To those looking to the federal government for the solutions to life’s problems, reality is is a constant lance in the side. Retirees have been told that there was no inflation in 2010 which is why there was no cost of living increase in Social Security benefits for 2011. Yet seniors have been hit with a 4.9% increase in their Medicare premiums because medical costs are increasing. But fear not, this increase in premiums will only affect those retirees with incomes above $85,000. So if you’re lucky you can get somebody else to pay for your non-inflationary increase in charges.
The consumer price index doesn’t include food and energy; it seems the government’s economic experts don’t think they contribute much to the cost of living. But these same experts do count the cost of dying which has been rising like a tsunami for decades – hence the increase in Medicare payments by retirees.
We live in a world beyond the imaginings of Lewis Carroll at least when government pensions and and medical care are at issue. No matter how badly the government manages anything about half the population will think it’s either doing a good job or that it needs to do more. It won’t matter to this crowd that inflation and no inflation are granted simultaneity by the federal government.
Now doesn’t justice demand that we raise Social Security payments while keeping Medicare premiums unchanged? After all, the gloriously named Affordable Healthcare Act will solve our problems. Medical care will be cheaper and we can use the savings to increase Social Security benefits. The government will take care of us which lets our good for nothing kids of the hook. In reality they’ll get the bill a ways down the road.
On a related subject, I had dinner last night with a Canadian family practitioner. He spent much of the evening bemoaning the difficulty he had getting prompt diagnostic tests performed and the even greater obstacle he had trying to get his patients to the proper consultant. Regardless of the troubles characteristic of US medicine, none of the problems of almost criminally delayed treatment he described could happen in the US.