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Don't waste time trying to get benefits you're not eligible for

To the editor,
Mr. Meade, I read with interest your latest article entitled "A few things to ponder". Although I understand what your points are about Social Security and Medicare some of your statements are inaccurate. It was fairly obvious that you weren't familiar with the rules and procedures for applying for SSDI.
First of all, the government has not made it easier for people whose unemployment benefits have run out to get SSDI. Unemployment and SSDI are two separate agencies. Being unemployed is not a qualifying disability. In order to qualify for SSDI you must go through a very lengthy procedure and mountains of documentation to prove your disability makes you incapable of working. In most cases you will be denied the first time. And once you have been found eligible it takes another full six months before you even get your first check. If you go online and research SSDI you will find a list of qualifying disabilities/conditions. The way you worded your statement you implied that people whose unemployment benefits had run out would be found eligible for SSDI and that just isn't necessarily true. You must be disabled by Social Security standards to receive SSDI. I see that as one of those "someone getting something for free" ploys to make the employed have bad feelings toward the disabled — very common occurrence with conservatives.
You then went on to say that these people would then, after 18 months, become eligible for Medicare and get free health care. Not true at all. It is 24 months. And Medicare is not free. Medicare has many parts to it. Part A usually costs a person nothing. They do however have to meet a deductible every year and may have to pay co-insurance for some services. And this is paid at 80 percent insurance and 20% you. Part A is the inpatient hospital insurance, inpatient nursing home care, hospice care, and home health care services. This is that portion of your paycheck over the years that has gone into Social Security. Part B is the medical portion you can PURCHASE. This is not free. You pay a premium. This covers office visits, blood, labs, doctors and services not related to inpatient care in a hospital. In 2013 people with Part B pay a monthly premium of $104.90 for this coverage and this is automatically removed from the Social Security check. In fact when I was working in the private sector I was paying less per month for my health insurance through my employer then I pay Medicare. The difference was I paid higher co-pays. This coverage is like any insurance coverage. You must meet a yearly deductible. Insurance pays 80 percent and you pay 20 percent of covered services. Then you have Part D which is prescription insurance. Parts A & B only cover some medications that are taken as an inpatient. Part D is insurance you BUY to cover the cost of your prescriptions on a co-pay basis. Just like any other insurance you may have had when employed. Right now the monthly premium depends on the company you choose but the average cost is $37.78 per month. In most cases you will pay a co-pay of $2.65 for generic medications and $6.60 for brand name medications if on Medicare. There are some prescriptions that do not have generic equivalents and you may be told to have your doctor authorize a generic brand because the insurance coverage won't pay for it. If there isn't one your doctor will have to call to explain why you need this one.
And you may have missed it but not to long ago there was an article where people from LRGH administration explained in detail how "reasonable and customary rates" were achieved. And, contrary to your statement, both Medicare reps and insurance reps are included in determining these rates. Rates of payments are negotiated every year and they determine the charges doctors, labs, hospitals, etc. charge a person and/or the insurance company. When you get your bill from a hospital or clinic you will see it broken down into three columns: cost, reasonable and customary charges, and patient cost.
You brought up rationing of care. In case you aren't aware that has been going on forever. Insurance companies decide whether or not they will pay for a service. In 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor so large it needed to be removed ASAP. After I had the first operation I received a letter from my private insurance company telling me I could have this operation and that they would pay for it. I was astonished! I called the insurance company and found out that if they had felt another course of treatment should be tried first they would not have paid for the surgery. The reality of my situation was that my life was in the hands of insurance agents not my doctor. So, you see, the insurance companies decided what services you need not your doctor. Oh you can have the operation but the insurance you have been paying for all those years may not fork out a cent in payment. They don't say you can't have the service only that they won't pay for it.
None of this has to do with "ObamaCare". Obviously with your dislike for our president and the health care program, which you have clearly showed for a very long time, you just assumed it did. Didn't bother to research the facts. Which are all online and easily accessible.
The only reason I've bothered to take the time to respond is because your statements may give some people false hope so they spend unnecessary time trying to get benefits they are probably not eligible for.
Nancy Parsons
Laconia

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 23:35

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Pres. Obama wants no responsibility for anything that happens

To the editor,
Barack Obama may be our president, but he is a petty little man who cares more about his power and ideology than people. After months of attempting to blame Republicans for his sequester plan and promising dire consequences, the public didn't buy it. They said cutting 2.3 percent from our bloated future spending plan isn't enough, cut current spending levels by 5 percent.
Like a spoiled brat, Obama wants to make people suffer for not believing his threats. So, he stops White House tours, he cuts medical care for veterans, including disabled veterans and their families, he releases thousands of criminals to prey on Americans, he goes out of his way to cause pain to others, but for a $500,000 donation to his campaign fund, he gives you a night in the Lincoln Bedroom at taxpayer expense.
Obama had over a year to minimize the effects of the sequester "cuts" (which means spending only increases by $15 billion this year). Small cuts in government waste and fraud would cover all of this year's sequester "cuts". Skipping the golf weekend with Tiger Woods would have saved enough money to fund the White House tours for a year. Other questionable spending could be cut, e.g., $50 million for homeland security (DHS) uniforms, $250 million to Egypt, $60 million to Syrian rebels (we don't even know), and billions for bullets, tanks and other armaments for DHS (to fight whom?).
Congress offered other alternatives. The Senate could have negotiated with one of the two House proposals. Republican Senators proposed to give the president total flexibility to choose the "cuts". But, Obama refused them all.
Obama wants the sequester to inflict pain. The administration directed in writing that cuts must not be made in a way that would reduce the pain that Obama promised.
Even though he is president, Obama wants no responsibility for anything that happens. This is why he lied for so long, blaming Congress for the sequester. Despite preventing Congress from passing a budget or a sequester alternative, despite his disastrous policies that destroy jobs and drive up the costs of food, fuel, medical insurance, and other things Americans need, President Obama repeats, "Not me! Not me!"
The primary jobs that Obama performs are blamer-in-chief, fund-raiser-in-chief and campaigner-in-chief. His only real focus is to win the 2014 elections so that with a Democrat-controlled Congress he can force through more legislation, like ObamaCare, that the American people don't want.
The pain that Obama is unnecessarily inflicting on Americans and falsely blaming on the sequester is nothing compared to the pain he will inflict if he again has a rubber-stamp Congress.
Don Ewing
Meredith

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 23:19

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Congressional Republicans might have winning hand

They're flailing. That's the impression I get from watching Barack Obama and his White House over the past week or so.
Things haven't gone as they expected. The House Republicans were supposed to cave in on the sequester, as they did on the fiscal cliff at the beginning of the year. They would be so desperate to avoid the sequester's mandatory defense cuts, the theory went, that they would agree to higher taxes (through closing loopholes) on high earners.
But the Republicans didn't deal. They decided to take the sequester cuts and make them the basis for a continuing resolution funding the government for the rest of the fiscal year.
Obama responded by threatening all sorts of dire consequences — Head Start kids left out in the snow, airline security lines as far as the eye can see. Republicans would take the blame, the Obama folks believed. Polls showed they were far less popular than the president.
Then it was announced that White House tours were cancelled. The sequester meant there wasn't enough money to host those high school kids from Waverly, Iowa. Suddenly, it became apparent that it was Obama's poll numbers that were falling. Not to the level of congressional Republicans' admittedly dreadful numbers. But enough that the Quinnipiac poll — whose 2012 numbers tilted a bit toward Democrats — showed him with only 45 percent approval and 46 percent disapproval.
Then the president who doesn't like spending much time with even Democratic members of Congress suddenly invited 12 Republican senators to dinner at the Jefferson Hotel. He even paid out of his own pocket! And he invited House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and ranking Democrat Chris Van Hollen to lunch at the White House.
This is the same Paul Ryan whom Obama insulted after inviting him to a presidential speech at George Washington University. Presumably the lunch was insult-free.
Meanwhile, a top White House aide was dispatched to make Obama's case to a heavily Republican audience.
The message coming from the White House seems to be that Obama has made concessions, including spending cuts, and is really, sincerely interested in a grand bargain with Republicans on entitlements. He has already, the argument goes, agreed to using the chained CPI — an inflation measure that produces lower cost-of-living adjustments to entitlement and other programs.
For this, he's taken some heat from Democrats. So Republicans should understand that he is dealing in good faith and should be willing to agree to increased revenues by removing tax preferences for high earners.
The Obama folks are correct in saying that Speaker John Boehner was willing to do that during the summer 2011 grand bargain negotiations. But that proposed deal did not include tax rate increases. Now that Obama extracted higher tax rates on earners over $400,000 in the fiscal cliff deal, Boehner and other Republicans insist that's all the revenue increases they'll agree to.
This comes amid stories that Obama's chief political goal is helping his fellow Democrats win a House majority in 2014 and as his Organizing for Action (formerly Obama for America) is still cranking out press releases about the dire effects of the sequester.
It's not unheard of for a politician to make public threats and private blandishments at the opposing party at the same time. But it is sometimes awkward. Especially if the threats and blandishments are not entirely credible. Democrats have some chance of winning the 17 seats they need for a House majority. But it's an uphill climb. Even though Obama won 51 percent of the vote in 2012, he did not carry a majority of House districts.
And there is some chance Republicans will capture the six seats they need for a Senate majority. Seven Democratic incumbents are running in states Mitt Romney carried. And the retirements of incumbent Democrats in West Virginia, Iowa and, as announced Friday, Michigan may put those seats in play.
As for blandishments, Boehner is not the only Republican who has concluded that Obama is not capable of good-faith negotiating. Republicans argue that revenues are approaching the norm of 19 percent of gross domestic product and that spending needs to come down more from its historic high of 25 percent of GDP. They're making a little bit of headway on that by accepting the sequester. Obama's flailing seems unlikely to persuade them to change course.
(Syndicated columnist Michael Barone is senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner, is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Shame to leave M'borough Neck pathway in present condition

To the editor,
On Saturday, March 16, Moultonborough Town Meeting attendees will take up the town warrant. Article 14 on the warrant asks the voters to raise and appropriate money for various capital improvements and expenditures and equipment. Among the seven items covered by Article 14 is "Recreation Dept. (Pathway Repairs) ." This expenditure would cover repairs to parts of what is called "Phase II" of the multi-use Moultonborough Pathway that runs along Moultonborough Neck Road.
Along this section, the northern most part of the pathway, most of the paved pathway surface is separated from the roadway by a narrow gravel strip. In a number of places, notably at hills and curves along the road, sand and stone from the gravel strip have been washed by heavy rains or scattered by vehicle tires onto the pathway pavement. This creates a hazardous situation for those using the pathway for travel on foot and by bike. The original design seemed reasonable at the time of construction, but human nature and Mother Nature have shown its shortcomings. A plan has been devised to address the worst of these locations, and approval of the plan has been received from the state DOT.
The pathway represents a wonderful recreation resource for town residents year round and for visitors during the heavy vacation season. It would be a shame to leave this section of the pathway in its present condition. We really need to do the necessary repairs to this section before moving forward (hopefully) with Phase III, which would connect the first two sections and complete the pathway. We ask your support for this repair effort in Article 14 at town meeting this Saturday morning.
Dick Russell, Treasurer
Moultonborough Pathway Association

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 March 2013 00:01

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'Chained CPI' will mosts hurt women counting on Social Security

To the editor,
Are you a retired woman who has worked most of your life while raising children and keeping up with house work? Do you count on the Social Security that you paid into as you worked for your retirement income? Have you appreciated the Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) that have been made to keep up with the ever-increasing costs of living? Then you should be aware that some folks in Washington are pushing a proposal that would reduce COLAs over the next 10 years. The longer you have been retired the more your COLA would be cut. This proposal is called a "Chained CPI" (Consumer Price Index) and it is a terrible idea and especially harmful to women, who rely more on Social Security to meet their basic needs.
Typically, women receive less in benefits because they earn less than men and are more likely to have gaps in their employment. The burden of health care spending is also greater for women — nearly 19 percent of their income vs. 14 percent for men. To reduce Social Security benefits even more through the proposed Chained CPI would be wrong for all and especially unconscionable for women
AARP has developed a handy on-line tool that shows exactly the impact this COLA change would have on New Hampshire women (and men). Visit www.aarp.org/whatyoulose and see for yourself.
Lois Beach
Wolfeboro

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 23:58

Hits: 553

 
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