Obamacare Pt. 3 & 4: Steal from the Young, Give to the Old

Medicare: Good for Seniors, Bad for Policy

Obamacare and Medicare go hand in hand. Medicare is the most covered subject in the new Obamacare law.  Title III covers improving the quality and efficiency of Medicare. Medicare reform is a hot topic issue under the Obama administration, and this law leaves many questions about how the Medicare Trust will be expanded over the next 20 years. Most of the reform to Medicare under Obamacare focuses on lowering costs to seniors and ending massive overpayments to insurance companies.  In order to understand the changes Title III brings to Medicare, let’s start with the basics of the Medicare program.

Medicare Basics

Medicare is a government-run program for seniors age 65 and over, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Rental disease (ERSD). There are different coverages under Medicare called Part A, Part B, Part C, and Part D. Part A is hospital insurance including inpatient hospital stays, care in a skilled nursing facility, hospice care and some healthcare costs. Part B is medical insurance including doctors’ services, outpatient care, medical supplies and preventative services. Part D is prescription drug insurance. Private companies contract with Medicare to provide you with Part A and Part B benefits.

You may notice that I skipped Part C, as this is a private coverage option called Medicare Advantage (“MA”). MA plans include HMOs, PPOs, Private Fee-for-Service, Special Needs, and MMSAPs. Most MA plans also offer prescription drug coverage. MA is actually the reformed portion of Medicare that is covered under Obamacare. Most of the problems that need to be fixed come under MA, and this stems from where MA plans claimed to give “free” coverage to seniors. This “free” coverage in all actuality drove up the cost of the plans and subsequently drove up Medicare costs. Let’s look at how Obamacare plans to fix Medicare under the new law.

Medicare + Obamacare, Title III = Messy

Obamacare plans to reform Medicare to help seniors afford prescription medications (e.g., the Part D drug coverage limit where seniors must start paying out-of-pocket for prescriptions). In 2012, seniors received a 50% discount on brand-name drugs and 14% discount on generic drugs covered under Medicare Part D. This is continued under Obamacare, and increases coverage every year until the hole is filled in 2020. Seniors will only pay normal drug co-pays after that (whatever that is supposed to mean).

Additionally, Obamacare is supposed to stop excess spending on MA.  MA is currently causing a burden on the taxpayer that is disproportionate to the actual amount of people being helped by the program. MA is run by private insurers and costs about $1,000 more per person on the program. Obamacare plans to extend the life of the Medicare Trust fund to at least 2029. This 12-year extension is needed due to reductions in waste, fraud, abuse and program costs. In the end, Medicare beneficiaries are expected to save about $4,200 over the next 10 years due to lower drug costs, free preventative services, and reductions in growth of health spending.

You might be thinking, “This sounds great! I’m glad Grandpa Joe will be getting all of the coverage he needs with no further expense to anyone else.” Wrong. It is the younger generation that will be feeling the heat from this reform of MA and reform of Medicare under Obamacare – not the government. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at how Obamacare’s Medicare changes affect you.

Crushing the Younger Generation One Baby Boomer at a Time

I want to preface this section with the fact that I have nothing against the older generations.  These generations will inevitably be reduced to using the healthcare coverage associated with Medicare – how I wish our generation could be so accustomed to use in the future.  What I do believe is this – the older generation has failed the younger generation and we let them do it.  We are the reason Obamacare is occurring right now. We are the reason the older generation is getting away with this abomination of a law. The older generation has failed to run this country with the dignity and respect that an American politician/representative/Senator/Cabinet member/Supreme Court Justice/Vice President/President should – and we let them do it. When are we going to stand up and fight for what is truly right for our generation?

Rant over. Now let me show you exactly how Obamacare’s Medicare reform is screwing over the younger generation (i.e., you and me).  Obamacare relies heavily on the younger generation’s involvement in the healthcare exchange. As former President Bill Clinton stated recently, “This only works if young people show up.” He is right. And, Obama agreed with the former President: “The way pools work, any pool, is essentially those of us who are healthy subsidize somebody who’s sick, at any given time. We do that because we anticipate at some point we’ll get sick and we hope that the healthy person is in our pool so those costs and those risks get spread. That’s what insurance is all about.” Kind of, Mr. President. Health insurance is a completely different insurance from auto, home, or life insurance. We count on health insurance to cover those costs associated with medical expenses (i.e., check-ups and doctors visits). We do not expect an auto insurer to pay for costs associated with keeping a car maintained, though it would be a wonderful spectacle to observe. Insurance is provided in cases of unplanned instances – that is what insurance should be.

You would think in a capitalist market that shopping around would be a valid opportunity given to the younger generation, especially considering the younger generation is the most important participant. You would be wrong. In order to fund the ever-so-rising costs of Medicare, the healthy (young and old, but mostly young) are required to sign up for Obamacare and pay higher-premium plans. Sure, it covers more – but why do you need all of it? Simple answer: you don’t. But it is necessary for you to pay more into the system so that the older generation can pay less.

Let me turn to Obamacare supporters’ arguments to the above: subsidies. Most of the younger generation will get taxpayer-provided subsidies for those premiums. This is true. However, they will not get subsidies on the deductibles. This means that the younger generation will still be paying thousands upon thousands each year before the insurers will pay their first dollar of benefits.  What does this mean? The younger generation will never get benefits.

Let me turn to my argument against Obama supporters’ arguments: taxes. I am a tax gal, and I look at whether there is redistribution in taxes in general. You will be surprised to learn that there is already a redistribution of funds from the younger to the older generation through the tax system. Elderly households receive more government benefits and pay less tax. Younger households receive less government benefits and pay more tax than they receive back. After doing some research on the actual number for redistribution, it is assumed that over $9,000 per household is transferred from the younger to the older generation.  Obama just accelerates this redistribution. In addition, many of the young people under Obamacare will not qualify for subsidies (which cut off at $48,000 for a single adult).

My Overall Thoughts (and Final Points) on Obamacare

Obamacare is bad policy and will not work in this crippled American economy. On the surface, it only screws over the rich and the young. In depth, it screws over everyone (young, old, rich, poor, white, black). Even the politicians tried to exempt themselves from the policy to no avail. This law was thrown together too quickly so that President Obama would have a lasting legacy. Obama needed something to cover up the failed economy, high unemployment rates, and tragic Benghazi scandal. Obama needed this to propel him into being a rockstar President.

Obama pushed this law for what it could not afford – you can keep your doctor, you can keep your healthcare plan, you will have reduced premiums, you will pay less taxes. Obama could not promise these and in fact had no right to promise these items to the American people. Obama was not a businessman – he was a lawyer. Think about that.

Obamacare fails to work because it pits the young against the old. The younger generation is taking the brunt of the economic failures from the Obama administration. Job creation is extremely important at this time, yet the President failed to mention this topic during the 2014 State of the Union address. Most of the jobs available right now are part-time positions with no advancement (thank you, Obamacare). Most of the younger generation, though educated, are having to work two part-time jobs unrelated to their degrees just to get by in this economy. This isn’t the younger generation Obama wanted for his Obamacare plan…in fact, I don’t believe he knew how bad the economy was until the roll-out of Obamacare occurred.  Remember, Obama was not a businessman – he was a lawyer. Lawyers look at the outcome, businessmen look at the growth. If Obama was a businessman he would have found no potential for growth under Obamacare, thus no outcome would occur. Obama, just like our Congress, was blinded by an unattainable outcome.

It is important that our generation understands that we must be the change we want to see in this world. We cannot rely on the politicians in office to do this for us anymore. Get involved in politics and reading law – it might help you one day. My four-part Obamacare segment is complete. If you have any other questions, feel free to drop me a line here or on any other social media outlet. Also, if you want, follow my blog through email! You will get all of my posts earlier than I post them on social media. Thanks for reading!

First Amendment + Duck Dynasty = Gossip Column News?

A week or so ago I wrote a piece entitled “V.E.E.P. – It’s a Movement, Not a Sitcom,” where I set out a pretty easy guideline of how to evaluate and understand a piece of news or legislation in our country today. I stressed the importance of four key methods (i.e., validate, educate, extrapolate, politicate) and why you should use them in your everyday life. However, I failed to give an example of how these four methods work together and give you the correct answer you need. Thankfully I was able to experience first-hand these methods in action through a gossip column website called Crushable.com.  Crushable.com prides itself on producing “unapologetically pop culture obsessed” material that is “smart, funny and genuine, combining celebrity news, style and a wide spectrum of content that appeals to an engaged, entertainment-obsessed audience.” Additionally, this site claims to have editors that are “skeptical but never mean.”  

On Crushable.com, however, I was surprised to find a piece on politics and the Constitution within the four corners of this website. A site that prides itself on celebrity news and gossip should focus on just that and not dwell on other aspects that the website’s editors know nothing about.  Either way, I was interested in what the young woman, an editor at Crushable.com, had to say.  The piece, entitled “Here’s Your Constitutionally-Mandated Update on the Duck Dynasty Controversy,” seemed to be argumentative from the start.  This editor, who shall remain nameless until you find the link to the gossip column’s editorial piece on this blog, was in no way a peach in dealing with this controversy.  I would label this editor more “liberal” than “skeptical.” In any sense, this girl knew nothing about the Constitution, the politics surrounding the controversy with Duck Dynasty, or the information about what had actually happened within the controversy itself. So, I thought I would take what I know about my last article’s methods – V.E.E.P. – and have some fun with the editor.

Please read the following before continuing this blog entry, as it will help you to understand my arguments better: http://www.crushable.com/2013/12/20/entertainment/duck-dynasty-homophobia-official-statement-response-freedom-of-speech-second-amendment/  Finished? Okay, let’s begin. During my first of many reviews of this article, I realized she had made many mistakes that are common to those that are not familiar with the law. I labeled them out clearly for you below.

1. First (not Second) Amendment

The first, and most obvious, mistake is that she replaced the First Amendment language with the Second Amendment heading. You only missed this in the article because this was NOT her first draft – this is actually her second draft thanks to me. Here is the reading of the text that you did not see, before I informed the editor of her mistake: “Turns out that according to some of our commenters, even writing about this controversy is violating the Second [underlined emphasis added] Amendment, aka Freedom of Speech.” A simple validation of the difference between the First and Second Amendments would have helped this editor to understand the Second Amendment was incorrect.  Even her prior high school education could have told her that this was the incorrect Amendment. The editor quickly apologized after I pointed out this mental mistake to her, even though the website is supposedly “unapologetic” to its readers. If anything, this editor should apologize to the readers that are taking this garbage seriously.

2. First Amendment Language & Actual Meaning

The second error in the above statement is that the First Amendment is about “Freedom of Speech.” The editor believes that the First Amendment was “initially designed to protect members of the press and individuals from persecution for sharing their opinions.” Persecution? Are we being burned at the stake like witches? No. The First Amendment has nothing to do with persecution and everything to do with legislation passed by Congress.  The First Amendment does not guard against all free speech. I repeat, the First Amendment does not guard against all free speech. Now that this is clear, the First Amendment does guard against Congressional legislation that abridges free speech (subject to certain limitations, like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater).  The First Amendment has nothing to do with persecution or lack thereof when it comes to freedom of speech. So, in the case of Phil from Duck Dynasty and the A&E network, A&E had a right to tear up Phil’s contract and pull Phil from the television show. But, Phil still has a right to speak his mind – this is after all a “free country.” Just as he is entitled to his religious-based opinion on homosexuality, the American people are entitled to not purchase A&E products or to not watch the A&E network.

3. The 2010 Video of Phil’s Remarks on Homosexuality

The third error the editor makes in this argument is providing the video of Phil preaching against homosexuality in a sermon. Duh. Of course he is going to do this. This is a religious-based belief that Phil and I am sure the rest of the congregation in that room on that day held. However, this is not merely the mistake in her argument. The main mistake is that she doesn’t put any blame on A&E’s involvement in the controversy.  All of the blame goes on Phil, and the blame is still being placed on him today by this editor.  The editor throws the video out there just to spark hate and anger toward Phil, but doesn’t exactly explain why this video matters.  I will tell you why it matters – it matters because this gives cause that A&E knew about Phil’s beliefs prior to putting Duck Dynasty on the air. Though the editor does not want to “buy into the argument” that I provide regarding A&E, I buy into it and this is my blog. So, here it goes. The A&E network and its executives knew Phil Robertson and the Robertson clan’s view on religion and The Bible. I am suggesting that A&E was not being honest with its viewers (along with others not watching the show) by terminating Phil’s contract at this point.  The network knew his views were no different from 2010 to now. It just seems odd that A&E would cave to the public turmoil now that Phil’s views are on paper, even though Phil’s views have been on video even before the airing of Duck Dynasty’s first episode.  Additionally, someone from the A&E network had to sign off on Phil’s involvement in GQ magazine. This person should be fired from his or her position – not Phil.

4. Fox News Target

The final error I want to discuss in the editor’s article is the targeted anger toward the Fox News network. By this point in her argument I am now fully aware that she is a liberal trying to spread her liberal agenda to the mass market. However, I am not buying it. Apparently this editor believes that Fox News “tells people how to act and what to say on their program, frequently even giving viewers the tools to register their own disapproval, like contact information and complaint lines to oppose the supposed War on Christmas.”  This poor girl is either clueless or brainwashed by the liberal mass media. She cannot see that EVERY news network (i.e., CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News included) pushes their political agenda on its viewers.  That is the reason why Republicans watch Fox News and Democrats watch CNN. Like I pointed out in my last argument, no one should fully take everything a media piece has to say with any merit – or at least without educating yourself and doing your own research. If someone would have done that with this editor’s piece (before edited), we would all think that the Second Amendment is about freedom of speech. This editor needs to start thinking for herself and not what CNN tells her to think.

 

I will leave you with this last line, which is actually my favorite line, from the editor’s piece:

“Look at me, I’m used to it! I know that when I write a post, people aren’t legally entitled to firebomb my house, but they are entitled to leave nasty comments completely misunderstanding the law.”

Though we are not legally entitled to firebomb your house, Ms. Editor, you have firebombed our minds into the next oblivion. Your lack of validation, education, extrapolation, and politication has definitely blown my mind. I only misunderstand the law because you have taught me to do so. Congratulations – YOU are making your readers stupid. Next time, stick to the gossip and leave the politics to the political bloggers, like myself. Now, go take a government class and firebomb your mind with knowledge.

 

 

To all of my readers, I will be writing every SUNDAY from now on about any hot topic issue that is in the news that week. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from some of you soon.

 

 

V.E.E.P. – It’s a movement, not a sitcom.

No, this isn’t related to the political comedy of the same title with Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  If you have never heard of this sitcom, don’t look it up.  It really isn’t that good. This acronym is meant to be more motivational – a lifestyle that every Millennial should follow.  As I sit writing this blog I am an unemployed attorney living with my parents because I am unable to find an attorney position in this current economy.  You read that right – I blame the economy.  I also blame our current administration for letting our economy fall to pieces.  I can say this because I have done my research.  I developed the acronym ‘V.E.E.P.’ as a guideline to making an educated decision on whether you agree with the current political, legislative, or judicial rulings being made in our country. In order to understand V.E.E.P., looking to the following verbs to guide your way:

Validate. Educate. Extrapolate. Politicate.

I know what you’re thinking: “‘Politicate’ is not a word, Nikki. That is absurd. I am clicking the ‘x’ button on the top of the screen. This is obviously a joke.” You would be wrong to say that.  You would be wrong to click out of this blog. Keep reading – I explain myself quite thoroughly.  Let’s take these verbs one at a time.

Validate: “to check or prove the accuracy of something”

This is by far the most important step in your process of researching political, legislative, and judicial rulings.  Let me repeat: this is by far the most important step in your process of researching political, legislative, and judicial rulings.  Okay, now that I have made myself clear, it is important to start by validating the sources you decide to use in making your educated decision on whether to support or not support a certain issue our country is facing today.  Here is a rundown of what is valid, what is not valid, and what can be valid if you make it valid:

Valid:

  1. Westlaw or LexisNexis websites: most non-attorneys do not have access to these, though.
  2. Non-fiction political library books: yes, I said books – you have to learn to like to read.

Not Valid:

  1. Wikipedia: Some people do not understand that this website is run by every single person in the United States.  I consider Wikipedia as follows: Wikipedia is to the United States community as the Green Bay Packer’s organization is to the Green Bay, WI, community.  Some football fan somewhere out there understands me.
  2. Your friend’s social media status: Just don’t.
  3. The Onion: Oh please.

Valid if You Make it Valid:

  1. News Media Sources: I know you may think that all news media sources are correct… they aren’t.  They are only valid if you yourself do your research on the piece of news, too.  They only make sense if you yourself do your research on the piece of news, too. FoxNews & CNN are NOT valid sources unless you do additional research. I don’t care if you live by the words on these news channels – it is always better to do your own research and make your own educated decisions. You will be a better Republican or a better Democrat if you do so.

Once you have validated your sources, move to the next letter in the acronym.

Educate: “to stimulate or develop the mental or moral growth of”

There are many definitions of “educate” that I could have pulled off of the internet. This was my favorite. The next step after validating your sources is educating yourself on the material you find within those sources. I’m not saying you have to rely on every single article pertaining to the subject you are inquiring about – that is not even possible. Take these articles and learn as much of the information as you can about the subject you are researching. Take notes, write in the margins, get excited about the subject.  Okay, the last part is going a bit too far. However, by the end of this acronym you will get excited about a piece of the political, judicial or legislative pie because you researched it to the best of your ability.  After you have educated yourself with this information, move onto the next letter in the acronym.

Extrapolate: “to form an opinion or to make an estimate about something from known facts”

After all of the reading, you must extrapolate upon such information.  Form an opinion.  Make estimations on where you believe that legislation/policy/judicial decision to be going in the near future.  This provides for your best educated opinion on a political matter – something that you yourself has come up with and no one else has interfered with your judgment.  You have an opinion now.  Congratulations.  After you extrapolate, move onto the next letter in the acronym.

Politicate: “to answer questions in ways that politicians and political leaders do”

Now, I am not saying that politicians or political leaders are the BEST people to look up to when spreading (or politicating) your validated, educated and extrapolated knowledge.  In fact, I quite enjoy Urban Dictionary’s definition of politicate: “to answer a question in an evasive, roundabout way – the way that politicians do.”  Politicians do not always answer questions.  More precisely, politicians are spreading their (hopefully) validated, educated, and extrapolated knowledge of the law by way of creating bills and signing legislation to become law. Think of yourself as a mini-politician.  You may not ever want to become a politician or even think that you could do so.  However, you do have a voice and you should be heard.  At this point, if you have followed my acronym completely, you have a validated, educated and extrapolated voice – no matter your overall opinion.  Whether Republican or Democrat, you have a voice all your own and you are ready to use it.

Remember: Validate. Educate. Extrapolate. Politicate.

I welcome you to the world of politics. I welcome your voice and I cannot wait to hear it agree or disagree with my beliefs and opinions on this blog.  Thanks for reading and I hope to hear more from you all in the very near future.

– Nikki, beingpoliticatelycorrect [find me on twitter: @nikkimccain]