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Looks like Republician strategy to dismantle Medicare.


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/11/washington/11medicare.html?th&emc=th
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Looks like Republician strategy to dismantle Medicare.

Lets see now. when Republicans reduce taxes, they are "cutting taxes for the rich", but if they increase medicare costs for the "rich", they are finding ways to dismantle it.

According to the NY Times and their minions, Republicans can not do anything right.

My thoughts on this are that the meeting between the NY Times and President Bush about publishing State Secrets in the war on terror should have had a much different ending than the Times refusing to co-operate and just leaving. My ending involves a firing squad to remove dangerous traitors from our midst.

Lacking that ending, I will point out that it would be politically impossible to dismantle medicare, and the hated Republicans were the ones who added a prescription drug benefit last year.

The article is nothing more than the current NY Times standard of publishing editorials as news.
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OldOne,

Your bias is showing. Posts like that are why I stopped reading the REHP. It becamse a political battleground for extremists of both camps, and the concept of retiring early was lost.

db@70
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I happen to agree, db@70. While, like everyone else, I have definite political opinions, I'm hoping that we can all agree to exclude political matters from this board. My mother always taught me not to argue either politics or religion - she wisely said that those are arguements that you can never win.

Can this board please be for matters dealing with living in retirement, and can the Geezer Board please deal with the trials and tribulations of getting old. Wouldn't it be nice to discuss retirement and aging with sympathy and humor? We all have a lot to offer each other through these two difficult, confusing, and sometimes humorous aspects of life.

All of us worry about the demise of Medicare and Social Security. I worry more about how our kids and grandkids will be affected. Please leave partisan comments to other boards.

Trini
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Thank you for recommending this post to our Best of feature.

All of us worry about the demise of Medicare and Social Security. I worry more about how our kids and grandkids will be affected. Please leave partisan comments to other boards.

Trini, unlike a certain infamous poster, I've never mourned having a limit on recs. 30 is more than enough for me, but I would use them all on your post if I could, especially the last sentence!

Carol
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Your bias is showing. Posts like that are why I stopped reading the REHP.

Can anyone explain exactly why a post which says: "Looks like Republician strategy to dismantle Medicare." is not political, but my opinions are political?
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OldOne,

IIRC, you are younger than me, and I certainly don't consider myself old.

I'm sorry that I targeted your post specifically. What I was aiming at was not letting Retired Fools go the way of REHP, with its political groussing. I do like thoughtful political commentary, so I read the columns by Tom Friedman and Maureen Doud, as well as those by David Brooks and George Will. But I don't look to TMF for that commentary.

db
70 in Montecito, CA
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<Posts like that are why I stopped reading the REHP. It becamse a political battleground for extremists of both camps, and the concept of retiring early was lost.>


In a couple of days, this board will celebrate 8 years of existance. The number of posts averages out to about 25 per week. That leaves a lot of time for people to hear the crickets chirping. The REHP board which has been around for a bit over 7 years averages about 825 posts a week.

I agree that there is a lot of political noise there. I fixed that problem by making ample use of the Ignore Fool feature.

Politics is an important element of any RE plans as major changes to the rules of the game can have a significant impact on ones plans. On that board, I can handle those with differing political POVs provided they are reasonably well versed in subjects related to the boards title. Collectively, many of us who have been there awhile have had lots of healthy disagreements with eachother over the years. The healthy part comes from a common understanding of the mindset and discipline one must have to implement an early retirement plan.

Sadly, the board is often infected with drive by polluters who have no interest in things related to retirement (early or otherwise). Yet they feel compelled to inject their politics without contributing anything at all to the subject at hand. Those are the ones that I permanently keep on my Ignore list.

With 825 posts a week, it is not surprising that many threads are not on topic. Part of it is the drivebys. Another part of it is that the core concepts of planning for an early retirement have been covered and recovered so many times. When there is a new wrinkle or a change or proposed change in the tax code, it gets discussed. Whenever anyone (regular or newbie) has a serious question to ask, it always gets a quick and serious response.

When you hang out with people who have a shared interest in early retirement, it is inevitable that we would talk to eachother about many things beyond the core issues. So we have a fair number of discussions about music, cooking, gardening, pets, family, vacation spots, bad bosses, restaurants, home repairs, exercise, health, or even the holographic universe. That may bother some purists, but that is where the Ignore Thread feature can come in handy. While I too have often strayed off topic there, I believe I have more than made up for it with many on topic posts. I shall always be grateful for the excellent advice that I received there from some very smart people. I have implemented many ideas that came about from our discussions.

I have read this board for a long time. With such a low volume of posts it is hard to get too enthused here. The tone is usually civil, but the room is often empty. That is not really anyones fault. Most subjects related to regular retirement have also been well covered. So it is not surprising that there are so few new threads appearing here.


B
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I'm sorry that I targeted your post specifically. What I was aiming at was not letting Retired Fools go the way of REHP, with its political groussing.

While I accept your apology, my major point was and still is that the person to admonish is the original poster.

If someone is going to present clearly political views which are repugnant to me, and you want to keep political debate out of this forum, chastise that attacker, not the defender.
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My thought on the present thread is that if I wanted to read political arguments, I would go to PA or REHP. I request that mendomann, OldOne, gurdison, and anyone else have the decency to leave the politics at the door. I don't mind that the post rate is low here. I avoid PA and REHP because I don't enjoy the type of argumetns I find there. This is an oasis of quiet.

Thank you for keeping it quiet.

cliff
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TS OldOne, I wrote that I just skimmed this thread. Your reply seems like the "he hit me first" you might expect from a gradeschool kid, not the reply of one who signs himself OldOne, implying one with the judgement age can provide. I withdraw my apology.

db
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Now, now, children! No more bickering.

Cut this out or I'll send you to your rooms.

Trini
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Now, if we can leave ideaology out of the discussion, what does this medicare increase really do and really mean? From Bill Fenton on the Geezer Board
Here's another look at the increases, including a table:

http://www.tscl.org/NewContent/102589.asp

For one thing, this paragraph is not clear as to who slid the means testing into the bill:
Means testing of the Part B premium was one of the most controversial elements of the 2003 Medicare drug law. Neither version of the law originally passed by the House or the Senate even contained the provision. The Washington Post reported in 2003 that the House version of the legislation would have required Medicare beneficiaries to pay more for medicine under the new Part D drug plans. The provision to charge higher income beneficiaries more for the Part B premium rather than for prescription drug coverage was inserted at the last minute by the small handful of Congressional leaders who negotiated the final version of the law behind tightly closed doors.

So we can only guess as to who the evil-doers are and what their motives might be.

The table in the reference shows that a married couple making more than $400,000 a year will have to pay $413.40 for Part B of medicare in 2009, Part B being for Doctor's and the like. I don't know if $413.40 is a reasonable insurance premium for two people over 65 or not.

The other thing which is not clear is the definition of income. Are they talking about earned income? Dividends? Interest? Most people who are making that kind of money at a job will be covered by their job insurance. If they are still working, then I am of the old school that says that Social Security and medicare are for retired people, not just a supplement to wages.

I find it hard to exert much worry on the behalf of people making over $400,000 a year from any source, but if the premium is out of line with what they can get with private insurance, then it isn't a good idea, imo.

I know one data point: my wife pays $200 a month for a Blue Cross Policy with a $3500 deductible. (We consider it insurance for major illness. We will pay for the bloody noses or routine care until she is eligible for medicare.) The BC does cover hospitalization, so there is no apples-to-apples comparison to medicare Part B.

I would welcome comments on the substance of the increase, as opposed to political diatribes.

cliff
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The other thing which is not clear is the definition of income.

I've not done any research on this, but from what I've read I gather it's AGI plus tax-exempt income, e.g., tax-exempt interest. I don't know whether they also add in the tax-exempt portion of SS benefits.

Phil
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The other thing which is not clear is the definition of income.

I've not done any research on this, but from what I've read I gather it's AGI plus tax-exempt income, e.g., tax-exempt interest. I don't know whether they also add in the tax-exempt portion of SS benefits.

Phil


On page 11 of the PDF file below, it doesn't give a definition of what income is other than to say the higher premium will be based on "Modified Adjusted Gross Income" . . . I couldn't find an explanation of what "Modified" would take into consideration. For the year 2007, the AGI for 2005 would be used to determine the monthly premium. It also says,"If your income has decreased since 2005, you can ask that the income from a more recent tax year be used to determine your premium, but you must meet certain criteria (It doesn't say what that certain criteria is). At the end of 2006, Social Security will send you a letter if your Part B premium will increase based on the level of your income and to tell you what you can do if you disagree."

I'd like to know if a capital gain from the sale of your home could be excluded from AJI, since it is a one-time occurrence and would overstate what your AJI normally is annually.


http://www.medicare.gov/publications/pubs/pdf/10050.pdf

Dave
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<<Lacking that ending, I will point out that it would be politically impossible to dismantle medicare, and the hated Republicans were the ones who added a prescription drug benefit last year.

>>


I don't think that's true at all, especially for Medicare.

Medicare is drastically underfunded, and will either go broke or Gen X, Y and Z will have to pay large increases in taxes to keep it afloat. If they are smart, they will refuse to do so, and use their social and economic clout to make that stick.


The likely result is that Medicare would be sharply means tested. Those with any significant amount of income other than Social Security or assets would have to pay much higher premiums to continue access to Medicare.

This is already a fact of life with the Part D drug coverage, where the really low income pay little or nothing in premiums, copays or deductibles, while people with other income pay significant amounts of all three.

The same principle will be extended to Medicare AND Social Security, I predict.


After all, why pay benefits to people that don't need them?



Seattle Pioneer
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This is already a fact of life with the Part D drug coverage, where the really low income pay little or nothing in premiums, copays or deductibles, while people with other income pay significant amounts of all three.

SP,

I don't understand where you got the information to back up this statement - I know of no means testing connected with part D at all - ?

The same principle will be extended to Medicare AND Social Security, I predict.
After all, why pay benefits to people that don't need them?


Because the deal was that everyone would pay in, and at a certain time everyone would get the benefit. To do otherwise would punish those who were fiscally responsible to benefit those who were not.

Karon


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I don't understand where you got the information to back up this statement - I know of no means testing connected with part D at all - ?

It's not exactly means testing but there is more help for low income people :

https://s044a90.ssa.gov/apps6z/i1020/main.html

And medicare premiums are now income tested :

http://questions.medicare.gov/cgi-bin/medicare.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=1847

rad
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Anyone want to discuss the real problem that has to be dealt with --- the need to overhaul our entire medical system. I don't want gov't running it but if the private sector doesn't find a way to provide fast, affordable health care then gov't will probably step in. We already have doctors and nurses leaving medicine because they're frustrated by the current system. We have tens of millions who don't have, and often can't get, insurance. We have many others who have insurance but are afraid to use it for fear it will be cancelled. At some point we have to deal with the basic system. Or we can just wait until it breaks completely and no one has medical care.
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<<The same principle will be extended to Medicare AND Social Security, I predict.
After all, why pay benefits to people that don't need them?

Because the deal was that everyone would pay in, and at a certain time everyone would get the benefit. To do otherwise would punish those who were fiscally responsible to benefit those who were not.

Karon
>>



Sorry, but you should be aware that there is no "deal" in the sense of a binding contract. The Congress is free to increase or cut benefits as it chooses. Indeed, an example of this is Medicare Part D, which was added as a benefit for people who receive benefits from it while paying only a portion of the cost of providing that benefit. Just as benefits can be increased, they can also be cut.

It's important to understand that. Social Security has already been cut in the past many times in various ways, such as by taxing benefits and increasing the normal retirement age from 65 to 67, resulting in cuts for every person now signing up for it.


Social Security and Medicare are have scant assets to pay promised benefits, especially if those currently paying taxes insist that current taxes be spent elsewhere.


In my view, every retiree should understand the shaky foundation upon which Medicare and Social Security rest, and understand that benefits probably will be reduced in various ways in the decades to come. The younger you are, the more likely that such changes will affect the benefits you might expect to receive.




Seattle Pioneer
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To do otherwise would punish those who were fiscally responsible to benefit those who were not.

Welcome to the future, only it's been around for some time now.

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In my view, every retiree should understand the shaky foundation upon which Medicare and Social Security rest, and understand that benefits probably will be reduced in various ways in the decades to come.

I think my best case would be for whatever SS they allow me to collect hopefully will be enought to pay my share for Medicare or whatever might be in its place for my health care. A wash, in other words. I think this is the best I can hope for, and I'm approaching 57. If SS will pay this much, then DW and I will be thankful, since something is better than nothing.
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I think my best case would be for whatever SS they allow me to collect hopefully will be enought to pay my share for Medicare or whatever might be in its place for my health care. A wash, in other words.

When the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, my taxes will go up significantly, as a large portion of my retirement income comes from dividends and capital gains. It just so happens that I turn 62 late in 2009. I am hoping that my Social Security benefits, after tax of course, are enough to pay the extra taxes on my other income so that I don't have to ratchet down my lifestyle or increase my withdrawl rate. A wash, in other words.

--fleg
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When the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, my taxes will go up significantly, as a large portion of my retirement income comes from dividends and capital gains.

I'm still holding out hope that something can be worked out to extend these cuts. The date proves conclusively that they generate additional revenue for the government. They are good for the economy, and they certainly are good for me.
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When the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, my taxes will go up significantly, as a large portion of my retirement income comes from dividends and capital gains.

I'm still holding out hope that something can be worked out to extend these cuts. The date proves conclusively that they generate additional revenue for the government. They are good for the economy, and they certainly are good for me.


Of course, if the people who won't renew the tax cuts are in power, there won't be any more capital gains for a while, so part of my comment is moot.

--fleg
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