Before I go any further, I want to let those who read this piece know that just because it is my 95th such post for HuffPost, I am not one of the liberal persuasion who consistently votes for Democrats or supports left-wing politics (HuffPost and its politics apparently are viewed this way by conservative and certainly right-wing Republicans); my voting record includes Reagan, Clinton, Ross Perot and Obama. I am one of those independents in the middle that votes for the best candidate at the time. I also have a passion for ensuring that all Americans can afford and access health care, though my profession remains as a health care law attorney and writer who not only will be approaching four decades in the business next year, but who, additionally, then will arrive at the door of being Medicare-eligible as well. It is thus with this as background that I wish to tell all the nation's seniors -- based on the issue of health care alone -- that it will be one of your worst mistakes if you vote for Romney/Ryan.
While certainly the economics of our lives have been altered in recent years, we look to year 65 and beyond as a time when we can enjoy the benefits of our toils undertaken during our younger days. And for those who have yet to reach senior citizen status but who have friends, colleagues and loved ones already there, the hope is the same. Topping or certainly near the top of any "bucket" list for seniors is maintaining health. After all, as with any American, if we do not have our health, we have nothing at all. If we do not have our health, we cannot enjoy the spoils of earlier days. If we do not have health, we cannot be productive to ourselves, our families, our loved ones or even our communities. For those of us who chose or have to work inside or outside the home, ditto. But maintaining health requires that we be able to afford it and to access it. Some even have written that health care should be a right for all.
As a moderate independent voter, I want to ensure that anyone who asks for my vote -- certainly for president -- does so by not "blowing in the wind", i.e., changing course and saying things depending on what day it is. I also do not wish to have as president anyone who says whatever he wants just to capture a segment of the voting population that can put him into office. I do not wish to see a candidate well, lie, about substantive issues that could well (here) affect my health and my ability to afford it and access it. Romney and his pal, Ryan, unfortunately, exemplify what I am saying in this paragraph. Let me be more specific.
Romney wants to get rid of President Obama's Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). Yet, Obamacare is patterned to a considerable extent after the plan Romney put into place in his state (Commonwealth) of Massachusetts when he was governor. He tells us that he did not have to use state revenues for it -- "Romneycare". Yet, he never acknowledges that the federal government provided $385 million annually to assist in having his state's uninsured become insured in that program. He says that rather than Obamacare, each state can craft its own health care plan after the one in the commonwealth. But that will be impossible without federal government assistance reflective of the amounts of money it gave Massachusetts. You do the math here and you will see why. If this were so, why would we want to see Romney dismantle Obamacare if Obamacare already does what Romney advocates?
Romney speaks about a new health care plan once he derails Obamacare that will cover pre-existing conditions as Obamacare does now. Yet moments after he said this, his senior adviser said he (Romney) was mistaken -- pre-existing conditions will only be covered if a citizen already has a policy of insurance that covers this. Obamacare has no such qualifier, and for seniors with a lifetime of pre-existing conditions, Romney waffling and backtracking makes his advocacy shallow and very uncertain.
Romney and Ryan keep telling seniors that Obama is going to take away $716 billion from Medicare. This is an outright lie! No senior will be denied benefits that Medicare currently provides; moreover, part of the savings from Medicare goes to support paying for prescription drugs under Part D of Medicare that is covered through Obamacare. More incredulous is that the budget Ryan has proposed makes cuts to Medicare in the same amount, but instead of keeping the benefits the same as presently exists, he abolishes Medicare in favor of a voucher system that will cost seniors more money than what they pay now. And a voucher system will only allow citizens the ability to purchase insurance for the cost of a voucher and not for the costs of what medical and health care will actual cost into the future. For a senior on a limited budget, this cannot be appealing at all since seniors will have to pay more under the Ryan budget.
And then there is the Medicaid program, the health care program that not only covers the poor, but services that certain seniors call upon, such as in nursing homes and other facilities that seniors may not be able to afford. Obamacare provides for an expanded Medicaid program, but the U.S. Supreme Court told us last June that each state gets to make the decision to expand the present Medicaid system or not.
To any senior -- and as one of those independent moderates that I am -- I pose this question: Ask yourself whether you want your health care promised from a slick "used car-salesman" who will tell you what you want to hear but is being dishonest with you in doing so (Romney/Ryan), or from someone who understands the health care needs of senior citizens and who was responsible for seeing that Obamacare became the law of the land (Obama)? The answer should be quite apparent, but if it is not, reread this article.
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