The Upcoming Battle over Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid

Posted on 28 November 2012

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By Jackie Tortora

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid aren't just numbers on a budget line, they're vital family protection lifelines for working people.

As many as 55.4 million Americans across the United States receive monthly Social Security checks, including 8.6 million workers with disabilities and 4.4 million children. A total of 48.7 million Americans get their health care coverage from Medicare and 64.4 million Americans get their health care coverage from Medicaid, including 29.8 million children and 4.2 million seniors.

When members of Congress make decisions on the budget debate during the lame-duck session in the next few weeks, they're going to face some enormous pressure from millionaires and billionaires to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in order to continue tax giveaways for the richest 2%. Working families understand how important these lifelines are and reject benefit cuts.

Visit for all the information you need on the upcoming budget showdown. If you want to see how Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid affect people in your state and grow the local economy, check out the AFL-CIO's new interactive state-by-state fact sheets. We have five weeks to tell Congress to let the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2% expire and to reject any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Jackie Tortora is Blog/Social Media Manager for the AFL-CIO, the umbrella federation for 56 U.S. labor unions, representing more than 12 million working Americans. This article was originally published at Labor's Edge.

"We have five weeks to tell Congress to let the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2% expire and to reject any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."

I don't believe the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is going to be insolvent as the GOP and their respective lobbyist would have us to believe. As an accountant; auditor; financial analyst; a graduate that studied private business and public administration, it is difficult to comprehend the talking points of previous and current GOP that these social safety net is nearly "bankrupt". The only thing I see that is bankrupt are their credibility in the matter. Former President Bill Clinton put it simply and correctly in defense of the President and his administration, its the "Arithmatic".

GOP insisted that the only cure for this claim of insolvency is to reduce "entitlements" in the said social programs. I would argue that the problem is NOT in the entitlement but rather is in the way the program is being administered. For example: There too many layers of bureaucrats in the system and not enough auditors to conduct oversight of the programs operation AND not enough regulators to enforce the LAWS against those that ABUSES (fraud, mismanagement, and wasteful resources of) the system.

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, IS a form of "insurance" which "premiums" are collected by the State and Federal tax collector through a tax-payer's lifetime of employment automatically and mandated by law to be deducted from an employee's income in part and the employer's conttribution. Let consider this FACT. The "income deduction and employer contribution to the programs had to develop an "actuarial formula" to come up with the income deductions and employer contribution. These special fund by law was suppose to be accounted for separately from the "general Fund". If there are any deficit in balance to these "special fund" then the actuary failed to properly project the "unfunded liability" in its pricing for lack of better description; of which the politicians tend to mimic from their advisors. I personally don't think that the problem is a failure of formulation by the actuary. I do think that the deficit may have resulted from years of extracting revenues from these "special funds" (perhaps borrowing from it to fund general fund shortfall) without reimbursing the special fund of borrowed money. That can cause these program to appear artificially "insolvent". Another question and consideration is how "cost effective and efficient" these programs are being administered. These programs should be audited more frequently and more extensive in it's scope, when problems of huge magnitude warrant it (whether it by internal auditor and independent private auditors. This is particularly essential to deter any corruption of these programs. Law Enforcement within the program is an essential part of compliance to deter any criminal activities within the programs and outside clients of the program.

Another problem in the system are coming from outside insurance--whereby Insurances and Medical Providers have a tendency to "SHIFT-Cost of medical expenses to MEDICARE. When these groups shifts the cost of "primary care" that should be the obligation of provider (such as Workers Compensation Insurance carrier or other covered insurances of the patient being treated). These program should require the patient or his/her representative to review any insurance reimbursement by medical provider to make certain that services rendered and prescription provided actually took place. Any financia/billing discrepacies should be addressed immediately. The Medicare has a "SUBROGATION CLAUSE" but such laws are rarely used and this fact is known in the legal system by many attorneys.

If Medicare exercises this "clause" Medicare may recoup miliions if not billions of dollars from any false claims from insurance that took advantages of the Medicare Program's "internal control weaknesses".

Instead of having multiple dupicative lazy bureaucrats the program would be best reduce these over bloated administrative system and use the resources to fill the enforcement side of the system so that the program is self sustaining by going after those insurance companies that commit fraud against the program.

In summary, I don't think the problem is in the "entitlement" or those that depend on them; but rather the deficit is in properly executing the program as it was designed to be. The politics of fear is no longer effective. There are educated and intelligent people that knows better and are unlikely to be decieved by this political pundits that is sounding the drum that "Entitlement" should be compromised to reduce the deficits that were actually made to decieve the unsuspecting public.

I would further add that the accumulated reserves from the collection of decades of income deductions from labor and employer contribution through FICA should have been earning interest and returns on sound minimal risky investments. I suspect that has been squandered in highly risky investment porfolios in the Wall Street Casino and hedge-fund. The Treasury Department is the place where investigation should begin with regards to question of investment of the special fund reserves for social security and Medicare/Medicaid. Secondly, The finance Department is responsible for the expenditure and appropriation of funding for capital expenditure and asset aquisition. The purchasing department is responsible for making the best sound decision with regards purchases and expenditure through the "bidding process". I might add and note that there has been a huge misappropriation of funds and embezzlement of funds to fund Defense Contracts that were monopolized by the previous administration (GOP & DNC alike). No one has been held accountable for this GREATEST crimes (plural) against people of United States (the tax-payer). To "punish" the people for the crimes committed by those THAT should be held accountable is ANOTHER crime against the PUBLIC at Large.

The BANKS and the POLITICIANs that sold us out and in the name of our NATION (USA)has some explaining to do. The sounding drum of scare tactics by the fear monger beating fear of "fiscal cliff". Bloomberg; CNBC; and all the mainstream media is beating the drum of fiscal cliff--fiscal cliff--fiscal cliff hoping that it would "change" public opinion into giving up the "entitlement" that is due to them. Period. WE HEAR WALL STREET DRUM loud and clear. And ONLY a FOOL would buy in to this threat.

Let the BUSH tax-CUT expire...... and do NOT compromise ENTITLEMENTS (keep it off the table). Cuts should be made to excess bureaucrats and fat-cats AND keep the BANKSTERS away from the WHITEHOUSE. Circling the Capitol Hill is another way the 2% is showing their muscle against the people who they STOLE from.

First they gamble with our money; then they decieved us into believing that it is the fault of the people when Budget Deficit crisis became the event. Then they ROBBED us of our Wealth of our Equity from our HOMES; Then they use our livelihood as a political tool by artificially laying-off people just to drive politics (GOP & DNC, alike) in favor of the Corporate interest and their CEO as a show down of their "POWER". Then they device LAWS that immunize Politicians and Government Administrator from being held accountable and prosecution (they have all corrupted our system of government and destroyed what civil liberty the public has left) AND NOW they are INTENT to commit another crime against PEOPLE of an unprecedented magnitude by attacking the Safety-Net designed to hold the people just above water.

Investor would be crazy (or perhaps even more greedy than before) finding "opportunities" by buying Stocks and again trading in Wall Street Casino with the full force of the fluctuating bull and bear market without no concerns for the "CONSUMERS" that is the catalyst that drive the Market. The PEOPLE can control this capitalistic system by boycott and by supporting the local and small businesses in every community. People should remember that you ultimately have the power by voting with your everyday dollar spent and by spending it in your community and NOT supporting Corporation that does not care for the people that made them rich and powerful in the first place. WALL street and corporate CEO should learn that corporations ARE NOT PEOPLE. They are simply put ( Corporationa ARE a "machine" ROBOTS IF YOU WILL POSING AS HUMANS--that can expire when people abandon them and no longer serve ITS PURPOSE. THE MONSTER CAN BE PUT TO REST WHEN IT expire its usefullness---ONLY PEOPLE has the POWER to do this.

you said: "Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid aren't just numbers on a budget line, they're vital family protection lifelines for working people."

It is "more" vital individual and family protection lifeline for DISABLED, ElDER EPOPLE, and UNEMPLOYED, underpaid, and underemployed INDIVIDUALS--like those Wal-Mart employees.

Some really excellent articles on this web site, thank you for contribution. "The difference between fiction and reality Fiction has to make sense." by Tom Clancy.