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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Same Old Democrat Scares and Lies – by Pastor Dick Helms

I was stunned during a recent phone call as the caller asked me if folks Social Security checks were going to go down next year. It seems that there is a cruel rumor again being spread that somehow President Bush and the Republicans are going to reduce Social Security Benefits and therefore senior citizens and disabled retires are being encouraged to vote for John Kerry. As I understand it, the latest incarnation of this recurring Democrat lie now tries to tie the 2004 17% statutory Medicare premium increase ($11.60 per month across the board) to some phantom Social Security check cut, spinning and convoluting the numbers to imply that this will somehow result in a 17% reduction in next years Social Security checks. As a Social Security Retiree I can understand how a cut of 17% would really hurt us folks on fixed incomes. That is, if it was true. But it isn’t true; it is a cruel lie designed by the Democrats to scare senior citizens and the disabled into voting against the President.

Coordination with this lie at the highest levels of the Democrat party is plain as both John Kerry and John Edwards, together with their senior surrogates, are loudly, and falsely, accusing the President and the Republicans of raising Medicare premiums, carefully quoting the 17% figure to reinforce the lie on the ground. Understand that both Johns and their surrogates know full well that Medicare premiums are updated annually in accordance with formulas set by Public Law 105-33, which passed the Senate as part of the Balanced Budget Act in 1997 with an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 85-15 and that the President has no control over the computations.

That said I would like to put on my old pre-retirement hat of 35 years and speak as an accountant to clear this one up.

While it is true that individual Medicare part B premiums will increase by a flat $11.60 (17%) it is also true that individual Social Security benefits will increase by the national computed rate of inflation, this year 2.1%. Not a lot but still an increase as set forth in the law. For a Social Security recipient receiving $1,000 per month the effect will be as follows.

2004 Benefits

Monthly Benefits -------------$ 1,000.00
Less: Medicare part B --------------66.60

Net Benefits Check --------------$ 933.40

2005 Benefits

Monthly Benefits --------------$ 1,021.00
Less: Medicare part B --------------78.20

Net Benefits Check --------------$ 942.80

Net increase in 2005 check --------$ 9.40

Granted this is not a big increase but it is an increase all the same. For most low income seniors, including me, the coming new prescription drug benefits will more than offset the Medicare premium increase.

I hope this helps to debunk the lies that are out there. I encourage fellow seniors who, like me, are truly concerned about America’s safety, but were scared by those lies, to go ahead and vote for the candidates that have consistently proven by their actions since 9/11 a steadfastness in protecting the American people and Be assured that your Social Security check is safe.


At 10:08 AM, Pat in NC said...

As a person on SS after 18 months on Cobra and then Blue Cross/Shield until Medicare eligible, I will still be paying less for my Medicare and Supplemental policy per month than I paid for BC/S per month. I need to study the Medicare Drug benefit before I elect to add it. I have checked all the cards available currently for NC and find my out of pocket costs would go up for my Rx profile. I have an AARP drug card which I use selectively since it helps with 1 and costs me more if I use it for another Rx. Seniors would be well advised to call pharmacies and find out costs with and without a drug card. They also should ask their doctors if some of the older drugs available as generic would do as well for them. For me, taking 2 pills a day costs around
$88/100 days. Taking a newer combo of the same two meds costs around $275/100. I opted to swallow 2 pills a day
and save $178 per 100 days. Buying routine meds in quantities of 100 vs. a months supply saves a great deal. My MD's office called in renewal scripts for a months supply of the 2 meds--$55+ .I went to office and got written scripts for 100 of each pill, took the 30 day supply back to be included with the 100 days supply of the 2 meds--additional cost was $33+ for the additional 140 pills. Newer does not always mean better. Research does bring new drugs for which there are no older or effective substitutes and in those cases the costs can not be reduced (new chemo for some malignancies, the cholesterol drugs are not yet available in generic). I paid huge costs for Vioxx which now has been pulled from the market. I will not take new drugs until side effects are well known.


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