Letters

Answers sought on health care plan

Friday, July 6, 2012

To the Editor:

Response to Carol Shea-Porter (Merrimack Journal June 22): You make many of the same old points that were made back in 2010, when you tried to support the health care plan to Merrimack citizens at a meeting. You didn’t listen then to the citizens, and just represented the party’s position. My comments to you are still valid and are unanswered.

I also object to the way the health care bills were politically either shoved down our throats or pushed up our other orifices.

(Ref H. Bloom email to Carol Shea-Porter on April 1, 2010.)

Even though I don’t always agree with your stance on many issues, I do want to thank you for holding the meeting (June 25) in Merrimack. Unfortunately, you skirted the many questions that were raised. I would recommend that you or your staff respond directly to the many questions about the impact of the massive health care bills (H.R. 3590 and H.R. 4872). Your party line response didn’t satisfy most of the participants at the meeting. I have read portions of both bills and I doubt that any one individual has a total grasp of its contents.

Some questions that were raised were:

1. How can we add tens of millions of new recipients of health care, who will demand increasing services without costing a lot more?

2. How can we take $500 billion out of Medicare while adding multimillions more people and not reduce services or quality of care?

3. Why do we need 16,500 new IRS agents to administer the plan and won’t the direct cost of this be much greater than $16.5 billion over a decade, and what are the total infrastructure and indirect costs?

4. Are the general practice doctors going to be penalized for “excessive” referrals to specialists?

5. Why is there no reform in the plan for tort reform, fraud and abuse, and allowing competitive health plans to be purchased across state lines? I understand that each state has its own requirements, but the federal government can make attractive to those states who accept federal standards or guidelines for insurance.

6. Why don’t you think that the push-back of costs onto the states from federal Medicare payments won’t impact the taxpayer with increased taxes, fees, surcharges, the raising of thresholds, or increases indexed to income?

7. You said that the CBO estimates are credible, but you either don’t understand or didn’t explain that the CBO only works with the estimates and assumptions made in the bill (not necessarily the most-accurate estimates). Previous bills that estimated the cost impacts of Medicare and other Social programs turned out to be off by at least a factor of 10. Look at the recent Massachusetts example, or Social Security or Medicare, etc., or any other government program.

8. The current health care bill allows for premium increases up to 11⁄2 times for smokers, but I didn’t see any impact on folks who abuse themselves with drugs, alcohol or junk-food. What weren’t these factors included?

9. Why does the calculation of COLA not include health care, insurance, energy or food? I claim that for retirees on Social Security and Medicare that the COLA calculation is fraudulent and pushes those recipients further down economically. Why does Congress continue to get substantial pay increases, while my government tells me that COLA (for me) is zero?

HARVEY BLOOM

Merrimack

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