Don’t Like ObamaCare? Drive to Wise

There’s been plenty of chatter on this site about ObamaCare and some of it seems cranked out by the right wing propaganda machine, as Larry Gross astutely calls it.
Among the more shrill critiques is that it is not “free market” based, is way too expensive, adds to our dangerously booming debt and budget deficit, violates the supposed “Commerce Clause” (which to the conservatives applies only to medical insurance, not auto insurance which is also mandatory) and lastly, may not be even necessary.

If you are on who believes that last point, maybe you should hop in your car and drive way, way out to the coalfields of Southwest Virginia, specifically to the town of Wise and the Wise County Fairgrounds. It will take you more than six hours and you will be farther west than Cleveland and almost on the latitude of Detroit.

Starting today and lasting through Sunday, doctors, dentists, nurses and other health care professionals from the surrounding area will be offering free checkups, outpatient treatment, eyeglasses and dental checks to the the mountain country poor, many of whom work for minimum wage, are not eligible for Medicaid and can’t afford regular health insurance.
The free health event has been organized in the area for the past 11 years by British-born adventurer Stan Brock, a former anacodona wrestler who started the non-profit Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corps. “It does help people who have fallen through the cracks,” Frank
Kilgore, a lawyer in nearby St. Paul and social activist, told me.
About 3,000 people show up for the event that begins today and runs through Sunday. They are the core of the Central Appalachian poor, who have worked at Wal-Mart, farmed rocky soil and survived the boom and bust cycle of coal mines. Folks from southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky go to the Wise event. Besdies the economic challenges, the up and down topography of the region can make a trip to the doctor’s office and multi-hour event.
The question now is whether so-called Obama-care, which is now law, will make the free health clinic unnecessary. The law is designed to help provide 32 million uninsured Americans with health insurance, in part by requiring all to obtain it or face penalties. Low income people like them will have available exchanges to provide competing plans and subsidies to help pay for them, providing they meet certain income guidelines.
It will take at least a few years to see if those goals can be achieved. Meanwhile, Kilgore says other strategies afoot in the region are to open a medical school in Southwest Virginia that will specialize in training family and rural practice physicians who are desperately needed in remote areas like Wise County.
Kilgore’s hopeful the medical school approach will further turn things around. “It’s pathetic that one of the world’s richest countries has this sort of thing going on,” he told me.

No argument there.
Peter Galuszka

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


35 responses to “Don’t Like ObamaCare? Drive to Wise”

  1. Larry G Avatar

    Not only the rural poor but the newly unemployed will be benefited – including those who may have blathered long and hard in opposition to "Obamacare" .. I bet they sign right up when their kid needs help.

    Oh the humility…

    I wonder if all these folks plan to vote for the Tea party come the next election?

    I'm real curious to see what is going to happen to the honest Tea Party Candidates that will get up and say "vote for me and I'll get rid of Obamacare and Medicare also.

    I wonder how many vote to get rid of Medicare? Everyone under 65?

  2. Anonymous Avatar


    As I understand the situation, mandatory automobile insurance participation comes from state law and not from the federal government. There is a difference, a big difference.


  3. Gooze Views Avatar
    Gooze Views

    That may be true but then the issue of federal vs. state gets in archane federalist issues that don't really have much to do with whether a government (any one) can require you to buy anything. Actually, the government (feds?) require you to buy a car with seat belts. No one seems to have a problem with that.

    If I am wrong that the difference is bigger please enlighten me.


  4. Larry G Avatar

    what about social security 'insurance' – TMT?

  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Peter, I respectfully disagree. I think federalism is important. The national government has certain powers; the states have certain powers; and some simply belong to the citizens.

    Now, I also think that, as you suggest, there is a fair debate as to whether any government entity can or should require a citizen to participate in something, pay a fee or pay a tax. But that debate cannot occur in a vacuum.

    Driving is a privilege created by state law. States have the authority to condition the exercise of such privilege on certain behaviors or qualifications. One must pass an eye test; know the state rules of the road; pass a driver's test; be at least 16 and 1/2 years of age in Virginia; have a minimum level of liability insurance in effect; or, in some states, purchase a no-fault policy.

    Most autos are sold in interstate commerce, so Congress is free to regulate such commerce. No sales of cars without seat belts. But Congress is not free to regulate the exercise of the privilege of driving. That's why Congress must impose driving mandates through the conditioning of federal transportation funds. You can get $12 billion if you x, y or z.

    My understanding is that federal HCR simply tries to regulate all aspects of health care in the nation. Some believe the federal government lacks that authority. That's what courts are for — to test those claims.

    Larry, I believe social security (FICA) is a federal tax, and not a market purchase. An interesting question would be whether the feds, after eliminating social security going forward, could require people to buy an IRA or participate in a 401K plan.


  6. Larry G Avatar

    what part of this is not a tax for insurance:

    " The Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.A. § 301 et seq.), designed to assist in the maintenance of the financial well-being of eligible persons, was enacted in 1935 as part of President franklin d. roosevelt's New Deal.

    In the United States, Social Security did not exist on the federal level until the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. This statute provided for a federal program of old-age retirement benefits and a joint federal-state venture of Unemployment Compensation. In addition, it dispensed federal funds to aid the development at the state level of such programs as vocational rehabilitation, public health services, and child welfare services, along with assistance to the elderly and the handicapped. The act instituted a system of mandatory old-age insurance, issuing benefits in proportion to the previous earnings of persons over sixty-five and establishing a reserve fund financed through the imposition of payroll taxes on employers and employees."

    if you substitute the phrase Health Insurance for Social Security what is the difference?

    Do anyone think the Supreme Court is going to issue a decision that is tantamount to saying that SS and Medicare are "illegal"?

    I hope they do.

    We're gonna see a whole lot of shakin going on as Elvis said.

  7. Anonymous Avatar

    FICA (Social Security) is an employment tax that is levied on the employer and and an income tax on the employee. There are many federal court cases so holding. These taxes were upheld against a constitutional challenge in 1937 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Helvering v. Davis, 301 U.S. 619. I guess we will find out some day in the near future whether health care is the same as Social Security or whether it's different. I don't see a requirement to pay insurance premiums is the same as levying a tax. But the Supreme Court is likely to have the final say.

    Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the media reports a number of insurance companies have stopped writing policies that cover just children in reaction to health care reform. Gee, perhaps the Administration and Congress have made things worse instead of better.


  8. Larry G Avatar

    TMT – worse for some – no question – if the private companies are going to jettison the subscribers that they think will cost them money.

    These are folks that would have gotten jettisoned anyhow but they are getting dumped sooner since the govt will pick them up and the publicity for dumping them is not as adverse.

    The whole system is a gigantic unstable CF and the Obamacare was the tipping point.

    ( you know.. the health care version of global warming).

    And therein lies a reality that perhaps is not well understood just yet and that is that these changes are happening very quickly – and there will be no easy way to backtrack even in the courts go against it or the Republicans gain control and "repeal" it ( assuming they get both houses and a veto-proof majority – which has to be a shoot-the-moon scenario).

    in other words – you can't go back..

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry, I don't buy this. HCR will go down in history as one of the worst policy decisions ever. It's Prohibition. HCR simply does not provide benefits for most people, but will nail them with higher taxes, more restrictions, etc. A lot of Democrats will also vote to repeal at least parts of the law.


  10. Larry G Avatar

    TMT – it can be repealed – yes.

    but can you make the companies take back all the folks they dumped that ended up with Obamacare?

    What will happen the folks who will have no option if Obamacare goes away?

    Will they support the legislators who would repeal?

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry, you raise a good point. There may well be significant harm to many people whatever happens. If government wants to create a big program, it needs to benefit a significant number of people. HCR did not do that, at least in the minds of a very large segment of the population.

    The biggest problem facing the U.S. continues to be getting people back to work.


  12. Larry G Avatar

    " it needs to benefit a significant number of people. HCR did not do that, at least in the minds of a very large segment of the population."

    that would be the ones who have insurance….

    but what about the folks who do not have it and were counting on ObamaCare?

    there's more and more of them since the recession – even the ones who found work – if they had pre-existing conditions in their family – the new job may not cover.

    I'm not sure repeal is a done deal even if there's a veto-proof anti-Obama Congress but we'll see.

  13. Larry G Avatar

    I guess Jim Bacon knows that this version of Blogger is … ahem.. less than perfect…

  14. The real issue is whether you ever HTML any of what you paid for whether you pay a company or pay the government. Having already been denied insurance payments and insurance coverage after paying for 35 years, my money is now on the govt. Private enterprise had their chance and blew it.

    I have insurance now but it will disappear the second I no longer have a job.

    Eventually HCR will be seen as the best thing since civil rights, except by a few bigots.


  15. Anonymous Avatar

    I am currently working on a paper and short (very) talk that I will deliver in September to a group of community representatives in the New River Valley who are primarily interested in health care regarding how HCR affects Medicare. There are both mostly positive and some negative effects, as you'd likely guess.

    What I think is important to note is that there are many things that are going on in our area as well as others in SW VA that are also making a difference.

    In the NRV we are currently working to bring 2 federally qualified health centers to the area: one in Montgomery County and the other in Radford/Pulaski. HCR added money for FQHC's – thank you Bernie Sanders! – but they have been around for a long time. The MC one is associated with the VCOM at VT and will be brought up in 2010 or 2011 – if they get funding – as a satellite of Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems, Inc. in Saltville. The other one, with which I have been working as a volunteer, will also be going for funding in 2011 as a satellite of SVCHS. The beauty of FQHC's is that they can serve anybody but they charge on a sliding scale. I could go and they would bill my insurance just as my doctor does. Someone with not too great insurance or no insurance gets billed accordingly.

    Peter, if you want a bang-up story on health care in SW VA, get in touch with Howard Chapman, Executive Director of SVCHS – 276-496-4492. He is one of the most remarkable men that I have ever met in my 63 years of life and has done more for health delivery services in SW VA than anybody I could imagine. He is also heavily into expanding dental care into SW VA, which is nothing short of a miracle.

    Howard is currently getting a mobile unit ready to serve part of Radford and possibly Pulaski County until we can go for a FQHC. It will start at a fire house in Radford which currently allows distribution of fresh produce from local farmers, grocery stores, etc and will be able to move to sites as needed. It is partially solar powered. I am going to the fire station on Friday to see if some of its produce 'clients' need Medicare help.

    Also Joe & Margot Thompson, local small business owners with tire stores all over the NRV, have set up a group to help with dental care here (Margot's dad was a dentist in Baltimore). We just sent about 200 dental supplies to 'backpack' kids who get food sent home in their backpacks for the weekend. We are also supplying dental kits and a dental education program as a pilot program for 800 MC first graders this coming school year and are paying for a dental hygienist at the local free clinic for one day a week. Defensive Coach Bud Foster of VT is making several PSA's for dental health for us.

    It is true that we don't have much money down here but, by god, we have a community and volunteer network that can make the money go farther and make a huge difference. You'd be surprised at how many people down here do volunteer work and how many hours they put in.

  16. Anonymous Avatar

    Anonymous 340 is Deena Flinchum

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    From what I've been reading, more people will be worse off with HCR than will be helped. Medicare payments will be cut and many feel that lower income participants, who often lack Medigap coverage, paid by themselves or their former employer, will be hit hardest.

    Medicare Advantage participants are expected to be hit very hard with cut-backs and price increases.

    HCR provides an economic incentive for smaller employers to dump coverage for employees and push them into a government program.

    Taxes are going up for virtually everyone.

    Most of these people and quite possibly, family members and friends will likely see themselves as losers in HCR. Ray and many others appear to see themselves as winners. That is to be expected. But it is unreasonable, IMO, to expect people who lost something that they've been told is theirs to feel positive about HCR.

    "Eventually HCR will be seen as the best thing since civil rights, except by a few bigots" is simply not true. Losing choices, paying more, and getting angry about it is not bigotry.

    This is different than Social Security or Medicare. Those programs, whether you like them or hate them, created a new social contract — you pay this tax while you work and you get these benefits when you retire. The social contract was offered to all Americans. FDR and LBJ made the sales.

    But Obama's new social contract says, I'm taking from many so that some others can get the benefits. From a political prospective, that is a very different social contract (it's redistribution of income to benefit only a few — always a tough sell) and, IMO, explains why HCR is much less popular and why a goodly number of elected officials who voted for HCR will have ex- before their title come November 2010.


  18. Larry G Avatar

    Both Medicare and SS have gone through revisions because their initial versions had flaws – and they still do.

    Remember – at the beginning, Obama wanted a similar plan for HC. They even called it Medicare for all – universal coverage.

    The Republicans and lobbyists took to it with knives an axes an this is what survived.

    Remember also, The Republicans could have done their own version of HC and prophylactically made it difficult for Obama to "reinvent the wheel" even if he didn't like the Republican version.

    This is what much of the continuing political fight is about.

    Anything that Obama proposes/does is wrong …"too much", etc but these same issues, the Republicans chose to not act – even as they were warned about the structural deficit consequences of not acting.

    So now.. the many who were ok with the Republicans not acting and not dealing with the problems want to "blame Obama" for doing what the Republicans chose to ignore.

    And now.. these same folks believe if we throw out the Dems and then Obama that the Republicans will set things right.

    I'm not going to do my ha ha ha here but really… I have to ask.. what exactly is reasonable about folks who think like this?

    It's almost as if the Republicans want to be in charge but they don't want to actually deal with the tough issues because their ideology says that this country is Capitalistic and the private sector deals with these problems an the govt should stay out of it…

    they say this at the same time they are saying – "and keep your socialistic hands off of my Medicare and SS.

    These guys are ZEROS.

    they main shtick is idealogical rhetoric like "Contract or America".

    All talk – no walk.

    They would not do HC. Obma tried to ..and they hacked it up as best they could and now they say HC is a CF.


  19. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry, with all due respect, you are not addressing the issue. The issue is that Obama's plan creates a large number of "losers." For example, I used to work for a large company a number of years ago and still keep in loose touch with some former co-workers, most of whom are retired and receive supplemental medical benefits from the company. Most of them are worried that they will lose those benefits because of HCR. They are generally p*ssed. They don't care whether the GOP had a plan or has a plan. All they know, is that the president has obtained legislation that they believe will hurt and not help them.

    Perhaps, the GOP has not worked HCR because most of its constituents are already covered. I don't know. But Obama does not get a pass because he wants to cover a lot of his constituents who aren't covered. Taking things away from people is hard to do. Look at the significant numbers of Democrats in Congress who are very nervous about letting the Bush tax cuts expire with huge increases in tax bills.

    Gerry Connolly, who is a fairly liberal guy, opposes these tax increases, significantly because many of his constituents will be hurt. It's the same story.


  20. Larry G Avatar

    we're actually in agreement about the current HCR.

    All I"m saying is that voting for Republicans is not going to fix it and the Republicans are not about to tell the employers to rewind after they have already dumped their people to Obamacare.

    so what exactly are these folks expecting the Republicans to do?

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry, just like voters wanted the Democrats to punish the GOP in 2006& 2008, voters want to punish Democrats in 2010.

    Unwinding is not easy, so I'm not sure what would happen. Congress could start by prohibiting the Administration from spending money on HCR implementation. But I would also think that Congress would need to work on a center-right HCR bill instead of a left-center bill that passed.

    We also need to get the economy straightened out. We need to shrink the size of the financial services sector substantially and make it very unattractive to be traders and more attractive to be a long-term investor. Solid growth would help in lots of areas, including health care.

    I ran into a guy last Sunday who works for Tesla Motors. How exciting! A group of American business people actually got together and built an exciting new automobile that is all electric. Whether Tesla makes it long run or not is not critical. What is critical is for investments in companies like Tesla to be made. Tesla is more important to U.S. success than the ability of Wall Street to trade carbon credits or carbon credit derivatives.


  22. Anonymous Avatar

    'Medicare for all' would entail that everybody who isn't miserably poor to have no fewer than 2 private health insurance plans or deep pockets. Medicare A (free) and B (96.40 for most & 110.50 for new 2010 clients) does not cover all hospitalization and providers. B covers only 80%. Most of those who don't qualify for Medicaid assitance – and you have to be reallllly low-income for that – either pay for supplemental policies for what A & B doesn't cover plus their drug policies or take their chances on whopping big medical bills. I have couples living on $1800 a month paying close to $200 for part B and between $320-400 for supplemental insurance PLUS hundred of dollars for their drugs & drug policies.

    TMT, one thing that you didn't mention that I am quite concerned about is that if Medicare payments aren't kept sufficiently high enough to make Medicare attractive to doctors, we may see doctors stop taking new Medicare patients at just the time that we 'baby boomers' start qualifying for Medicare. We have seen doctors and dentists down here refuse to take Medicaid patients or restrict how many they take because they lose money on each one.

    They are cutting something like $450 billion from Medicare over 10 years but didn't bother to add to HCR the 'doc fix' that keeps Medicare payments to doctors from serious cuts. This fix just occurred in June (I think) and IMO it is kept out of the HCR law to keep the costs down. Blue smoke and mirrors.

    We are starting to see companies cut back or drop retirees from their insurance plans.

    I don't much like Medicare Advantage plans but I sign up people who can't afford supplemental plans because at least the MA usually set out-of-pocket limits. FWIW the best and least expensive MA in 2009 went out of business so we had to switch those clients into another plan for 2010. We just got word that that one is going out of business in 2011. What will we see for 2011? We don't know right now – maybe by October.

    So much for the promise that you can see whatever doctor you want and keep your insurance if you like it. It isn't hard to see how the 'death panel' rumor gets credence, however farfetched it may be.

    Drugs? There's a plan to close the doughnut hole by 2019 in part with a 50% discount on brand names starting in 2011, but I suspect we'll just see big pharma up prices on drugs and the insurance companies just move the most expensive ones off their formularies.

    There is much to like in HCR but I have a very uneasy feeling that we are going to see the good part before 2012 and the not so good parts thereafter. True, Larry, it can and will be modified at what I suspect will be huge cost increases like to 'doc fix'. I don't believe that we have been dealt with honestly as to how this HCR will work and what it will cost.

    I don't mean to belabor Medicare because I know that people with Medicare generally fare better than a lot who don't have it, but that's the area I know best.

    Deena Flinchum

  23. Larry G Avatar

    Thanks Deena for adding perspective. The shedding of people from private health care was already in full bloom before Obama came to office – right?

    I think it continued after he came to office but instead of then being without recourse, Obomacare became a defacto-safety net.

    Now – the question is this.

    Let's assume the Republicans take back control.

    Are they going to be perceived as throwing those who are on Obama-care to the wolves?

    Is that what voters will vote for?

    Will the election boil down to whoever has the bigger majority of voters – those who already have it or those who do not have it?

    TMT, can you or someone else reading here come up with an alternative scenario for a Republican return to control?

  24. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry, I say that, just as with Bush, voter anger was broader than Iraq, voter anger is broader than HCR. The Stimulus has been an absolute failure except to retain public sector union people on the payroll. The mortgage bailout program is generally regarded as a failure. Freddie and Fannie remain unfettered. Wall Street continues its derivatives, gambling, etc. The debt skyrockets. Joblessness remains high. Obama wants a path to citizenship before securing the borders. He wants to enrich Wall Street through carbon trading.

    I'd say there are plenty of things to cause problems for Democrats this election, just as there were for the GOP in the two previous.


  25. Larry G Avatar

    but TMT – we ALREADY KNOW how the Republicans dealt with these issues – right?

    I'm just flummoxed that the folks who ran away from the Republicans into the arms of Obama actually think that the Republicans are going to actually deal with any of these issues any better than they did before.

    They don't even agree among themselves on how to deal with these issues.

    What we have is pretty much uniform opposition to what Obama did – which – in truth – was at least SOMETHING compared to the what the Republicans did.

    I do not see an agenda from the Republicans at all.

    What will they REPLACE Obamacare with after they REPEAL it?

    Do you think folks are so mad that they'll vote FOR the Republicans when they offer no clear alternative plan?

    Give Obama credit – he told everyone he was shooting for UHC.

    Those who voted for him have no excuse that they did not know his positions.

    What is the Republican Plan for Health Care?

    People will vote for them without knowing what it is?

    Isn't that why they voted for Obama over them in the first place?

  26. Larry G Avatar

    Don't get me wrong TMT. There are problems aplenty. Obamacare is truly a CF … but force into being a CF by actions to oppose so many other potential paths for it that we ended up with the best of the worst options…

    The Republicans have no plan.


    They're going into the election with promises to do "something".

    this is hilarious.

  27. Anonymous Avatar

    'Obomacare became a defacto-safety net.'

    For whom? Mainly the uninsured and about half of that will be by extending Medicaid to people not now covered. OK. But people with Medicare are not uninsured. People will be faced with increased health care/insurance expenses.

    As I said, about half of the new coverage for the uninsured will be expanding Medicaid. OK. Many states are already having problems paying for their existing Medicaid clients and are talking about cut-backs. The federal government will pick up the slack for several years. Then what? Unfunded mandates?

    It's true that companies have been dropping coverage or increasing co-pay, etc for years but a June 12th WP story notes that in 3 years, over half of current workers will be in plans that fall under the new federal requirements. Many if not most will be required to make changes and most of these changes will be accompanied by a cost which must be paid by somebody. Then what?

    I'm not arguing for a return to Bush II. As I said, there are many good things in the HCR law. This doesn't change the fact that there will be a not inconsequential amount of bad outcomes that we are NOT being prepared for. Why not?

    Deena Flinchum

  28. Larry G Avatar

    Okay Deena – simple question.

    How many folks will end up without any insurance at all without Obamacare?

    or let's turn this around.

    How many more people will have insurance once Obamacare is repealed?

    The solution to entitlements unfortunately is to cut benefits.

    This will hurt people but it's better than continuing a program that is not sustainable and will fail – leaving people with no insurance.

    Every time I see the Scooter Commercial on TV – I hear this:

    " if we Pre-Qualify you and you are on Medicare – we GUARANTEE you a scooter."

    Now .. I'm not against scooters nor am I against increased quality of life for those who have mobility deficits – but the bigger question here is –

    can we afford to supply everyone who wants one – a multi-thousand dollar scooter?

    we cannot.

    we simply cannot have a health care system that gives some people scooters while denying others root canals or cancer surgery.

    we have to made the hard choices necessary to preserve the overall framework of a program whose stated purpose is not soup-to-nuts health care – but a safety net for those who would become destitute without it.

    I'm beside myself on this.

    The Dems seem to want to ignore the fiscal realities and have nirvana for all but the Republicans are just plain dunderheads on this because, they don't have a plan to speak of.

    They want folks to elect them – without a stated agenda – and then let them do whatever they think needs to be done.

    The only problem is that we already have a track record for them on that kind of agenda.

    What reason do we have to think they would do things any differently than they did before?

    The reality is pretty stark.

    We cannot afford to fund Medicare (or MedicAid) at the levels we are currently doing and we must cut them an yes.. people are going to get hurt.

    People won't get their scooters their hip replacements nor their brand name drugs.

    too bad… real life has come back and it's not leaving…

  29. Anonymous Avatar

    'Every time I see the Scooter Commercial on TV – I hear this:

    " if we Pre-Qualify you and you are on Medicare – we GUARANTEE you a scooter."

    Relax, Larry. Medicare DOESN'T pay for scooters, no mater what you see on TV. Walkers and wheelchairs – if needed – yes, but no scooters, which are considered a convenience. In fact a couple of years ago, a guy in Ohio got sent up for pitching scooters to seniors and then sending them an $8000 wheelchair, which they clearly didn't need or want, and billing Medicare for it. Made a bundle, he did, until he got caught.

    One thing in HCR that should make this sort of fraud less common is improved electronic medical records. Howard Chapman whom I mentioned earlier got a grant for this very thing.

    I agree that we are going to face rationing one way or another. We can't afford everything. However children who had Medicaid for dental care but couldn't find a dentist who would see them were just as uncovered for care as the children without Medicaid.

    If we 'cover' people with Medicare or Medicaid or any other plan that doesn't pay health care professionals enough that they will accept it, what will happen is they will hit the emergency rooms.

    What we are seeing now is the rise of what is called concierge medicine: You basically pay a doctor for special attention. Will seniors – and others – who can afford this extra cost fare better than those who don't?

    I am not asking for repeal of HCR – just honesty as to what it will actually do. I think that most people are willing to make at least some sacrifices for the common good but nobody likes being deceived and that's what I see going on here.

    Deena Flinchum

  30. Larry G Avatar

    Denna – here's the Ad:

    "If your limited mobility is the result of a qualifying medical condition and prevents you from accomplishing basic day-to-day tasks independently in your home, Medicare could cover 80% of the cost of your new power chair or scooter. And if you have supplemental insurance, it may cover the remaining 20%. That means the mobility you need could cost you little to nothing!

    The mobility experts at The SCOOTER Store work with Medicare and private insurance companies every day. Call us today to see whether you may be able to get your power chair or scooter at little or no cost to you."

    on ObamaCare – my question remains – will more people or less people have access to medical care if ObamaCare is repealed?

    In other words – if ObamaCare is the mess that many feel that it is – should we repeal it and end up with a lot more folks who have no coverage at all?

    What should we be advocating for INSTEAD OF ObamaCARE?

    My view is that if you ask most Republicans – what the advocate is abolition of ObamaCare .. and a "discussion" about what to do next – while the folks without access to medical care – wait.

    And you are correct Deena.

    At some point – more and more Doctors are going to refuse Medicare.

    But with respect to "rationing", I'd only point out that when our health care policies result in people having no coverage at all – that, that IS rationing also.

  31. Larry G Avatar

    Deena – you may have also noticed the plethora of brand name drugs advertised on TV today which say "check with your Doctor to see if it is appropriate for you".

    Many, many of these drugs have generic equivalents available at 1/10th the cost of the advertised drugs (which almost surely have the cost of the advertising embedded in their costs".

    who do we think are paying for these ultra-expensive drugs when generic equivalents to many do exist for $5 month?

    it's this kind of thing that is destroying Medicare in my view.

    it was never intended to pay for premium health care and yet we now have folks who think that they are entitled to 2, 3, 4, 10 times in benefits than what they paid into the system.

    At some point – each person needs to have a Medicare balance that when it runs out – you go onto a destitute basis which provides only the bare minimums.

    Medicare has become much like private insurance where as long as someone is 'covered', they really don't care how much they need something or even how much it costs.

    The difference is the private providers get to dump their most expensive consumers to help keep costs down for the rest while Medicare cannot.

  32. Anonymous Avatar


    Note the use of 'power chair'. Medicare does not cover scooters. At least once a year, we get a refresher course on Medicare fraud and as recently as last May, Medicare doesn't cover scooters. This ad is a come-on. I suspect that those 'power chairs' are what you and I would call wheelchairs. And, yes, indeed, if your doctor says you need one, you can get one. But you usually need to be unable to get around without one. It's not uncommon to have people who need one temporarily such as after certain surgery to rent one until they are mobile again.

    Whenever I run a Medicare Drug plan search, I routinely run the "Lower My Costs" section that shows lower cost generics for drugs and most people are thrilled to get the info. Some people do have difficulty with generics but most are more than willing to try. Those brand name drugs drive my clients into the 'doughnut hole' where they have to pay for their own drugs – plus the premium – often for 6 months or more. Next year they get a 50% break on brand-names assuming that the drug is covered by their plan in the first place. The break on generics is 7%. That's right – seven.

    I would love to see drug ads removed from TV. And there is no question in my mind that the drug companies simply bought doctors with trips, honorariums, etc. That has mercifully been curbed somewhat.

    I am a bit worn out by spending the last few months of every year dealing with low-income people who are diabetic, in the 'doughnut hole', and can't afford to pay full price for insulin. I am hoping that the FQHC's that may be starting up here in the next two years – and which have been around for decades – will help this.

    I repeat myself: I am not calling for repeal of HCR. I am calling for honesty in what it will do and what it will cost.

    I have documents filed with my doctor and the local hospital noting that I don't want heroic measures if things look bad for me. I am willing to pay more in taxes. I am willing to pay more for my health care. I am NOT willing to be deceived and that is what is going on here. The costs and the consequences have been deliberately low-balled.

    Deena Flinchum

  33. "..each person needs to have a Medicare balance that when it runs out – you go onto a destitute basis which provides only the bare minimums."

    Dumb idea.

    Some people drop dead without warning and some sufer debilitating and painful illnesses for years. The first would waste money buy paying for coverage they never got, and th esecond group would waste money by paying for coverage that wasn't enough and did no good in the end.

  34. Larry G Avatar

    " Dumb idea."

    yes it was.

    it was motivated in part as a way to inform people as to how much they put into Medicare and how much they have taken out of it.

    Perhaps that's all that is needed to get people to realize where the problems are.

    just tell them how much they paid into it and how much they've taken out of it.

  35. The Ships’s Voyages…

    I think technological know-how just can make it even worse. Now there’s a channel to never ever care, now there will not be considered a chance for them to discover….

Leave a Reply