% of the population has easy access to medical care, whereas millions of Americans younger than 65 years of age do not and thus are more likely to see a physician and get a diagnosis.

Recent studies, for example, show that individuals 65 years of age are more likely to undergo colorectal cancer screening, a procedure designed to detect polyps--the precursors to colorectal cancer--allowing for their removal and preventing progression to colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer screening is increasing for those age 65 and older, and for this type of cancer, screening rates are higher for the elderly than for the pre-Medicare population for which screening is recommended (Chart 8).
Respondents aged ≥65 years had a greater prevalence of colorectal cancer test use compared with those aged 50--64 years, which might be associated with the availability of Medicare coverage for colorectal cancer screening after age 65 years.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) touted that the Affordable Care Act has led to a more than 26% increase in Medicare beneficiaries who received a "Welcome to Medicare Exam," from 2010 to 2011. This examination must be completed within 12 months of enrolling in Part B Medicare; it is reasonable to assume that a high percentage of people taking advantage of this benefit fall in the 65-to-67-year age bracket.

Does the fact that more people were uninsured or underinsured than ever before in 2011 have anything to do with the surprising increase? Perhaps Medicare enrollment presented some people with their first opportunity to receive care in quite a while:

More workers also simply lost coverage over the last decade, the survey found. Fifty-two million adults ages 19 to 64 did not have insurance at some point in 2010, up from 46 million in 2003.

That has left nearly half the working-age population without enough protection from illness. Altogether, 44% of U.S. adults were either uninsured or underinsured last year, according to the Commonwealth Fund.

We can expect the number of uninsured to increase, if people aged 65 to 67 years are forced to fend for coverage in the private market.

It is interesting that the government reports cancer rates continue to decline in the United States, despite tremendous increases in the prevalence of diseases associated with increased cancer risk (eg, diabetes, obesity), a minute decline in smoking rates in 2011, and a higher-than previously-thought rate of HPV infection among women. It prompts me to wonder why cancer rates are declining.

Could there be a correlation between the declining rate of cancer diagnoses and  declining incomes, declining insurance rates, and declining access to health care? After all, someone with cancer is not going to count if they die without ever receiving a diagnosis.

Sick People Should Stop Whining and Get a Job

According to a report in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the disparity in cancer incidence between the young and old is only going to widen:

(Quote available here:

Between 2010 and 2030, a 67% increase in cancer incidence is anticipated for patients aged 65 and older as compared with only an 11% increase in cancer incidence anticipated for patients younger than 65,” Dr. Smith notes. 

Remember, the median age at cancer diagnosis is 66 years. With an estimated 1,596,670 new cancer cases diagnosed in 2011, we can project that hundreds of thousands of thousands of cancer cases will be diagnosed in people aged 65 to 67 years.

In addition to age-discrimination hindering employment opportunities for those age 65 to 67 years, diagnosis of a chronic or serious condition, like cancer, causes your chances of being employed to plummet even further:

Overall, cancer survivors were 1.37 times more likely to be unemployed than healthy control participants (33.8% vs 15.2%) in the analysis, which appears in the February 18 issue of JAMA.

People with cancer can just get disability and Medicaid coverage, right? WRONG (although it may be easier once the Affordable Care Act provision extended Medicaid to childless adults goes into effect).

Subgroup meta-analysis showed that cancer patients were 2.84 times more likely than control participants to be disabled and unable to work or to receive disability benefits. "Therefore, the mechanism behind the higher unemployment rate among cancer survivors is likely to be a higher disability rate," write the authors.

Prayer Will Keep Good People Alive Until Medicare Eligibility Age

If you wind up being one of the tens of thousands to develop cancer between age 65 and age 67, who cannot work or qualify for disability or who continues to work but cannot afford copayments or prescriptions, I will keep my fingers crossed that you  can hold on long enough for treatment until your Medicare kicks in at age 68. Sadly, your disease will likely have spread. It will be harder to treat and your chances of survival will be much lower. The cost burden of your disease on the government will be much higher than it would have been had you received diagnosis and treatment within the first year of your disease.

Surely, people with private insurance will have access to affordable cancer screening because of the Affordable Care Act, and that will improve rates of early diagnosis, right? It depends. Although the Affordable Care Act requires that insurers provide basic annual mammography screening for free, it does not require that the insurer pay for any follow-up mammorgraphy or more advanced screening when the mammography returns ambiguous results, as it often does. I wonder how many women age 65 to 67 will wait until they are Medicare eligible to get that follow-up test, when their small, curable breast lesion has grown into a large tumor and seeded tumors in the other breast or elsewhere?

How many people treated for polyps after colonoscopy screening will forego a follow-up colonoscopy needed prior to their next freebie to check for new polyps until they reach Medicare age, at which point easily treated polyps will have developed into full-blown colorectal cancer?

What's a Foot or Two?

Type 2 diabetes is another disease showing a dramatic, steady increase among the aging population. Inadequate insurance or prescription drug coverage will cause many diabetics aged 65 to 67 years to skip treatment or testing, leading to complications that emerge just in time for the government to pick up the tab.

Every medical expert will tell you that it is much cheaper to treat a diabetic for 2 years than to pay for the consequences of 2 years of uncontrolled diabetes--consequences such as blindness, kidney impairment, nonhealing ulcers, nerve damage and resulting disorders (gastropareisis, for example), permanently damaged hearts, and amputations.

Diabetics who are able to keep their disease under control are significantly less likely to require expensive nursing home care in their advanced age due to complications that cause mobility issues.

Raising Medicare Eligibility Age to 100 Balances Budget!

If the president and Congress truly wanted to reduce Medicare costs anywhere other than on paper, they would be contemplating lowering the Medicare age, rather than  increasing it--in fact, they would lower it to zero. Private insurers reportedly have much higher overhead than Medicare, although the degree is debated by those who oppose "government takeover of healthcare."

But ignore that argument for a moment. Study after study proves that diagnosing and treating disease early in its course prevents complications and saves money and lives. Studies show uninsured/underinsured people are less likely to get preventive care, less likely to receive recommended treatment, and less likely to pursue appropriate follow-up care.

This contributes to long-term complications associated with far more expense than treating the underlying condition. It also hurts business, decreasing productivity among American workers--not only of the sick person but alsoof his or her caregivers.

The cost to U.S. businesses due to lost productivity of working caregivers is estimated at between $17.1 billion and $33.6 billion per year and growing.

And has anyone asked insurers how they feel about being expected to insure millions more high-risk individuals so that the government can save money, and without an option to increase rates to profitable levels? (Not that I care about their profits.)

Although the mandate is supposed to offset costs to insurers for expanding and improving care options for those up to age 65--something insurers already claim is not going to be enough--it is not likely to be enough to cover the additional costs for covering sicker, older people aged 65 to 67 years.

Don't Worry! Republicans Know How to Save the Dying Uninsured!

Of course, if the goal of increasing the Medicare age is to drive insurers out of business and convince employers to clamor for more government-run healthcare options, the argument could be made that the objective is noble. But it ignores a long history of Republicans unwilling to jump in and rescue uninsured Americans and instead recommending that they beg, borrow, or die to get proper care.

We must fight any drive to raise the Medicare age of eligibility--it is bad for the country and everyone living in it. On paper, it might look like a real cost saver, but as the effects of the change are realized, it will be clear how pie-in-the-sky those projects really were. It would not save Medicare--it would kill it. But before it does, it will kill thousands of Americans, which could be me or you or one of our children.

Originally posted to CatM on Fri Sep 09, 2011
Also republished by Community Spotlight.