Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Feds Could Stop Walker's Assault On The Elderly

We already know that Scott Walker and his Republican cronies in the legislature want to put the screws to the elderly by screwing with their SeniorCare.

For the uninitiated, SeniorCare is a program unique to Wisconsin, in which they use a combination of state and federal funds to provide coverage for medication for eligible participants.  Walker wants to change this in such a way that seniors would have to first buy private insurance through George Bush's Medicare Part D gift to Big Pharma.  Senior Care would become the secondary insurance.

However, due to the coercive language of Part D, seniors could end up paying not only the hundreds of dollars more for the private insurance, but have to pay even more as a punishment for not signing up immediately with one of the private sector companies when they first started Part D.  Then, and only then, would they be eligible to pay for SeniorCare to pay the co-payments.

In other words, Scott Walker wants to deliver the last state's seniors to Big Pharma as a way to curry favor for the national run he is planning on making.

However, any such move would have to be first approved by the federal government, per an article by Milwaukee NewsBuzz:
“When asked, Secretary Sebelius confirmed that the changes to SeniorCare envisioned by your budget would not be permissible during this waiver period without federal approval,” the letter says.

Asked to confirm this claim, Mary Kahn, spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in an e-mail, “Any changes that the state wants to make to the currently approved terms and conditions would require federal approval as the Secretary said.  That would typically be in the form of a waiver amendment.”

Kahn declined to comment on whether the department would approve the changes proposed by Walker.

Wisconsin could also pursue a new waiver including the governor’s changes after the current one expires at the end of 2012, according to Kahn, but that would also be subject to the department’s approval.

“We would not comment on how we might act on a waiver at that time,” she said.
The Wisconsin Democratic delegation in Washington, D.C. has been actively attempting to influence Walker and plan on speaking with Federal Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to stop this reckless and unwise part of the budget.(The fact that the entirety of Walker's proposed budget is reckless and unwise is not lost on me, and hopefully not on you, Gentle Reader.)

It should be also noted that some of Walker's most staunch Republican supporters, namely Senators Randy Randy "Bed" Hopper and Alberta "Less Jobs" Darling are turning on him and are saying they're against it.

In the most overly ironic statement of the year, Darling, who during the budget hearings refused to listen to the people, is quoted in the article as saying "We need to be sensitive to (seniors') needs, and preserving SeniorCare is something seniors tell me they need."  Is it any great wonder why 30,000 people signed the petitions to recall her?

Sadly, even if the powers that be are able to salvage SeniorCare, Walker's Health Secretary Dennis Smith has indicated that it only means someone else is going to feel the ax.

We can't get rid of these people soon enough.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, I'm 20+ years out, so this is not at the forefront of what I pay attention to. Thanks for keeping track.