This is about efforts in our battle, as Americans,  to eliminate some of the craziness emanating from the nation’s capital…

Many people in this country have been conditioned to view these two words, segregation and discrimination, in regards to race. Perhaps not anymore!  The President’s budget proposal for year 2013 has made this clear. Thank you, Mr. President!

According to an old Webster’s dictionary, the two words, segregate and discriminate, are defined as follows:

segregate, is simply “to set apart from the main mass and to set apart from the flock”.

 discriminate, is simply “to make distinctions in treatment, show partiality (in favor of) or prejudice (against).”

So, it would appear that Webster’s is correct, and Mr. President certainly helped.

Well then, what’s “the beef?” Concern for some of the legislation being promoted in Washington regarding Medicare matters is referring to a term called “cost sharing”, a tidy name for those who are actually proposing that Medicare beneficiaries have “more skin in the game.”

Now, to review the President’s budget proposal measures… and you better hang onto your hat!

Here is the exact content of the “budget brief”, forwarded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The brief  is composed of 122 pages, and pages 48-65 deal with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare and Medicaid.

The quotes for a “Part B Premium Surcharge” are found on pages 54/55 and here they are:

“Introduce Part B Premium Surcharge For New Beneficiaries Purchasing Near First Dollar Medigap Coverage:

Medicare requires cost sharing for various services, but Medigap policies sold by private insurance companies provide beneficiaries with additional coverage for those out-of-pocket expenses. Some Medigap plans cover all, or almost all, co-payments, including even modest co-payments for routine care that most beneficiaries can afford. This practice gives beneficiaries less incentive to consider the cost of services, leading to higher Medicare costs and Part B premiums. This proposal would introduce a Part B premium surcharge for new beneficiaries who purchase Medigap policies with particularly low-cost sharing requirements, effective in 2017. 

However, other Medigap plans that meet minimum cost sharing requirements would be exempt from the surcharge. The surcharge would be equivalent to approximately 15% of the average Medigap premium (or about 30% of the Part B premium). [$2.5 billion in savings over 10 years]”.

“Modify Part B Deductible For New Beneficiaries:

Beneficiaries who are enrolled in Medicare Part B are required to pay an annual deductible ($140 in current year 2012). To strengthen program financing, this proposal would apply a $25.00 increase to the Part B deductible in 2017, 2019, and 2021 for new beneficiaries. [$2.0 billion in savings over 10 years].

Realizing this will not be enacted until 2017 for both paragraphs above, be aware that it’s in the proposal to be made into law this year, 2012, with the Senate and House either allowing, or not allowing, this to happen.

The budget debate will be contentious to say the least, during the next six months, so lawmakers need to be alerted now, and probably again that this discriminatory and segregationist possibility of a surcharge (fine) exists.

Not discriminatory? See the sentence that says “other Medigap plans that meet minimum cost sharing requirements would be exempt from the surcharge.” 

Where are we suppose to see ourselves now and in the future with this proposal? Aren’t we, as defined by Webster’s, all part of the “main mass,” or “the flock?”