Vice President Joe Biden spent a lot of time last night saying that under Affordable Care Act, Medicare will not be affected. Here in Maryland, Govenor O'Malley is very proud of the fact he is first in the nation to enact health care exchanges in his state. President Obama made many promises in 2008 that our healthcare would not be affected either cost-wise or care-wise.
Let me tell you a story - just one example, I'm sure - of how one senior citizen's Medicare has been affected already....even though the AHA has not yet been fully implemented. I have a friend who is over 70 and is a very active member of the community. She had two knee replacement surgeries because of bone-on-bone pain that made it very hard to continue doing all that she is capable of.
In her words: "I just got another letter from Medicare. This one says that they have refused to pay Anne Arundel Medical Center for the hospitalization when I had my knee surgery. It showed that the hospital had appealed it and that they were turned down by a professional “review” board (whose job is probably to do just this.) What don’t they understand about a bone-on-bone joint problem? I had no other options.
They say that the hospital is responsible (not the beneficiary) because they did not notify me that I might have to pay it. I see a scheme here to force hospitals to give all patients notification that if Medicare turns down the payment, they will be held responsible. How many people are not going to be willing or able to pay for expensive surgery? They will opt not to have surgery. This will really cut down on Medicare costs – which they need to do since Obama removed $600 + billion from Medicare. And the patients will suffer pain, etc. and have conditions that deteriorate. What will that cost in the long run? Why is this not being made known???
I found out yesterday that Medicare had paid for the second knee but they have been playing this game with the first knee.
I do want you to tell people about my other Medicare letter. I got a letter a month or 2 ago and so did all of the other Medicare patients at the physical therapy office I am going to. My therapist thinks it went out all over the country. They put a dollar amount on the therapy I can receive in 2012 which is based on money, not on whether I am getting well. I realize I am costing them a pretty good amount this year, but I did have 2 knees done and I need to recover. I don’t see how you can limit therapy when someone has not gotten their range of motion back."
As you can see, what the president and vice president are telling us and what is really hapening are two different things.
As the old adage goes, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Do not be fooled by the president's rhetoric again.
Who else has stories to share?