Medicare Now Covers HIV Tests, Just in Time for STD Awareness Month!

Starting this April, the program will now cover an annual HIV test for all people ages 15 to 65 regardless of their risk. Pregnant Medicare beneficiaries will be covered for a maximum of three voluntary HIV tests: once they know they’re pregnant, when they’re in the third trimester, and during labor.

Although the AIDS Institute praised the new coverage, some advocates are questioning whether one test a year is enough for at-risk populations…

help needed to pay for prescriptions.

my necessary prescriptions this month are going to cost $226.63 because i made a mistake and allowed the “extra help” that social security offers to help pay for prescriptions, since medicare prescription plans do not cover much of anything, to lapse because i have been very ill, and i have not been able to get a caseworker to help with my paperwork - none of them are taking new clients.

there’s another prescription that i can do without for a bit because i have some extra saved, that would add $44.36 to that total. even if i did not have some extra saved, it really isn’t as crucial as the two which cost the aforementioned $226. 

i filed a new application for the extra help this morning, but i am out of those meds, and processing for those things tends to take somewhere in the neighbourhood of a month.

in case you don’t know me: i am a disabled adult and i receive social security. after i pay my rent, bills, and utilities each month, i have about $50 left each month to try to cover my prescriptions, transportation, incidentals, household supplies like soap and toilet paper, etc. it is always very tight and cut extremely close, and i can never save money for emergencies. i am not able to do freelance work on the side anymore because i am too ill.

please do not feel bad if you can’t help - i know money is tight for everyone, and a lot of people have been giving their spare money to others in need already. reblogging often seems to be very helpful for other people when they’ve needed help, because more people see it, if that’s something you’re comfortable with.

my paypal address is kareashi at gmail dot com. if paypal isn’t viable for you, send me an ask and i will try to figure out a different method. 

Recent changes to Medicare are drastically reducing the ability of the most vulnerable people with disabilities to communicate.

As of April 1, 2014, Medicare began denying payment for many of the medically necessary speech generating devices used by people with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Cord Injuries, and other impairments, when they enter a health care facility, such as a skilled nursing home or hospice. Taking these highly specialized devices away leaves them no way to communicate at a vulnerable and terrifying time.

On September 1, 2014, many severely disabled individuals will have all contact with the outside world cut off. For many years, Medicare allowed individuals using Medicare-provided speech generating devices to use their own funds to “upgrade” the devices. This allowed them to communicate beyond the confines of their room through email, internet, and text messages. After September, Medicare will no longer pay for any device that has the potential to be upgraded to allow communication outside the room

Currently, Medicare routinely denies coverage of the critical eye-gaze technology necessary by some people to operate these speech devices, even when its medical necessity is well documented.  They have no way to communicate as a result. After years of waiting for an appeal to Medicare, the eye-gaze coverage is routinely allowed, but individuals should not be forced to wait years without a voice. 

We need your “voice!” […]

In February, Medicare announced that it would pay for an annual lung cancer screening test for certain long-term smokers. Medicare recipients between the ages of 55 and 77 who have smoked the equivalent of a pack a day for 30 years are now eligible for the annual test, known as a spiral CT scan.

But as more and more people are getting screened for lung cancer, other doctors worry the test is doing more harm than good.

“It’s the two-edged sword,” says Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine and health policy at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. “The scans can see very early cancers,” Welch says, “but [can also] find cancers that were never going to matter.”

Why Some Doctors Are Hesitant To Screen Smokers For Lung Cancer

Photo Credit: Medical Body Scans/Science Source


LBJ Signs the Medicare Bill On This Day in 1965

When President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law at the Harry S. Truman Library on July 30, 1965, he told the nation that it had “all started with the man from Independence.”

Harry S. Truman, LBJ said, had “planted the seeds of compassion and duty” that led to the enactment of Medicare, a national health insurance for the aged through an expanded Social Security system.

Truman was the first President to publicly endorse a national health insurance program. As a Senator, Truman had become alarmed at the number of draftees who had failed their induction physicals during World War II. For Truman these rejections meant that the average citizen could not afford visiting a doctor to maintain health. He stated:

“that is all wrong in my book. I am trying to fix it so the people in the middle-income bracket can live as long as the very rich and the very poor.”

Truman’s first proposal in 1945 provided for physician and hospital insurance for working-aged Americans and their families. A federal health board was to administer the program with the government retaining the right to fix fees for service, and doctors could choose whether or not to participate. This proposal was defeated after, among many factors, the American Medical Association labeled the president’s plan “socialized medicine” taking advantage of the public’s concern over communism in Russia.

Even though he was never able to create a national health care program, Truman was able to draw attention to the country’s health needs, have funds legislated to construct hospitals, expand medical aid to the needy, and provide for expanded medical research.

In honor of his continued advocacy for national health insurance, Johnson presented Truman and his wife Bess with Medicare cards number one and two in 1966.

-from the Truman Library

The GP co-payment is officially “dead as a door nail” according to Abbott.

“Well I hope you’re happy… you won’t have to spend any extra money at the doctor,” Abbott chuckled. He shifted awkwardly trying not to smile.

“Yep. We listened. All is good now. We are a nice government.”

“…what are you up to?” asked a fearful journalist.

“A rebate freeze which would ultimately cost more than the co-” began Joe Hockey before Tony jumped to cover his mouth.

“Shhhh Joe! Let the poor have hope for a little while longer before I crush it! Let me savour this damn it.”

How Harper killed medicare — and got away with it

The Harper government’s anti-democratic actions have been so numerous, it’s easy to lose track of them.

I almost forgot, for instance, about the way it clamped down on that little bird-watching group in southwestern Ontario, putting its charitable status under surveillance after the group raised concerns about government-approved chemicals damaging bee colonies.

Harper’s behaviour — his attack on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, his muzzling of government scientists and disdain for scientific evidence, his proroguing of Parliament to save his own skin, his use of omnibus bills to avoid Parliamentary scrutiny — has been so at odds with democracy and the democratic process that he’s even alienated many of his natural allies in Canada’s elite.

Hence, he’s come under fairly harsh attack from nothing less than the editorial board of the Globe and Mail, which could be said to be a mouthpiece (often an intelligent one) for Canada’s establishment.

Indeed, the prime minister’s apparent contempt for the democratic process has been so outrageous it’s sucked all the political oxygen out of the room.

In our distraction, we’ve barely noticed something else important going on. In addition to sabotaging our democracy, Harper has been restructuring our country in a fundamental way — something that will be hard to reverse and, incidentally, very pleasing to Canada’s elite.

Continue Reading.

I’ll get patients that will die because of this

Dr Tass James, a GP who’s bulk-billed his patients for the past 30 years.

To US folk, bulk-billing means the patient pays nothing for their visit to the doctor. It’s increasingly rare, and Tony Abbott is changing the Medicare rebates in a way that is going to make it even more rare.

I already pay $75 to see my doc, get $37.05 back from Medicare, effectively costing me only $37.95 to see the doctor. These changes mean it’ll cost me $58.05 instead, and if the government also implement their $5 “co-payment”, you can add that to the cost as well, because you can be damn sure the doctors are going to pass that along too.

Please, don’t think I blame the doctors. I don’t. But this is insanity. This is how Australia regresses (yes, I see it as regressive) to a US system of “pay or suffer”.

Enough, Abbott. Hands off our Medicare.

theheartofapatriot asked:

Would you say most republicans want to completely eradicate entitlements like welfare or do they simply wish to really put a limit on them? Or does it depend on the entitlement?

Well, many Republicans do support a basic social safety net.  However, they do believe our current exuberant spending on these programs is what is hurting this country and therefore must be reformed.

Others, such as myself, believe we should start grandfathering out our current programs and replacing them with free market options for the newer generations.  Social Security, for instance, can be replaced with tax-free IRAs with unlimited contributions; Medicare and Medicaid can be replaced with tax-free HSAs; unemployment can be purchased like insurance; and food stamps and other welfare can be provided by independent charities and religious organizations.

The problem with these independent programs, is that the government is out of the loop.  They don’t get their cut.  They cannot control you and you will not be dependent on them.  The government does a lousy job at running entitlements; they are often riddled with fraud, waste, and abuse as well constantly on the verge of collapse.  So, it is not even a question if they offering a valid option in comparison.  It’s merely that you do not have an option to decline participation in many of these programs.  You have to pay into social security whether you use it or not.  You have to pay for Medicare.  You have to pay taxes for other people’s welfare.  The federal government is the worst monopoly on these services the world has ever seen.  Yet, for some reason, progressives never consider the government as a monopoly.  At least private corporations cannot force you to purchase their product or service.  This would be akin to Microsoft forcing everyone to pay for Internet Explorer monthly because you are using their operating system even though you may only choose to use Chrome or Firefox, then also regulating these other browsers (not theirs of course) for your own protection.

The solution to this country’s financial problems is to cut these expensive programs that did not even exist a little over a hundred years ago and replace them with sound and reliable free market alternatives.  Despite Americans’ accustomed love and dependency with government entitlements, we do not need them.  They need us.


The House and Senate GOPs have each passed their budget resolutions! After some trying scuffles about whether insane amounts of military spending should be on the books or off the books, and a long Thursday recording attack ad material in the Senate, the first stage in producing a non-binding statement of values that, at most, will allow the GOP to get an Affordable Care Act repeal vetoed an all-powerful piece of legislation guiding a restless nation to sunnier harbors.

Paul Ryan’s infamous Medicare privatization plan may never become reality – but will still have dire consequences

The Affordable Care Act has paved the way for a vast expansion of mental health coverage in America, providing access for millions of people who were previously uninsured or whose policies did not include such coverage before. Under the law, mental health treatment is an “essential” benefit that must be covered by Medicaid and every private plan sold through the new online insurance marketplaces.

The need is widely viewed as great: Nearly one in five Americans has a diagnosable mental illness, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, but most get no treatment. If the law’s goal is met, advocates say, it will reduce not only personal suffering but also exorbitant economic costs, like the higher rate of general health problems among those with mental illnesses, and their lost productivity.

Kentucky has been trying to overhaul its mental health system, partly by allowing private psychologists and social workers to accept Medicaid patients for the first time. The change is crucial, state officials say, because 85 percent of the 521,000 Kentuckians who got coverage through the state’s new insurance exchange this year were poor enough to enroll in Medicaid. Previously, only psychologists and social workers at community health centers like Seven Counties, which are quasi-governmental agencies, could provide outpatient therapy to Medicaid recipients here. Now, more than 1,000 private mental health providers statewide have signed up to treat Medicaid enrollees, according to the state.

But shortfalls in care persist. In Louisville, a city of 600,000 where The New York Times is looking periodically at the law’s impact, most new Medicaid enrollees are flowing to four adult mental health clinics run by Seven Counties. Calls to the agency’s access line, the starting point for new clients, are up by more than 40 percent this year, said Kelley Gannon, its chief operating officer.