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My Turn: Obamacare, AARP and the truth - The Taos News: Opinion

My Turn: Obamacare, AARP and the truth

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Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 2:12 pm

President Obama has repeatedly said, “If you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan.” For example, he repeated this promise at a speech on Aug. 15, 2009 in Grand Junction, Colorado.

But, wait a minute! His statement is not true.

It is not true for those employed individuals whose employers decide in 2014 or 2015 to drop their insurance coverage. It is not true for the 10 million seniors, like me, who now have Medicare Advantage health insurance.

Obamacare, the federal law for health insurance, was passed in 2010 to decrease the number of uninsured Americans and to decrease the cost to the government of health care. The law cuts $716 billion from future Medicare costs, including doctor and hospital reimbursements and about $156 billion for the government’s subsidy for the Medicare Advantage program.

The president knew that some of us will not be able to keep our current insurance. Why didn’t he say so?

He could have said, “Folks, we have increasing health care costs. We have 30 million people without health insurance. This is unacceptable. We want everyone to have health insurance. To do so, and to pay for it, we will have to cut Medicare disbursements to hospitals, doctors and those on the Medicare Advantage program. Some of you may be able to keep your current medical plans. Some of you may not. Be assured, there will be other health plans for you when that time comes.”

I could have accepted that statement.

President Obama is not the only national politician distorting the truth. Why don’t our politicians face up to and tell us the truth about our national issues and problems? 

I thought that the AARP, having millions of senior members over 50, would fight to keep my Medicare Advantage program intact. Wrong!

Kimberly Strassel in her “The Love Song of AARP and Obamacare” article of Sept. 21 in the Wall Street Journal tells how AARP management actively worked through 2009-2010 to push Obamacare. Ms. Strassel wrote, “The 71 pages of emails show an AARP management taking orders from the White House, scripting the President’s talking points, working to keep its board ‘in line,’ and pledging to ‘the cause.”

She continues, “The emails overall show an AARP leadership — Policy Chief John Rother, Health Policy Director Nora Super, Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond, Senior Vice President David Sloane — that from the start worked to pass Obamacare, before crucial details pertaining to seniors had been addressed. This crew was in constant contact with Mr. Obama’s top aides, in particular, Nancy-Ann DeParle and Jim Messina.”

Ms. Strassel: “July 23, 2009: AARP reported to the White House that 1,031 members called in against the proposed health care changes, 77 called in support. July 298, 2009: 4,174 opposed; 36 in support. July 29, 2009: 2,656 opposed, 23 in support.”

Those reports showed only 1.7 percent of the AARP members supported Obamacare!

Why would these AARP executives actively support Obamacare despite overwhelming opposition of its members? I can only guess.

Obviously, they were liberals bent on a “cause.” They may also have thought that as seniors leave the Medicare Advantage program, they might choose one of the AARP’s Supplemental Insurance Programs. Or, they may have been planning their next jobs. Ms. Strassel notes that Ms. Super is now working for Mr. Obama’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS). Mr. Rother now leads the liberal National Coalition on Health Care.

Ms. Strassel says that the emails were obtained by the House Energy and Commerce Committee of the U.S Congress. To read her full article about Obamacare and the AARP, Google: Strassel WSJ, and click on “The Love Song of AARP and Obamacare.” You can also access the 71 pages of emails through her article.

The Medicare Trustees in their 2012 Annual Report estimated that the Medicare Advantage cuts will drive 4 million of the 10 million current subscribers out of the Medicare Advantage program.

The HHS has already given temporary waivers to Obamacare to over 1,200 companies, labor unions, cities and counties. These temporary waivers will expire by 2014. When they do, many businesses and unions may opt to eliminate their employee insurance and pay a less expensive tax/penalty.

The year 2014 is the first when most adults must obtain health insurance. The tax/penalty per person for not having insurance then is $95, rising to $325 in 2015. 

Search for Obamacare on Wikipedia to get an overview of the new health insurance plan and its schedule from 2010 through 2020.

Politicians, tell the truth and I’ll vote for you!

James Glenn is a retired resident of Taos.

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