• Medicare,  Soledad O'Brien,  Tim Pawlenty

    Tim Pawlenty Schools Soledad O’Brien on Medicare

    Soledad O’Brien makes an ass out of herself again. This time it is about a Mitt Romney ad about Medicare.

    On Wednesday’s Starting Point, host Soledad O’Brien had a chat with Romney surrogate Tim Pawlenty about a new campaign ad claiming that President Barack Obama has cut $716 billion from Medicare.

    “The CBO would say, and has said, it really is a reduction over 10 years in spending,” said O’Brien. “That’s from their March 30, 2011 report. The payment rates for most services, permanent reductions in the payment rates. But the next thing it says in that ad, ‘money you paid for guaranteed health care.’ But isn’t that just specifically not true? I mean, it’s not money anybody’s paid yet. It’s future spending, which still goes up. Isn’t that just patently untrue in that ad?”

    “No. That’s not correct, Soledad,” Pawlenty replied. “There’s only one person in this race of the candidates running, president or vice president, who has proposed, signed into law, and voted for an actual cut in Medicare — and it’s a big one, and that’s the $716 billion — and his name is Barack Obama.”

    The two then argued over whether to define the amount as a “cut” or a “permanent reduction.”

    “i know exactly what it is,” Pawlenty told her. “Here’s what it is: it’s cuts to payments to medical providers so over the next 10 years, they’re going to get paid less than they would have otherwise been paid, which has all sorts of market implications.”

    “Right, because they agreed to it,” said O’Brien. “And those medical providers agreed to it because they said, by bringing more people into the system, that offsets those cuts.”

    “No matter how you say this, it’s a cut to Medicare,” Pawlenty reiterated. “…you can’t even, with a straight face, look your viewers in the eye and tell you it’s not a cut in Medicare.”

    “Well, I can’t look viewers in the eye from where I am,” joked O’Brien, adding that “I’m not saying either thing; I’m saying, the way the CBO puts it, I will read: ‘The permanent reduction in annual updates to payment rates for most services.’ That is a savings, if you’re talking about it — ”

    “Do you know what that is in English?” asked Pawlenty.

    “I speak English incredibly well, sir, as you know,” she replied.

    “You can’t — there’s no way you can present that in any other way,” Pawlenty repeated later.

    “Or you could call it a savings,” O’Brien told him.

    Here is the video below:

    Soledad is trying her best to trash the Romney Campaign, but alas her performance, like with her past efforts is lacking.

  • Barack Obama,  Medicare,  Mitt Romney,  Obamacare,  Paul Ryan

    Video: Romney Goes on the Attack to “Save Medicare” from ObamaCare

    Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan today unveiled an ad to be broadcast in key battleground states that attacks President Obama and his ObamaCare health reform legislation.

    In what is viewed to be a pre-emptive strike against Democratic criticisms of Ryan’s efforts in the House to reform Medicare, Romney is shooting the first shot across Obama’s bow.

    Here is the ad:

    Now, the Romney ad team will be able to build upon their own narrative not the negative portrayal of the national Democratic Party and their minions in the mainstream media.

  • Barack Obama,  Medicare

    President 2012: Obama Offers to Raise Medicare Eligibility Age?

    President Barack Obama talks about the ongoing budget negotiations, Monday, July 11, 2011, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington

    Yeah right.

    In his press conference on Monday morning, President Barack Obama repeatedly insisted that he was willing to tackle some sacred cows as part of a larger package to raise the debt ceiling. Just how sacred, however, may surprise political observers.

    According to five separate sources with knowledge of negotiations — including both Republicans and Democrats — the president offered an increase in the eligibility age for Medicare, from 65 to 67, in exchange for Republican movement on increasing tax revenues.

    The proposal, as discussed, would not go into effect immediately, but rather would be implemented down the road (likely in 2013). The age at which people would be eligible for Medicare benefits would be raised incrementally, not in one fell swoop.

    Sources offered varied accounts regarding the seriousness with which the president had discussed raising the Medicare eligibility age. As the White House is fond of saying, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. And with Republicans having turned down a “grand” deal on the debt ceiling — which would have included $3 trillion in spending cuts, including entitlement reforms, in exchange for up to $1 trillion in revenues — it is unclear whether the proposal remains alive.

    Kabuki theater, folks.

    Move along…..

  • Medicare,  Paul Ryan

    Video: Paul Ryan – Saving Medicare, Visualized

    House Budget Committee Chairman Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan explains his Medicare Budget reforms

    Watch the video above and if you rather read his remarks here is the link to the full transcript.

    To learn more about the House-passed Fiscal Year 2012 Budget – The Path to Prosperity: http://budget.house.gov/fy2012budget/

    To learn more about the facts on the House Republicans’ plan to save and strengthen Medicare: http://budget.house.gov/SettingtheRecordStraight/

  • Medicaid,  Medicare,  Polling,  Social Security

    Poll Watch: Federal Budget-Cuts Dilemma – Don’t Touch Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security Say Americans

    The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has some very stark findings for budget hawks who want to tackle America’s mounting deficit.

    Less than a quarter of Americans support making significant cuts to Social Security or Medicare to tackle the country’s mounting deficit, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, illustrating the challenge facing lawmakers who want voter buy-in to alter entitlement programs.

    In the poll, Americans across all age groups and ideologies said by large margins that it was “unacceptable” to make significant cuts in entitlement programs in order to reduce the federal deficit. Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security “unacceptable.”

    At the same time, a majority supported two specific measures that lawmakers might employ to shore up the shaky finances of the main entitlement programs.

    More than 60% of poll respondents supported reducing Social Security and Medicare payments to wealthier Americans. And more than half favored bumping the retirement age to 69 by 2075. The age to receive full benefits is 66 now and is scheduled to rise to 67 in 2027.

    Depending on how they are structured, those two changes could eliminate as much as 60% of Social Security’s underfunding, according to experts. Support for the two ideas in the poll is “impressive,” said Chuck Blahous, one of the program’s public trustees and a former Bush administration official. “I wonder if [public] receptivity is increasing.”
    The poll comes as Republican lawmakers, many elected on promises to slash federal spending, have focused mostly so far on cuts to non-defense, discretionary programs. But many political leaders say meaningful deficit reduction cannot be accomplished without making changes to entitlement programs.

    Here is a graphic representation of the poll:

    Of course, Americans don’t want the bad news and they certainly don’t want to cut their own entitlements. But something will have to be done if we want to reduce the debt we have to foreign nations and to spur economic activity. A bankrupt nation beholden to foreign investors certainly will not pay out ANY benefits.

    Means testing is fine and a modest increase in the retirement age is OK. This can be done relatively easily and should be done immediately. If this takes care of 60 per cent of the problem in future years, then the GOP controlled House can move on to other budget cutting issues. 60 per cent is a start – even 40 per cent is good.

    Naturally, the Democrats will demonize the Republicans to senior citizens but modest changes now and quickly will force President Obama to act either in a fiscally responsible manner or not.

    The entire poll is here.

  • Dentistry,  Medicare

    Blind Man’s Tooth – Eye Implant Enables Him to See Wife for First Time

    tooth and eye implant

    Martin Jones opens his newly-sighted eye fitted with a tooth


    What a story.

    When Martin Jones met his wife four years ago he never imagined that one day he would get to see what she looked like.

    The 42-year-old builder was left blind after an accident at work more than a decade ago.

    But a remarkable operation – which implants part of his tooth in his eye –  has now pierced his world of darkness.

    The procedure, performed less than 50 times before in Britain, uses the segment of tooth as a holder for a new lens grafted from his skin.

    ‘The doctors took the bandages off and it was like looking through water and then I saw this figure and it was her,’ he said today.

    ‘She’s wonderful and lovely. It was unbelievable to see her for the first time.’

    Congrats to this chap and to the eye surgeons who have perfected this procedure.

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  • Barack Obama,  economics,  Medicare,  Obamacare

    Epiphany: President Obama Says America is Out of Money


    Then, why Mr President have you pushed and signed into law massive government spending programs if America is out of money?

    In a sobering holiday interview with C-SPAN, President Obama boldly told Americans: “We are out of money.”

    C-SPAN host Steve Scully broke from a meek Washington press corps with probing questions for the new president.

    SCULLY: You know the numbers, $1.7 trillion debt, a national deficit of $11 trillion. At what point do we run out of money?

    OBAMA: Well, we are out of money now. We are operating in deep deficits, not caused by any decisions we’ve made on health care so far. This is a consequence of the crisis that we’ve seen and in fact our failure to make some good decisions on health care over the last several decades.

    So we’ve got a short-term problem, which is we had to spend a lot of money to salvage our financial system, we had to deal with the auto companies, a huge recession which drains tax revenue at the same time it’s putting more pressure on governments to provide unemployment insurance or make sure that food stamps are available for people who have been laid off.

    So we have a short-term problem and we also have a long-term problem. The short-term problem is dwarfed by the long-term problem. And the long-term problem is Medicaid and Medicare. If we don’t reduce long-term health care inflation substantially, we can’t get control of the deficit.

    So, one option is just to do nothing. We say, well, it’s too expensive for us to make some short-term investments in health care. We can’t afford it. We’ve got this big deficit. Let’s just keep the health care system that we’ve got now.

    Along that trajectory, we will see health care cost as an overall share of our federal spending grow and grow and grow and grow until essentially it consumes everything…

    SCULLY: When you see GM though as “Government Motors,” you’re reaction?

    OBAMA: Well, you know – look we are trying to help an auto industry that is going through a combination of bad decision making over many years and an unprecedented crisis or at least a crisis we haven’t seen since the 1930’s. And you know the economy is going to bounce back and we want to get out of the business of helping auto companies as quickly as we can. I have got more enough to do without that. In the same way that I want to get out of the business of helping banks, but we have to make some strategic decisions about strategic industries…

    SCULLY: States like California in desperate financial situation, will you be forced to bail out the states?

    OBAMA: No. I think that what you’re seeing in states is that anytime you got a severe recession like this, as I said before, their demands on services are higher. So, they are sending more money out. At the same time, they’re bringing less tax revenue in. And that’s a painful adjustment, what we’re going end up seeing is lot of states making very difficult choices there…

    SCULLY: William Howard Taft served on the court after his presidency, would you have any interest in being on the Supreme Court?

    OBAMA: You know, I am not sure that I could get through Senate confirmation…

    Mr President, you have gone back to smoking crack if you think your health care reform program, Obamacare will ACTUALLY cost the taxpayers LESS than today. It will cost FAR MORE because universal care, unless you ration care and curb utilization, by any standards it will mean more Americans seeking care and more costly treatment. Ask the British and the Canadians about their systems.

    Now, if you want to destroy the private medical delivery system in America and allow the Washington bureaucrats decide what care Americans can receive and what doctors patients can see, then you might be able to hold costs increases to a minimum but it will NOT lower the costs or solve the actuarial problems with the Medicare trust fund. But, then, again the quality of care will suffer and moe people will be waiting to see a doctor.

    How about supporting some common sense health care reforms and getting REAL with the American public that they will have to pay more though their Medicare payroll taxes to support the current program. How about a little honesty.

    And, how about ending your socialist, pie in the sky dream of uinversal health care for America and concentrate the government on helping American business to put people back to work. You know, stimulate business, more employment and hence more tax revenues.

    Is this too simple for you?

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  • Medicare,  Obamacare,  Social Security

    Social Security and Medicare Collapsing Under the Weight of Recession

    Political Cartoon by Michael Ramirez

    And, the Obama Administration is INCREASING spending while insolvency looms for social security and medicare?

    Even as Congress hunted for ways to finance a major expansion of health insurance coverage, the Obama administration reported Tuesday that the financial condition of the two largest federal benefit programs, Medicare and Social Security, had deteriorated, in part because of the recession.

    As a result, the administration said, the Medicare fund that pays hospital bills for older Americans is expected to run out of money in 2017, two years sooner than projected last year. The Social Security trust fund will be exhausted in 2037, four years earlier than predicted, it said.

    Spending on Social Security and Medicare totaled more than $1 trillion last year, accounting for more than one-third of the federal budget.

    Does anyone REALLY think that the United States can afford universal health care coverage and Obamacare? Hell, America cannot afford the system we have now.

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