Sunday, February 12, 2017

Republicans Plan to End Medicare Immediately

As soon as Donald Trump is sworn into office, the first thing Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan is going to do is sponsor a bill to end Medicare. He calls it "privatizing" Medicare and "modernizing" Medicare. What that means is that he'll end the Medicare program and give it to private health insurance companies. If you're over 65, remember how you were just trying to endure, to make it to 65 so you could finally breathe a sigh of relief when you got Medicare? If you're under 65, you've probably been hanging in there and looking forward to the huge relief of not being at the mercy of health insurance companies with their huge deductibles and co-pays.

Health Insurance Companies are Not There to Provide Health Care

Medicare and the Veteran's Administration health care system are the only health insurance systems in the country whose mission is to make sure people get access to health care. That's all they do. The main mission of private insurance companies, on the other hand, is simply to make money for their CEO's, top executives and share holders. Their goals are to provide the least amount of health care for people at the least cost to themselves. That's why, before ObamaCare, we had "pre-existing conditions," where, if you had the slightest health issue, insurance companies could refuse to take you on. They also decreed that, if they had paid out a certain maximum amount for your healthcare, you'd be cut off for the rest of your life.

Medicare has never done any of that. We've had it from the time we reach 65 until we die. We would always have health care paid for. That's all going to end if the Republicans have their way. Your Republican Senators and Congress people will say that our country can't afford Medicare and that this will make sure people have affordable health care on into the future.

Republicans Say We Can't Afford Medicare

They're going to say that our country can't afford to take care of its elderly anymore; it's too expensive; it's an "out-dated" system. (This is not true; Democrats have a plan to expand Medicare.) Republicans' plan is to give each person a voucher for a certain amount of money that they can use toward private health insurance. That amount will cover only part of the cost of an inferior health insurance plan. That amount also will not keep going up as health insurance premiums go up, so you'll be paying for more and more of the premiums yourself, instead of having Medicare. You'll also be paying huge deductibles and you'll be paying co-payments. Under Medicare as we've known it, monthly premiums are low, the deductible is tiny and there are no co-payments for the best plan, which is Plan F.

If you're 65 or older, you might think you can breathe a sigh of relief, because the Republicans will say they'll keep you on Medicare--it's only the younger people who won't get it. But that's not true, because they'll stop funding Medicare so that over time it will run out of money and when we're at our most fragile, in our older years, we'll be thrown to the "mercies" of the for-profit health insurance business who, remember, has the main goal of making money for its CEO's, executives and shareholders and providing the least amount of services for the most amount of money.

The suffering that will be caused by dismantling the Medicare program and giving it to private insurance companies is close to unimaginable. Tens of millions of seniors and the elderly will be left without health care. Many will lose their homes and be left destitute trying to pay for health insurance and health care.

What You Can Do

What can we do? If you're living in a state with Republican Senators and Congress people-especially in Paul Ryan's state-write, call, go to your state capitols and demand that Medicare be left alone. For a directory to find your Representative's phone number, see For a directory to find your Senators, see Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's phone number is 202-225-3031. Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell's phone number is 202-224-2541. You can also email them by googling their names and sending an email through their websites.

It's important to do this right away, before Donald Trump is sworn in as President, before Paul Ryan has a chance to sponsor the bill.

Also keep in mind, getting rid of Social Security is next.

Zoe Zimmermann is a licensed psychotherapist living and working in Boulder, CO. She would like to help create a more humane and caring country where everyone feels they belong.

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