BOREL OPINION COLUMN: $Social In$Security
PRO-HEALTHCARE REFORM, ANTI-2010 MANDATED SOCIAL SECURITY REDUCTIONS
by Helen Borel, RN,PhD
Dear Readers: No talking heads are raising this urgent subject! Not even AARP has fought against it, nor publicized this outrageous loss in pension monies owed to American Seniors in the coming tax year 2010.
Federal Government Stealing from American Elders
But it's a fact that, however meagre the usual annual percentages the government allots, NO SENIOR WILL RECEIVE THE much-needed COST-OF-LIVING SOCIAL SECURITY INCREASE in 2010 -- that yearly lifts our elders, ever so slightly, above penury.
Shame on America!
Thus, Seniors, so lowly pensioned, so lowly regarded by society at large, are now paying handsomely for the new government projected healthcare and other federal programs.
You see, if you do not up the Senior pension, even by the usual pittance percentage -- out of which a large slice goes to Seniors' Medicare premiums (and, remember, this does not include the additional premiums in excess of $300 or more annually that ALL SENIORS enrolled in Medicare Part D's Prescription Drug program -- out of which the patient still pays the larger share in co-pays and in overall costs for uncovered Rx meds and medical supplies) -- Seniors' subsequent "twilight years" are further dimmed by being robbed of that meagre elevation in pension monies earned over a lifetime.
And so they will be successively robbed in succeeding years due to the lowered pension in 2010. Does anyone know of any other pension plan that steals from pensioners in this way?
I Applaud Extensive Healthcare Reform...BUT NOT BY STEALING FROM PENSION BENEFITS
Now, I'm heavily PRO-MASSIVE HEALTHCARE REFORM! I believe EVERYONE has a right to quality preventive healthcare, emergency care, and ongoing medical, surgical, pharmaceutical and psychiatric care as their health circumstances require throughout their lives. Life and death, and the assuaging of painful miseries should never be contingent on a patient's wealth or lack thereof. Sadly, though, that's the way our American system has been operating for far too long. It's a painful shame. And it's unethical.
Healthcare Professions Don't Exist to Enrich the Practitioners at the Expense of Sufferers!
I didn't enter the Nursing Profession to gather monetary riches and I didn't become a Psychotherapist to squeeze troubled patients out of their hard-earned savings and out of their capacity to pay the bills for their necessary living expenses. My fees have always been flexible, according to each patient's financial circumstances. Thus my psych patients receive modest-cost, top quality therapy in a private setting. Sadly, my "patients-first" perspective that embraces their financial well-being, as well as their physical and emotional health, is excrutiatingly rare in other private health practices.
So I believe other health professionals, particularly physicians, need to awaken from their misguided slumber in which dollar signs -- $$$ -- replace the caduceus (winged symbol of medical man) in their dreams. They who have lulled themselves into a self-serving belief that their privileged medical school education will and must confer on them gilt gains by virtue of acquiring an MD degree.
You choose a specific profession because that's a field of particular interest to you and because you probably have talents in that direction. You don't -- or should not -- choose medicine to profit excessively on other people's illnesses, pain, suffering, misery and dying processes.
Salaried Physicians Practicing within a Network of Specialties Aimed at Thorough, Comprehensive Patient Care Offers Quality and Contains Costs
I believe it's the Cleveland Clinic model that sets the correct forward-looking tone for affordable healthcare delivery -- for doctors and patients alike. It pays doctors' salaries. What a concept! Just like everyone else in our society. (Now that patients have come to realize that physicians aren't God.)
This way, physicians are free to provide their best quality care without struggling to be paid by recalcitrant, paperwork-mired insurers. And patients won't be charged an arm and a leg to treat a heart attack or a brain tumor.
And patients won't be turned away because their low-to-moderate middle-class income is not elastic enough to stretch to provide for the simplest preventive care, the simplest ongoing treatment for varied common conditions -- that, when controlled, obviate expensive ER care and hospitalizations.
Let alone such patients' financial pressures causing them to avoid needed care for urgent, chronic, unexpected, terminal and life-saving treatments, as well as pain relief, and necessary surgeries and physiotherapies.
All of the above must be implemented forthwith, Because...
When human neonates are born, there is no gilded instruction from the Almighty attached to some infants' toes saying, "This baby is entitled to the best of healthcare throughout life by virtue of being born to wealthy parents."
Nor to others' is there a toe tag saying, "This infant can expect little to no care due to a modest salary in adulthood." (I don't address the poor, here, because they have multiple local, state and federal services available free -- including Medicaid.)
Finally other infants, destined to become physicians, do not arrive at birth with an attached notice from God saying, "I command the world to award this baby unending, ever-increasing wealth gained from the illness and suffering of their fellow humans upon receiving the MD degree."
When people in ALL the health professions work for salaries -- with merit raises and bonuses -- as occurs in other fields -- with job security tied to quality of care of their patients -- then costs will be controlled appropriately and health interventions for patients can be timely enough to avoid delayed diagnoses and illness exacerbations that increase otherwise avoidable hospitalizations, suffering and deaths.
Why this consciously "eyes-wide-open," conscience-appropriate step has not been taken, up to this very moment, on a broad scale across the American Healthcare Landscape is obvious. In a word: GREED. Profits on the backs of the low-to-middle income sick. For shame!
And doctors need to remember their oath: Primum non nocere. First do no harm. When patients are so worried about inability to pay high fees that they avoid care or are unable to take full advantage of prescribed Rx meds, physiotherapy, and other treatments, grave harm is done to both their physical and emotional health -- and against trust in medical professionals.
Eliminating the 2010 Cost-of-Living Pension Raise Penalizes already Stressed and Sick Seniors
Considering the current health "care" fiasco (discussed above) experienced by a large number of low-to-moderate-income Americans, it is unconscionable that American Seniors barely subsisting on poorly-managed (?questionably invested) Social Security pension funds should be forced to relinquish their meagre cost-of-living percentage in the coming 2010 year.
In light of the currently unaffordable healthcare debacle, considering that Seniors -- who paid into the private health insurance system as healthy young and middle-aged workers, for decades, when they never had to use any of these benefits and which thereby enriched these insurance companies -- are now most vulnerable physically to the natural ravages of aging, what federal "genius" decided that it's okay to rob them of a few 2010 dollars they are entitled to in order to pay their medical co-pays in 2010?
So, how does the Social Security Misadministration justify stealing this tiny cost-of-living increase due all elder Americans in 2010? Which will therefore also lower their overall Social Security income in all their subsequent years?
Congresspeople and Senators -- I'd like to know. Because this is a callous outrage!
(c) copyright 2009 Borel Medical Syndicate.
Feel free to quote liberally from this article with attribution as follows, "from $Social In$Security: PRO-HEALTHCARE REFORM, ANTI-2010 MANDATED SOCIAL SECURITY REDUCTIONS by Helen Borel,RN,PhD."
For my other commentary, medical, psychiatric, and creativity articles, and my fiction: see http://hubpages.com/hub/PSYCH-NEW-YORK and google BOREL SATIRE: FREUD These will lead you to the rest of my works. And your comments are welcome. Also, you can follow my tweets on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/Borelmedwriter