July
24th 2011
Medicare eligibility: 65 or fight.

Posted under: American history, jobs, the body, unhappy endings, wankers

Jeralyn Merritt explains her point of view on Medicare eligibility, which I share:

If President Obama backs raising the age of medicare, which won’t save the Government money in the long run due to the huge numbers of 65 and 66 year olds who will shift to Medicaid and who will break the backs of small businesses providing health care to elderly workers — and which will force middle class elderly workers who don’t have employer paid health care to pay premiums of ten thousand dollars a year or more for two more years, with huge deductibles and out of pocket costs, he doesn’t deserve a second term as Democratic President. Let him run as as Republican or go home to Chicago. He will have sold us out.

I am a knowledge worker who outside of voluntary gardening or home improvement chores has the privilege of working with my brain in a climate-controlled environment.  However, I have two elderly relatives who although mentally and physically disabled from infancy, worked all their lives on their feet and with the strength of their bodies, frequently in very hot and/or very uncomfortable circumstances:  light factory work, janitorial work, and busing tables and running the dishwasher at a Bob Evans restaurant.  Towards the end of their working lives, as they were “downsized” from union-protected jobs, they did this for little more than the minimum wage.

Most of you reading this blog right now are like me, I’m guessing.  We’re the kind of people who have to seek out opportunities for physical activity via running clubs and gym memberships because it’s not something that’s called for on the job.  Barring a serious illness, because our work takes only a minimal toll on our physical strength, many of us hope or expect to continue working past 65.  Not everyone has that privilege, which is why Medicare eligibility must remain where it is.

Does anyone else find it tragic that a few years ago in the midst of the “health” “care” “reform” debates in the U.S., there were serious proposals to lower the age of Medicare eligibility as a strategy to moving towards universal care?  Does anyone doubt what the so-called “left” in this country would do if a Republican president floated raising the age of Medicare eligibility?  (Bueller?  Bueller?  Anyone?)

13 Comments »

13 Responses to “Medicare eligibility: 65 or fight.”

  1. koshembos on 24 Jul 2011 at 8:49 am #

    The latest Obama/Boehner plan, according to Yves Smith 7/24, outlines large cuts in our safety net way beyond Medicare. They plan essentially raises taxes on the non rich substantially and to add insult to injury will raise the unemployment a lot. Merritt is asolutely right; Obama is a reactionary enemy of the American people with the intelligence of a potato and the cunning of a rock.

    For me, he is very much like a war criminal.

  2. jgolden08 on 24 Jul 2011 at 8:52 am #

    Medicare should not remain where it is; we need Medicare (a single-payer national health system) for everyone.

    Most of our Medicare dollars are not spent on health care for the elderly; they are spent in the last 18 months of life and serve to profit hospitals and drug companies.

    Medicare dollars would go a lot further if, like other countries, the US purchased drugs and devices in bulk and forced manufacturers to give discounts, rather than having that idiotic part D plan that is simply a way of benefitting big pharma.

    So, you are right of course, but we need more than a defensive action for Medicare as it is.

  3. Feminist Avatar on 24 Jul 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Does anybody else see this going:

    ‘We’re going to raise the age of eligibility’.
    ‘No, don’t- keep it the same’.
    ‘Ok, we have given into your demands- we’ll keep it the same’.
    ‘Yeah, we love you’.

    And Universal Healthcare stands at the side of the road crying as s/he gets left behind.

  4. Erica on 24 Jul 2011 at 11:16 am #

    My aunt, although divorced from her husband for almost 10 years, was still on his health plan. When he retires from teaching after 40 years in August, they will both lose the coverage.

    It took me a while to realize why she was complaining so vociferously about this, since she is nearly 66 and completely eligible for Medicare. Turns out his particular coverage was essentially 100%, so she has personally paid nothing at all for health care for years. (Frankly, I was speechless to learn that any public school teacher still had such a sweet plan.) Medicare’s coverage would be a step down, and she was desperately searching for an alternative — and confused, because she knew it couldn’t be free, but she would have to pay HOW MUCH?!?

    Listening to my cousin (who has more patience than I could have mustered!) trying to walk her through the options was interesting. It was even more interesting when later that day she segued into a conversation about “entitlement” programs, which she generally opposes. I don’t have a lot of acquaintances who simultaneously proclaim themselves to be entitled to a massive privilege (e.g. full health care that she doesn’t work or pay for), while declaring that nobody should get “something for nothing.”

    ~~~~~

    That cognitive dissonance aside, I’ve been in favor of “socialized medicine” for years. And given recent trends, I’m seriously considering a move to Canada.

  5. Historiann on 24 Jul 2011 at 11:29 am #

    FA is exactly right. It’s really pathetic how little the so-called left in this country will settle for. (“But he ended DADT and now we have gay marriage ZOMG!!!!111!!!!! Plus Bill Clinton was waaaaay worse.” Wash, rinse, repeat.)

  6. thefrogprincess on 24 Jul 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    Is it that the so-called left will settle for little, or is it that the alternatives are truly concerning? I wouldn’t call Obama a progressive, but that’s not the same thing as wanting whoever the Republican primary season throws out. Mitt Romney, fine. Anybody else? Not fine.

  7. joellecid on 25 Jul 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Obama knows he’ll get our vote in 2012, so he believes he needs to cater to “independent voters”, whoever they are. But where is the impetus to educate those voters about the reality of the option that is being served to us in cuts to programs that keep people from starving, dying and general misery?

    As a historian, I find it incredible that people are so totally ignorant of the time when public health was fully unregulated and “in the private sector”. And does anyone remember a time before envirmonmental reglatiom? Acid rain, anyone? What is with this collective amnesia?

    I think my Western Civ class next semester might have a focus on what it really means when government onky concers itself with the priveleged and with war…

  8. Historiann on 25 Jul 2011 at 8:37 am #

    He doesn’t have my vote, joellecid!

  9. joellecid on 25 Jul 2011 at 8:39 am #

    I know, mine neither. We’ll see when the election comes around. I have just been seething for weeks now. I might just write in Bernie Sanders, who seems to be alone in making sense in the Senate.

  10. dandelion on 25 Jul 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    I didn’t vote for him in 2008 and I’ll even more enthusiastically not vote for him in 2012.

    I’ve been seething since he told us we’d have to “eat our peas.” I think we should award him a Nobel Peas Prize for that one.

    $23 trillion for bankers; peas and cat food for the rest of us: the Obama platform in a nutshell.

  11. cgeye on 25 Jul 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    I think it’s not too soon to call him a genocidaire — just one who’s branched out from the now commonplace non-US murders to killing the old and vulnerable at home, deliberately and with criminal intent (considering to whom all that saved cash will go).

  12. Nimue on 26 Jul 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I’m not surprised. What else should we expect, electing a president with so little political experience. Too bad there aren’t any strong alternative candidates.

  13. Emma on 29 Jul 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    “$23 trillion for bankers; peas and cat food for the rest of us: the Obama platform in a nutshell.”

    Brilliant summation.

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