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posted: 10/18/2012 1:59 PM

Seniors, look closely at Romney plans

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Mitt Romney has been saying his health care changes will not affect those over 55. But various news media sources including fact check organizations say otherwise. Read what the New England Journal of Medicine says by doing Google on "NEJM health care under Romney."

First, regarding Medicare, Romney promises to return the $716 billion in Medicare savings obtained by reducing payments to insurers and hospitals under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). However, this will result in seniors seeing a $340 yearly increase on average in premiums and co-payments. This is because when Medicare's costs increase -- by raising payments to health care providers -- so, too, do beneficiaries' contributions as they are linked. Further, returning to a higher payment rate to insurers and hospitals will hasten the insolvency of Medicare Part A by eight years -- to 2016 from 2024. How would Romney keep it solvent? Would those on Medicare have to pay more or would those not yet on Medicare pay more?

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Also, a repeal of the Obamacare would eliminate expanded coverage of prescription drugs, free annual wellness visits and free preventive services for those under Medicare currently.

Second, Romney has talked about 30 percent cuts in federal funding for Medicaid. Currently more than half of all nursing-home residents are covered by Medicaid, which pays nearly half of the nation's total costs for long-term health care. Sixty four percent of Medicaid spending is for older Americans and people with disabilities (while 36 percent goes to children and families). If Medicaid funding is cut by a third and the cuts spread out uniformly, what will happen to a third of the millions of elderly currently in nursing homes?

Seniors need to look carefully into Romney's plans for Medicare and Medicaid, as it will indeed affect them.

Eugene Bordelon

Warrenville

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