There is reason to believe that if the GOP will agree to raise the taxes on the super rich, President Obama will agree to cuts in Medicare. It is morally abhorrent to cut benefits to any current or future seniors before much greater efforts are made to stop large scale raids on the Medicare coffers by nefarious corporations.
Take the revealing and far from atypical case of Health Management Associates (HMA). When a person visits an HMA Emergency Room, company software loaded onto the ER computer automatically orders a bunch of tests, whether they are needed or not, before the person is even seen by a doctor. When doctors try to discharge a patient from the ER, the computer intervenes, presenting them with a warning that the patient is a candidate for admission. If the doctors go ahead and override that warning, they must face the wrath of hospital administrators. Docs are continually evaluated on the basis of how many patients they admit and how many procedures they order. If not enough, they are warned–and if they still do not comply, they are fired.
A recent report by the prestigious and non-political Institute of Medicine found that the estimates for Medicare fraud and abuse fall between $75 and $98 billion. I say do not cut anyone’s benefits until the government triples its accounting staff, quadruples the number of corporate crooks in jail, and reduces Medicare shortfall by cutting fraud at least by half.