The Strain on Medicare.

Did Wall Street suggest that Rick Santorum open his mouth and start talking about all this religious stuff? Someone did. It’s a great way to channel the talk and attention away from the fact that the miscreants, or I should just say criminals, of the ruined economy aren’t in jail yet, and financial regulations haven’t yet been enacted that will prevent more of the same crimes.

I refuse to let the current stupid anti-contraception debate-posing-as-a-religious-liberty-debate, which the Republicans have unleashed in front of the media, prevent my seeing the economical sins they continue to commit. (Just to throw some religion at you.)

You shouldn’t look away from the economy, either.
Or from your need for health care coverage.

On the health care front, I’ve been trying to listen to the inner facts that I heard first from very right-wing, hardworking doctors. There’s some scary things to think about;, and everybody — right, left, green, libertarian, smurf, communist, all — should be concerned.

Just focusing for now on Medicare.

Doctors whose practices consist largely of Medicare patients are worried, because they see so many people who’ve been on Medicare for decades but are not that old; some are people who retired very early in their careers. Yes… think about early-retirers. Some, whose early retirement was based on a formerly-healthy retirement pension and/or savings, now sadly shrunken due to the cratering of the economy, really need Medicare, especially if they haven’t been able to afford to buy supplemental insurance at all. (But of course Medicare isn’t available to them until they’re the right age.)

And then there are the spouses of all retired people, many of whom never contributed much directly to Medicare themselves. People who didn’t work outside the home, and all that.

Add to this the fact that we’re living longer.

The typical Medicare recipient may now be using far, far more in medical care money than he contributed in an entire lifetime. This is what some doctors are saying. They may be absolutely correct; after all, they’re the ones who send the bills to Medicare for their own reimbursement. (It would be excellent to find some clear stats on this, like what procedures are common at certain ages, and how long people tend to live after retirement. I must get busy.)

It’s something to worry about. It means that medical costs have to be brought into a manageable range. And it means we have to somehow make the future of Medicare a fair thing for those who will be depending upon it in years to come.

It also means that income taxes for ALL of us should go up. Yes, probably the middle class too. No, not the poor. They’re poor! And all those outrageous tax loopholes for corporations and the rich should be closed. And financial transactions in the stock market MUST be taxed (I mean, who exactly decided they shouldn’t be??). And corporate taxes SHOULD GO UP. Capital gains should be taxed at MUCH MORE than 15% — maybe they should be taxed at the same rate as regular income, hey what a thought.

And finally, tax revenue must be diverted from something else it is currently being spent hugely on…. Hmmm, what could that be? (cough-war-cough)

Yes….. heroic efforts should be undertaken to fund health care. You see, it means staying alive. We all like to be alive. Without being alive, we have no fun.

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