Letter to the Editor

Life after 75?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

John was a little upset this morning at coffee. He had been talking to one of his fellow Vietnam veterans over Labor Day weekend and his friend (Jack) shared this event with him. Jack said he was scheduled for a cardio-lite stress test. This is a tread mill stress test where during the process they inject nuclear dye into your blood stream and then put you in a CAT scan or something similar and take a picture of your heart. If all is good the heart shows up red, if there are blocked arteries anywhere that portion of the heart shows up pink. Jack has had three of these tests in the past twelve years due to blocked arteries discovered in 2000. They use the test to determine if he needed a roto-router or a bypass operation.

Jack said he arrived at the hospital at eight a.m. this morning and was in the process of checking in at Cardiology when the lady at the counter says that his appointment has been canceled. She makes a call and speaks with someone and hands him the phone. It is a nurse in cardiology who says that my medical coverage denied the procedure. Jack said it was routine, part of his heart maintenance process and ordered by his PCP and with approval from his Cardiologist who is the head of Danbury Cardiology which is right where he was standing. She goes, "yes but we were denied our request".

So Jack says, "I have Medicare so what is my backup insurance doing denying anything." Then the bombshell, she says it was the Medicare board that denied the procedure. At that point, Jack turned to everyone behind him, and it was a long line, and he said to them "well you won't have to wait too long today because my stress test procedure was just canceled by a Medicare Death Panel. I am only 67 so can you imagine what is going to happen when we really get old".

The entire waiting room and everyone there from patients to staff just went dead silent. So Jack said he turned to the front desk and tell them, " I guess I will have to write a letter to the editor and call my Senators and Congressman and let them know the Death Panels have already convened". Then he walked out.

By the time Jack got home the message machine was blinking. His PCP had already called and so did the hospital and guess what, Medicare decided to approve his stress test procedure and if he could get back down to the hospital they would fit him in right now for this 3 hour procedure. Jack told them he couldn't make it, that he was going fishing because he didn't know how many more fishing trips he could get in before he went into cardiac arrest but not to worry about him costing the government any money because he was a 30% disabled Army veteran, due to Agent Orange poisoning which is what caused this heart problem to begin with, and that he qualify to be buried for free in a plain pine wrapper in the cheap graves section at any National Cemetery. Jack said he certainly don't want to cost our government any money so maybe we just won't do this procedure anymore and we can use the money to redistribute it to all of the illegal's to keep them alive so they can mow the lawns at the National Cemeteries.

Jack believes that this Death Panel crap has started. John and Jack both agree if we don't change our government and the old cronies out of office this November then we will all die younger than we should as broke paupers as the country goes bankrupt. He told John to feel free to distribute his experience to anyone and make it a mission to not only make everyone's vote count but on behalf of all of us please make an effort to change the thinking of anyone remotely willingly to get intellectually engaged in this critical time in our country's history.

John also told us that on Monday he had one of the most troubling, most disturbing conversations ever with his doctor during his regular check-up. He told us that they were discussing the "future" and I asked him had he seen any effects of Obama Care in his work?

"Oh, yes" he said. We are seeing cutbacks throughout the services we provide. For example, we are now having to deal with patients who would normally receive dialysis that can no longer be accepted. In the past, there was always automatic approval under Medicare for anyone who needed dialysis -- not anymore." So, what will be their outcome? "They will die soon without dialysis," he stated.

What about other services? He indicated as of 2013 (after the election), no one over 75 will be given major medical procedures unless approved by locally administered Ethics Panels. These Panels will determine whether a patient receives medical treatment or not. While details on specific operating procedures and schedules, John's Doctor points out that most life-threatening emergencies do not occur during normal hospital business hours, and if there are emergencies that depend to be resolve within minutes or just few hours, the likelihood of getting these Panels approval in time to save a life are going to be very challenging and difficult, if not impossible she said. This applies to major operations such as receiving stents, bypass surgery, kidney operations, or treating for an aneurysm that would be normally covered under Medicare today. In other words, if you needed a life-saving operation, Medicare will not provide coverage anymore after 2013 if you are 75 or over. When in 2013? "We haven't been given a specific date -- could be in January or July....but it's after the election."

John told us that this is shocking to any of us who will be 75 this year. His advice -- get healthy and stay healthy. We do not know the specifics of the actual implementation of the full Obama Care policies and procedures -- "they haven't filtered down to the local level yet. But we are already seeing severe cuts in what we provide to the elderly -- we refused dialysis to an individual who was 78 just the other day....we refused to give stents to a gentleman who was in his late 80s." Every day, he said, we are seeing these cutbacks aimed at reducing care across the board for anyone who is over 75.

This is a death sentence to those who are over 75.... Regardless if you have private health care coverage now (I have Aetna Medicare Part B) -- it will no longer apply after 2013 if the Ethics Panels disapprove of a procedure that may save your life. Scary, scary, scary.

Think about this? You? Your parents? Your loved ones? Didn't know about it? Of course, not. As Nancy Pelosi said...."well, if you want to know what's in the bill, you'll have to read it....." After it was passed. This is a graphic reminder of the need to stay healthy. Get your plot now at Forest Lawn....while they last. Is this a death sentence to those of us who will reach 75?.....Yes! Do I know for a fact all this is going to happen in 2013? I am not sure. Am I going to do more research and educate myself on what is going on, you can bet your boots I will.

Come on Americans, we need to do something about this. Don't just sit back and let our government make decisions that will affect our lives and possibly kills us. Write a letter, make some phone calls to your representatives. Tell them what you want. If you don't, don't blame someone else for what can happen. Let your representatives know that they too can be replaced. Do something NOW.