Celebrating Medicare’s birthday with Congressman Dan Lungren

Beautiful birthday cake, too bad Dan Lungren was out of the office.

Happy birthday Medicare, you look pretty good for a 47 year old government program. Like all of us middle-aged folks you have put on a couple of pounds. Although, your expansion is not around the waist but you added a few items like the Part D Prescription plans and no charge preventive office visits for Medicare beneficiaries. You seem to be growing better with age.

The party’s at Dan’s place

I guess her sign says it all.

We gathered at Congressman Dan Lungren’s Gold River district office to celebrate your birthday.  Unfortunately, he was out of the office and could not greet all the festive seniors and supporters of Medicare. After a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday Dear Medicare”, several folks spoke on the importance of Medicare in their life and how important you will be to future generations. There are lots of people who love you just the way you are Medicare.

Maybe Botox, but not heart surgery

It’s great that at 47 years after your birth you are still fulfilling your mission of protecting seniors and those with certain chronic illnesses from falling into the pit of poverty. I understand that all of us could use a little cosmetic surgery at our age, but there are some folks that want you to have a complete 5-way heart by-pass. Your heart and stamina are fine. Just look what you have accomplished in 47 years:

  • You now cover over 50 million people in the United States.
  • You have administration costs of 3% to 7%, lower than private insurance.
  • Your Part D Prescription Drug plan has made medications affordable
  • You will be closing that pesky Part D donut hole by 2020.
  • You offer a variety of ways to receive Medicare benefits.
  • You have kept your Part B premiums reasonable and affordable.

The surgery, also know as the Ryan Budget and Medicare Plan, would give our beloved Medicare a body controlled by health insurance companies.

Happy birthday Medicare.body controlled by private health insurance companies.

  • By 2023, Medicare beneficiaries would receive a voucher to purchase private insurance.
  • Only private health insurance would be available to seniors.
  • It would remove provisions to close the Part D donut hole in 2020.
  • Medicare premium support payments to insurance companies would be capped, potentially exposing beneficiaries to excess costs.
  • The value of the voucher is set below expected rate of growth in health care costs, meaning beneficiaries will be paying higher premiums for fewer benefits over time.

Thanks for being there

I didn’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer” on your birthday. I saw what you did for my parents. Until Medicare came along my parents never had health insurance. You helped my mom stay in her home until she died. You helped ease the pain of my father’s illness with access to great medical care. Truly, I can’t thank you enough. There are times when I think you were a better child to them than I was.

So don’t despair Medicare. There are millions of people fighting to keep you off the operating table. We love you just the way you are.