Don’t You Mess With My Medicare


Hope and Change! That’s what the voters were

don Penven

Don Penven
Freelance Writer

promised back in 2008.

While the airwaves were filled with political rhetoric, I chanced to see a TV commercial run by a candidate here in North Carolina. A sweet, pleasant looking senior citizen lady suddenly changed her smile to a frown as she said, “Don’t you mess with my Medicare.”

She was directing her comment toward a chap from the other political persuasion who, like many political windbags, promised to cut government waste. One area, he touted, was “Entitlements.”

My guess is because the title of this article may express your sentiments too, let’s you and I have a conversation. As for me, I’m 76 and reasonably healthy. My only medical coverage is Medicare and dammit, I resent any pandering politician calling it an entitlement. I have worked for someone, somewhere, since I was 18-years-old. And I’m still working (part time), and I’m still paying into the system.

How about you? Are you sharing some of the daily trials and tribulations that face me every day? Well dear friend, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.

You see…someone didn’t listen and has been messing with my Medicare. Have you had occasion to use your Medicare this year? If not, you are very lucky on two counts:

  1. You must be in very good health, and to be that way takes even more than luck.
  2. You came across this article which will prepare you for an upcoming shock.

At a recent visit to my dermatologist, I learned that I had 3 squamous cell and 2 basal cell carcinomas. He did biopsies on all 5 lesions. I have been going to the same skin Doc for over 10 years and during this period he found 4 melanomas and more squamous cells than I can remember. All that time I was never charged a copay.

Well that all changed on January 1, 2013. At the checkout window I was advised that Medicare now requires I pay 20% of the office visit, and my charges totaled over $500. So do the math, it cost me $102 and change. But that was just the beginning! I was referred to another dermatologist who is also a plastic surgeon. One of my squamous cells was inside my left ear. It has taken four visits and the total bills for the office care and the laboratory work is now over $3000. I paid 20% of that and I’m expecting more bills to come. Don’t mess with my Medicare!

On top of this, those thoughtful folks thought people from all walks of life, rich, middle class and the poor shoould make a few sacrifices. How much did the “Payroll Tax’ cost you? Can you remember a time when 50 million people were on food stamps? Even the Boston bomber’s family bilked the American system for over $100,000.

Well…it seems that we won’t have to be stressed out by the 40-hour work week much longer. Many companies, even the one I still work for, is only hiring part timers for a 29 hour work week. Three more years of this and there won’t be a middle class anymore.

Remember that movie of some years ago when some actor yelled, “We’re not gonna take it anymore.” No one is listening now, least of all the people in Washington. But the “great unwashed” still have a voice. It may be just a whimper now, but mid-term elections are not too far away. The one thing those “inside the Beltline” fear most is an aroused, knowledgeable public.

OK… I’m done ranting for now. But consider this as my personal invitation to visit me on the many pages and posts in the navigation window on the right. A good place to start is The Washington Wastebook.

I’m rootin’ for ya!



 Posted by at 7:55 pm