Letter to the Editor

Questions, answers

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dear Editor,

In response to Ben Nelson's letter "Explaining more of the health care bill,"

BEN'S STATEMENT: "It's unfortunate that some people have criticized the health care reform bill but when questioned quickly show they don't know what's in it."

ANSWER: It is kind of hard to know what is in the bill when it is all done behind closed doors instead of being televised on CSPAN like the president promised. You yourself Senator made a deal in the middle of the night and compromised your supposed values on abortion in doing so. If you wanted us to know what was in it you wouldn't be passing it the weekend before Christmas and in the middle of the night.

BEN'S STATEMENT: "The bill starts the process toward closing the [Medicare Part D] donut hole which will save thousands of dollars in medicine costs for 48,000 Nebraskans every year."

ANSWER: "The current health care reform package could unintentionally make the problems of Medicare worse, while reducing access to medical care for seniors," said Shannon Benton, executive director of The Senior Citizens League, one of the nation's largest nonpartisan seniors advocacy organizations. "Although there are some positive things in the bill, such as the partial closing of the much-dreaded Medicare Part D doughnut hole, our read is that the bill is not as positive for seniors as its supporters have suggested."

BEN'S STATEMENT: Tort reform is in the bill.

ANSWER: Just try Googling that, and you get all sorts of things, like this recent news release; "The bill also does not provide comprehensive tort reform, something the American Academy of Family Physicians has long championed."

BEN'S STATEMENT: "Because of this bill 220,000 uninsured Nebraskans will now get health insurance. 270,000 Nebraska seniors will receive free preventive medical care."

ANSWER: And a chicken in every pot I suppose. Have you ever heard the expression " There is no such thing as a free lunch?" Who is going to pay for this? Oh yeah ... the government!

BEN'S STATEMENT: "The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will save $132 billion over the first 10 years and as much as $1.3 trillion over the second 10 years until 2029."

ANSWER: Very fuzzy math here. That magic flows easily from counting 10 years of dubious Medicare "savings" and tax hikes, but only six years of spending; assuming large cuts in doctor reimbursements that later will be cancelled; and making the states (other than Sen. Ben Nelson's Nebraska) pay a big share of the cost by expanding Medicaid eligibility. The Medicare "savings" and payroll tax hikes are counted twice--first to help pay for expanded coverage, and then to claim to extend the life of Medicare.

BEN'S STATEMENT: "These are just a few reasons why the bill had my support. The cost of doing nothing is too great for Nebraskans, and all Americans."

ANSWER: A recent Rasmussen poll found that only 34 percent of voters say passing a health care bill is better than doing nothing. Only about 25 percent of Nebraskans support the bill.

Lauren Snell

North Platte

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