The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Stealth attacks on Medicare

Mar 31, 2003

The Bush administration has announced a near-record high increase in the cost of Medicare Part B. Instead of the current deduction of $58.70 per month from each person's Social Security, the new deduction would be $66.00 per month. It's like a big new tax imposed on the elderly and 40 million disabled who depend on Medicare.

A week before this announcement, the Bush administration also announced plans to make it harder for Medicare patients whose claims are denied to appeal and be paid. Last year, patients won 51% of their 77,388 appeals. In the last five years, patients have won 53% of their appeals.

Judges who hear the appeals are currently required to abide by Social Security regulations. Under the government's new proposals, judges would be required to follow the current policies of Medicare and its contractors – policies which even today, as appeal figures show, result in unjustified denial of claims over 50% of the time! The number of denials of payments is already a scandal.

Just imagine how many appeals will be denied if Medicare's insurance company contractors are given a free hand.

Bush is using the war against Iraq as an excuse to demand sacrifices from working people. And he's starting with those least able to defend themselves.

This is criminal!