Don't dismantle Part D

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For the more than 1.3 million Georgians who rely on Medicare and are concerned about the program’s future, the end of the 2012 election brings an important opportunity – long-awaited improvements to America’s health-care entitlement for seniors!

As lawmakers hash out how best to put the program on solid fiscal footing, they must take great care not to disrupt those components of Medicare that are working well for America’s seniors – especially Medicare Part D, the drug benefit that has shown enormous success both here in Georgia and around the country.

For more than 40 years, Medicare lacked adequate coverage for prescription drugs, even as these medicines became more indispensable to the health of seniors. The program’s implementation was the fulfillment of old promises of health-care security.

Part D gives seniors the freedom to choose from a variety of competing private drug coverage options. This market environment forces insurers to compete for business from Medicare enrollees, driving down prices and improving quality in the process.

The program has been a boon to Georgia Medicare beneficiaries, especially in places such as Augusta, which boasts a higher-than-average percentage of seniors.

The program’s competitive structure has produced unprecedented results. In fact, Part D has cost an impressive 40 percent less than original projections. When you consider that, here in Georgia, Medicare spending is growing at a rate of 8.6 percent a year – faster than the national average – it’s easy to understand the enormous value of a cost-effective health-care entitlement such as Part D.

But the program isn’t just a success according to the numbers. It’s also making a huge difference in the lives of seniors here in the Peach State. And according to a recent poll, 90 percent of beneficiaries nationwide are satisfied with the program as most report that “their plan offers excellent value, reasonable costs, and convenience.”

And yet, believe it or not, reforms currently being considered could up-end Part D by undoing some of its most essential components.

Medicare is in dire need of reform. Its trust fund will run out by 2024, which means that placing the program on a realistic path toward long-term solvency deserves to be a top priority for our leaders in Washington.

But for the sake of Georgia’s seniors – and seniors around the country– our leaders must resist the urge to tamper with a part of the program that continues to prove a historic success.

(The writer is executive director of the Senior Citizens Council of Greater Augusta and the CSRA.)

Comments (13)

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wayne2410
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wayne2410 11/30/12 - 06:14 am
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I hope they do the right

Unpublished

I hope they do the right thing but I would watch very carefully. Liberals do not like old people very much and I have heard some of them say that they would gladly take health care benefits from old white people and give them to illegal immigrants. We need to be careful, the liberals have declared war on old folks, especially white ones.

TParty
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TParty 11/30/12 - 08:22 am
1
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"When you consider that, here

"When you consider that, here in Georgia, Medicare spending is growing at a rate of 8.6 percent a year – faster than the national average"

This is a red state though. I didn't know people in the red state used so many entitlements....

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 11/30/12 - 08:29 am
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Sorry, every fat person won't

Sorry, every fat person won't get a free scooter. You'll actually have to be disabled or buy your own.

LillyfromtheMills
10885
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LillyfromtheMills 11/30/12 - 08:56 am
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I agree w/the writer

But you two - you're supposed to comment on the letter - why do you even live in this red state if you hate us so much?

TParty
6003
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TParty 11/30/12 - 09:39 am
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Who said anyone hates

Who said anyone hates anything?

And I commented on the letter- I even used a quote from the letter to question why a red state would want entitlements so much, while also saying those entitlements are ruining the nation. Did you also read AC editorial today? Food stamps were brought up, but not medicare, which those entitlements are growing faster than the national level... Is it because those who use medicare D tend to vote republican?

I don't expect a response to this- just attacks and distractions.

LillyfromtheMills
10885
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LillyfromtheMills 11/30/12 - 10:20 am
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2

Techfan

That fat lady paid for that scooter - she went in there and spent our money (it is not charity) . But do you think that fat lady wants to be in that scooter - heck no - something is wrong w/her.

TParty
6003
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TParty 11/30/12 - 10:40 am
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"But do you think that fat

"But do you think that fat lady wants to be in that scooter - heck no - something is wrong w/her."

Overeating, lack of physical activities are about 97% of the problems. But- we are all paying for her scooter, her medicare, and medicaid. And our health insurance premiums go up because of obesity.

allhans
21960
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allhans 11/30/12 - 12:58 pm
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I have heard for years about

I have heard for years about the horrid Plan D "unfunded mandate passed by GW Bush". The Democrats trashed it unmercifully. It has been shown to be a success economically, so successful that Paul Ryan based his Medicare plan on the same idea.

It was a great gift granted to seniors by Pres Bush and I hope it remains intact.

Jane18
12331
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Jane18 11/30/12 - 01:42 pm
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3

Ugly Is As Ugly......................

TParty and techfan, what disgusting and demeaning words you put out! Getting older is a part of nature, nothing can stop it, there will be illnesses connected with it. At least most seniors(now) did pay into Medicare, what can you say to those on Medicaid, (one of the biggest abused entitlements), food stamps, extended unemployment checks, etc.? Oh yeah, and what about all those obamaphones? Shame on both of you and the ones that go along with you...........

Jane18
12331
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Jane18 11/30/12 - 01:53 pm
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A Help When Absolutely needed

Before someone says something about welfare and food stamps, years ago people only used them to get through some bad months. The most of them were embarrassed to use either one or both. Not nowadays, today it is "a way of life" for millions that have paid little or nothing to Uncle Sam.

Little Lamb
40209
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Little Lamb 11/30/12 - 02:42 pm
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Defining the Problem

This letter points out clearly the problem Congress is facing today. People want to raise taxes on everyone but themselves (Don't tax you, don't tax me, tax that man behind the tree). People want to cut government benefits except for the benefits they, themselves are getting. Can you see the problem, yet?

No one is willing to have even a little regression on the benefits they are receiving courtesy of other taxpayers. I'm in the 53% and I'm tired of paying for the 47%.

LillyfromtheMills
10885
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LillyfromtheMills 11/30/12 - 02:44 pm
3
1

Daddy took care of us -

Even in the mills! And they taught us right from wrong - we were poor but they would rather die than let the govt provide for any of us! Mama, as a dependent; Daddy went to all the wars - she is on the govt's payroll cause she worked her derriere off in civil service - and Daddy fought the wars. Please don't take Part D from her or us! We worked for it!

prov227
2311
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prov227 11/30/12 - 06:31 pm
0
2

As long as ...

the pharmaceutical industry has a lobby they will keep dumping their dangerous synthetic chemicals into our bodies. No worry, take a drug cocktail.

allhans
21960
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allhans 11/30/12 - 11:45 pm
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Before Party can critique the

Before Party can critique the 8.6 increase he would need to know the starting point. Perhaps it was unusually low before..?

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