Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Like I'm a tell yuh

Sadly, due to taking a new job and not yet being able to sell my place in Boston, I'm making a ridiculous commute every day from what was supposed to be my weekend home in Connecticut to Providence. A secondary adverse effect is a serious NPR overdose. This morning I had to listen to Mara Liasson or Marr Eliason or whatever her name is explain that even if Paul Ryan's plan to cut Medicare wasn't popular with the voters the Democrats weren't serious because they didn't have a plan to cut Medicare and Medicare needs to be cut whether the voters like it or not, and Bill Clinton is a wise statesman for congratulating Paul Ryan on being serious because Medicare is going to ruin us all. (And what the hell is wrong with Clinton all of a sudden anyway?)

Listen Marr, the Democrats do have a strategy for containing Medicare costs and they even managed to sneak some of it into the health care reform act whereupon the Republicans accused them of cutting Medicare by $500 million dollars and thereby took control of the House, where they will absolutely not allow any of the very necessary and beneficial actions we can take, right now, to rein in the cost of Medicare without hurting beneficiaries. But either you don't understand anything about health care policy, or you just pretend not to for the sake of Fairness and Balance, or a little bit of both.

Here Dr. Rita Redberg explains it so even an NPR "reporter" can understand it. Medicare spends a whole lot of money on stuff that doesn't benefit patients, and might even harm them. Doctors and drug companies and medical device companies pocket that money, which is why Republicans start screaming about death panels and socialism and bureaucrats telling your doctor what to do every time anybody tries to do anything about it. The new structures created by the Affordable Care Act -- the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute and the Independent Payment Advisory Commission -- could do something about this, but Congress intentionally made them toothless because they collect too much money from the industries that want to keep the gravy flowing; and/or they're scared to death of the ads accusing them of "cutting Medicare" and setting up death panels and being communists.

So here's what we need to do. Stop using the language of "cutting" Medicare because that doesn't work. Start using the language of preserving Medicare, making it secure, making it efficient, making it do what's best for patients and taxpayers at the same time, making save money by taking better care of patients. This is not a contradiction at all: saving money and taking better care of people are the same thing. If Nancy Pelosi can find a way to get that message through the concrete skull of people like Marr Eliason or whatever her name is, there may be hope for us.

1 comment:

roger said...

i remember listening to marr's coworker at npr, ba bedwards.

fair and fox.

i suspect that some of the dems also want that corporate money to keep flowing.