by Harry Brill
President Obama is proposing an astronomical increase in Medicare deductibles for doctor care and outpatient services from the current $147 to $1,331 for the year, which is an eight fold increase!!!! Moreover, this increase is in addition to the mandatory co-payments for many services.
The President arrived at this extraordinary figure by proposing to merge the deductibles for inpatient and hospital care into to one big deductable. The annual deductable for hospital care (Part A), which only 20 percent of Medicare recipients will currently use, is $1,184. But the 80 percent of recipients, who need only outpatient care (Part B) would now pay the combined annual deductable — $147 (outpatient)+$1,184 (inpatient)=$1,331. In short, seniors would also be required to pay for the high deductable for hospital care even though they will not be hospitalized.
Among the justifications given is to discourage people from seeking unneeded treatment. The problem, however, is the exact opposite. Millions of senior citizens will not be able to afford medical treatment because the deductable would be an immense hardship. The consequences would be devastating, and will certainly shorten the lives of many of the most economically vulnerable elderly recipients.
It is urgent that we be heard. Those who have links to progressive organizations should encourage these organizations to rally in the streets, which is among the most effective way of educating and mobilizing large numbers of people.
Our experience at our Tax the Rich rallies (every Monday, 5-6 near the top of Solano) has been that most people we engage with are completely unaware that cuts in vital programs are on President Obama’s and Congress’ agenda. But once they learn about these dismal proposals they want to do something about it.
Please call your elected officials and ask everyone you know, including those who live outside of California, to do the same. We must tell Congress that for many senior citizens this is a life and death issue.
To reach: President Obama: (202) 456-1414
To reach: Your Congressional Rep & Senators Boxer & Feinstein. You can make free calls to the Capitol Switchboard, then ask to be connected: 1-877-762-8762 or 1-800-826-3688.