Placing Responsibility for Age Discrimination
Seven Mini Blog Posts

The Threat to Medicare and the Truth Squad

category_bug_politics.gif Hear Me Well:

Without health care reform, slashing Medicare benefits will be Congress’s next step.

The reason Time Goes By is able to publish Saul Friedman's excellent Reflections column twice a month is that he and I met last year as recipients of the Media Excellence Award from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.

The NCPSSM is an advocacy organization and, yes, a lobby group that seeks to “protect, preserve, promote, and ensure the financial security, health, and the well being of current and future generations of maturing Americans” and to develop better-informed citizens and voters through educational services about the two vitally important federal programs in their name.

By nature, I am suspicious of all political and advocacy organizations; I scrutinize them carefully. While I was writing the 20-odd part series on Social Security in 2004 and 2005, when President Bush was trying to privatize it, I found myself relying heavily on NCPSSM and they never failed me, providing facts, hard information and well-reasoned opinion.

So my support today of their newest project is based on long familiarity with the important work they do and not just because they were smart kind enough to give me an award. These are people you can trust.

Their new project is called the Truth Squad. and similar organizations do good work ferreting out lies, dis- and misinformation, but they are necessarily diffuse. The NCPSSM Truth Squad specifically targets the health care debate in setting the record straight.

This is crucial because one of the critical points missing in all the shrill town hall meetings - and more civilized commentary too - is that if system-wide health care costs are not reigned in, Medicare cannot continue.

What many elders opposed to health care reform (and some who support it) do not understand is that Medicare has a big, fat target on its back. With public concern over trillion-dollar deficits, Medicare is the first choice of Republicans, right-wingers and others for spending cuts. An added incentive is that these are the same people who have been trying to kill Medicare (and Social Security) since the inception of these programs.

And even without such attacks, rising health care costs are a dire threat to the government’s ability to continue Medicare. So again:

Without reform, slashing Medicare benefits will be Congress’s next step.

In all our discussions here and elsewhere about reform, we keep asking what we can do. Individually, not much. But collectively, we can be heard and the NCPSSM Truth Squad has created a bunch of tools for us to make it as easy as possible to speak up and to continue to speak up to Congress.

First there is the badge. You will notice that I have replaced our Elderbloggers for Health Care Reform bad in the right sidebar with the Truth Squad badge linking to their project page on the NCPSSM website.


To add it to your blog, right click on the image, save it to your hard drive, place it on your blog and link it to this URL:

Here is what you get at Truth Squad:

A Legislative Action Center where letters will be automatically emailed to your representative and senators. There is a pre-written message you can use, edit or replace with your own. Use it today and keep using it. Flood Congress with your messages, thoughts and opinions.

The Truth Squad Tool Kit with links to NCPSSM policy documents (facts) and blog posts on aspects of health care reform, and outside links to other vetted, truthful information. You can also subscribe to email updates on the project from this page.

A place to share your Medicare story with NCPSSM. It is ammunition for the organization when they speak with members of Congress, testify at congressional hearings and talk to the media. The more stories they have, the better for the campaign for reform.

And there is this video, the first of more to come [1:22 minutes]:

NCPSSM does not sell insurance, products or offer senior discounts. Founded by James Roosevelt, the son of FDR, it is non-partisan non-profit with a 26-year history of protecting Medicare and Social Security from those whose goal is to chip away at them and ultimately to destroy them.

This is one organization elders can support with confidence. The more of us who do, the more clout the NPCSSM has. So post your badge today, start using those links and tell your blog readers. If you can afford a donation, you can do so at this page.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, George Baker: I Am a Leader


Thanks for the information. The organization and associated mission looks very promising.

Perhaps there is life after AARP!

It's all a waste. The President appears to be giving up his demand for a public option. I feel betrayed. Without a public option, reform will be slower and less effective. I guess it's time to buy stock in health insurance companies. That way, maybe I can helkp my uninsurable son pay his medical bills.

I am going to that site next and study the information. Thanks for the links. was running story yesterday about Medicare paying 4 times the cost of a wheelchair. If that type of fraud would get stopped the government would save millions of dollars. Not sure if the story is still online, but here is the link-

Thanks for info which I will post on my blog later today. I continue to post about HC Reform.

Don't give up on the PResident. He is speaking to Congress on Sept 9th, Let him know how you feel at

Also, you should be contacting your congressional reps and let them know your feelings.

I urge you to join Ronni, and me, and others, in keeping Health Care Reform in the fore front of people's minds.

Miss Dazey, I read that article about the inflated wheelchair costs. That is just one area where Medicare sets a price much higher than the actual cost. It's systemic. My insurance was charged, and I was expected to pay 20% coinsurance, $62 dollars for a wrist splint that retails for $18.98 and is available online for $15. When I complained, I was told that Medicare allowed $54, so that is what the insurance would base its payment on. That meant my coinsurance amount was inflated by about 250%. Honest pricing would make this whole health care issue easier to understand.

We got a lot of positive beeps and thumbs-up at a "Support Health Care Reform/Support the Public Option" vigil I attended last night.

You'd never know it from the media, but the majority of people who responded to our signs and candles were positive. One woman's horn didn't work, so she flipped her windshield wipers on in support!

Don't give up, Nan.

A whole lot of people haven't (yet) given up on the President -- and they had something to say to him yesterday in California. I've posted a few pictures of elders at the rally.

In general I was impressed by this outpouring. There was a very high ratio of serious ordinary people to kooks -- not something I can always count on in campaigns even for very worthy goals.

Unfortunately for us here in the UK, others have similar designs on our health service as this link shows.

Actually this could equally have been for your previous post, because yet again they are suggesting early retirement as a way of reducing staff numbers.

For the moment this whole idea has been rejected, but I'm not holding my breath.

I feel as Nan. With a disabled adult son unable to work and who will always need help from the government as well as from my husband and me to cover all that is not, I cannot feel hopeful.
I’ll just keep working!

I won't stop trying until a good health care reform bill passes. The negative op-ed pieces and ads are counting on us to get discouraged and give up. Don't listen to them; it is still possible and maybe even probable.

I don't blog, but I do facebook. I posted the image there with a link. You know, maybe there are some problems with Medicare, but the need outstrips the problems. Let's get affordable health care for all, then set to work to fix the problems.

I do not have the energy or ability to understand all the legislative rhetoric...I only understand and have experienced prior to getting Medicare, the horror of not having enough money for health insurance for Syd and I. It broke us and now thanks to Medicare, I can rest "easy" for I don't have that on my plate. Maybe this country needs MEDICARE for all type plan or income based Care!!! I don't know, but something sensible needs doing for our citizens.

Because readers on the west coast get this blog 1 day later this may not be read...but many millions buy "medigap" insurance to fill in what Medicare doesn't pay...If we lose benefits with Medicare we will surely lose medigap benefits as they are closely tied together. The price of my United Health Care policy through AARP increases every year. In 2008 it increased twice, last time just before Bush went out of office...Help me if not yourself....

Its important for the above writers, and future readers, to understand that under the just passed Baucus Bill, a Medical Commission is to be created which will determine what health care svcs will be paid by Medicare. A cut of Billions from the Medicare program, leaves all of us paying out of pocket for more health svcs we used to have. Thank the Democrats and Obama for this.

The comments to this entry are closed.