The Bipartisan Medicare Agreement explained
The Bipartisan Medicare Agreement represents a significant achievement in our Nation's efforts to provide affordable prescription drug coverage for seniors and an improved Medicare system. We must make these improvements this year, during this session of Congress. It is time for Congress to finish the job and pass this legislation so that seniors can get the help they need and the choices and benefits they deserve.
Prescription Drug Savings for Seniors
For the first time in Medicare's history, a prescription drug benefit will be offered to all 40 million seniors and disabled Americans in Medicare to help them afford the cost of their medicines.
Beginning next year, seniors would save 10-25 percent off the cost of most medicines through a Medicare-approved drug discount card. Seniors would be able to take the card to their local pharmacy and receive the discount. Since the typical senior spends $1,285 annually on his or her medicines, the card could save a senior who lacks drug coverage as much as $300 annually. The card would provide savings until the full drug benefit goes into effect.
Beginning in 2006, seniors without coverage would be able to join a Medicare-approved plan that would cut their yearly drug costs roughly in half, in exchange for a $35 monthly premium. In many cases, the savings will be even greater.
Seniors with no drug coverage and monthly drug costs of $200 would save more than $1,700 on drug costs each year.
Seniors with no drug coverage and monthly drug costs of $800 would save nearly $5,900 on drug costs each year.
Seniors would be protected again high out-of-pocket costs with Medicare covering 95% of drug costs over $3,600 per year.
Low-income seniors will receive additional help paying for their medicines.
o A $600 annual subsidy would be added to their drug discount card.
o There would be no additional premiums, no deductible and low co-payments ($2 for generic or $5 for brand-name drugs) for seniors with limited savings and incomes at or below 135% of poverty (individuals with yearly incomes under $12,123 and senior couples under $16,362).
o There would be reduced premium, a $50 deductible, and 15% co-insurance (85% of their drug costs would be covered) for seniors with limited savings and incomes between 135% and 150% of the federal poverty level (individuals with yearly incomes under $13,470 and senior couples under $18,180).
All seniors will save from steps to bring safe, lower cost generic drugs to market sooner. The President took steps earlier this year to bring generic versions of drugs to market sooner, and this legislation will strengthen those efforts that are estimated to save American consumers about $35 billion over the next 10 years.
More Choices-Better Benefits-And the Choice to Stay with the Coverage You Have Today
Seniors will have more choices in health care-including the same kinds of choices that members of Congress and other Federal employees enjoy today. Seniors will be able to choose the healthcare plan that best fits their needs-instead of having that choice made by the government.
Seniors can choose to stay in traditional Medicare and still get prescription drug coverage. Or, they can choose a new Medicare-approved private plan where the drug benefit is integrated into broader medical coverage, including disease management programs and protections against high out-of-pocket medical spending. Or, seniors who like the lower cost sharing and extra benefits often available in managed care plans would be able to make that choice as well.
Under a modernized Medicare, there will be better coverage for preventive care (e.g., a "welcome to Medicare" physical that would include screening for cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as immunizations against pneumonia and the flu).
All Americans can benefit from provisions in the bill that will remove excessive restrictions on health savings accounts, which will give individuals more control over the costs of their health care.
Reforms to Strengthen and Modernize Medicare
Private health plans will compete for seniors' business by providing better coverage at affordable prices-helping to control the costs of Medicare by using market-place competition, not government price-setting.
Private sector competition will result in more innovation and flexibility in coverage. This will be a significant improvement over the way benefits are provided in Medicare today -where politicians and bureaucrats, rather than healthcare markets, dictate what is covered and what is paid.
Private employers will receive incentives to continue to provide drug coverage to their retirees.
New accounting safeguards will put the program on a stronger financial foundation by alerting future congresses and presidents when the program's costs are rising faster than expected so they can address the problem.
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" -Edmund Burke
Friday, November 21, 2003
The Bipartisan Medicare Agreement explained
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
On this Veterans Day, I would like to thank all those who have served and continue to serve in our Nation's Armed Services. Democracy can only stand when there are those who are committed to risking the ultimate sacrifice in protecting our Liberties. Thank you to all those who have fought for freedom and liberty.--Lawguy
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
-- George Orwell
A Veterans Day Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
The willingness of America's veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude. On this, our Nation's 50th annual Veterans Day observance, we celebrate and honor the patriots who have fought to protect the democratic ideals that are the foundation of our country.
When the armistice ending World War I was signed on November 11, 1918, more than 4.7 million Americans put down their arms and turned to the work of strengthening our Nation. The end of that first global conflict was initially commemorated as Armistice Day. In 1954, the Congress renamed the day as Veterans Day to recognize all those who have served in our Armed Forces.
Throughout our history, loyal citizens from every corner of America have willingly assumed the duty of military life. And time after time, in conflicts across the globe, they have proven that democracy is mightier than tyranny. From World War I and World War II, to the conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf, to the recent battles in the war on terror, our military has built a great tradition of courageous and faithful service. Our veterans
have helped bring freedom to countries around the world. Free nations and peoples liberated by American troops are grateful for the long, distinguished line of American veterans who have come to their aid.
Today, our veterans inspire new generations of Americans as we work to defeat terrorism and advance peace. In respect for and recognition of the contributions our service men
and women have made to the cause of peace and freedom around the world, the Congress has provided (5 U.S.C. 6103(a)) that November 11 of each year shall be set aside as a legal public holiday to honor veterans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim November 11, 2003, as Veterans Day and urge all Americans to observe November 9 through November 15, 2003, as National Veterans Awareness Week. I encourage all Americans to recognize the valor and sacrifice of our veterans through
appropriate ceremonies and prayers. I call upon Federal, State, and local officials to display the flag of the United States and to participate in patriotic activities in their communities. I invite civic and fraternal organizations, places of worship, schools, businesses, unions, and the media to support this national observance with suitable commemorative expressions and programs.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-eighth.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Monday, November 10, 2003
I am not a Black Helicopter anti-UN conservative. I limit my criticism of the UN to its anti-American/Pro-Socialist agenda. But This Story about the UN seeking to regulate the Internet causes me to wonder about those Black helicopters!
One of the best quotes from the articles this:
"Poorer nations such as Brazil, India, South Africa, China and Saudi Arabia, as well as some richer ones, are growing dissatisfied with the workings of California-based Icann (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the semi-private Internet address regulator set up five years ago."
First off, since when can China and Saudi Arabia be considered "poor" nations?
Second, the Article seems to imply that the battle over UN regulation of the Internet is divided between "poor" and "rich" nations. Could it be that those who wish to have the UN regulate the Internet are trying to stem the tide of pro-democracy and anti-authoritarian information that is flowing into their countries via the Internet? Could these countries be taking part in a concerted effort to protect their despotic, oppressive regimes? (Of course not, everybody knows that the UN fights for Democracy and freedom; add sarcasm here)
Wide ranging access to the Internet has been one of the most democratizing forces in the dissemination of information since the invention of the printing press. International Governmental regulation of this pipeline of information only creates the circumstances for despots to control the public. One can only look to the effect that the Internet has had on the movement towards Democracy in Iran , and you will soon see why those who oppose a free Internet do so.
Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.
- General George Patton Jr
Frank J wants the term "United Nations" to be forever banned from the Internet.
Thursday, November 06, 2003
CBS has finally decided to drop their partisan hit piece on Ronald Reagan entitled "The Reagans." CBS has sold the miniseries to Showtime.
Upon hearing that CBS dropped the miniseries, Democrat hit-women, Babs Streisand, responded by calling it "censorship"
"This is censorship, pure and simple. Well, maybe not all that pure. Censorship never is. Due to their experience with the restrictive English government, the framers of our constitution specifically included a ban on prior restraint in the First Amendment, which is an attempt to stop information from getting out there before the public has a chance to see it at all - exactly what is going on in this case."
Let me enlighten MRS. Streisand. The American Library Association defines Censorship as: "The change in the access status of material, made by a governing authority or its representatives. Such changes include: exclusion, restriction, removal, or age/grade level changes." Streisand is right in that the First Amendment was conceived from the Founding Fathers' "experience with the restrictive English government, the framers of our constitution specifically included a ban on prior restraint in the First Amendment." One thing she leaves out in calling this cases "censorship" is that THERE IS NO GOVERNMERNT ACTION here! The moment of clarity that lead to the decision to remove the program was simply pragmatic business by CBS to prevent a boycott and the prospect of sponsors removing their capital from the movie.
Let me just inform ALL activist that in order to claim censorship, there must be Government Action. The Constitution, for the most part, DOES NOT APPLY TO PRIVATE ACTION!