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December 4th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should Medicare cuts be part of health care reform?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Senate has voted to cut almost $500 billion from Medicare as a way to help pay for health care reform. Is that an oxymoron?

Health care reform supporters participate in a sit-in inside the lobby of a Manhattan building.

Health care reform supporters participate in a sit-in inside the lobby of a Manhattan building.

Republicans tried to stop it - but failed. The esteemed senators apparently think they can cut that much from Medicare without hurting seniors. They better hope the seniors agree with them. They insist Medicare is already in trouble and needs to be fixed, "not raided to create another new government program."

Senator John McCain is recording a phone message meant for voters - urging against the proposed cuts in Medicare.

But Democrats say the Republicans are making false claims about the $460 billion in cuts and they insist there's a lot of waste, fraud and abuse that can be cut from Medicare. Keep in mind - they also need to find a way to pay for the nearly $1 trillion health care plan.

The Democrats say the bill won't reduce guaranteed Medicare benefits for seniors, and that it would extend Medicare solvency for another five years.

The AARP supports the proposed Medicare cuts over 10 years - thus giving the Democrats political cover in their push to cut back subsidies to private Medicare plans along with payments to hospitals, hospices, home health agencies and other providers.

Medicare is an extremely popular program among seniors. For some it's the only healthcare they have. Is it really a good idea to cut all this money out of a government-run health program that actually works?

Here’s my question to you: Should Medicare cuts be part of health care reform?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Joe writes:
You have to separate "waste," which should be cut, from "services," which had better not be cut. I think this looks like just another scheme of the Republicans to scare and fool us old folks.

Brad writes:
The cuts will come in situations like this one just experienced by my 86-year-old aunt: She was taken to the emergency room. She gave a urine sample and was then sent home. The hospital billed $1,800 to Medicare… The problem is not health care costs, it's the charges!

Johnny from Los Angeles writes:
Jack, The reductions need to be extracted, and quickly. This is the biggest eye-opener in the whole legislation. If there is waste in the system, you do not need a law to change it so take it out. This foolish game by the Democrats to keep costs down at the expense of our senior community, which needs the services more than the non-insured, is ludicrous.

Akra writes:
Absolutely. The Republicans are surging ahead in the race to irrelevancy and the Democrats need a big move to catch up. Throwing themselves on the third rail of Medicare is a sure-fire way to 'get er done'.

N. writes:
Since when has the Medicare system actually worked? Coming from someone in health care, it doesn't and never has.

Lia form Bradenton, Florida writes:
Every year since we've had Medicare, it's always been the Republicans who have railed at how inefficient and wasteful the program is. Now that a Democratic president is finally going to do something about it, they decide to scare granny and gramps with the Chicken Little routine. Unbelievable! As with just about everything else, this federal program's overhaul is long overdue. And nobody's going to die because of it.

Linda from Arizona writes:
Just do it. I'm tired of dithering.


Filed under: Health care
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Bill Wv

    What the Hell, the old folks are gonna die soon anyway, Lets cut the the services they worked and paid for all their lives and give it to the more deserving illegals and veteran welfare recipients.

    December 4, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  2. Dottore Giorgio in Italy

    Medicare cuts should not be part of health care reform! Senoir citizens need their present health care entitlements, to maintain any possibility of leading a semblance of a healthy life style! Shame on the American Medical Association, for being against the health care of Americans, and promoting the rising costs and even less access to medical care in the United States! AMA, your days are numbered, and your greed, lies, and theft will all be disclosed by president Obama and his staff, and by honest people!

    December 4, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  3. Paul, Austin, Texas

    Why not you need to get a policy as a supliment to Medicare now and that can be covered by that policy.

    December 4, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  4. Dave Schreiber

    No. It only serves to muddy the water that already looks like the Mississippi as it is.

    December 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  5. J.D. in N.H.

    The cuts proposed for Medicare are primarily 2 things: doing away with waste, fraud and abuse and eliminating the big insurance subsidy for "Medicare Advantage." Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage provide the same services. The difference is that years ago Republicans gifted big insurance with giant subsidies to administer Medicare benefits for the suckers they managed to sign up. With health insurance companies making billions in profits, there is no need to keep giving them a subsidy from the taxpayers.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  6. bob frompa

    i paid all my life for medicare now i have to give it up for a illegal immigrant and don't tell me they are not included in the bills they are in the sen and house is this what are sons and husbans aqre fighting for

    December 4, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  7. Jack Carlson

    Were they to prove they can CUT waste, then yes. The CUTS should be applied to the Medicare Program that Seniors have paid into for 50 yrs, not somewhere else as the Democrats want.
    If they can cut waste, why has it not been accomplished in 2009? We see no actions or efforts in that area to that affect by this Whitehouse, do you?
    Jack C
    WA

    December 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  8. Luci - Pekin, IL.

    If they cut it out of the waste and corruption part it will be o.k., but they shouldn't take away what they are paying to Doctors that are fair etc.
    They will have to check the Doctors that are thieves.
    They pretend that they are treating people and they aren't.
    Then those Doctors collect millions of dollars illegally.
    WASTE AND CORRUPTION!!!

    December 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  9. Jane J

    This Whitehouse and Congress is setting itself up for a major revolt; and not just be seniors.
    This revolt started w/Tea Parites in a small way and will increase unless they can find some common sense – but we don't believe they are more intelligent then to read well (teleprompter) or read lies in their speeches. Just heard one today by Dodd.
    Jane J
    Co

    December 4, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  10. Tom in Atlanta

    Only if they are part of a larger, comprehensive reform that makes sense.

    Which they are.

    Bear in mind that Republicans want to create a "death panel" of legislators that will cut Medicare and Social Security far more. You didn't ask about that I see.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  11. Johnny C (Los Angeles)

    Jack –

    The reductions need to be extracted ... and quickly. This is the biggest eye-opener in the whole legislation. If there is waste in the system, you do not need a law to change it so take it out.

    This foolish game by the DEMS to keep costs down at the expense of our senior community who need the services more than the 4% non-insured is ludicrous.

    This is not supposed to be a money game, nor a marketing campaign to hide costs ... leave medicare alone .... fix it behind the scenes and show the savings as measures are implemented.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  12. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, sure, right after they cut off Medicaide completely. We seniors are expendable, haven't you gotten the word. Never mind that we paid into Medicare for most of our lives, we must care for those americans and illegal aliens who have never contributed a dime to the system. That is the welfare state's way of doing things. They WILL end up cutting senior's services to the bone in this effort to nationalize health care, and using the money (while it lasts) to give health care to the Democratic welfare power base, and by the time working people wake up it will be a done deal, a brand new multi-Trillion dollar entitlement that taxpayers will pay for through their noses forever.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  13. Rick Medina,OH

    Jack,

    Over the last seven months, I haven't heard much discussion of health care reform. The discussion has been about the extent of the federal government in health care. Perhaps, that is why it takes over 2000 pages to produce a bill. Nothing, including Medicare, should be off the table.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    December 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  14. george

    NO, if anything Medicare could also use some reform to make it better. There are a lot of gaps in medicare too, especially those made just to accommodate Insurance Companies. It would be best just to offer full coverage to everyone, and then there wouldn't be anyone left out, or wondering if they are covered for certain things. How do we pay for it is another story, but making insurance executives wealthy off of the backs of those who are ill is totally ridiculous.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  15. southerncousin

    Unless there is a union or ACORN ilnvolved yes according to this administration and congress. Probably would not have to cut Medicare if they had meaningful tort reform or allowed selling of policies across state lines, but.......this is a liberal democratic bill and they cannot loose the support of the trial lawyers or the dope smoking, non workers, who can't pass a drug test and love Oprah. We spent $3 trillion on the "Great Society" with absolutley no improvement in our society except to increase the entitlement class that votes for Obama. This is nothing but a continuation of the "Great Society" at the expense of people who actually work and pay taxes. Obama, one and done.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  16. Tony from Southport

    NO. Why should they be? We have paid into medicare for years, and now that we are supposed to benefit from those payments, they want to cut the benefits. Sounds like RATIONING to me Jack.

    I guess the Democrats believe that when you reach a certain age, your life isn't worth living anymore, so if you get sick....sorry....we don't have the money.... but John Murtha can send millions to his district to fund an airport that has 5 planes a day, and happens to bear his name. Nice going Demobrats! Steal our money and then let us die.

    Too old to be allowed to live? Let's get the people back in office who care about seniors.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  17. Joe CE

    Any cost reduction due to cuttting fraud is a good thing. Any other reductions in Medicare is objectionable. We don't know what the final provisions will be – if there is ever a Bill.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  18. David Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    No of course not.................this idea is just another flim flam from a congress that mis-managed every job they have voted on. So this is no
    surprise...................What a joke !!!! And please always remember folks
    Its me me me and re-election first and people and country second.
    David

    December 4, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  19. Akra Don

    Absolutely. The republicans are surging ahead in the race to irrelevancy and the democrats need a big move to catch up. Throwing themselves on the third rail of medicare is a surefire way to 'get er done'.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  20. Jane (Minnesota)

    If what is being called a cut in medicare is really an elimination of fraud and waste then absolutely it should be included.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  21. Rebecca in SC

    Certainly the subsidies for Medicare Advantage should be cut. People in those programs did not pay higher medicare taxes in their working years than those in traditional medicare, so their benefits should not be 12-14% higher (chiefly to pad the profits of the insurance companies). And certainly medicare should aggressively fight the fraud that is so much a part of the system. On the other hand, we need to stop threatening doctors with annual pay cuts if we want to have service providers willing to take medicare patients. If we had not funneled money to the insurance companies and ignored fraud over the years, the pay cuts would never have been a problem.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  22. Ray Lao

    should your life be at risk cause of politics? think jack you know the answer you always do

    December 4, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  23. Amy from CA

    Since these cuts are meant to remove waste from the system, then they make plenty of sense.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  24. RichP the Pocono's

    Nope, when you start a new program you have to cover the old program till the old program users are either covered or no longer need it unless the new program is just as good or better.

    December 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  25. JENNA

    Should Medicare cuts be part of health care reform?

    Yes, because we need to get a handle on all that waste and abuse.

    Plus too there needs to be a law that says that we can't borrow against it, like we did to help pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. That is NOT what Medicare funding is for.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    December 4, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  26. Harold, in ANCHORAGE, AK

    NO,NO,NOand NO
    we need to extend Medicare to ALL citizens

    December 4, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  27. Michael Alexandria, VA

    No, they should be part of entitlement reform. Health care reform should be paid for by having insurance companies which deny coverage to individuals pay the "employer share" in the public option. Employer mandates should be funded by a 10% payroll tax, with offsets for providing coverage.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  28. James

    No it should be left alone.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  29. Danes Basilisk

    It should but it won't because of the doublethink of boomers that enjoy Medicare and Social Security while at the same time condemning government programs, as well as the tit-for-tat playbook of the GOP to oppose anything the Dems do, even if cutting back Medicare to sustainable levels is something they were arguing no less than a month ago. A bill will be passed but it will not change anything including Medicare.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm |
  30. Jackie in Dallas

    Emphatically, NO, Jack! Medicare has already felt the knife of 8 years of Republicans trying to privatize it and get rid of it...instead, it should be properly funded. That's not to say that there isn't waste and mis-management, but that can be dealt with without cutting the care provided!

    December 4, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  31. BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    ABSOLUTELY! The unnecessary, invasive procedures MUST stop. So much wasteful spending, & fraud over the years, (worse now than ever in the past), can't continue. Doctors must no longer be paid by procedure; it's not ethical to make patients suffer through tests & surgeries THAT ARE NOT NECESSARY, so doctors can line their pockets. (Who ever came up with such a flawed idea?) There are countless examples of wastage, but lying to patients, to make doctors wealthy, is by far the biggest money waster.When Medicare is tightened up, is efficient, & running the way the President wants it to, (like a well-oiled machine), the patients will receive the care they need. After careful consition, & having scrutinized every minute detail, AARP, (champion of senior citizens), HAS GIVEN ITS BLESSING TO THE PROPOSAL OF CUTTING $460 BILLION OF WASTEFUL SPENDING FROM MEDICARE, IN ORDER TO INCREASE BENEFITS TO ITS PATIENTS. (AARP.org) Seems like every REASONABLE American,(that leaves out the corrupt Republicans/Dirty Dogs),agrees

    December 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  32. Ken in Mt

    If they are to add in malpractice reform and do something to cut the fraudulent billing of the system I suspect that they could do well at doing that.
    the socialized medicine systems that we have ( military hospitals, and VA) are doing fairly well currently.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  33. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    The proposed legislation I saw increased medicare. In fact, some representatives want medicare for all. That is proven most cost effective. Republican insistence on protecting Big Business profits looks as though it may force them to compromise to attain 60 votes.

    Are you talking about eliminating waste and fraud? Reducing the blizzard of forms and paperwork in the present insurance company attempt to obstruct coverage isn't called medicare cuts. It is called crime prevention.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  34. Christian the Great

    Yes Jack, if you cut Medicare, people would waste less. Apply the old saying here Jack. "You don't miss it, until it's gone."

    December 4, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  35. Jim Z

    Spencerport, NY

    Jack,
    No. I'd rather have Congressional reform than health care reform. Fix what is the most broken first. When government meddles in what should be private, it destroys all possibility of treating people equally. This is wrong.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  36. Carl D.

    Jack,

    Absolutely not! Wouldn't that be defeating the purpose. This plan is about all us older folks who worked hard all our lives can hope for.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  37. Marcy from Margate, Florida

    Before Congress cuts Medicare, we should all be put on the Congressional Health Care or better yet, put Congress on the Health Care for the Citizens of the United States and the Illegals.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  38. Ed Lexington, KY

    Jack,

    I believe I heard on CNN the other day that part of the cuts are from a $3.60 per month fee for every person on Medicare that goes directly to insurance companies. Don't have any idea how much money that would be per year - but it's a lot!

    You talk about waste in government, cutting that out alone would be a good start. Oh, and yes, I'm retired and on Medicare, and since AARP is on board with this, so am I.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  39. Brad Daniel Phillips

    I don't know how many times the public will have to be told the Medicare cuts will not cut the benefits and care of our precious elderly citizens. The cuts will come in situations just experienced by my 86 year old aunt. She was taken to the emengency room, gave a urine sample, then sent home. The hospital billed $1,800.00 to Medicare. Jack, you and 'ol Wolf "Whisker" know the meaning of the word "gouge". The problem is not health care costs; it's the charges!

    December 4, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  40. A. Smith, Oregon

    No Jack, unless their is a direct overlap in services.

    Many American Medical Association doctors refuse to have more than a token few medicare patients, simply because they don't make any money off of them!

    If there is a public option which America desperately needs, its entirely likely the AMA MD's will refuse to add more than a small handful to their existing patient care lists.

    America is slipping into a third world state Jack and there are no life boats!

    December 4, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  41. John from Alabama

    Jack: AARP, AMA, and the American Nursing Association supports the cuts to medicare over the next 10 years. The Republicans do not support anything that might upset health Insurance companies. The Republicans are the party of no, and this is why Health Care Reform should pass. The Republicans had 8 years to reform health care, and they did nothing. The party of nothing did nothing. A new definition of the Republicans.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  42. Sandra Williams

    No! Most doctors in our town already do not take any new Medicare patients. If Medicare is cut seniors might as well have no insurance! If no one takes it...is that how the new health care reform bill is going to work, too. You have insurance, but physicians do not have to accept it! What good will that do?

    December 4, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  43. Rick

    What a weird time this is. Republicans, who have worked against Medicare their whole careers, voting to support it??? No, there is much more at work here. And it is not pretty to see our representatives prostituting themselves for votes! Democrats, who have supported, even authored, Medicare legislation, argue that Medicate is a train on a track with the bridge out. Who do I believe?? The people that brought us there in the first place. If it takes cuts to one program to bring us a better health package overall, I am for it.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  44. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack this would be a dangerous approach for politicians to take. This would mean cutting 130 billion out of Medicare Advantage that over 11 million seniors use. It would also mean cutting 120 billion to hospitals that care for seniors as well as 40 billion to home healthcare for seniors. Another 15 billion to nursing homes and last but not least 8 billion to hospice care. The more cuts the government makes the fewer doctors there will be that except that type of insurance simply because they can not afford to do it. This all in the name of the Obama health care plan.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  45. James Johnson

    First of all the Healtcare so called Reform Bill is not 1 Trillion Dollars. They collect 10 yrs of taxes and enact cuts to pay for 5 yrs of Health Ins, thus to anyone over the age of five we can figure out it is at least a 2 Trillion Dollar HC Bill. Democrats who my father loved use to be honest, they lie like a trooper these days and are embarrassing. Why have they not cut all the so called waste already?
    The cuts will cause revolt from the Seniors and from young people who don't want to be forced to buy this farce.
    The Class Act that they talk about wherein one pays in for five yrs to the Gov't for daily care later is a laugh because the Congress will steal the money – when have they ever held in Trust anything Americans have paid for ? NEVER. Soc Sec, Medicare has all been pilfered.
    STOP THE SPENDING AND THE FARCE OF CUTTING BY SAVING WASTE...ITS A LIE.
    James J
    Wi

    December 4, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  46. Tom from Philly

    YES! The american tax base needs not be drained to pump more cash into private insurance. Federal Hospitals for anyone without private insurance, building and staffing these would be my new deal.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  47. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    If there is a lot of waste, fraud and abuse of Medicare who is responsible for allowing this to happen? Isn't this the same group that now wants to take over all health care in the US? I am a senior and will be impacted by the actions of the idiots on the hill. However, the impact on me will be much less than that which my children and grandchildren will have to endure. I say take the cuts now and hopefully our young will be able to elect future leaders who are truly concerned about doing the right thing for the American people. I can't see much of that concern in congress today.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  48. Dr. Jim Farrow (New Orleans)

    A sizeable chunk of the Medicare cuts come from getting rid of the for profit part of Medicare: the Medicare Advantage program which is long overdue to get rid of but a favorite of Republicans.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  49. Joe M

    Jack,

    Absolutely not! Seniors have paid into medicare most of their adult life and now the democrats want to cut their benefits in order to push a bill through that most of the population does not even want.
    Our leaders have lost their mind. Leave medicare alone and pass a bill that creates jobs. Something everyone wants!

    Joe M (Mn)

    December 4, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  50. Jeremy in Albuquerque

    Actually, Jack, the medicare/medicaid programs are barely working and need an overhaul to clean up the waste and corruption. Also, this proposal is PART of the health care bill that will add a public "option" for almost all Americans, including seniors. Those on medicare will not lose benefits, they just won't be the only people eligible for such benefits anymore, and AARP clearly sees this as they eye their future customers as well as their present ones.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  51. Bev -an American in Canada

    Jack

    Part of the reason to overhauling of the Healthcare is to cut out programs that are a waste and take up unnecessary funds e.g. if funds are used to test for octopic pregnancy in elderly females than it is money wasted. This allows funds secured for medicare to be used somewhere else more effectively e.g. provide longer homecare support for those who are bedridden. So, yes cut the pork away if it is useless or a waste. The president will never sign a bill that compromises healthcare for the elderly. His grandma will clobber him from the grave.

    December 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  52. fred hughes

    If there is truely that much waste in medicare, then it is a very good move because if there is that much waste, we know who's getting it. I'm sure that a few more cuts can be made in other government programs. But, as far as what John McCain has to say, I no longer trust a word he is saying.

    Fred
    Livingston, AL

    December 4, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  53. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Jack, are you kidding? Medicare is a "program that actually works"? It will be insolvent within 2 decades. They dramatically missed the estimated costs of the program and will burn through all their money leaving seniors in the cold without coverage. How does redirecting $500B improve this problem. Medicare is a financial train going down a track that ends at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Dems are trying to parlay this trainwreck into a financial atomic bomb in universal healthcare. As far as ridding the program of Fraud and abuse, why haven't they done so already? If it is so simple, why have these guys allowed it to persist all these years? When has the government actually eliminated waste and made things more efficient?

    December 4, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  54. Gail Tampa, Florida

    These old birds on Medicare are nothing more than sitting ducks for the medical profession. I've sold Medicare supplement ins. for 20 years and been in homes with 2 or 3 electric scooters that are paid for by Medicare, yet are seldom used or necessary.

    It seems my healthiest clients never go to the doctor, don't have shoe boxes full of pills, don't feel it's an event in their lives to visit a different doctor every day of the week just to get out of the house. This includes my healthy 86 yr. old mom who has never had a paps smear, mammogram, or even takes an asprin for the occasional headache in her life.

    I have never seen any system so abused as Medicare, and often wondered what ever happened to "if it aint broke, don't fix it" adage.

    Claims are now required to be filed by the medical professionals is what needs changing the most. This is when are the scams really began ripping off Medicare!

    December 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  55. gerry in toronto

    There have been multiple estimates totaling well over 500 billion of waste and fraud in the medicare system-the majority of it going to the insurance companies and other GOP supporters.

    Of course it should be cut-unless you're a republican who doesn't want his place in the public trove to be take away.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  56. Fred R Deleon

    You are right Jack. Medicare is very popular among seniors not only because Medicare help them and cure them but also Medicare for lot of seniors is all they have. Why seniors have to pick up the tab to cover
    some one else? Let the Congress and Senate cut their juicy salary in half. Wall Street can pick up the rest.

    Fred
    Indianapolis IN

    December 4, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  57. pat in michigan

    i would not mind the cuts if they were coupled with prison terms for medicaid fraud by doctors and ancillary service providers. I am experiencing the finacial abuse first hand by these crooks with my 86 yr old mother in law.but most of the abuse is at the hands of the prescription providers who are contacting with her pension provider. these charletons need to go to prison now . start with the board and ceo's

    December 4, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  58. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, not only is Medicare cuts needed it is necessary for Medicare to survive. How many times has CNN reported on Medicare fraud and unnecessary charges. This is not chump change that was involved but large sums of money. If we are to have a good functional Healthcare System we need to make these cuts. Having AARP which I am a member of supporting these cuts tells me I am right. As far as I am concerned I will probably be alright but it will be the people coming after me that won't have anything left if changes aren't made soon.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  59. Richard Green

    jack,

    The biggest cuts are to Medicare Advantage which is a profit driven outfit that administers some Medicare programs. The GOP is opposing cuts to them so strongly because THAT program is where most of the fraud and high costs come from.
    But, this bill is not the placed to deal with that. Pay for the health bill with a small (1/4 of 1% ) transaction tax on the UNTAXED $200 trillion dollar derivatves market. Problem solved without hurting our seniors or Medicare.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  60. ken from connecticut

    Absolutely not! If anything, they should add $500 billion to Medicare! These are our senior citizens. We should respect and honor them for what they've done for this country! Isn't it obvious that our country is in trouble financially. It's only a tactic to prolong our economy before the world economy starts anew. A one world government and world economy with a whole new set of rules. And we are not going to like them.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  61. Ed from California

    Medicare is in desperate need of computerization. Medicare needs to be modernized. All the Doctors in the Medicare network and who is treating the same patient(s) needs to be able to communicate with each other, about tests, procedures. IF Medicare doctors would work together, money would be saved. It's all up to Medicare to stop this waste, the doctors won't!

    December 4, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  62. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    The wastes that we incur because of scams should be eliminated and tests that are performed that are not necessary, like a pap smear on a 92 year old woman who is dying. Some people are billed for several specialists when they only need to see a GP and their family is told that all of the tests are necessary to make their parent more comfortable. This is what needs to be eliminated and cut.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  63. K

    Medicare works and provides insurance for us on Social Security. No cuts are necessary but since our politicians are always looking for scapegoats they will pick on us. Let our politicians utilize the same Medicare we do instead of their cadalac policies and see how they feel. It is pathetic enough that my premiums tripled this year and are going up an additional 10% next year with decreased beneifits, increased co-pays and escalating drug prices. Stop penalizing us!

    December 4, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  64. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    I think that cuts from the congressional health care plans would be more realistic for health care reform. But Congress will go about business as usual – rob the poor to give to the rich.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  65. Trueman

    Hi Jack,
    This is what's so entertaining about DC since last year: No matter how well-intentioned or responsible a move may be, the GOP can find a way to make it sound downright evil to anyone who only scans the headlines. First death panels, now this? Obama sounds like Satan wearing Hitler pyjamas! How on Earth could anybody vote for THAT ONE?

    December 4, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  66. Bob

    I'm all for cutting out waste as long as it doesn't affect the coverage our seniors are currently receiving. Let me get this right, isn't the republican party aggressively trying to stop the public health plan, but yet they're opposing cuts to a public plan for seniors? This is the scare tactic smoking gun!

    December 4, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  67. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    What needs to be cut is the graft and corruption involved in Medicare. Stricter laws and tighter oversight would seem to be a great way to save money instead of cutting services. It is a sad statement that fraud permeates our health care programs, so maybe we don't deserve anything better.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  68. john ..... marlton, nj

    STOP calling it reform !!.. It is an expanded entitlement program. It will do absolutely NOTHING to reform the delivery, cost or performance of healthcare, EXCEPT that the 85% of people that work and get healthcare coverage today will now be taxed and have to pay extra for the 15% that don't work and don't pay for their own coverage. Keeping in mind that almost ever child in the US has access to state programs, it would appear those that can look forward to the free "Obama Healthcare Ride" are those that don't work, and never will as long as everything is free. Stop peeing on my leg and proclaim it's raining !!

    December 4, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  69. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    Making these cuts on Medicare would be criminal for seniors who rely on this coverage. Why is AARP getting into the middle of this and condoning what Congress wishes to do? They received a lot of cut up cards once before in the mail and they may get a lot more now. It seems that Congress is aiming their arrows at women and seniors in this terrible health care bill that most Americans do not want. Why doesn't Congress eliminate the part that exempts them from this bill they are trying to shove down the throats of the rest of us? Election time can't come soon enough for me.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  70. john ..... marlton, nj

    Medicare spending for waste, fraud, and mal-practise should be cut, and please STOP calling it reform !!.. It is an expanded entitlement program. It will do absolutely NOTHING to reform the delivery, cost or performance of healthcare, EXCEPT that the 85% of people that work and get healthcare coverage today will now be taxed and have to pay extra for the 15% that don't work and don't pay for their own coverage. Keeping in mind that almost ever child in the US has access to state programs, it would appear those that can look forward to the free "Obama Healthcare Ride" are those that don't work, and never will as long as everything is free. Stop peeing on my leg and proclaim it's raining !!

    December 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  71. BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    Yes. IT'S IMPERITIVE, the only hope for Medicare, beloved by many, if it is to continue. It must be made efficient, or perish. Cut the extensive fraud & waste, & patients can get the care they deserve. AARP,(champion of senior citizens, AARP.org), agrees, adding that the HUGE, ($460 BILLION!!!), reduction in waste will give patients ADDED BENEFITS, MAKING MEDICARE MUCH BETTER than it currently is! The fraud is mainly committed by unethical doctors, prescribing unnecessary procedures, drugs, & SURGERY, to the detriment of their victims. (thisamericanlife.org) After the $$$BILLIONS$$$ given SO FAR, to Leiberman, Boehner, Grassley, Lindsey Graham, & the rest of the Republicans/Dirty Dog Dems, must be hopping mad by now, after so many endorsements of the President's healthcare bill, including AARP &the American Medical Assn.! Any bets on which underhand attack strategy the Republicans (LOSERS) will stoop to next? We can only imagine. . .

    December 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  72. frankie

    I am on Medicare and I say yes. Every single Republican prediction is based on the health care system as it is today, they are stuck in the status-quo, they refuse to take into account how things could work an improved and healthy American medical system. If McCain calls me on the phone I am going to go ballistic.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  73. Cal

    Jack,

    I am so "sick" of this (so-called) Health Reform, I could scream!!
    Just a second, while I do just that! OK, feel a little better, but not much.
    This is going to be just another "HUGE" Government run and controlled system it will just keep adding to our already "6 feet in the
    grave" mentality. I say, throw the BUMS out and let's start over! This
    is going to do nothing to help us "little people" and is surely going to
    be the final "nail in the coffin" for all of us. May God bless us one and
    all because HE is the only one who can! Take care, Jack.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  74. OBDAG in Appleton, WI

    Jack I have to admit I really don't care if Medicare cuts are part of the healthcare reform or not. What I do find a waste of time is for Sen. McCain to do or say anything on any topic. I just consider McCain just like I do Cheney – I don't want to see or hear anything from you; you are nothing but a washed up loser. It would be best if Cheney and McCain would just sit in their rocking chairs on the porch and on;y talk to each other. I know I don't have any interest in hearing what they have to say on any topic. What I do want to hear is that appropriate compromises have been agreed to and that healthcare reform has passed both houses of Congress and is on its way to the president for signature into law. On that I would like to hear about it yesterday.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  75. george

    Yes.Yes.Yes, Any thing to get this bill pass....Let's start saving lives

    December 4, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  76. Richard, Syracuse

    Please stop spreading the lies......What the Republicans are calling cuts are in fact putting a lid on abusive practices by Health Care that charge up to 700% more for a Wheel Chair to someone on Medicare than if You or I purchased the very same style and Model # directly.

    There is far too much fraud and waste in the Medicare Billing system and cutting the fraud will save Billions each and every year.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  77. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Yes, because the word reform means take out what is not working such as waste and or fraud and add in new benefits. Otherwise, we will always refuse to fix any government programme; it is not popular to do so and republicans can only scare people because they have been and are still afraid to make tough and unpopular decisions!

    December 4, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  78. Jeff in E. Lyme, CT

    Yes, the cuts in Medicare should be all subsidies (i.e. "free money) the Fed is presently giving to insurance companies to provide benefits that should come directly from Medicare. These subsidies were pushed through by corrupt bought-and-paid-for lawmakers years ago. They do not benefit Medicare recipients, they benefit only insurance companies. Righting this wrong will save billions without diminishing benefits to our Senior Citizens.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  79. Birddog in Mississippi

    Absolutely. The cuts proposed are $50 billion a year - which is a very, very small percentage of the Medicare spending. The cuts are made in very precise ways - they cut overpayments. It's amazing how people who scream about cutting waste then scream when waste is cut. It's also amazing that John McCain proposed much larger cuts to Medicare during the campaign - calling it waste - and yet yesterday proposed and amendment to remove these lesser cuts from the bill. Stunning hypocrisy. My parents are on Medicare so I have been following this closely - they will pay less & receive better benefits under the proposed legislation.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  80. Dennis North Carolina

    if the cuts will save the program than we need to do it.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  81. Harry Havens

    Your problem starts with this basic assumption....
    Is it really a good idea to cut all this money out of a government-run health program that actually works?
    Medicare and Medicaid are bankrupting Social Security and is a large part of budget deficits. Part of this is fraud and waste and needs to be brought into check. Adding another government program, without resolving these problems, just leads to either bankrupt programs in both health and social security or substantial tax increases. Neither is good for the nation's overall long term health.

    Harry
    Millersburg, Ky

    December 4, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  82. ej in Tacoma

    This is ridiculous they keep adding more and more to this health care bill it makes it looks very ominous and overwhelming to accept. I'm one of those baby boomers that is not going to have the Medicare benefits I've been paying into for 40 years or Social Security for that matter. I feel I'm getting the shaft and I'll be working until I'm 100 years old. This supposed simple bill has turned into a nightmare.
    E.J. in Tacoma Washington

    December 4, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  83. BEVERLY-Mystic,Iowa

    I neglected to include John McCain's name in the list of those who can retire, just from their ill-gotten gains, (AS IF McCAIN NEEDS MORE MONEY. HOW GREEDY & UNSCRUPULOUS CAN THEY GET? The answer: You ain't seen nothin' yet!) The Party of NO: No morality, no compassion, conscience, scruples, NO DEPTHS to which they will not sink, NO GOOD! (No thanks!)

    December 4, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  84. chaney, La.

    Correct me if I am wrong , but is this the same John McCain[R] that while a candidate for President reccommended, much larger cuts to the Medicare program....... Yes we can cut Medicare without cutting care......very extensive costly routine tests are done when they are not necessary........Medicare is subsidizing insurance companies, with huge amounts of money.......this also can be cut out........there has been an obscene amount of money spent and an awful lot of lies told in order to scare the public and defeat healthcare reform....... that is the real travesty.....and I will not forget it......

    December 4, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  85. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    We have a lot of gall to tell other countries that they need to clean up their own back yard when ours is filty with corruption, fraud and scams. The Republicans must be getting paid off by the people that are the crooks and they don't want to lose their extra money. Yes, it's a good idea to make these cuts.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  86. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    No jack but payroll checks to congress and bank bailout cuts are definitly needed weve all been screwd enough.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  87. Ron from SF

    I would imagine there's that much waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, that you could cut this and still not impact Seniors. But what about the Pentagon? Imagine if we just eliminated the No bid contracts? How about ending Iraq today and putting that money into Health Care or our crumbling infrastructure? No, taking care of our own makes too much sense for the warmongers in both parties. Obama, here's a few words from your base: One and done!

    December 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  88. George, Montrose,PA

    Jack, an oxymoron is an understatement if that's possible. I'm sure we can find ways cut fraud, corruption, and the like to the tune of $460 billion, but I'm fairly sure there will be the same fraud and corruption in a new plan. A question for you, Jack, is corruption in government more now than when we grew up in the 50's and 60's or do we just hear more about it?

    December 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  89. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    My husband is on Medicare and he's ok with it and I don't have insurance so I'm ok with it too.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  90. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    If there were more transparency in this reform bill, we'd know that wouldn't we. I wouldn't trust anything the Republicans have to say about health care reform–they've proved they really don't care and at this point, they'll do anything to stop the bill.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  91. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,

    According to a T.V. news program there are vast amount of unscrupulous criminals posing as medicare providers that are ripping off hundreds of millions of dollars of the government by billing them for fictitious clintel, so it can be done...

    Vinnie Vino
    Central Islip, N.Y.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  92. Nick in Spfg MO

    Republicans have been responsible for so much misinformation for so long that it is difficult to take them seriously on anything now even if it could possibly contain some element of truth. It is so unfortunate that anyone interested in finding credibility must rely on an unbiased fact check source having verified the "true or false" on as issue.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  93. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    Medicare cuts should not be part of health care reform. With people living longer than they used to, how can Democrats say that the propsed Medicare cuts won't hurt Seniors?

    What should be a part of health care reform is a system that has checks and balances to prevent fraud.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  94. SHIRLEY-OHIO

    Honestly Jack, yes, because if they do not use it to reform health care, you can best believe they will use to for something eles. In other words, its going to get cut not matter how you stack. I just hope when it is time for me to use medicare, there is still medicare30 years from now.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  95. Annie, Atlanta

    Just the waste and fraud part, not the benefits, which recipients paid for all their lives. I’m sick of politicians using one of the few benefits we have as a political fear tactic to hate the government, of which they are a part. My Mom is covered under Medicare. I’ve seen it work when she needed it most, and it worked well.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  96. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    No,medicare cuts should not be part of health care reform. The politicans that "borrowed" from medicare and social security knew darn well that the Baby Boomers were closing in on using both of these programs. Programs that they supported all of their working years so their parents,and eventually themselves, could grow old with dignity. Now these new politicans want to take these funds and put them into prevention. This moves completely cuts out the Boomers. What are they supposed to do? Go under a bridge and live in tent city until they finally succumb to malnutrition and inadequate medical care?

    December 4, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  97. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    my wife and I are on Medicare, Jack. I can tell you from recent experience that there is a LOAD of "waste, fraud and abuse" in the so called private insurance run Medicare "Advantage" plan we are in.

    recently my doctor said I needed a proceedure to check for a recurring medical problem I was having. the "Advantage" plan was NO advantage as the refused to pay for the proceedure. the Republicans and the health care insurance industry run a lot of ads saying "that the government will get between you and your doctor". from what I have been through, it's some insurance company clerk that is denying sevice.

    Medicare could probably save billions and greatly improve healthcare for seniors just by ending this so called "Medicare Advantage" scam.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  98. LS

    Medicare cuts should not be a part of health care reform.
    If there is fraud and waste in the system, one would think those morons in D.C. would eliminate it rather than allow it to continue.
    Geez. Even my toy poodle has more sense than that!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  99. Linda in Arizona

    Just do it. I'm tired of dithering.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  100. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    The term "cuts" is misleading. There is no plan to cut services, only waste and inefficiencies, which in any bureaucracy is upwards to 30% of the total costs.

    Many corporations have over the last dozen years gone through processes such as six sigma and lean and have cut their costs dramatically and increased production. Medicare needs a good dusting and cleaning and 500 billion is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to system inefficiencies, duplication, waste, and fraud.

    When Medicare becomes more efficient the fact is services can be increased and enhanced, not reduced or cut.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  101. Ryan - Galesburg, IL

    Jack, you forgot to mention that McCain proposed even deeper cuts in medicare when he was running for the top office. I guess he has forgotten as well.

    The Republicans fear a public option because it will work and defund a major source of their campaign contributions. Period. We must cut spending to eliminate waste in order to bolster this badly needed reform.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  102. Pete - Augusta Ga

    No way Jack – sure looks like another 'shell game' being played on seniors with an election just 11 months away – pretty risky as seniors have long memories. I guess I should be surprised that AARP has signed on to this ruse, but considering they are becoming one of the largest health insurers and this probably will generate additonal hundreds of millions for them from this 'realignment' it makes sense.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  103. Marion/Alabama

    Jack,go ahead and cut medicare,and see who pays for it. You know they will not cut medicare and risk their cushy jobs. They will put the payment to medicare back under another guise or they will lose their butts in the next election.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  104. Abner, Erie

    Sure let them cut Medicare; they will just bankrupt the system faster. Congress makes no sense. The system needs fixing but fixing it by cutting assistance to the ever-growing senior population is crazy. Fixing Medicare and Social Security needs to take precedence because the slippery slope of government run anything will demonstrate its course in these programs. If Congress can't create some way to keep these programs alive do you really think that they will be able to keep a government run insurance for all Americans as viable?

    December 4, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  105. Ken Jones

    As a student, and Medicare recipient due to kidney failure, I have studied the Medicare system extensively, and I agree with the Democrats that there are many places that need trimming and revamping. The Republicans choose to ignore this fact, because it serves their purpose of scaring folks into thinking Medicare will be crippled.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  106. Michael H. in Albuquerque,NM

    Extending the cuts over ten years makes it a realistic cut of 50 biliion in excessive spending and medicare fraud. 60 Minutes did an episode exposing a medicare fraud. They interviewed a half witted crook that showed how easy it was to file false claims against medicare and get rich quick. He stated that 90% of claimant were likely fraud and excessive charging. Medicare cut backs are mostly to deal with this sort of fraud. It makes sense to me that the government protect our interests against crooks.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  107. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    They talk about cutting medical cost, how the hell will cutting Medicare cut my health care cost, it will only cut the cost for the government and I would get to pay more for my coverage. No way should the government cut the cost of Medicare provided to senior citizens.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
  108. Harold Mosher

    No, Medicare should not be cut. It should be extended to cover all Americans.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  109. max

    if this happens, i will terminate my 51 year membership in the democratic party.

    max, age 72

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  110. Norman Maslov

    YES in terms of the cut they are planning. Cutting the waste. Of course they should have cut waste long ago but sometimes it takes something else new to look back at things that should of been dealt with before. This health plan must happen now.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  111. David from San Francisco

    Jack,

    I think you called it when you mentioned AARP's support for the Medicare cuts. Do you seriously believe they'd go for this proposal if they felt it would do anything but benefit seniors in the end? It's seniors that make and break the AARP's existence. Do the math!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  112. Steven Pockspen

    Should we cut benefits? Perfect: change the game's rules in the middle for seniors. The US government runs the biggest Ponzi scheme the world has ever seen – they simply need to mix things up so we don't notice the bankruptcy of Medicare, Social Security, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, et al.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  113. George, Washington, DC

    YES YES YES, I'm so sick of people thinking minor changes can be made to our government! I hope to see more more and more changes, stop being sacred of the american people as all they do is complain about EVERYTHING, and let's finally see real overhaul!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  114. Larry L, Torrance, CA

    Medicare need not be cut at all. Medicare savings must be instituted at least 25-years ago.

    When a person who is within seven days of death, and with a heart which has stopped on multiple occasions while in intensive care is fitted with a $92,000 defibrilator against his wishes, it's very clear that there can be many billions in savings if such outrageous money pig doctors and hospitals are put on a Medicare money diet.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  115. Pat Murray

    This is a terrible idea. I feel because the majority of seniors didn't vote for Mr. Obama he's personally getting even. He promised the seniors a tax break, nothing so far. He also declined to give us a raise in Social Security for the first time in history. Please tell me Mr. Obama doesn't have it out for the seniors? Now Medicare???

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  116. NRSKATIE

    Since when has the medicare system actually worked? Coming from someone in heathcare....it dosn't and never has.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  117. Dr. Sam

    Jack, I am surprise you don't seem to know the difference between cutting money from Medicare because of fraud and inefficiency and simply making a cut whether the programs works or not. We know that Medicare is not sustainable in its present form because of waste and fraud in the system.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  118. Sharon

    No!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  119. mike g

    Make the cuts where the cuts need to be made. The republicans only want to help the insurance companies.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  120. Charles

    Cutting Medicare to start a new proram is like taking teh bow out of an existing boat to start a new one; you can't have both. Democrats have done some stupid thing this year, but this is the dumbest

    December 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  121. Balazs Schreil

    I personally liked the Health Care proposal that Barack Obama layed out in his speech a few months ago. This includes the Public Option and proposedly lowers insurace rates through more competition.

    What this could possibly have to do with Medicare is a mystery to me.
    Why does Congress always do this. I wish that they would takcle one problem at a time and do it effectively, rather than cramming issues together.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  122. Joe Palen

    You have to separate "waste", which should be cut, from "services", which had better NOT be cut. I think this looks like just another scheme of the Republicans to scare and fool us old folks.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  123. Chris

    No, they should IMPROVE healthcare for those who have contributed all of their lives by working for a living. They should cut out things such as welfare, medicaid, etc for those who refuse to work and whose families have spent generations on these systems. It's time to get these people to consider working for a living, after all, they are the ones who are overloading our tax system. Wanna stay within a sensible budget? Cut out the dead weight of those who refuse to help this country prosper. This Congress/President is hell bent to overburden every working person in the system in order to pay off for all of those votes that put them into office. They'll soon be out of office, but it's time to stop the free handouts to the free loaders.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  124. Joe

    Jack,

    The Medicare cuts include cuts to Medicare Advantage, which is a ripoff to the taxpayer. These private plans cost $100 more per month per enrollee than the government Medicare costs. Do the numbers and see how much getting rid of Medicare Advantage would save without harming seniors. My wife and I are seniors who support health care reform and oppose Medicare Advantage.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  125. Dan Castor

    When they were in power the Republicans turned Medicare into a huge windfall for Insurance and Pharmacuetical companies. It is time to return this public option to the people.

    Yes, cuts to big insurance and big drug companies are precisely the way to reform health care.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  126. Sheree

    Yes, medicare should be cut and fraud should be brought into check. For instance, the nursing home charged an artificial limb for my grandmother who has all her limbs. My cousin has worked in a nursing home for over 30 years and she says the waste billed to medicare is unbelievable. Also, I have coffee with a number of senior citizens on medicare that have testing and go to the doctor at the drop of a hat. Mainly because they are hypochondriacs and it doesn't cost them anything so why not. Besides what gives the elderly the right to unlimited healthcare while working middle class even with insurance can barely afford minimum healthcare. They are no more deserving than the rest of us. It angers me when I hear them acting like they deserve this but no one else does. Talk about self-centered.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  127. Larry George

    " Cut Medicare? What the ...? Don't make me come down there.
    God.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  128. Edie

    There are cuts going on in every sector, so why should seniors be exempt. If they aren't willing to deal with some cuts, there will be no medicare or social security in the near future. So cut away....better late than never!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  129. Janie

    Hold on there Jack..! From what I understand the "medicare cut" doesn't apply to traditional Medicare, but the private insurers who sell Medicare Advantage plans. I've got one of those and would personally like to thank all USA taxpayers for my FREE Curves membership, FREE $20 per month OTC drugs/supplies and my FREE drugs. Now, I'm willing to give all that up just to see folks who don't have insurance, be insured and taken care of.

    Cheerios ~~ I'm off to Curves while it lasts..!

    Janie in TX

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  130. Mike Sears

    Jack,
    The fraud is there as you can see below. As to why no one did anything before this administration, you would have to ask someone from that administration. I'm sure you'll get a straight answer.

    Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are deploying millions of dollars and dozens of agents to combat a problem that costs the United States billions each year.

    The Medicare Fraud Strike Force has recovered $371 million in false Medicare claims and charged 145 people across the country in just two months.

    Here are just a few of the scams so far...

    ...scam involved billing Medicare for thousands of dollars worth of liquid food like Ensure for patients who can't eat solid food. Authorities said clinic owners never distributed the food to patients. In some cases, clinic owners billed patients who were dead when they allegedly received the items.

    ..."arthritis kits," which were nothing more than expensive orthotics that included knee and shoulder braces and heating pads. Patients told authorities they were unnecessary and many never even received them. But healthcare clinic owners billed between $3,000 to $4,000 for each kit.

    The first strike force started in 2007 in Miami, a city authorities say is responsible for more than $3 billion a year in Medicare fraud. Clinic owners there would bill Medicare dozens of times for the same wheelchair, while never giving the medical equipment to patients.

    2009 The clinics were in the business of generating fraudulent power wheelchair prescriptions that could be sold to DME company owners who would bill Medicare for the wheelchairs. Many of the beneficiaries did not know they were getting a wheelchair until it was delivered to them by CHH Medical Supply. All of the beneficiaries testified that they did not need or use the wheelchair.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  131. Harold-Longanecker

    Iam 64 years old and in a few years I was planning to retire with the knowledge I would have a good medicare program.
    I have worked since I was 13 years old and have paid my fair share of the taxes.
    It isn't fair to take money from we seniors in order to finance wars.
    Our medicare premiums are going up but we have no cola either next year or the year after.
    What Obama is doing to we seniors is not right and come next year and the year after, Iam going to vote against those representatives in either party, who vote to cut funds from our medicare.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  132. John Keppler

    AARP has a highly advertised and profitable Medicare supplement. Cuts to Medicare will increase the premiums for supplemntal Medicare Insurance. Are you surprised by their support?
    JK

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  133. Rob in Alberta

    Jack, your question should get the response you are looking for. Here is an idea, why not have everyone get half of their teeth pulled. This would reduce dental care costs by 50%.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  134. CK Honolulu

    The cuts to Medicare are the subsidies paid for administration to the Medicare Advantage plans. There is no actual reduction to Medicare benefits. The Medicare Advantage plans are actually more expensive per beneficiary than original Medicare.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  135. Kay

    Aloha from Maui,

    I'm glad to see you give logical challenge to an ilogical premis. The only thing they should be doing to Medicare is identifing and eliminating all those "waste and abuse" areas. Seems like they must know where they are. What are they waiting for?

    If you want to see an example of the effects of government provided healthcare, check out Maui. A hospital you dare not enter if you are ill.

    Kay

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  136. William Mace

    Yes, there is much waste in Medicare and it needs overhauling. Example:Friend in hospital, much testing etc. When he went home they INSISTED he go home with a brand new electric scooter. He didn't want one, he didn't need one, he already had his own wheelchair.Medicare paid for it. I'm sure there are many, many more examples like this among the population served by Medicare.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  137. Pat

    Anytime waste and fraud can be cut from a program it should be–As long as it's not interfering with seniors benefits, which these do not seem to be doing. Of course that want stop the fearmongering assaults againsts seniors in order to try to stop a decent healthcare plan from being passed.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  138. ken, nj

    Medicare is not being cut. Advantage care which is provided by private insurance companies is being cut by 10%. The advantage care cuts will be used to close the medicare part D donut hole. There are no medicare cuts to part A,or B. This is a repub talking point.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  139. Steven Pockspen

    And for the love of G*d, why hasn't the gubment cut "all that waste" decades ago? What a JOKE!!!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  140. Bonnie Ball

    No, enough said.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  141. Ruby Cartwright

    Keep your hands off Medicare. You are short changing us on Social Security for the next two years.
    We seniors are listening and watching.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  142. Gary Kay

    Point in fact. Medicare and $100 a month provides great coverage. Cut the $500 Mil raise the gap premium from $100 to $200...that may keep the seniors out of the casino but will give them health insurance Clean up the fraud and abuse and get on with.Or as that one old fool said "Keep the government's hands ff my Medicare. A nation of idiots.The current program sucks.....change it now or pay later.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  143. jim Blevins

    You didn't mention Medicare advantage - optional extras beyond basic medical care that is currently subsidized by the government (corporate welfare for insurance companies). Your question is loaded by implying that eliminating Medicare advantage reduces medical benefits - shame.

    Jim, Craig, CO

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  144. Gerald Boyette Tampa Florida

    One of my generic, prescription drugs cost Social Security Plan D $91.42 three months ago. This week it cost Social Security Plan D $873.34. Since Social Security can't negotiate they have no choice but to pay the asking price. Seems like we could easily get $500 million just from that provision alone.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  145. Hank

    Definitly not. A much more simple but apparently so unamerican solution would be a .1 cent per gallon gas tax. Yes I said the dastardly word TAX.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  146. Andrew Eden-Balfour- Regina, SK

    This is a major yes; the reason why they didn't do this long ago was because it was such a major money sucking machine for the government that they didn't want to cut out the corrupt parts, especially the Republicans.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  147. BETTY WHATLEY

    Absolutely not!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  148. Carol

    the reform of medicare should be they cut down on the excessive wasteful overcharging and doulble billing and double testing for each doctor your records should go with you to each Dr

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  149. Roberta

    Absolutely not. I am on SSD at 53, due to a physical disability. The last thing I need is LESS health care coverage, which will only INCREASE the very thing I desperately need to help me cope effectively with my chronic illness.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  150. al-from-hawaii

    Medicare-for-everyone would have been a good idea. But to make it (and even the current incarnation) work, we must allocate more funds to the policing of the program to reduce fraud.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  151. Harvey--- Texas

    There should not be any cuts to Medicare and I am beginning to wonder about AARP motives. I am thinking about canceling my membership to AARP because they no longer have my best interest at heart. Jack, something smells really rotten.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  152. Chuck in Indiana

    The medicare program that may be cut is the Advantage Program which presently costs 15% more than the regular medicare program. The advantage program provides gym memberships an other benefits not enjoyed by regular medicare recipients. The answer is yes!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  153. Becky in Chicago

    Yes, Wasteful spending should be cut. It's not helping anyone. Fraud should be stopped as well. If you cut out the money you spend on things that don't work, you can then spend that money on things that DO work. This should happen even if the healthcare reform wasn't on the table. The government has for to long over spent on things that don't work. Perhaps people would be more comfortable if it was called "Medicare Reform" and less scared of Change.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  154. Ruth M., Perry GA

    Jack, don't you listen to the news on CNN? Your investigative reporting has found cases where medicare is being duped for thousands of dollars from temporary store fronts for medical equipment ten times the actual cost. Maybe they didn't look for waste before because they did not see cutting waste as an important part of any healthcare reform bill. Those "just say no" republicans need to find another fight for another day so this thing can get passed and I can finally afford to go to a doctor.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  155. Chuck Reed

    Not No, but Hell No!

    I'll be 60 in three weeks and I paid into Medicare since 1963.

    I served in Vietnam in 1970-71 and as a deputy sheriff for 23 years.

    If you can't keep promises made, you won't keep those you make now.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  156. Louis Fornicola

    Jack,

    Health insurance reform must lower costs ensure that there are affordable options for all americans and it must increase choice and competition in the health insurance market. It must also be simply to understand. I've read through the HR OF 200+ PAGES, and it doesnt do any of the above,

    Lou

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  157. Denis Duffy

    The Obamacrats are crooks, thieves and communists, as far as I am concerned. AARP? I tore up my card and will never, ever give them I dime. I may be no spring chicken, but I sure ain't no dumb turkey.
    Touch my medicare benefits and I'll help make sure you can't find a job holding up a dead tree!

    Denis
    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  158. frank

    i think we can get have of that from craking down on fraud.I had been a nurse for over 20 years and i see it in every aspect of health care from ambulance company,home care agency.nursing homes.you name it there it is.hire more investigator to go out after these companies.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  159. Steven Pockspen

    Further, why is there a faction in this country that thinks other people should pay their way? How about we take away your voting franchise if you don't pay taxes like the rest of us?

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  160. Geo

    Jack,
    Medicare has had extreme waste and fraud for years! So, if that is truly ALL they will be fixing, I am for it! IF they start making deeper cuts that have nothing to do with waste and/or fraud, then we shoul dbe up in arms!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  161. Barry Watts

    There is an awful lot of waste and outright fraud in the healthcare industry, Jack. I hope these cuts are aimed at combating the waste and fraud without reducing quality of care. I would prefer eliminating the current $106,800 cap on SS-taxable income. This would keep Social Security and Medicare solvent indefinitely and help to pay our huge national debt. Why shouldn't those who earn over $106,800 pay SS taxes on 100% of their income like the rest of us? Every dollar they earn over the cap is tax-free for Social Security purposes. That just isn't fair.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  162. Gary NC

    More right wing talking out both sides of their mouths. They don't want to take money from Medicare because it works. But they say government run healthcare doesn't work. Isn't Medicare government run healthcare? Which one is it repubs.Were'nt you just saying medicare doesn't work?
    More republican lies.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  163. David A. Vogan, Sr.

    Two reforms could bring Medicare into the black. First,
    clean up the phony claims that are costing millions.
    Second, hope that Congress will find the courage to
    approve a single payer Medicare program, saving
    the millions paid out every year to advertise and
    advocate the various Medicare D programs.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  164. Joan

    Yes, there should be deep cuts. I know because there is so much waste. You ask why have they not done this before. Wake up Jack, the Republicans were is charge for eight years. They gave the breaks for the upper tax bracket. Enough said!

    Joan

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  165. Jon

    Jack, the real question should be: why are the Republicans fighting to protect Medicare from cuts, when they themselves just a year ago suggested and pushed for a 1.8 trillion dollar cut to medicare and even farther back they wanted to privatize medicare completely?

    Seems a little bit like hypocrisy and playing to the seniors.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  166. George McCullough

    Why should those of us who have Medicare Advantage Plans have to suffer the loss of our plans and have to pay more out of pocket. It is possible a lot of us will not be able to afford doctors or hospitals if they cut payments to doctors or cut plans. It is the only way I can go to the doctor or hospital now as my co-pays are low enough so I can. If they cut the payments or the plans, some of us will probably die. Is this the way America takes care of the seniors and the disabled?

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  167. Sandra Stith

    Yes, we should cut Medicare "waste & fraud". It's the old everyone knows it needs to be done, but since anyone can do it, no one does it. Too often we believe "cuts" should come in staff and services. That's the lazy way to cut anything. It's necessary for us to take the time & effort to "reform" how Medicare money is spent. This should have been done a long time ago.

    As a Medicare recipient, I'm for anything that makes better use of the money allocated to it.

    Sandra
    Martinsburg, WV

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  168. Kathleen Yap

    why trash a good program to grow a new one? If people new the specifics of the cuts to medicare they would be up in arms. I am all for healthcare reform, but most people will not realize the impacts of the cuts until they are sick. I have worked with medicare for twenty years.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  169. Julie

    As we have been told any number of times-THE CUTS ARE TO PEOPLE WHO SERVICE SENIORS ON BEHALF OF MEDICARE

    Medicare Pays many, many new corporations recently established (within last 10-15 years) to "administrate" our health coverage- plain and simple!

    Cut out the middle man called advantage care- and we will save billions! What purpose do they serve in the 1st place? I know, I am 68 years old and on Blue Cross Blue Shield Medicare program. Last year it cost me $21.00 a month in addition to the $96 or so dollars we all pay into medicare- Next year they want $121.00. What for?

    THEY determine how often we see doctors and specialists as well as limiting seniors to a PAP smear once every TWO YEARS instead of one every year. Cut the waste!!!!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  170. John H. Dale, Jr.

    Absolutely not. Medicare is already in deep trouble. The majority of doctors in my area refuse to take new medicare patients, if they ever toook them at all. This will not help!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  171. indydee

    Wanna cut FRAUD & WASTE!?
    Why not start w/ the hopitals that charge 5 $ for a bandaid.
    Investigate doctors who are suspicious of abusing Medicare by mandating unecessary testings.
    How 'bout the buggies our tax dollars pay for "IN FULL". It's really nothing but a racket.
    And hey! you might add jobs to the quota.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  172. Y. Alvarado

    I find it hard to believe that Obama would do anything to hurt someone especially senior citizens. I think we have to try to fix the system. If the first attempt doesn’t work then fix it

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  173. Dena

    Republicans protecting Medicare? What a hoot! They would like to get rid of the program. The only thing they are protecting is the big fat insurance companies who hit a gold mine with the republican passed Medicare part D. You know, the plans that rake it in from the govt but still leave seniors with the donut hole? That NEEDS to be reformed and kudos to the democrats for trying to do it.

    Come on Jack, let's hear the whole story here, not just republican and ins. co spin!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  174. Nancy Huff

    It doesn't seem right to cut some from Medicare. I think perhaps we should have Medicare for all. But it seems like people think we seniors get this for free. Besides paying into it up until retirement, we still pay over $100. a month for it...and it doesn't cover medicines. We have kept our old policy our employer offered us while we work and now while we are retired.It also costs over $100. (More next year)This is to cover medicines and the parts that Medicare doesn't pay..on what they do pay for. Why make it harder for us to get doctors and health services by cutting the amounts that are paid to them>

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  175. Joshua T. Clowers

    Yes, if there is waste and abuse, of course... but is there proof, this should be the question!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  176. Wendy

    Jack,
    No cuts in Medicare. The taxpayers need to get up off their butts and demand an end to the wars. Not just sit and complain. Then we would have enough money for healthcare. We hold the power in this country.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  177. Steve from Palm Desert

    Of course not! Fraud is one thing; of course it should be eliminated and not as part of "reform" but part of doing business. "Waste" is in the eye of the beholder. Medicare says I get a colonoscopy every TEN years. My doc says - when things are good - every five. Is that extra colonoscopy "waste"? Not when they find scary polyps.
    Waste is CYA procedures to keep the lawyers away, not services that could save my life.
    If you believe billions are getting cut from Medicare without reducing benefits to seniors, I got this here bridge . . .

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  178. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Medicare isn't free and we've seen increases in Medicare payments that most seniors can't afford. Seniors would benefit from if Medicare is included in healthcare reform.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  179. Bruce Smith

    Medicare seems to work fine it is terrible our representives don't seem to care about our people and our nation. It seems people over there are more important than here. rebuilding and repairing over there is more important than over here. Passing legislature for billions of dollars for over there or wall street or the military industrial complex takes no time at all! Just try to do something for our nation or citizens and its a problem. I guess its more profitable to do things over there I guess our appointed and elected leaders are mostly stock holders or owners in these companies making money in these matters all of it is a terrible tragic shame.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  180. Judy, Exeter, Ca

    It is always a good idea to cut fraud and waste from government programs. Is there a plan in place to accomplish this task? Will there be a budget for increased personnel to follow up? When they do, what will be left of the savings to help offset the cost of healthcare? I can think of a few other places we could cut as well, how about the salaries and benefits of the overblown windbags in congress?

    December 4, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  181. Philip Beausoleil

    As a disabled person that receives Medi Care, I support what the Democrats are trying to do. Medi Care Advantage plans especially seem to have been ripe with fraud, and I understand that's where some of the cuts are coming. Medi-Care recipients would continue to have a
    Medi-Care supplemental policy through a private insurer just like I have now. Medi Care has given me the freedom of choice of doctors, and that was welcome relief compared to the private insurance I was on when initially becoming disabled. My significant other will lose all coverage January 1, 2010 because the rate increase that's coming makes the insurance totally unaffordable. I wish the republicans and the so called blue dog dems would get on board with the Public Option, because in our household, we've been victimized by the private insurers WAY too much, and don't trust the insurance industry at all! Reform can't happen quickly enough to suit us!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  182. Brian Mellies

    When Republicans take an entitlement like Medicare under their rapacious right wing for protection, I, for one, smell a rat.

    Why is it I think the Medicare cuts proposed by the Dems would be far more threatening to Republican campaigns coffers than to any of our seniors?

    December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  183. ben

    i am a snior under medicare and i do approve the cut .i can tell you how many tests the doctors order for a minor visit which to me as a patient is unnecessary, and these wastes should be stopped

    December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  184. jean

    From Maryland-We do not get enough as it is now so what makes this any difference. With me being on social security any help would be a blessing. At least let us keep what we worked all our life for.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  185. felicia muftic

    There is no reason we should be paying private insurers to administer Medicare. They charge taxpayers 14% more than what it costs government to administer Medicare. I have Medicare Advantage, and I can see no advantage to it other than saving me from writing an extra check each month to cover a supplemental. I can always get a supplemental from AARP, AAA or someone else. I see no provision at all in the legislation to reduce my usual Medicare benefits. I have three adult children who all of pre existing conditions (Cancer, limes discease, and a non malignant spinal tumor) and who struggle to pay for insurance. I would rather see they had coverage they could afford and be protected from denial for pre existing conditions.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  186. David Ely

    Jack,
    You say Medicare works. This will be true only if the excessive, and easy to do, fraud is eliminated! This is what the Senate is trying to do. I am on Medicare and I beleive it when our Senators say actual benifits will not be cut. If I loose some of the "extra" benifits I get with my AARP M<edicare Complete plan, that is allright with me if the fraud is effectively eliminated.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  187. Eileen VW

    No, It seems to me congress is playing a shell game.
    I can't begin to express my dissappointment with all of congress.
    Simply make them have the medical benefits they are proposing and see if it gets passed. While you are at it have them live on social security also.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  188. PJ in IL

    in a word, YES! Medicare can afford it. Example – My 88 year old mother and I both got our flu shots at Walgreens. I was charged $24 and Medicare was billed for my Mother's. Here's what her Medicare statement shows:
    Charged: Paid:
    1 Flu Vaccine = $30.66 $13.22
    1 Admin Vaccine= $22.57 $22.57
    Claim Total= $53.23 $35.79

    So, we taxpayers paid out $11.49 more to Walgreens for a Medicare-paid flu shot!! Slick trick Walgreen's has...they split out a separate charge for "administering" the vaccine of $22.57, no doubt exactly what Medicare guidelines say they will pay for such a thing. SO, Walgreens takes advantage of that loophole and charges more to Medicare than it charges a cash buyer! Nice trick. Multuply that extra $11.49 they got by the 43 million+ on Medicare and that means close to a half a BILLION dollars was overpaid to Walgreens and Doctors just for seasonal flu shots!

    Oh yeah...won't take much looking to find that needed money to cut....corps and doctors are just as greedy as the rest of 'em.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  189. Stacey

    No. I think they should take the money that they will supposedly recover from waste, fraud and abuse and put it back into the Medicare program in an appropriate and useful manner. I worked in a doctor's office for almost 5 yrs. Those poor seniors were constantly turned down depending on which Medicare plan they participated in. Some were practically in tears on the phone when I had to redirect them to another doctor. We desperately need reform, but that would also include better, quality care for seniors.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  190. helen norris

    what is our government thinking I alrady go with my meds for half the year as i fall in the donut hole every year. How much more can they take from us. i;M BEGINNING TO HEAR DEATH PANNEL YOE THINK

    December 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  191. Glen A. Guidroz

    Don't mess with what is already working. It is the medical costs and medical costs cheats that makes it struggle along. Fix the doctors and the hospitals and the thieves that get $160 per visit for 2 minutes and the horrendous lab costs that rob us. We pay our Medicare fees and expect to get what we have been granted without a bunch of smoke and mirrors Congressmen meddling in it! Glen Guidroz, Houston, Texas

    December 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  192. Josh D

    Sorry. Sounds like more drive-by reporting.
    How much of it is actual cuts and how much of it is removing waste and parts that don't work. Medicare has several parts. Why are we buying people power chairs now? Being government run there must be billions of dollars wasted to big business that lobbied to get earmarks and tax breaks and all sorts of deals.
    That is how it works.
    Constitution was 4 pages......
    New healthcare bill 2000.....
    It's time to start over folks.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  193. Layne Alleman

    Jack, IF,and that's a big IF, the F.B.I. and others can wipe-out the Billions in fraud that have been reported recently that's happening in Florida alone, I say go ahead with the cuts (but lets see the massive arrests first). Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  194. Ann from Charleston S.C.

    This senior citizen on Medicare agrees with the esteemed senators. There is no doubt in my mind that there is $460 billion in waste, fraud and abuse in the system. AARP approves of the bill, and they would be the first to howl if there were something amiss here.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  195. moose burger

    I'm in agreement with 50 and 51 above. I tend to view everything from 30,000 feet so the possibility of cutting $500B from Medicare without impacting care for seniors is plausible to me. I know the healthcare system needs reform and I'm equally confident that those politicians who oppose it do so not for principle, but because they were put in office by an insurance, pharmaceutical, or other firm engaged in lobbying politicians for personal gain. My 72 year old mother gets her meds from Canada
    who sources them from the UK...with that supply chain she saves $120 per month...and nothings broken ??? !!!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  196. Tony from NY

    Changes to Mdeicare should not be a part of healthcare reform. I am my 82 year old mother's primary caregiver. She has had multiple health issues during the time I've been caring for her. As it is, getting Medicare to pay for all benefits that are outlined in its descriptions of what's covered has been like pulling teeth. My mother has had to go without some benefits because medical facilities administer the benefits the way they interpret them, not the way they were written or intended to be administered.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  197. Pat Lucas, New York City

    Instead of cutting Medicare, why don't they cut Medicaid? They take $93.00 a month out of our Social Security payments, plus we have been paying all of our lives towards these Government programs. Medicaid recipients do not pay (as far as I know) any payments towards those services. Can someone explain how Medicaid works, and why it is not mentioned when cuts for Medicare are mentioned? I have serious ongoing health problems, and if Medicare is cut, I as well as many others may be lacking proper care.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  198. Mitch Dworkin - Dallas, Texas

    Medicare cuts should NOT be part of health care reform in my opinion.

    I think that Obama is taking some VERY huge risks on many major issues such as Medicare, health care, holding the 9/11 trial in New York, and Afghanistan.

    I really do hope that Obama succeeds because IF his policies do not work out as expected on any one or more of these major issues, then it is very possible that Sarah Palin could become President in 2012 basically on a default basis if she wins the Republican nomination!

    If Obama loses and gives the keys to the White House to someone like Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, or Michele Bachmann, then there will be war, more war, and even more war. The next sound that you hear after the 21 gun salute on 1/20/13 will be bombs falling on Iran, North Norea, and any other country who we do not like!

    Obama in my opinion definitely should leave Medicare alone and he also needs to be VERY careful about all of the risks that he is taking on so many big issues right now!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  199. CAS

    No, absolutely no. Do we really want to do something like that to our

    seniors? Do we really want to pull the rug out from under them? I don't

    think they deserve for that to happen. Seniors have helped to build this

    country, they should always be treated with utmost care and respect. To

    make any Medicare cuts would hurt many of them terribly. No cuts

    ,please!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  200. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    If its going to hurt the seniors Ieave it alone. They are not being treated the way they should be treated now. I will grow old one day so I do not need bad kharma.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  201. thomas Hunter

    I am a 30 year old Democratic white male from Michigan and am about as liberal as they come, and a good 30 years away from receiving help from Medicare. Every fiber of my being screams NO NO NO to taking medicare cuts to finance a government run healthcare. There is no common sense reason to think that the elderly will not suffer for this. In this case I side with the Grand Ole Party.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  202. Lia, Bradenton, FL

    Every year since we've had Medicare, it's always been the GOPers who have railed at how inefficient and wasteful the program is. Now that a Democratic president is finally going to do something about it, they decide to scare granny and gramps with the Chicken Little routine. Unbelievable!
    As with just about everything else, this federal program's overhaul is long overdue. And nobody's going to die because of it.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  203. AJ, Potsdam, NY

    No, Jack.

    As the sign shown above with your question states, "Medicare For All" should BE our health-care reform. It really is that simple.

    The legislation that is emerging is not health-care reform; it is an Insurance Company Profit Protection Plan. Putting ever single American into a common risk pool irrespective of geography or circumstance would produce THE lowest across-the-board premium rates. This is an actuarial fact; it cannot be disputed, only obfuscated and misrepresented by those whose financial interests will be adversely affected – the for-profit insurance companies & providers, the pharmaceutical cartel and the "public servants" whom they have purchased (you know; the ones who give The Oldest Profession a bad name)

    December 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  204. Jean Derise

    No medicare should not be cut to seniors. What is wrong with congress? Are they not listening to the American people. Why can't we have insurance like congress members? I don't think that is an accurate quote of all members of the AARP.In this state their members have really dropped off the roles,and they are not renewing
    their membership. Also why are we spending all of the tax payers in other countries, when we cannot even provide health coverage for the people in this countries.
    If the republicans can do a better job,why didn't they do it the last 8 years. Let's hear what they have to offer.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  205. Ken Shade

    Cuts should be a part of Health Care Reform to the extent that they are cutting fraud and waste. You will find the ones screaming the loudest are the ones benefiting from the fraud and waste and Republicans that would love to cut it out all together.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  206. Darrell Baird

    Keep the health care plan separate from cleaning up cost of Medicare. Each change to medicare has resulted in reduced care for us.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  207. Carolyn Patton

    Jack, yes there's plenty of waste in Medicare. My 92 yr old aunt in late stage Alzheimer's was evaluated by a speech therapist for her swallowing problem. Result: Give my aunt a soft food diet. Cost: $800

    I could have saved the $800 in taxpayer money and told them to change her diet for FREE! And that's only one of my many stories.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  208. patricia

    Yes, cut the waste from Medicare. No programs or services will be eliminated–just waste. Wait...isn't that what the Republicans claim to stand for?

    Boise

    December 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  209. deemarie

    YES !!! I've personally seen the waste and redundancy of Medicare in action with my father for the past 22 yrs. Colon caner, bladder cancer, skin cancer, bone cancer, now it's also spread to his lungs and stomach. And still they spend what must be hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep this 88 year old man alive. The last operation, 7-09, was 60K, not including rehab care and home care.

    I say cut the waste with seniors and give it to the children.

    Seniors are mighty selfish, I'll tell you. Our children and young adults should be our #1 priority.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  210. Brenda Shilling

    Government assistance to Medicare Advantage plans is government assistance to private insurance companies like Blue Cross/ Blue Shield which are making huge profits. YES, this cut to current Medicare funding should be made. Medicare expenditures should reduce costs to all indivduals not some insurance companies.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  211. singleton

    Yes Jack cut some of the red tape from medicare program and you will definitely save in the long term. A more effecient medical system that will be equipped for the 21st Century. Everyone who is against reform fears change. Relax seniors. Compared to the economy this one is easy.
    Singleton S.A. TX

    December 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  212. Joshua T. Clowers

    The government is not talking about taking what people have paid for, but alocating waste into a new program. I say give them a chance to prove there is waste and abuse.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  213. Gigi Oregon

    I think there are places cost could be cut. And that is in rechecks. I go back every 2 months (no change in two years). I think they could be 3 to six months rechecks which would save a lot of money for medicare. That is just one area.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  214. Patrick McGill

    Those cuts represent the frosting on the cake ie: fraud. Take the frosting off and get down to basic and humane care. I trust Obama, if Bush had suggested the same thing I would had been against the cuts. That said, take away congress's cadillac plans and put all of them on Medicare regardless of age so they see first hand if it works. That's the ticket.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  215. JOHN P. SLATTERY

    I am a medicare recipient and I know that medicare costs must be brought under control. The medicare cut cry is designed to scare people the same way the death panels did. We must have better healthcare coverage for everyone – obviously medicare has to be a part of that.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm |
  216. Richard

    It is folly to further cut funds from Medicare. Deep cuts have been implemented for years and in the end, providers, especially physicians are always targeted for these cuts. Another 20.2% cut to physicians is scheduled for Jan. 2010 unless Congress acts to block those cuts. It will cost physicians more to see Medicare patients than they will be reimbursed and from a financial standpoint this will become untenable. No other business could operate under those circumstances and remain viable. Therefore, Medicare patients will be in danger of a serious access problem as more and more physicians will not be able or willing to see Medicare patients. This problem already exists and will be exacerbated by further Medicare budget cuts.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  217. Rich McKinney, Texas

    If the government is aware of all these abuses then why in the hell have they sat by idly watching. that is part of why Medicare is going insolvent. I mean come on Jack that is what we pay these is idiots for in congress to over see these programs. In essence what they are saying is that they are to blame for the wasteful spending because they allowed it to happen. Now they want more control of a screwed up system.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  218. Maureen

    ABSOLITELY NOT!! Instead of creating a whole new "Obama Health Plan," Medicare should have been looked at for all fraud/waste, etc. cuts, then gradually phase in younger Americans, first 55 to 65, then 45 to 55 and on down to be included in Medicare which would serve as our new National Insurance. This way, we'll find out what we can afford gradually instead of taking a chance on a whole new healthcare plan that could bankrupt our country! Why cut what is working and start a whole new healthcare plan that has not been tried and tested?

    December 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  219. Donald Puffer

    No- take from the old thats having trouble paying for health problems. then gave to the people that haven't pay in. Thats what we call real thinking.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  220. Ravi in Seattle

    No – It a joke to think the government can control fraud and abuse.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  221. Edsel Chromie

    Asan 84 year old person who has been on Medicare for 20 years, I can tell you that Bush gave the private insurance companies $70 billion a year and they have made Medicare worse. I pay more for my prescrptions than I did before and the insurance companies invented the "doughnut hole" to make some recipients pay 100% for their prescriptions for part of the year. At least this $70 billion can be cut to make Medicare much better and cancel the participation of the private insurance companies.

    Edsel Chromie

    December 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  222. Jeff Washington Il

    Why not. If this bill passes thats what is going to happen to all of our health care when they have to start rationing it.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  223. Bob Pilmer

    There are doctors that will not take MediCal patients because of low reimbursement. If Medicare is to be cut to be cut, will my doctor(s) decline to treat me as a patient? I think I heard is it said that I won't lose my doctor(s) but, if they won't take Medicare, I will have to foot the whole cost !?!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  224. Darren

    YES!!! Cutting back on Medicare fraud will save billions going to even shadier companies than the insurance cartels we all are working for.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  225. Philly/PA

    How many people ever get younger instead of older? Zero! It is true that most who oppose medicare cuts are seniors. Also, it is also true that those who see these cuts to be just fine are not seniors. (Presently.) Their time will come. I t is time to stop pitting one age group against another. It is time for our elected officials to stop dividing people into age groups for political gain.
    They claim that financial cuts will not result in cuts of service. They claim that funds will be found once the fraud in medicare is resolved. Great! Now why can't our lawmakers take care of the extensive medicare fraud first.
    Most people agree that improvements are needed in our present health care system. Also, most people agree that corrections should be done gradually. The current bills under consideration are too large, too complex and will create serious problems that will not be revealed until the damage is done.

    It is time to slow done before speeding creates a monster mistake.

    Phyllis
    Media, PA

    December 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  226. Peggy/Spokane

    I am a 63 year old retired R.N. For the first time in my life I now have some serious health concerns, and no private health insurance.
    Prior to obtaining a Medicare Advantage plan, many doctors would not take a patient with plain ole' Medicare. Now, at least, I have a doctor, in fact I have several!
    My cardiologist tells me that under the new guidelines, I will have to go to the hospital, go through the rigmarole of checking in there and then get my tests such as an echocardiagram there. This will be after I wait until they have an available slot and the time to fit me in.
    Now, I go to his office and get all the tests I need there!!
    You can fool old dogs sometimes Jack, but after working 30 some years in health care, I want some explanation as to how it will be cheaper to have these tests done at the hospital??
    I think it is interesting that all of a sudden, they are "dealing" with fraud and waste in Medicare on the backs of the baby boom generation!!
    This is all a little scary from this point of view!!!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  227. Saundra Hall

    I am from WV I am 67yrs. old if they cut my Medicare I will lose my home. I retired from the State of WV after 21yrs. I live on my retirement and SS I receive $800.00 from SS after ins. I clear $720.20 my house pmt is $501.00 I pay utilities from this check also. I am really scared I have to buy food and pay doctor bills, gas I have had a lot of house repairs to deal with lately that I have to pay with my retirement check. I saw a show with a reporter where people set up stores for hospital equipment used medical bills from people on SS that never received or needed like wheel chairs and such billions were billed a lot of them didn't even have a store and now they are going to take our SS that we worked hard for thank you for letting me speak I know it isn't going to do any good but oh well

    December 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  228. Brennan

    Interesting how correcting (a lot of waste, fraud and abuse ) is considered a cut from any angle

    December 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  229. Jim Green, TX, www.Inclusivism.org

    Jack, I'm a senior, and on Medicare, and I don't buy into the scare tactics by the "profiteers" in our healtcare industry–that have terrorized Americans since McCarthy–to protect their "bottom line"–if the "fraud and waste" ends at $300 billion–that is where the cuts will end–the real story, however, is that America is the only country in the world that allows their health insurance companies to "profit" from baisc healthcare–every where else this is seen as unseemly, immoral!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  230. Patricia

    The wastages in Medicare needs to be cut and I believe this is what is being refered to in the health care bill. As a hospital worker, I know that right now it is being partially implemted as medicre no longer pays for "hospital acquired" infections like UTI's, MRSA, Pressure ulcers etc if it is assertained that the patient did not have these conditions prior to hospitalization. This is forcing hospitals to adopt best practices to avoid patients coming down with these conditions under their care. It is not only saving money but saving lives. Other arears of wastages most be eliminated also. The problem with the opposition to most aspects of the health care bill is mis information and half truths out there. Even you Jack seem to think that the services rendered to seniors will be slashed! Waaoh!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  231. Ray in Nashville

    Jack, when President Obama asked for a stimulus program, didn't Republicans make a lot of noise about cutting social programs instead? When you get right down to it, isn't Medicare a social program? To answer your question, it is a proven fact that there is a lot of waste in Medicare as there is in all government programs. Make the cut and then go over the program with a fine tooth comb and make sure to eliminate the waste. It will be ok.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  232. Margo Cox

    The thought of my medicare benefits being reduced is frightening – along with all the other problems of aging. Seniors have been paying into this for years, and now the government wants to cut us out of what we expected would be there to for us. What next – euthansia?

    December 4, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  233. steve in virginia

    Cutting healthcare funding for those who need it most and are unable to work is shameful. The CBO says that current law calls for 21% reduction in reimbursement to doctors in 2010 and 6% annually after that and the Senate refused to stop this. It's a no-brainer that this will make healthcare even less accessible to seniors than it already is. Further cuts are beyond shameful and confirm accusations that senior citizen's lives are less valuable than younger folks.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  234. Al

    the private medicare plans add nothing of value but an extra middleman to siphon off health care dollars.

    so YES!! cut the private plans out and make medicare pay directly for more services... if seniors knew the truth instead of insurance company spin they would be for it too.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  235. Darryl Smith

    Yes. Specifically, Medicare cuts for wasteful spending is long overdue. Why has it taken so long?? Ask the Republicans and fear mongers who perpetuate daily lies. A note from both my wife and I who enjoy watching you every day: Smile more Jack. We miss it.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  236. JL

    If medicare cuts keep decreasing reimbursement for doctors, more doctors are going to keep dropping medicare patients. It's becoming harder to become a doctor when overhead is too high (medical malpractice insurance,medical school loans, office rent, secretary salary, nurse salary, utilities,etc) and reimbursement for doctors keep dropping.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  237. Inventor

    I want the same health care "Obama" has, that is, No deductable, copay, limits. We already pay $13,000.00 each now for 303 million people in this country. That's 4.25 "TRILLION" dollars. But big insurance says"NO", they want more. The $13 k was in Obama's speech about 6 weeks ago.

    Why do we need 2,000 plus pages to discribe health care anyway??

    I have many solutions but all the funding went to the same old players.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  238. Guy, Oregon

    Jack. Yes, this is a very good idea. But first, we would have to parole Bernie Madoff and have him manage it.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  239. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    This almost is starting to sound like that death wish health care plan we was hearing about.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  240. Joanne from Medina

    A reality check, it will be the insurance companies who will get billions of dollars less due to overpayments from American taxpayers. There will not be any money from the Medicare trust used and no guaranteed benefits will be cut. As usual Republicans are misinforming the public and scaring seniors needlessly.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  241. Larry DePasquale

    Actually, you'd never be able to print or broadcast my response to your question, Jack, because it would be filled with obscenities!
    If most members of Congress weren't so rich, and corrupt, maybe they'd get a taste of what the average senior citizen experiences daily, regarding his/her health and health insurance issues. It ain't no picnic!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  242. TERRY DELOUGHARY

    What most people don't know or understand is how insurance companies stand between our Medicare funds and health care providers. I'll give you an example. In the last year, I have had 4 chest X-rays. The insurance company in charge of administering my Medicare funds paid 19 cents for each of them and I paid $30.00 for each. I'd like to know how much Medicare paid Unicare to pay that 19 cents. I'm guessing that if Unicare were cut out of the deal, I wouldn't have been charged anything. This is the part mistakenly called Medicare Advantage, paid to insuraance companies, that would get cut out to the tune of $500B. It wouldn't affect our benefits, only who paid them. Medicare would pay them direct, not let a for-profit company do it (for profit).
    Terry DeLoughary
    Bark River, Michigan

    December 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  243. Tom from Vermilion, Ohio

    It is truely amazing to me, less than 1 year ago, the vast majority of United States Citizens from all walks of life were in favor of Health Care Reform. Individuals, small businesses and health care professionals complained of co-pays and insurance premiums costing too much thus becoming unaffordable. The immediate and obvious question is why? I believe that the vast majority would still be happy with Congress if they passed a transparency bill in the form of an Audit to all those providing Health Care in an effort for ALL to see exactly where and how the money is used and abused. They didn't do that. Medicare should NOT be considered at this point in time. The conclusion is Congress should start over.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  244. Carol Ellis

    Yes to the Medicare cuts - although the question itself is a problem by requiring a simplistic answer to a complex problem.
    I am a Senior, now retired from employment in a related healthcare field, who knows a thing or two about this subject. To stay current I watch PBS, the actual hearings, and ignore the sound bites, bumper stickers, and misleading/inaccurate information that so freely floats around. The proposed cuts are what will, in the end, save Medicare!
    The insurance lobby is a mighty force and has ensured that no changes would be enacted before now to disrupt its Medicare Advantage gravy train. Fellow Seniors - be not afraid!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  245. Bob Mullins

    Not no ,but hell no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!and when will Mccain have something positive to say , he is always negitive just like the rest of his party. Bob from North Richland Hills , Texas

    December 4, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  246. Karl from SF, CA

    Eliminating fraud, waste and abuse should have been part of Medicare reform decades ago. It has to be part of any health care reform now. Cutting 500 billion in fraud and waste isn’t going to affect benefits other than maybe improve the system overall and make it far more solvent. I’ll take the Democrats, AARP and the CBO over the Republicans any day. I have found that if a Republicans lips are moving, they are probably lying.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  247. Ruth

    The reason nothing has been done about the Medicare waste is ; at least to me, obvious. The Republicans didn't want to upset their wealthy recipiants in the medical field. Mainly the Pharmacuticals. Therefore they did nothing about all the fraud and exorbitant charges for everything. So now all they do is lie, lie and more lies just like they did for eight years. I sincerely pray that the old saying will be true of the American people that, "you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of time, " and that this country does not get back under the yoke of the greedy Republican regimen. President Obama hasn't even been in office a year and he's done more than the previous administration did, except to get us in debt for a war in the wrong place. If all the resources had gone to Afganistan we wouldn't be where we are today in that war. No one seems to point out the wastefull spending that the Republicans did there and the depression was caused by that administration because their "trickle down" way of doing things didn't work. The majority of Republicans are greedy and only care about their own hides. They hide behind, "Christain Values" retoric. I spent a week with a group of supposed "Christain Women" from east Texas this past summer and I've never encountered such mean, bigoted people. I will concede not all Republicans are greedy, mean and bigoted. They are just uneducated and easily brain washed. So, to conclude my tyrade, the reason nothing has been done about medicare before now is the Republicans didn't want to in the previous administration.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  248. herb

    There is plenty of room for cuts to Medicare without reducing coverage or service. Medicare Advantage plans (private insurers) cost the Federal Government 15% more than it does if the government paid for those services directly. Remember when Bush pushed these plans in 2005 and said they would save the taxpayers money? AARP's recent newsletter told how Medicare is gouged into paying 4 times more for an electric wheelchair than if brought by an individual. This is true for other medical devices such as manual wheelchairs, walkers, CPAPs, diabetic monitors, etc. Yet, when Medicare asked Congress for resources to stop fraud and price gouging, they were denied. Lobbyists persuaded Congress to vote no. Medicare needs reform and so does Congress. CNN should be posting the top political contributors every time a member of Congress is brought on to comment. Just follow the money.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  249. Charles McDonald

    Jack;

    If you believe what the Democrates are selling, I've got a bridge to sell. How else are they going to justifly the cutting of our health care system. We seniors will remember come november.

    Charlie Mac

    December 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  250. Phillip in Dallas

    Seems like to me that all of the Senators and Represantatives that want to cut Medicare and are against government run health care should renounce their government run health care that should save us a fortune. They all make enough money to buy health insurance.Insurance is based on risk versus return duh. The true death panels are insurance companies. Maybe our Senators and Represantatives should try our medicare system or insurance based health care and see then if they vote for cuts for medicare and against health care reform then.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  251. J Ortiz

    I am furious about medicare cuts. Two hospitals near me closed because they could not operate with meager funding now. More will fail with the new cuts in hospital reimbursements.
    Also, I'm in a Medicare Advantage program (HMO). It has doubled all co-payments next year. ie MRI $75 to $150, Ambulance $75 to $175. My doctors have not received their contracts as of today and they don't know if they will stay in program. (They can pull out at any time during year but I have to stay till December 31, 2010. This is a disaster for me.

    On bank interest. I worked all my life, lived within my means and now depend on interest to live. The phoney low interest held low by the Federal Reserve is helping those who lived large and have loans up to their necks. It punishes peiple that worked hard and saved for their retirement. Try to live on !.6% interest. (The IRA account is even worse. The index accounts are over 20% underwater.) Pathetic

    December 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  252. Carole

    Jack, thanks for asking that particular questions regarding medicare and seniors. My husband and I are both seniors and rely on medicare tor at least most or part of our insurance coverage. Do the senators and representatives have to worry about their insurance being taken away from them? No! I agree with the senator who wanted to sponsor a bill regarding both house and congress being
    made to use the same insurance plans that the general public has to
    or will have to use. If their idea is to get rid of seniors by taking away their insurance – they will probably succeed as we will all dry up and blow away. The government has taken everything else from us why
    stop now.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  253. Gary

    In 2003 the republicans passed legislation that allowed for the privatization of Medicare. If a senior now has one of these advantage plans, they no longer have Medicare but private insurance. These advantage plans offer little addtional benefit and cost 14% more than traditional Medicare. This is where the money can be saved.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  254. Harry - Baltimore, MD

    Hi Jack,

    The short answer is YES!

    Actually, according to President Obama, it already is part of his plan to reform health care. The Republicans, in their efforts to cause the President to fail at all cost, has done a good job spreading lies and making mistatements about everything the Democrats and the President are trying to do to get this country back on the road to success and prosperity. Remember, the President said job creation in the private sector depends on health care reform. The waste and fraud in Medicare, if eliminated and resolved, can more than afford the proposed $460Billion proposed cuts in Medicare. Plus, with an aggressive Public Option in Health Care Reform, the entire cost of health care in this country will be drastically reduced. Along with an improving economy, that will allow employers in the private sector to create jobs galore! It was the "out-of-control" rising health care costs that significantly contributed to the cost-cutting strategies (job cuts) that employers used to recover their losses due to a failing economy started by the "failed policies" of the Bush Administration. We seem to have a very short memory when it comes to recent events. It has been less than 1 year since President Obama inherited this mess from the Bush Administration. We should be giving the President our full support to help him succeed in fixing the problems caused by the Republicans. However, we can reserve our Praise for President Obama until after we are able to measure his success. If the trend continues, I think that praise will be well deserved sometime in 2010 or 2011. Considering the challenges he faced when he came into office, President Obama is doing a fantastic job. Let's help him to do more!

    Harry – Baltimore, MD

    December 4, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  255. Brian

    Jack,
    I think it would really be a shame to cut Medicare. More and more people are dependent on this program. My parents for example use medicare. They are both retired and couldn't afford to buy health insurance being that they are on a fixed budget. I do agree the fraud and abuse issues need to be addressed. Why don't we try this punish those who are commiting the frauds and abuse of the system. I think that the politicians have really have no clue what its like to be on a fixed income.
    Brian
    Midway City, Ca

    December 4, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  256. steve in virginia

    First the death panel wanted to reduce use of mammograms and now senior citizens lives are worth less than others. Sounds like Palin was right.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  257. Jack Maines

    Heck no. I'll be on Medicare in a couple years and I am hoping it will still be there when I'm eligible. Actually, I think Medicare should be available to everyone. Propose the same cutbacks to congressional healthcare. See how far that gets.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  258. phil

    Hey jack,whatever it takes to save more lives.No offense to the elderly but you have to worry more about keeping the younger crowd as heathly as possible because they are the future, its not like grandma isn't going to be covered at all. It just means they'll cut waste such as maybe instead of an electric wheelchair they'll bring back the manual version. Whats the big deal its not like there riding to mars on the damn thing.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  259. Ray Kinserlow

    Speaking from the city with the second largest per person Medicare spending, I think health care reform should include measures to reduce waste and fraud in Medicare. According to an article I read effective oversight of Medicare would save as much as 20 billion a year.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    December 4, 2009 at 5:42 pm |
  260. Erin

    I find it interesting that you did not give the full details on the story. Medicare Advantage is the primary area that the cuts are to be made. It pays for the same care as Medicare, but costs the taxpayers more due to the fees the private insurance companies tact on for administrating it. It is troubling to me that news organizations are more interested in creating controversy by providing incomplete information then providing clear and accurate information.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  261. Al

    If we wanted to save medicare, we should let the young and healthy buy into it as well. i spend $300 a month for my crappy private insurance 9 never use it) I would rather have that 4300 go to medicare!!

    Why does the private insurance industry take all the profit ( young healthy paying patients) – and the government takes all the loss 9 the seniors..sicker..)????

    December 4, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  262. Steve Reifenrath

    Medicare is in enough trouble already. Let's not add more nightmares and cuts to us seniors. There are for sure problems with abuse and misuse. If those issues were dealt with alone – I'm sure there are many dollars to be recovered – from those who are at fault. As a senior – I feel I have earned the type of coverage I have today.

    WHERE IS THIS ALL GOING TO END!!!!!!!!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  263. Michael Roepke - Dallas, TX

    Jack, if the Republicans are protecting a portion of Medicare, a program they have always opposed, you can bet on one thing. The $460 billion in cuts to waste, fraud and abuse won’t hurt seniors but will stop a flow of Government money to Republican campaign donors.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  264. David in Raleigh, NC

    The Democrats believe that if you're retired, drawing social security, and using medicare you are a useless drain on society. If you're retired you aren't paying taxes to support the Democrats Socialist Wealth Transfer Welfare programs and other entitlement programs. Therefore the Democrats don't want to spend money to keep you healthy as you get older.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  265. pinokeeoh

    The republicans have lied to us and have paid a huge price for their transgressions. The democrats are now trying to show us they are much better at it and will not be outdone. AARP does not represent the interests of seniors, it is more concerned with the winfall of insurance commissions they will receive from Medicare supplemental policies that will sell if health care is passed. Follow the money and you will understand.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  266. Zal

    C'mon, Jack, you work for a cable news network. The projected cuts are from Medicare D, which is more epensive than regular Medicare and administered by insurance companies. The basic benefits of regular Medicare on which the elderly and truly needy rely won't be affected, only this turkey. The Republicans have been trying to kill or scale back Mdicare for years and this is the part of the program that they want to defend? Give me a break. My answer is plainly "yes"!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  267. anne

    Jack, it is always obvious what your feeling is on any of the questions you ask. Sometimes I agree with you and sometimes I don't but you must know that you affect the vote by expressing your personal opinions, especially when you give your "clues". I get no satisfaction from hearing the results when you do this, whether the results are positive or negative. But possibly you get satisfaction from having it go your way.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  268. lembert H

    NO, because we should not give up a good thing.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  269. Karen

    The so called "cuts" are not truly cuts. All qualified seniors will still get benefits covered under medicare. This was spelled out very clearly yesterday in Senator Dodd's presentation to the Senate. Medicare Advantage plans are not "medicare".They are plans like Secure Horizon and Seniority Plus senior plans run by private ins plans. You sign over your medicare benefits to the ins co., then they provide you with the care. I have worked in the healthcare field and for a managed care co. as well as a home care agency. Timely access of care is a huge issue. These plans are run like HMO managed care plans and you have to wait for aurthorization before care is auth'd; sometimes weeks. Also, because the government pays each qualified senior medicare benefits, then when one signs into a "medicare" advantage program, the monies paid are still from the government. Bottom line, we are ALL paying, through our taxes, for a service that only the people signed up for these plans are getting. The explanation and handbook needs to drop "medicare" from the phrase and replace it with the true explanation: "government subsidized private health care senior plans."

    Karen, Los Angeles

    December 4, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  270. Alex M.

    If the Government has not been able to control the waste and fraud in medicare up to this point, what makes them think that they can do it by adding a monster healh program which will also be riddled with waste and fraud as are all government programs which include innumerable beaurocrats who only care about their own agendas. Why take away from people who have worked all their life to give to some people who don't wan't to work at all and expect the government to do everything for them. That is not the American way. Shame on AARP who support the "Medicare Advantage" cuts so that they can sell more insurance through their partnership with the "United healthcare Iinsurance Company".

    December 4, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  271. A Southern Lady - Raleigh

    As a senior citizen, I do not want Medicare benefits cut. However, I am aware of the level of coverage I have when many people in this country, through no fault of their own, have no coverage at all. Which Party do I believe when explainations are given on what will happen;
    the Republican who fought Roosevelt on Social Security, the Republicans who fought Johnson on Medicare and the same Republican Party now fighting healthcare? Or, do I believe the Democrats, lead by President Obama, who have and still are, trying to make things better for the average American. The question answers itself.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:51 pm |
  272. Franklin F

    Seniors have paid or saved what they were asked for and for many years. By cutting medicare services, however minute, means the government robs their savings at an age that they no longer can suppliment. It actually should be a crime to cut medicare sevices. Health care reform should be an entirely different matter that has nothing to do with medicare. Cleaning up medicare waste is an entirely different matter!

    December 4, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  273. Barbara West

    these people should stop listern to the g.o.p, they all talk like they are from another world there isn't a damn thing that they like , they think they are the only ones the have a brain, they haven't done anything right for eight years why would anyone want to believe them now I rest my case. b.w.
    me.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  274. Doug

    I want to know who are these people who are in favor of the graft, fraud and corruption that drains millions and billions of dollars intended for Medicare beneficiaries?

    We see almost weekly or monthly in Miami where some illegal Medicare scheme is uncovered and arrests are made. I can only hope that there will be more arrests, more money saved and more money available for healthcare benefits.

    To equate fighting wrongdoing with taking away granny's Medicare coverage is not only fear mongering but politically dishonest. Who could possibly object to ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being spent as intended? Perhaps it is the politician who receives campaign funds from these corrupt people and interests.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  275. David

    Jack,

    No, I do not. My hope is medicare for all but not at tghe expense of those who currently relie on Medicare for their survival.

    David in GA

    December 4, 2009 at 5:54 pm |
  276. Albert, San Antonio Texas

    Jack, what the president and his cronies are just screwing the old folks. I am a 68yr old Air Force retiree and guess what once I reached the age of 65, I was put out to pasture as I call it. I had to go outside the military hospital system and find a primary care doctor and seek specialty care else where. Why?, because I became Medicare eligible and now they want to cut millions out of Medicare to pay for Obama's Health reform What will be next,? Just let the old folks die off??

    December 4, 2009 at 5:55 pm |
  277. Terry Cassidy

    Is that a trick question? What are the reforming? From what I understand things will be worse. Fortunately I have care thru the VA, but my wife has nothing except out of pocket. Being unemployed her health care is suffering. We may all die before they actually reform health care.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  278. ben stockton, calif

    the solution to this problem.. end sending foreign aid to israel, africa, and other nations that dont care about taking care of their seniors. it is of the utmost importance to pass a comprehensive health care bill that will help all americans.charity begins at home. we seniors fought the wars willingly and now we will be getting nothing in return. if the gop wants to play this game, we voting seniors will be voting you out of office in the next election. you better think seriously about it.. that goes for democrats also .. be carefull what you wish for

    December 4, 2009 at 5:56 pm |
  279. Gary

    Jack;

    The way that Medicare would be cut is by holding the hospitals and clinics liable for defrauding the Medicare system. For example, a hospital bill which was sent to Medicare charged a few hundred dollars for inserting a breathing tube into my relative's wind pipe- – – five days after her funeral. Another cousin, who was terminal according to nursing staff , was visited by a phlebotamist for a blood sample within 12 hours of her death. "Doctor's orders," said the blood taker. I wish that I had verified the order, but another unnecessary procedure was charged to Medicare. And after I notified Medicare about the prcedure with the breathing tube, Medicare did nothing, saying that they wiuld pay the charge anyway.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  280. anne

    It would seem that those who vote that Medicare cuts should not be part of health care reform are satisfied to let the waste, fraud and abuse continue.

    December 4, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  281. margo redding

    I have not wanted to comment this way ever before, but as a single parent for many years from suicide of my husband over a govt. policy decision in l979, I feel that is finally important for me to speak out. Why is it our legistatures keep making decisions without regard to the obvious "cart before the horse" maneuvering? Even my 5th graders knew better. What is illegal immigration before health care and a govt. program "fix" – medicare before a suggested new govt. heath care program????? I am totally noplussed to think that all these people in govt. seem to think only of themselfves and about the others of us who have worked hard to provide for our families through many govt. questionable decisions. Please here US!!!! M

    December 4, 2009 at 5:58 pm |