What’s at Stake for our Health? The Medicare Debate

Election 2012

As Michiganders prepare to vote in November, it is important that we clearly understand what is at stake for our health.

Both Presidential candidates and parties are committed to reining in spiraling health care costs. Their approaches are, however, very different. I urge everyone to read Jonathan Cohn’s article in the New Republic, The Definitive Guide to the Medicare Debate. This thoughtful article clearly explains the consequences of both approaches.

With respect to the Romney/ Ryan plan, Mr. Cohn points out the faults in their plan:

  • Breaks our promise to seniors that they will be able to get needed medical care without risking financial ruin, replacing the promise with a voucher that may or may not be sufficient to purchase a policy that meets their needs;
  • Expects aging seniors who are sick and have diminished mental capacities to be competent to choose the right policy. Exploitation of these conditions puts seniors at risk for making bad decisions;
  • Adds costs to the health care bill from profits needed by insurers and providers in an unregulated competitive environment;
  • Ends benefits from the Affordable Care Act which are currently enjoyed by seniors (i.e. closing the prescription drug “donut hole,’ no out-of-pocket costs for preventative services, etc.)

The Obama plan, in Mr. Cohn’s view:

  • Maintains the Medicare promise of health care without risk of financial ruin;
  • Slows growth of health care costs by requiring coordinated care – encouraging home care rather than nursing home care, reducing unnecessary tests and procedures, and increasing efforts to identify and prosecute fraud within the program;
  • Keeps benefits from the Affordable Care Act

MICHUHCAN believes that the health of our seniors must not be put at risk. Voters must be aware of the consequences (intended and unintended) of each candidate’s pan and in November – VOTE HEALTHY!

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Marjorie Mitchell is the Executive Director of MICHUHCAN

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