Healthcare Reform Nobody Knows About

First, here is a plug for two sources of great information about our health, healthcare and aging.  First, there is Kaiser Health News, regardless of whether you have Kaiser insurance or not.  It is an excellent source of news and discussion of what is going on in the world of healthcare and about our health, in general.  The second plug is for the National Council on Aging (NCOA), which is also a great source of information and grass-roots work on the issues of aging.  If you are a professional working in the field of aging, you might consider joining NCOA.

A good example of education from NCOA is a story about the fact that, even now, quite a while after this year’s healthcare reform legislation, very few of us know much about it:

NCOA identified the top 12 facts that every senior should know about the health reform law. The “Straight Talk” poll reveals that only 17% of seniors knew the correct answers to more than half the factual questions posed about these key aspects of new law, and only 9% knew the correct answers to at least two-thirds of the questions.

It turns out none of the folks surveyed could answer all the questions.  And the point is that the National Council on Agency was not trying to ask tricky questions.  They were asking about the most important components of the new law.  Now, for full disclosure, I would have been embarrassed by how few questions I could answer, as well.

Some examples of critical issues include, “only 22% of seniors understood that the new law would not cut their basic Medicare benefits. Almost twice as many seniors (42%) held the incorrect view that the law would cut their basic Medicare benefits, while 37% said they did not know.”  This blog is not about politics, but the fact that some group has an interest in and was successful at convincing 42% of seniors that their basic Medicare benefits are being cut just seems wrong.

On another major issue, NCOA discovered that, “only 14% of seniors were aware that the new law is projected to reduce the deficit. Many more — 49% — incorrectly believed it would increase the deficit. (According to projections by the Congressional Budget Office, the law will reduce the deficit by an estimated $124 billion over 10 years.)”

The NCOA story goes into much more detail, and it is certainly worth reading in its entirety.

Best wishes, Bert


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