I feel compelled to respond to misleading statements and commercials regarding Medicare that have been "approved" by President Obama and the Democratic party. It's as if they went to the Bill Clinton School of Politics, and were taught that as long as you don't think you'll get caught, it's ok to lie to or mislead voters. For me one of worst lies is that they promise they will not change Medicare. Presidential Candidate Obama said the current Medicare system was not sustainable, now he's saying he won't change it. President Obama, when handed a supermajority in Congress, (of which the individuals did not win by supermajorities in their elections) paid no heed to his promise to hold healthcare debates on C-Span but instead pushed through the 1600 page act that no one in Congress had yet read. Obama, Senators Manchin and Rockefeller, and others in the Democratic party claim they will "fix" the current law. Presently there are no hearings scheduled and evidently they are hoping the voters will forget about these promises just like the debates.
Obamacare creates a board and board members will decide what they consider "reasonable and affordable healthcare" Obama and his supporters have said repeatedly we need a system like Britain and Canada. In these systems all are covered at a high cost to the taxpayers and with widespread delays in time to treatment of many conditions. What the President and other supporters are hoping is that the voters won't realize until after the election, (which is when these changes kick in), their plan radically decreases what Medicare will cover.
Using the Canadian and British healthcare systems as a guideline, Obamacare will mandate many negative changes. For example heart surgery, dialysis, and cardiac stenting won't be routinely covered after age 65, certain cancer treatments are not covered after a certain age or if they do not give a "healthcare board determined" cost effective lengthening of life. Pay attention next time he runs his AARP backed commercial, it says strengthens you "Medicare approved" benefit, not your current Medicare covered benefit. Supporters will say there is no evidence that Obamacare decreases coverage, which is true because it hasn't happened yet. All you have to do is look to the Canadian and British healthcare systems. People come to the US because they know we provide the best healthcare. If there is nothing seriously wrong with you, you can receive proper treatment in any healthcare system. Do you care if you have to wait 6 months for gall bladder surgery, a diagnostic MRI, or just to see your doctor? The board members won't. Waits like this do happen regularly in socialized medical systems and even the VA system here in the US, another example of government run healthcare. Take the time to visit your local VA clinic or hospital and thank a veteran for their service to our country and ask them for their experiences.
Medicare currently does not cover lab testing for vitamin B12 or D deficiencies except in extreme cases, it does not cover ambulance transfer for patient choice of provider, and restrictions like these will become more severe under the "new" Medicare if their plan survives intact. They make a big deal of saying they cover screening exams, but only certain ones are covered, try getting your hepatitis C screening covered, a test recommended by the CDC.
They have also indicated it's too late to change anything because it would undo all the "good" Obamacare has done. All the good things; allowing children to remain on their parents healthcare plans, lack of prior conditions, and going after fraud and abuse; could have been done separately, without all the reductions in freedom of choice, and imposition of government control. Tort reform which has the potential to save $100 billion a year is nowhere to be found in Obamacare.
President Obama and others in Congress have said they are against including Tort reform because they are worried about getting injured people fair compensation, if so, why do they support the current system in which 80% of the money goes to the legal system? Could it be because one of their major donors is the trial lawyers association?
There is a better way to fix the problem, the question now becomes will the politicians look for it? Not unless we make them! President Obama and Obamacare supporters have made it clear they will accept no compromise, so if you want socialized medicine and restriction of choice vote for them and don't complain to your doctor when things change. If you want to have a chance to have your voice heard, then your choice is clear, Romney and Ryan. They will at least listen to other options, and have to debate them in Congress. Governor Romney and Mr. Ryan at least have the courage and integrity to show their plan's costs and benefits. Obamacare supporters (Obama, Rockefeller, and Manchin) are hoping you won't figure out the bad in their plan until after the election. The choice is yours. Please make an educated decision and choose wisely.
Richard E Cain MD