San Francisco Gray Panthers healthcare resolution for 2008 National Convention:

Repeal the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act

WHEREAS the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) contained the Medicare Part D Drug Plan that has upset, confused, and even endangered the health of seniors and disabled people, disrupting their access to medicines, making them buy drugs from private companies with restricted formularies and inadequate or confusing information, and making the poorest  pay more than before, while drug companies get $139 billion in additional profits, and

WHEREAS the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) is a plan to first entice and later coerce healthier Medicare recipients out of traditional fee-for-service Medicare and into private plans like HMOs, PPOs and private FFS plans, which will profit since their patients will need little care.  Traditional Medicare would be left with the sickest, most expensive patients, and would have reduced funding because of fewer patients and stringent new cost controls, and

WHEREAS the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) is a plan to encourage higher income seniors to leave Medicare, both by charging higher premiums if they stay, and by giving tax reductions if they leave to set up Health Savings Accounts. Converting Medicare into a program for low-income seniors will make it politically vulnerable to further cuts, and

WHEREAS the worst damage of the Medicare Modernization Act is yet to come, since in 2010, the Act calls for suspending Medicare coverage in ten test areas, and forcing people in those areas to accept vouchers to purchase either private coverage (with healthier clients, managed care, and premiums costing less than the vouchers) or traditional Medicare (with sicker patients, and premiums costing more than the vouchers), and

WHEREAS the coming retirement of 70-80 million baby-boomers are sure to provoke a storm of hysterical publicity from business and government saying all so-called “entitlement” programs, Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, must be drastically cut in the national interest, and privatizing these programs is the best solution, and

WHEREAS out-of-control health costs and rising numbers of both uninsured people and medical bankruptcies among insured people demonstrate that all people need Medicare-like medical coverage: equal, comprehensive, quality, accessible healthcare for all, without the costs, interference, or bureaucracy of insurance companies,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Gray Panthers advance the position that the entire 2003 Medicare Modernization Act must be repealed, and that this position be emphasized whenever we discuss Medicare in our national or local groupings, and

RESOLVED that each Network is encouraged to become familiar with the workings of the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act to facilitate an informed discussion, and

RESOLVED that Gray Panthers advance the position that the way to solve Medicare’s problems, and the healthcare problems of the nation, is not to restrict Medicare, but to improve its benefits and extend them to everyone in the United States.