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Location: Oaksterdam, California

Friday, November 04, 2005

Give us your tired, your poor...Maybe they'll go away.

This is just sick and stupid and most likely part of the plan. Because of the new federal Medicare Prescription Drug Program, Bush's baby, now the Poor face Medicare premiums :
About 35,000 low-income seniors and disabled in California — including 15,000 in the Bay Area — will have to start paying monthly health insurance premiums for their Medicare managed care plans in January because the state will no longer pick up the tab.

According to a draft letter to beneficiaries from the California Department of Health Services obtained by the Oakland Tribune, if affected seniors want to stay with their health maintenance organization, they will have to pay premiums of up to $70 a month.

"We have informed your Medicare HMO that as of Jan. 1, 2006, Medi-Cal will no longer pay Medicare HMO premiums for you," reads a draft of the letter, which affected seniors will receive within the next few days.

"You may need to pay your monthly Medicare HMO premiums yourself if you wish to keep your current Medicare HMO membership," the letter continues.

The affected seniors and disabled are known as dual eligibles — they are poor enough to qualify for both Medicare and Medi-Cal, the state's health insurance program for those living on very low incomes.

The annual income for most dual eligibles in California is $9,570 for individuals and $12,830 for couples, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

So people making under 10 grand a year could see their medical costs go up by over $800. Disabled people and senior citizens will be hit hard, especially if they can't work, or find that second job to pay for their medical treatments.

That is not compassionate, but sure as hell, it's conservative.

The promise of the new Medicare Prescription Drug Program only get's worse:
California will pay the federal government an additional $57 million in 2006 under Medicare's new prescription drug law, Rosenstein said, though it was supposed to save $100 million under the program.

"There are flaws in how the federal government has calculated the payments to the states," Rosenstein said. "States that have done a good job in controlling costs (of their prescription drug programs) are being penalized."

Yeah, I bet those flaws hit states that trend blue in their politics more likely than not.

As it is, for many Americans Getting Sick Has Its Price
"These patients are the canary in the coal mine of any health care system," Schoen said.

Nearly a third of U.S. patients reported spending more than $1,000 in out-of-pocket expenses for their care, far outpacing all other nations. Canadians and Australians came next, with 14 percent of patients spending that much. The proportion reporting similarly high costs was far lower in the other countries.

Oh, if that's not enough they want to cut 40,000 kids from school lunch program to pay for tax cuts.

It's almost like they want poor people to die early. Maybe that's their final solution for Social Security.

(all added emphasis is mine)