Health care and the lighter side of aging
August 7, 2012
Last week’s column on aspects of the 2010 Affordable Care Act drew more than the usual response, with most pleased to see some facts about the law. One serious negative from a Carson City politician was a forwarded message from an insurance company. I tried to avoid comments about the law from those with an oar in the insurance waters, but this seemed to make sense. So here’s a slightly edited version of the message with the political rants erased:
“MEDICARE: Look carefully at the 2014 rate compared to the 2013 rate. For those of you who are on Medicare, read the following: The per-person Medicare Insurance Premium will increase from the present monthly fee of $96.40, rising to $104.20 in 2012; $120.20 in 2013; and $247 in 2014.
“These are provisions incorporated in the Obamacare legislation, purposely delayed so as not to confuse the 2012 re-election campaigns.”
There were about 4,000 words attached by the politician, which I plowed through before deciding I wasn’t interested in refighting Econ 101. So I spent a couple of hours searching the ACA for the medical insurance premium quotes and couldn’t track them down. It looks like the fee we pay for Part A or Part B. But I never found an entry, so I offer this as it is. If a reader finds out, I’d like to hear.
I heard from a group about a plan to debate the ACA in Carson City, aiming for an Aug. 28 date. The Carson City Women’s Democratic Club and the League of Women Voters of Northern Nevada have formed WRAP, Women Rising Above Partisanship, with the goal of hosting a public speaker series.
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Sounds good, but there’s that ol’ devil politics rearing his head. Well, maybe it will be a balanced look at ACA and maybe not. I would more be looking forward to if the Republican Women’s Club also was taking part.
The first ACA forum would hope to respond to statements about the ACA that are causing confusion and concern:
1. Social Security will go away
2. There will be “death panels” or, at the very least, prejudice against the elderly
3. $500 billion will be taken from Medicaid/Medicare
4. There will be a rise in taxes
5. The ACA is a form of socialized medicine
6. ACA inserts itself into relationships with physician
7. Preventative care will not be given the attention it needs
8. This will burden small businesses
9. Jobs could be eliminated
10. People may end up with worse coverage then they have now.
All are subjects well worth exploring, certainly. I’ll try to discuss these points in the future. One that I find almost amusing is that ACA is a form of socialized medicine. Well, duh, yes. Along with Medicare, Medicaid, the VA and a host of other programs in the U.S.
Why do we kid ourselves that we are not already deep in socialized medicine? Most don’t realize that national health care, enjoyed by almost all industrialized nations, goes back to Field Marshal Otto von Bismark, who declared that a strong nation needs healthy workers. And he got them.
If you look in the mirror in the morning and barely recognize the face you’re seeing, you’re not alone. For a lot of laughs, read Nora Ephron’s collection of essays titled “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” The late Ephron was the kind of person who could make high fun of herself. She notes that you can’t have a “neck lift” without getting a facelift, so she’ll just wear lots of scarves. And in another collection, “I Remember Nothing,” she recounts her problems with memory loss. Seniors may find themselves there. I did.
• Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.