The Romney-Ryan promise to “protect and strengthen Medicare” does not auger well for Americans looking forward to retirement, or concerned about aging parents. Since 1964, seniors facing the medical and financial uncertainties that come with advancing years have had Medicare’s guarantee of access to health care and payment of covered benefits. It has been a godsend for the aged fearing or facing sickness and hard times, and assurance to families who might otherwise have to cope with mom and dad’s inability to pay their medical bills.
In 2012, health care security is a paramount concern as our population ages. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that “nearly half of all Medicare beneficiaries have three or more chronic conditions, nearly one-third have a cognitive or mental impairment, and more than one-fourth report being in fair or poor health.” Additionally, as a category, Medicare beneficiaries depend on Social Security as their primary source of income, with almost half of them living on incomes of less than twice the federal poverty level.
Prospectively, Romney-Ryan would effectively deny people like them — the aged, infirm and impecunious — Medicare’s uniform, comprehensive benefits. Instead, a senior, perhaps with mental impairment, diabetes, high blood pressure or a history of arrhythmia, a fixed-amount... Read More