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Focus on facts instead of fury of the few

Despite local media reports about alleged, overwhelming anger directed at Congresswoman Niki Tsongas at yesterday’s senior women’s breakfast in Chelmsford (Seniors take Tsongas to Task), the other perspective on the story is that the anger was media hype combined with a dash of mistaken identity. Apparently, it was not female senior citizens who had the most strongly worded comments for Tsongas and who took up most of the time allotted for questions, but instead, a group of vocal Tea Party crashers, most of whom were not women. (See this video of the event.) That’s not to say you can’t have concerns about the sweeping legislation or that there aren’t folks out there with them, but the most important aspect of all this is to get the facts. Tsongas explains here in today’s Sun how health care reform will reduce the deficit, cut waste in medicare, and end taxpayer subsidies for private insurers’ overpayment and inefficiency. Another Sun article explains the medicare costs in detail, quoted in part, below (my bold):

Nearly $500 billion in cuts under the health-reform package include no direct reductions to traditional Medicare benefits, Tsongas said. Instead, the cuts will come largely from limits to growth in future Medicare spending over the next 10 years and lower government funding of private Medicare Advantage plans. About 25 percent of all Medicare recipients get health care through these plans, including 7,400 in the 5th Congressional District, that generally reduce what people have to pay from their own pockets for medical services.

‘The small premiums are from the government paying out about 14 percent more for Advantage than it costs to cover seniors in traditional Medicare,’ Tsongas said. ‘You have to say what’s fair and what’s wasteful,’ Tsongas said. ‘Paying more for a select group is not fair to the majority receiving traditional Medicare and it’s misspending taxpayers dollars.’

While premiums for Advantage plans are likely to rise next year, ‘insurers cannot offer fewer benefits than the original Medicare plan, whether you’re on traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage,’ Tsongas added. AARP Massachusetts, and other advocates for seniors, support health-care reform and insist the landmark bill will strengthen the overall Medicare program and benefit seniors.”

posted in Local Politics, National issues | 0 Comments

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