Cognitive Dissonance

"Democracy! Bah! When I hear that I reach for my feather boa!" - Allen Ginsberg

Posts tagged medicare

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Too many Americans ignorant about their use of government programs

The study’s author, Suzanne Mettler, a Cornell professor of American Institutions, attempted to explain the difficulties the Obama Administration faced in trying to reframe the debate about the effect of government social spending on the economy and on the quality of life of all Americans. [Read the study: The Submerged State]

Mettler argues that most of the effects of social spending are hidden, which she calls the “submerged state.”

To illustrate the difficulty President Obama would have - and is having - in surfacing the submerged state so that we can have a rational discussion about it, she included the results of a 2008 government study asking recipients of government social spending if they had ever used a government social program.

The results are an indictment of American civic literacy.

To wit, 44 percent of Social Security recipients, 41 percent of military veterans, 43 percent of unemployment recipients, 40 percent of Medicare recipients, 43 percent of college Pell Grant recipients and 27 percent of welfare recipients all said they had never used a government social program.

But those programs are not the submerged state, as Mettler describes, instead they were included to illustrate that even obvious government programs are not so obvious to their millions of beneficiaries.

Her main point had to do with other, hidden forms of government spending, such as the home mortgage interest tax deduction. Six out of every 10 respondents to the survey didn’t recognize the deduction as government social spending.

I’d like to see how many people acknowledge corporations benefit from government spending that’s affecting the social programs Americans benefit from every single day. Let’s see how those numbers stack up.

Filed under government government spending politics spending social spending medicare medicaid social security welfare education Pell Grants

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Congressman Ryan: The Rich Man's Robin Hood

Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future” cuts government aid that he says creates a culture of dependency. The plan snips the threads of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that Americans contribute to during their working years and count on for retirement or disability.

His plan also slashes Pell grants, which help students from low-income families go to college, and unemployed workers return to school to sharpen their skills or train for new careers.

"By continually increasing Pell funding, we are feeding education inflation," said Ryan.

Ryan also proposes a 20 percent cut to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), pointing to reports that the food stamp program is “rife with fraud.”

Ryan’s budget proposal, called the “Path to Prosperity” – and which some Democrats refer to as the “Road to Ruin” – spotlights the deep fiscal-policy rift between the two parties.

Rob from the poor to give to the rich? That’s what 30 years plus of neoliberalism will do for you.

Filed under Paul Ryan Republican republicans politics budget budget cuts Medicare Pell grants SNAP food stamps

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Indiana Planned Parenthood to drop Medicaid patients

Planned Parenthood of Indiana will stop seeing Medicaid patients after Monday because of an Indiana law that cut the provider’s funding.

PPIN went to court last month to prevent Indiana from cutting funding to the state’s largest reproductive health care provider. U. S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said she would make a decision on whether to enjoin the law by July 1.

"Our 9,300 Medicaid patients, including those who had appointments Tuesday, are going to see their care disrupted," Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of PPIN, said in a statement. The Medicaid funds stopped May 11, the day Republican Governor Mitch Daniels signed a law that restricts abortions and cuts federal funding to Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood performs abortions, but even before the Indiana law passed, federal money could not be used to pay for abortions. Indiana cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood that covers other reproductive health services, including contraception and cancer screening.

After Monday, PPIN said it will have run out of the donations it used to pay for existing Medicaid patients after the bill made national news… If the judge doesn’t make a favorable ruling by July 1, PPIN said it will start closing health centers and reducing staff. 

North Carolina and Kansas have also restricted funding to Planned Parenthood, but their actions do not affect payments from the federal Medicaid program. Indiana blocks both state and federal payments.

Ideologues: Your actions have real life consequences. Observe above. The money you blocked paid for zero abortions. It DID pay for preventative care, cancer screening, and reproductive care. It DID give people all over Indiana access to care they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Now, I’m going to use language here you may understand better. Planned Parenthood also provides services that have nothing to do with no-no parts, naughty bits, or whatever you call them. Here’s a short list:

  • Anemia testing 
  • cholesterol screening
  • diabetes screening
  • physical exams, including for employment and sports
  • flu vaccines
  • help with quitting smoking
  • high blood pressure screening
  • tetanus vaccines
  • thyroid screening

Expect an increase in emergency room visits, Indiana. Any of the pro-lifers want to step up and help pay for these things? Hmmm? It’s the pro-life thing to do, right?

Filed under Indiana Planned Parenthood abortion pro-life pro-life is anti-woman Medicare unjust injustice poverty economic violence

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McConnell: I Won’t Agree To Raise The Debt Limit Without Medicare Cuts

Just in case you’re still confused about the GOP’s agenda:

In a Capitol briefing with reporters Friday, McConnell declared affirmatively that unspecified Medicare cuts are on the table in bipartisan debt limit negotiations, led by Vice President Joe Biden, and he expects they’ll be part of the final deal. But in response to a question from TPM, he went further than he has in the past in laying down a marker on that issue. Medicare cuts mustbe part of that deal to get his support, he says — even if negotiators manage to find trillions of dollars in savings elsewhere, even if his other priorities are met.

"To get my vote, for me, it’s going to take short term [cuts, via spending caps]… Both medium and long-term, entitlements," McConnell said. "Medicare will be part of the solution."

To clarify, I asked “[I]f [the Biden group] comes up with big cuts, trillions of dollars worth of cuts, but without substantially addressing Medicare, it won’t get your vote?”

"Correct," McConnell said.

Uh-oh. McConnell doesn’t seem too concerned about losing a significant GOP base: The elderly voter.

Don’t forget, even Tea Partiers were all about not touching Medicare, though they operated under the false assumption it was not a government program.

Also, the GOP has an option with broader support that actually cuts more from the budget:

However, Big Oil gives GOP candidates much more than Grandma, so hey, let’s cut health care for her instead AND hold the limited economic stability we have hostage to do it!

Filed under GOP Medicare Politics Republican republicans debt ceiling