Nancy Spillane: Hoping Santa is not on Medicare
December 22, 2017
Santa will barely be able to get his sleigh off the ground this year because of all the coal he'll need to carry. Hopefully, Santa is not on Medicare because the most heinous assault on health care is the plan to take $25 billion of our money from Medicare to deal with the Republican $1.5 trillion deficit tax bill.
If the PAYGO Act (passed in 2010) is not waived (according to the Congressional Budget Office), the federal government "would be required to issue a sequestration order within 15 days of the end of the session of Congress to reduce spending in fiscal year 2018 by the resultant total of $136 billion."
The Medicare reduction would be 4 percent of program spending or $25 billion of that total. Cuts of a similar size would be required in future years. Since many in Congress have admitted to not even reading the bill, they may not even realize the damage they are doing to health care.
Paul Ryan may achieve his life-long dream without breaking a sweat.
And that is not the only damage to our health care our elected representatives have inflicted in just one short year. Many members of Congress belong on the naughty list. For example:
• Congress has failed to renew the CHIP program than insures nearly 9 million children. (The House passed a modified version but families are dropped if the payment is 30 days late.)
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• Premiums for those on the exchanges are expected to increase by 10 percent on top of the 15-percent to 20-percent increases that have already taken place.
• Congress is doing away with the ACA individual mandate that is expected to cause 13 million people to be without medical insurance over the next 10 years.
• No attention has been paid to out of control drug prices but the White House nominated a new HHS director who is the former CEO of a major drug company (Eli Lilly).
Obviously, our current leadership does not believe health care is a right – unless you can afford it. The plans to "repeal and replace" have failed miserably so now the strategy seems to be "damage beyond repair."
People will die and among them will be people we love. So we can't take our eye off the ball. Our members of Congress who are on Santa's naughty list need to be held accountable.