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Section A: General News


Editorial: Last survivor of Titanic with one last lesson for us?




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Thomas J. Leytham, M.D.
Guest Editorial
April 18, 2012 | 1,503 views | Post a comment

Re: “Health-care law benefits Texans with Medicare,” April 11

Great news for Texans over 65. Bob Moos (public affairs specialist for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) and your local congressman, Henry Cuellar, want you to know that Robert Redford, Eva Longoria, and Beyonce will soon be showing up at your front door with 42 $100 bills stolen from some rich people, and it’s all yours. To make things even nicer, Robert Redford will be wearing a stunning tuxedo and the two ladies will be wearing skimpy designer outfits with bright green tights right out of your favorite Robin Hood movie.

How are you going to spend all of that cash? Well, that isn’t exactly what was said but indeed there was a headline last week in Wilson County News which read, “Health-care law benefits Texans with Medicare.” The article was written by federal employee Bob Moos about the health-care bill which another federal employee, Henry Cuellar, the Laredo lawyer turned lawmaker, helped to get passed through Congress (without even one single bipartisan vote, as you probably recall). Mr. Moos instead actually makes an argument that the changes in health care coming fast upon us thanks to President Obama will be a great thing for seniors. He gives some wonderful examples such as new ways to punish those who commit Medicare fraud (which will possibly save the taxpayers $4 billion a year) and additional savings amounting to an “average” of $35 per month for Medicare recipients who are taking multiple prescriptions. So let’s just say for the sake of discussion that this government employee (his salary comes from your tax dollars) who clearly wants you to be happy with the changes coming your way is being 100 percent honest and accurate. Is that the best Barack Obama and Henry Cuellar can do for our elderly?

Thirty-five dollars a month for some (not all) seniors and $4 billion a year in saved taxpayer dollars for the entire country -- that’s it? That’s the best you can say in favor of this 2,700-page law which hires 15 people to tell every Medicare doctor in America what they can and can’t do for your health care, removes hundreds of millions of dollars from the Medicare budget, and then hires thousands of new IRS agents to make sure that the new tax penalties are collected? Really? That’s the best you can claim -- even if we believe your statistics.

In the words of a brilliant young philosopher, “Come on.”

The new health-care law will cost thousands of billions of dollars, and many seniors will not see a nickel of that $35 a month (it’s one of those, “you have to spend it in order to save it” situations).

I have read as much of the 2,700 pages as I could stand to read (more than your congressman read before he voted for it) and I have practiced medicine for 20 years, and if I thought for one second that this health-care law would make things better for the health of my mom and my grandmother, I wouldn’t be wasting one minute writing in response to Mr. Moos. (Unless of course, it was to agree with him.)

So, just how would this wonderful health-care law

treat someone like my beloved grandmother? Last month, this loving, sweet lady, whom we call “Pookie,” received a pacemaker just before her 90th birthday. Do you think that would be the case with Mr. Moos’s Obamacare law?

Well, the answer is, no -- not if those 15 decision makers in Washington, D.C., decide that we can’t afford it -- and what do you really think they are going to say given the fact that the Medicare system is already over budget?

Consider the precise words of our own current president when answering a direct question about pacemakers and the elderly: “Maybe this isn’t going to help -- maybe you’re not better off taking the surgery, but taking the painkiller.” Consider also the case of Milvina Dean, the last survivor of the Titanic. She lived in England. They pay for all your health care there, right? (Isn’t this what we have been led to believe?) If that is the case, why then did Leonardo Dicaprio, Kate Winslett, and several other famous Hollywood types have to hold a benefit for her so she would not have to lose her house in order to pay her medical bills? She suffered from back pain and pneumonia and yet here are these celebrities raising money for her health-care costs. Why did the famous “single payer” system of England not pay for these things? Do you think maybe it had something to do with her age? Do you think these Hollywood people are going to show up and help you save your house when the new government panel no longer thinks your health care matters anymore?

This fall, Henry Cuellar and Barack Obama (and other folks like Mr. Moos) are going to be telling you that Republicans want to snatch those fictitious 42 $100 bills away from your grandma, and they will tell you the Republicans do not want to save Medicare, they want to destroy Medicare. When they tell you these things, they will be attempting to deceive you on a grand scale.

My advice is that you not let them deceive you, or your friends, or your neighbors.

I think now I’ll go call my grandmother and see how she is doing.
 

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