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Pat Slutske

Pat Slutske's activity stream


  • published Let's Talk About: Medicare in Home 2016-12-06 15:10:35 -0600

    Let's Talk About: Medicare

    HERE WE GO AGAIN

    medicare.jpgRepublicans have realized their most fervent wish:  control over all three branches of government.  And, in their rush to obliterate the progressive gains of the last eighty plus years, they are as busy as a hive of little worker bees.  Do not be surprised to see more activity by the Right in one day than they have produced cumulatively in the last eight years.

    Paul Ryan has gleefully resurrected his plan to transform Medicare:  first turn it into a voucher program and then do away with it completely by the year 2022.   Most of us are probably pretty familiar with this government program. It’s certainly one that enjoys widespread popularity.  But it is also frightening to realize how many recipients of its benefits don’t really understand much about Medicare. Apparently many Americans don’t even understand that it’s a government program!  The goal of this article is to touch on some of the serious impacts the changes Mr. Ryan is suggesting will have.

    First, there’s Medicare’s impact on longevity.  Just based on observation, doesn’t it seem that people today are living longer than in the past?  When you were a child, how many of the elderly were living well into their eighties, even into their nineties?  Every day we hear of more and more people who have attained the age of 100!  Is the implementation of Medicare alone responsible for this trend?  Probably not:  advances in technology and changes to life style in general have had an impact.  “Data on age-specific death probabilities every 10 years since 1900, that is, before as well as after Medicare was enacted, provide an alternative way to test for the effect of Medicare on longevity. They also provide strong support for the hypothesis that Medicare increased the survival rate of the elderly, by about 13 percent”  (Effects of Medicare on Health Care Utilization and Outcomes).  Since that article was published in 1998, there have been even more advances.  But the bottom line is that new, lifespan-increasing technologies will do no good if people cannot access them!

    But longevity is only a piece of the picture. Here are some of the most harmful changes the Republican proposal may entail. 

    Read more

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