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60 Plus Association
60 Plus Association
October 28, 2010

Nattering Nabobs of Negativism – Setting the Record Straight

By Jim Martin, Chairman of the 60 Plus Association

The 60 Plus Association, which I launched more than 18 years ago, has been accused by the far left of not representing seniors.

I arrived on the Washington, D.C. scene as a newspaper reporter some 50 years ago and I’ve never seen such ‘foaming at the mouth’ hysteria from the lunatics on the left. They’re making foul-mouthed calls to our offices with some death threats—one in email form, which we turned over to the FBI.

Their mud-slinging attacks on me and my organization are a reaffirmation of the old adage: if you don’t like the message, malign the messenger. This old Marine doesn’t mind a fight, but the “nattering nabobs of negativism” have been firing blanks for weeks and now while they’re reloading, it’s time to set the record straight.

Weeks ago, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and their left-wing allies demanded that 83 TV stations stop running our ads against Democrats who voted to “cut $500 billion from Medicare.” None of the 83 TV stations took down the ad. Now, we have left-wing organizations like People for the American Way, the AARP, League of Conservation Voters, MoveOn.org and others twisting the truth on behalf of liberals.

These liberal groups and some of their media allies are beside themselves because we don’t reveal our donors. We adhere to the law enacted in 1958 that protects the NAACP from revealing its donors. If that law is changed and these far-left groups reveal their donors, 60 Plus will consider doing the same.

It’s probably an oversight, but I don’t recall the media berating these liberal organizations as “front groups, shadowy, and secretive, for not revealing their donors.”

To tantalize our detractors, I point out the following: in our 18-year history, 60 Plus has received some 300,000 individual donations, from $1 to $1,000,000, including one lady who made 63 voluntary donations to 60 Plus. A short while ago, 60 Plus received, in one day alone, 3,198 donations (mainly from the internet) totaling $135,000.00. The attacks keep coming and so do the dollars into our bank account!!

The Obama/Pelosi health care disaster compromised the Greatest Generation’s medical insurance options.  It cut our Medicare by a half of a trillion dollars, and it will force thousands of seniors across the nation to switch their plans and sometimes even their doctors.  When our liberal detractors tell seniors that these are not the facts, they should have their mouths washed out with soap for telling whopping lies. Even poor old Andy Griffith, in ads paid for with your tax dollars, is telling some of the biggest whoppers!

Capitol Hill insiders deceived citizens during the debate by telling Americans that if you enjoy your coverage, you’ll get to keep it.  That catchphrase clearly did not apply to seniors.

Recently, FactCheck.org launched an analysis of a series of 60 Plus ads in which the conclusions the organization drew were blatantly misleading and untrue.

The bottom line is that the new health care law cuts $500 billion from Medicare. Did 60 Plus make up these numbers? You be the judge.  The day after health care reform passed, CBS News reported, “The bill also includes $500 billion in Medicare cuts over the next decade.”  The Associated Press, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, House Energy and Commerce Committee, The Examiner, and others reported the same number as well (documentation attached).

The new health care law does threaten seniors’ ability to keep their health care plan and their doctor.  The repercussions of ObamaCare have already hit the senior community.  This September, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care was forced to cancel its Medicare Advantage health insurance program.  As a result, 22,000 seniors in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine will need to find a different coverage option.  Moreover, if a senior’s doctor is outside their new plan’s network, they will need to switch physicians, which is a new rule that was added by ObamaCare (documentation attached).

You don’t have to just listen to me either.  The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services’ Chief Actuary report regarding health care reform stated, “Providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries)” (documentation attached).

FactCheck.org also claims that the quality of seniors’ care won’t be hurt by the Obama/Pelosi health care disaster, but that simply isn’t true.  Quoting from a September 9 Wall Street Journal article, “The drastic reductions in Medicare reimbursements under ObamaCare will create havoc and chaos in health care for seniors….  If the government is not going to pay, then seniors are not going to get the health services, treatment and care they expect” (documentation attached).

The new ObamaCare bill will force some seniors to switch doctors.  It will force them into a one-size-fits-all plan they don’t want. It will cut $500 billion from Medicare.  It will hurt the quality of care for seniors.

Incidentally, these far-left groups are also nervously wringing their hands and falsely claiming that the 60 Plus Association and other like-minded organizations are “fronts for big Pharma and big insurance.”  The reality is, however, 60 Plus has not accepted Pharma donations or insurance dollars for years.  Those industries made their bed with the Obama/Pelosi/Reid crowd.

Furthermore, touting AARP as favoring this terrible bill is an insult to seniors who will be hurt by long lines and reduced care quality when the Medicare cuts kick in.  AARP will make millions from ObamaCare.  And the “highly regarded” AMA?   Give me a break.  Fewer than 20 percent of doctors belong to this impotent organization.  AMA offices rejoiced at the new legislation because the organization has a monopoly on the Medicare medical coding system, which means AMA will reap millions of dollars to fatten their financial bottom line.

For over a year now, I’ve been predicting that a senior-citizen tsunami is headed toward Capitol Hill as a result of their decision on health care reform and I’ve been predicting that a lot of politicians will be looking for a new line of work November 3rd. To mollify seniors who vote in larger numbers in these midterm elections, the Obama Administration has offered, as seniors face a second year of no cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase, a $250 ‘sorry-we-cut-Medicare-by-a-half-trillion-dollars’ check.  But as 60 Plus member and retired teacher Tony DeBenedittis said during a TV interview, this is a “bribe, Chicago style.” Even the Washington Post, not a conservative publication, called the $250 check “pandering.”

If the Obama Administration wants to assuage seniors, it should back away from the half-trillion dollar cuts to Medicare.

I can assure foolish liberal politicians: Seniors are informed.  We can tell hard facts from twisted logic.  And most importantly, we vote. The senior-citizen tsunami is headed your way.


Mr. Martin is Chairman of the 60 Plus Association, formed in 1992 as a non-partisan seniors’ advocacy group with a free-enterprise, limited government, lower taxes mission and a strict adherence to the Constitution. www.60plus.org.


* DOCUMENTATION *

CLAIM: This September, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care was forced to cancel its Medicare Advantage health insurance program.  As a result, 22,000 seniors in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine will need to find a different coverage option, and if a senior’s doctor is outside their new plan’s network, they will need to switch physicians.

DOCUMENTATION:

  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has notified customers that it will drop its Medicare Advantage health insurance program at the end of the year, forcing 22,000 senior citizens in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine to seek alternative supplemental coverage… The decision by Wellesley-based Harvard Pilgrim, the state’s second-largest health insurer, was prompted by a freeze in federal reimbursements and a new requirement that insurers offering the kind of product sold by Harvard Pilgrim … form a contracted network of doctors who agree to participate for a negotiated amount of money.  Under current rules, patients can seek care from any doctor.”  (Weisman, Robert.  “Harvard Pilgrim cancels Medicare Advantage plan.”  Boston Globe.  28 September 2010.  http://www.boston.com/business/healthcare/articles/2010/09/28/harvard_pilgrim_cancels_medicare_advantage_plan/)

CLAIM: The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services’ Chief Actuary report regarding health care reform stated, “Providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).”

DOCUMENTATION:

  • The actuary’s report says that the Medicare cuts, if realized, could reduce the number of providers accepting Medicare patients, hurting access to care.  “[P]roviders for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).”  [CMS Report, April 2010, Medicare Chief Actuary’s Analysis of Health Care Legislation]

CLAIM: The Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, House Energy and Commerce Committee, The Examiner, and others, reported the same numbers as well.

DOCUMENTATION:

  • “To pay for the changes, the legislation includes more than $400 billion in higher taxes over a decade and cuts more than $500 billion from planned payments to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other providers that treat Medicare patients.”  [Associated Press, 21 March 2010.]
  • “A plan to slash more than $500 billion from future Medicare spending — one of the biggest sources of funding for President Obama’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health-care system — would sharply reduce benefits for some senior citizens and could jeopardize access to care for millions of others, according to a government evaluation released Saturday.”  (The Washington Post.  15 November 2009)
  • “The Congressional majority wants to pay for its $1 trillion to $1.6 trillion health bills with new taxes and a $500 billion cut to Medicare.” (Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203517304574303903498159292.html)
  • “The House Energy and Commerce Committee majority said no to a proposal offered by U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., a doctor who warned that the Democratic legislation ‘cuts $500 billion out of the current Medicare system.’” (House Energy and Commerce Committee, http://republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/News/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=7318)
  • “Democrats in the Senate have successfully jumped one of the biggest roadblocks toward the passage of the bill by defeating an attempt by Republicans and Senator John McCain to remove the $500 billion dollars in Medicare cuts.”  (The Examiner, http://www.examiner.com/conservative-in-columbia/democrats-succeed-cutting-nearly-500-billion-from-medicare)


CLAIM: Peter Ferrara and Larry Hunter write in a September 9 Wall Street Journal article, “The drastic reductions in Medicare reimbursements under ObamaCare will create havoc and chaos in health care for seniors….  If the government is not going to pay, then seniors are not going to get the health services, treatment and care they expect.”

DOCUMENTATION:

  • “The drastic reductions in Medicare reimbursements under ObamaCare will create havoc and chaos in health care for seniors.  Many doctors, surgeons and specialists providing critical care to the elderly – such as surgery for hip and knee replacements, sophisticated diagnostics through MRIs and CT scans, and even treatment for cancer and heart disease – will cease serving Medicare patients.  If the government is not going to pay, then seniors are not going to get the health services, treatment and care they expect.”   [Ferrara, Peter and Larry Hunter.  “How ObamaCare Guts Medicare.”  Wall Street Journal.  9 September 2010.]


CLAIM: … extending a $250 check as recompense for the half-trillion-dollar cuts liberals made to Medicare.

DOCUMENTATION:

  • “More than 1 million Medicare beneficiaries have received a one-time, tax-free $250 rebate check to defray prescription drug costs, the Dept. of Health and Human Services announced Aug. 30.”  (“Medicare Part D Rebate Checks Reach 1 Million Mark.”  American Medical News.  American Medical Association.  13 September 2010.  http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/09/13/gvbf0913.htm)


Posted Under: News | Op-Eds