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THE $34 TRILLION PROBLEM : MEDICARE
ncpa.org ^ | March 17, 2008

Posted on 03/17/2008 10:56:14 AM PDT by InvisibleChurch

Ask Alan Greenspan what he considers the greatest threat to the U.S. economy, and he will answer immediately with a single word: Medicare. Sometime in the next President's first term, Medicare Part A will go cash-flow-negative, and it's all downhill from there, says Fortune magazine.

Medicare provides a wide range of services and subsidies to more than 40 million old and disabled Americans. As the country ages, Medicare and Medicaid (for those of any age with low incomes) will devour growing chunks of U.S. economic output. So will Social Security, but its cut of gross domestic product (GDP) should stop increasing around 2030, says Fortune:

The federal budget has averaged about 18 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) over the past several decades. If that average holds and if the rules of our social insurance programs don't change, then by 2070, when today's kids are retiring, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will consume the entire federal budget, with Medicare taking by far the largest share. But wait -- the situation is actually much worse, says Fortune:

Those estimates, reported in the latest Financial Report of the U.S. Government, assume that Medicare payments to doctors will be slashed drastically, by some 41 percent over the next nine years, as required by current law. It won't happen, says Colvin. Every year for the past five years, Congress has overridden the mandatory cuts. As for future cuts, the Financial Report says, reductions of this magnitude are not feasible and are very unlikely to occur fully in practice. So in reality, Medicare will go into the hole even faster than official projections reflect. If Medicare had to be accounted for like a company pension fund, it would be underfunded by $34 trillion. Obviously those long-term scenarios won't happen, because they can't happen -- we won't be shutting down the Army, Navy and so on. But it's easy to see why the candidates don't want to discuss it, says Fortune.

Source: Geoff Colvin, "The $34 Trillion Problem," Fortune, March 4, 2008.

For text:

http://money.cnn.com/2008/03/03/news/economy/104239768.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2008030405

For more on Federal Spending & Budget Issues:

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=25


TOPICS: Government
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1 posted on 03/17/2008 10:56:15 AM PDT by InvisibleChurch
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To: InvisibleChurch
The politicians won't discuss Medicare reform for fear of offending geezer voters. And they do vote.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

2 posted on 03/17/2008 10:58:18 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: InvisibleChurch

Memo to Baby Boomers:

You are royally f****d.


3 posted on 03/17/2008 11:00:09 AM PDT by FormerACLUmember (When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness.)
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To: FormerACLUmember
Yep. A negative cash flow social insurance program. Guess who will wind up footing the bill for it.

"Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." - Manuel II Palelologus

4 posted on 03/17/2008 11:01:34 AM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives In My Heart Forever)
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To: FormerACLUmember

Not for awhile. In the meantime, the Feds are going to bleed us dry before admitting defeat. So we’re the one’s royally f****d.


5 posted on 03/17/2008 11:02:09 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: FormerACLUmember

Not the boomers who are f****d, it is those of use who come along after. :(


6 posted on 03/17/2008 11:02:12 AM PDT by DonaldC
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To: InvisibleChurch

Eat sensibly, exercise, die healthy.
That’s my plan.

No doubt that Medicare & SS will blow up.
And it won’t be pretty.


7 posted on 03/17/2008 11:02:53 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: FormerACLUmember
Memo to Baby Boomers: You are royally f****d.

With all those votes? What do you think retired baby boomers are going to vote to do? Correction: Memo to Baby Boomers Gen X'ers and beyond: You are royally f****d.

8 posted on 03/17/2008 11:03:44 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: InvisibleChurch

There’s an easy solution. Get rid of Medicare all together. If the elderly and disabled can’t afford health care let nature take its course.


9 posted on 03/17/2008 11:03:59 AM PDT by utherdoul
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To: utherdoul

Healthcare will be nationalized long before that happens.


10 posted on 03/17/2008 11:05:46 AM PDT by DonaldC
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To: utherdoul

“let nature take its course”

No matter how much is spent, nature will, every time.


11 posted on 03/17/2008 11:06:44 AM PDT by edcoil (Go Great in 08 ... Slide into 09)
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To: utherdoul
If the elderly and disabled can’t afford health care let nature take its course.

Now there's a winning campaign strategy. /s

12 posted on 03/17/2008 11:06:47 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: goldstategop
I think the Medicare system is the victim of fraud of one kind or another from all sides: suppliers, users, and the government.

The suppliers - doctors(who's costs are driven up by legal tort), hospitals (really just business corporations), and the medical goods, medicines and equipment - all have driven up costs higher than if they had been left alone to fulfill the original goal (heal people).

The users - are to blame too for not shopping for their care as they would for a pair of shoes, for making a social day at the doctors' office complex to gab with other geezers on medicare, for being hypocondriacs because they don't have to pay for it, etc.

The hospitals - for having to fund the cost for indigent and illegal care through overcharging the government

and finally, the suppliers ---slap that "medical" tag on it and it becomes a whole 'nother level of item.....

The government is always to blame when it takes money from someone who's earned it and gives it to someone who didn't.

13 posted on 03/17/2008 11:07:58 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: InvisibleChurch
Mr. Ponzi would be proud!


14 posted on 03/17/2008 11:08:37 AM PDT by WVKayaker ( "Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome..." I. Asimov)
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To: FormerACLUmember
As a retired, mid-60s and financially independent geezer, I'm going to die before this really is a disaster, but I'm very concerned {Tim} for my children and grandchildren.

I've got no real solution for the medicare/SS problem for the future, so I'm trying to built my estate for them, so that when the crap hits the fan, they will have enough to sustain themselves.

I know it's selfish, but since I can't save the world, I'll do the best I can for my family.

I could have saved more people, but the gummit took too much of my money via taxes, so it's up to the gummit to save the rest of the people.

15 posted on 03/17/2008 11:08:39 AM PDT by USS Alaska (Nuke the terrorist savages - In Honor of Standing Wolf)
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To: utherdoul

Yes, and get rid of the cops and law enforcement. If people can’t protect their property, then someone else should have it. At least, that seems to be the planned solution for the borders.


16 posted on 03/17/2008 11:09:07 AM PDT by ghostrider
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To: utherdoul

We should stop pumping all that money into the last few months of a person’s life. Unless they’re in a vegetative state of course, then anything goes.


17 posted on 03/17/2008 11:10:21 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: USS Alaska
Buy as much land as you can and plant a VICTORY garden... Grow corn to feed your steers and pigs, keep chickens for eggs and meat, and grow all your own food. Hunt and fish. Learn how to make candles, because the lights are probably going out soon! Wood stoves make fabulous biscuits...

The shiite IS hitting the fan! I am also a 60 yo, and ready to spit into the faces, and on the graves, of all those who got us here! This is not the way we learned it in school! This isn't even the same country, as far as I can tell (se habla espanol???)

Last one out the door, hit the switch!

18 posted on 03/17/2008 11:16:36 AM PDT by WVKayaker ( "Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It's the transition that's troublesome..." I. Asimov)
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To: Wolfie
We should stop pumping all that money into the last few months of a person’s life. Unless they’re in a vegetative state of course, then anything goes.

Yes and by all means let's let the same group that makes rules about our health care (soon to be the Gov't) decide who is and who is not a veritable. It doesn't take a Nostradamus to predict more veggies in our future. ;-)

19 posted on 03/17/2008 11:16:52 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: ghostrider

Or people could work and save and scrimp so they’d have enough for retirement like my grandparents have, and my great grandfather did. They’ve never suckled on the government teat like so many people on Medicare.


20 posted on 03/17/2008 11:16:52 AM PDT by utherdoul
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To: nascarnation

Medicare and SS will not blow up in a traditional sense. No politician can vote against these programs especially with the baby boom generation beginning retirement. Boomers have paid enormous sums to fund these programs for their parents and grandparents. It is the arrogance, ignorance, and entitlement mentality of the elderly who have demanded these programs without regard to consequences to the next generation. The boomer generation has been foolish and naive not to demand substantial changes to these programs.

We are seeing in a small way the possible future of these programs. Devaluation of the dollar, inflation, and slow economic growth. With the coming orgy of new domestic spending and much higher taxation, we may see economic upheavals.

The way that Medicare may be curbed is through a complete single payer system similar to Canada’s. A single payer system means central budgeting for health care costs. Health care will be rationed and the elderly will bear the brunt of the rationing. If I were a senior now, I would dread socialized medicine. It is a sure recipe to cut health spending on the elderly.


21 posted on 03/17/2008 11:17:41 AM PDT by businessprofessor
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To: long hard slogger; FormerACLUmember; Harrius Magnus; Lynne; hocndoc; parousia; Hydroshock; ...
Socialized Medicine aka Universal Health Care PING LIST

FReepmail me if you want to be added to or removed from this ping list.


22 posted on 03/17/2008 11:19:42 AM PDT by socialismisinsidious ( The socialist income tax system turns US citizens into beggars or quitters!)
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To: utherdoul
"There’s an easy solution. Get rid of Medicare all together. If the elderly and disabled can’t afford health care let nature take its course."


Nope. Can't do that. Wouldn't be prudent.


The Dims & RINO's will keep giving away your tax dollars in those ponzi schemes until war is declared, by the young, against the elders.


One thing is quite certain ... Congress needs to be ridden out of town on a rail, followed closely by the inhabitants of the WhiteHouse, and some of those will require tarring with a feather applique.

23 posted on 03/17/2008 11:19:50 AM PDT by G.Mason (And what is intelligence if not the craft of out-thinking our adversaries?)
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To: FormerACLUmember
“Memo to Baby Boomers: You are royally f****d.”

Memo to those who hate Boomers (largely those who hate their parents):

We've been f****d for decades. No one noticed until the gorilla in the room got older.

The geezers before us set this s**t up. We paid for it, NOW suddenly we're the problem now that there is not 12 workers for every beneficiary.

I don't want SS OR Medicare. Can someone tell me how I can get my money back from the last 35 years of work? Better yet, can someone please tell me how I won't have to pay 12.6% for the next 20 years?

24 posted on 03/17/2008 11:21:31 AM PDT by poobear (Pure democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner. God save the Republic!)
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To: G.Mason

Muslim Andre Carson just won the special election for US House of Representatives here in Indiana.
The thrust of his campaign was “saving Social Security and Medicare for seniors”

What a crock of schnitzel.


25 posted on 03/17/2008 11:22:59 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: poobear
Better yet, can someone please tell me how I won't have to pay 12.6% for the next 20 years?

Yep. I will start increasing soon, possibly to 20% by 2020!

26 posted on 03/17/2008 11:27:01 AM PDT by jimmyray
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To: poobear
Can't help but think that WE (as in the American voter) brought this on ourselves. Started with withholding...dumbest thing ever done was to allow Congresscritters to have at our money via the IRS and withholding before we see one cent! Want to stop the socialist slide? Get rid of the IRS and the income tax or they'll keep vote buying via your tax dollars.

Other than that there is no way to stop paying and no way to get out form under it. Past age 65 you will be covered by Medicare...there is no opting out of the socialist ponzi scheme.
27 posted on 03/17/2008 11:28:11 AM PDT by socialismisinsidious ( The socialist income tax system turns US citizens into beggars or quitters!)
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To: InvisibleChurch

Congress can just take out an IOU from Social Security
(you never have to pay it back, no interest), problem solved, as they raise SS taxes from employer/employee.


28 posted on 03/17/2008 11:30:34 AM PDT by Son House (Democrat High Tax Rates Suppress Opportunity and Jobs..)
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To: nascarnation
I'm retired, but I don't hold with Medicare/Medicaid.


I had to sign on to S/S in the 1950's. It was a contract we couldn't avoid, and I damn well want those political government hacks to honor it.


I don't care what old geezers want. They are like kids ... give me more ... more ... more.


We (this country) needs some stand up men that will do what is right, and make the necessary changes needed to get us back on track.


Kind of like the "watering of the tree of Liberty" changes.


ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE

29 posted on 03/17/2008 11:33:25 AM PDT by G.Mason (And what is intelligence if not the craft of out-thinking our adversaries?)
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To: InvisibleChurch

Medicare: Another Federally-authorized Ponzi Scheme (along with Social Security), for which Judgement Day is approaching.


30 posted on 03/17/2008 11:34:08 AM PDT by Towed_Jumper (Stephen Hopkins: Founding Father who had Cerebral Palsy.."My hand trembles, my heart does not.")
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To: InvisibleChurch

Not being able to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant on your anniversary is a problem. Medicare is a disaster that could and probably will doom this country.


31 posted on 03/17/2008 11:36:12 AM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: InvisibleChurch

There are always possibilities. But the obvious one is that the era of profligate government spending is drawing to a close.

In the time of the Great Depression, it wasn’t the massive spending by the “Old Frank” administration that dug the US out of its hole, mortgaging the future to pay for the present. All it accomplished was to keep those devastated by the depression from starving, though that wasn’t bad.

However, by doing so it kept the economy depressed perhaps twice as long as it would have been otherwise. And set the nation into a spiraling economic disaster for the future to solve.

And the future is now.

The old philosophy, of profligate spending, can no longer work at all, because there is no more solid economy it can pawn to pay for itself. It is the pauper who has written a million dollars in bad checks.

Perhaps the only possible solution is threefold. First, for the US to abrogate its foreign debt, ending for a century the willingness of foreigners to invest in America. Second is to change the US Constitution, with an airtight amendment that balances the budget.

And third, and most important. The US government must renege on its unlawful promises to the people. Social Security will revert to its original purpose—a retirement only for those minimum wage workers with no other retirement. Medicare will be returned to the States for private charity hospitals.

Much of the government bureaucracy will cease to exist, eliminated because it has no Constitutional framework. The federal government of the US will spend its money on the national defense and federal police, and only how much or how little it takes in as taxes.

The impetus for this will be an international depression of an extraordinary degree. By abrogating its foreign debt, the US will insulate itself from the melee, and be able to direct the international recovery.

In exchange for its foreign debt, the US will export grain to feed much of the world. We no longer owe them money, but they do not starve, a fair exchange during the crisis.

Most world trade will be for barter, but the vast amount will stop altogether.


32 posted on 03/17/2008 11:46:45 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: qam1; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; m18436572; InShanghai; xrp; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.

33 posted on 03/17/2008 11:58:37 AM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: goldstategop
the solution is not telling doctors and hosptials that they won't be paid as would a normally insured pt. would pay.....

solution has to come from restriction of the large variety of treatments and drugs covered....

my mil is a perfect example....is off and on new meds all the time...seems special drs for her arthritis even though she has had muliple surgeries that haven't really helped...goes to see drs for little things....

restrict the number of medicines that are paid for by medicare...restrict visits to drs unless emergencies to 2 a yr...we probably going to have to index some people with high incomes.

34 posted on 03/17/2008 12:03:40 PM PDT by cherry
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To: rhombus

Yeah but when we decide we are not longer going to pay the tab then what are they going to do?


35 posted on 03/17/2008 12:04:31 PM PDT by misterrob (Obama-Does America Need Another Jimmy Carter?)
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To: InvisibleChurch

A fairly simple solutions that would have worked if implemented years ago: index to life expectancy. The medical community has done a good of a job in lengthening life which has caused Medicare to pay a much larger percentage of peoples lifetime health cost.


36 posted on 03/17/2008 12:05:33 PM PDT by millerph
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To: misterrob
Yeah but when we decide we are not longer going to pay the tab then what are they going to do?

Are you being serious here? If you think that's possible why haven't you decided NOT to pay the tab yet? To put it simply, you don't have the votes. Remember what happened when a Republican president wanted to make small changes to social security with a Republican House and a Republican Senate? Bush didn't have a friend in the world. Sorry, there's no escape. ;-)

37 posted on 03/17/2008 12:13:17 PM PDT by rhombus
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To: businessprofessor
Agreed.

And as there are lots (relatively) of baby boomers compared to older folks, so the economic burden has not been too hard.

The real questions is: Will you demand that your kids pay 25% payroll taxes to fund your SS and Medicare?

I think not. Get used to the fact that you will have FAR less retirement $$/lower lifestyle and much less access to medical care than your parents.

It is just the way it is.

schu

38 posted on 03/17/2008 12:19:49 PM PDT by schu
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To: rhombus

There is one escape. A depression similar to the Great Depression. The money simply WILL NOT be there. People will die in the street. It will be a biblical purge. THIS is what liberalism has wrought. Hopefully we will never forget the lesson afterwards.


39 posted on 03/17/2008 12:22:30 PM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: Republic of Texas

Agreed. I’d expect to see that happening in Europe first though.


40 posted on 03/17/2008 12:24:41 PM PDT by rhombus
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To: rhombus

Probably. However it’s a global economy now, and there will be a cascade effect. It has to happen, because most of the developed world is socialist, including the US, and cannot afford their future commitments.


41 posted on 03/17/2008 12:30:51 PM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: DonaldC

You are correct.


42 posted on 03/17/2008 12:31:22 PM PDT by quant5
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To: rhombus

When Gen X and Y see that they are going to have to pay even higher taxes and get even less for their money then there will be hell to pay. People just don’t see it yet. Politicians will have to take sides on the issue when they do though.

My savings plan assumes it will be busted when I am old enough to retire though.


43 posted on 03/17/2008 12:32:08 PM PDT by misterrob (Obama-Does America Need Another Jimmy Carter?)
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To: Republic of Texas

Either way, I do doubt such things are going to just happen “one fine day”. It will be more like boiling a frog. And as long as people are unwilling to face their slow and steady reality they will continue to vote for more entitlements like health care and continue to burden those who are best able to pay for those entitlements with foolishness like carbon credits and carbon caps.


44 posted on 03/17/2008 12:34:31 PM PDT by rhombus
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To: USS Alaska

You should take care of the family first. You got it right. Some of us will be taking care of our family when benefits are drastically reduced in a decade or two. Bummer three generations are in a race against time but it’s part of the human experience I guess. It could be worse and we lived in Africa or North Korea, Tibet, etc.


45 posted on 03/17/2008 12:36:22 PM PDT by quant5
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To: rhombus

My tagline says it all. At some point, it will fail. It is not a sustainable system. Unless a vast majority of the people are willing to be slaves, which I doubt. I have to have more faith in humanity, or what is the point?


46 posted on 03/17/2008 12:37:36 PM PDT by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: misterrob
When Gen X and Y see that they are going to have to pay even higher taxes and get even less for their money then there will be hell to pay. People just don’t see it yet. Politicians will have to take sides on the issue when they do though.

Funny, I don't see Gen X or Y as having any more will power than Baby Boomers who deep down inside know the system is a Ponzi scheme. In fact I see these generations as having even less will power as they line up to vote themselves health care entitlements and continue to dig huge holes for themselves for the sake of useless college degrees.

47 posted on 03/17/2008 12:38:41 PM PDT by rhombus
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To: Gaffer
"and finally, the suppliers ---slap that "medical" tag on it and it becomes a whole 'nother level of item....."

Popsicle stick ... 10c

Tongue Depressor ... $2

The ability to overcharge at will ... Priceless.

48 posted on 03/17/2008 12:44:27 PM PDT by who_would_fardels_bear
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To: InvisibleChurch
Can the Second Amendment and Social Security Coexist?
49 posted on 03/17/2008 12:51:11 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: utherdoul

There’s an easy solution. Get rid of Medicare all together. If the elderly and disabled can’t afford health care let nature take its course.
_______________________________________________

Ouch! Medicare is a scam and the only one getting wealthy are hospitals, doctors and pharmaceuticals.


50 posted on 03/17/2008 1:07:11 PM PDT by ThisLittleLightofMine
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