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Ruiz & Seniors Speak on 'Demise of Medicare'

Speaking event in front of Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack's office in Palm Desert attacks GOP health care reform plans.

Flanked by about 30 seniors who rely on Medicare, congressional candidate Dr. Raul Ruiz (D-Coachella) held an event today in front of Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack’s office in Palm Desert.  

Ruiz briefly spoke about the dangers of the Republican proposed voucher alternative plan before turning the podium to three seniors who told stories of their reliance of Medicare.  

“The Republican platform and Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack,” Ruiz said, “are determined to turn Medicare into a private voucher system.  It’s a private voucher system that turns essentially into a coupon system that will give you a certain amount of money and the rest you have to pay on your own; which on average would be about $6,000.”  

“My story isn’t much different than the others here,” said Randy Scott of Palm Springs. “A few years ago, I needed to have an operation.  $96,000 later it was over with.  Then I needed another operation… that was $36,000.  If it wasn’t for Medicare, I wouldn’t be before you all today.” 

La Quinta resident Cathy Snyder told of her retired husband being taken to the emergency room and eventually admitted to JFK Memorial hospital for what she described as a “minor operation on a toe”. Several weeks later, Snyder says she received a bill for $127,000.  

“Fortunately, because of Medicare, we only had to pay $1,000.  With the voucher system, I don’t think we could afford the plan we have today,” she said. 

“Medicare is very important to everyone who is standing here right now”, Ruiz, said.  “Not just for the current generation, but for the next generation.” 

The challenger then went on the attack against the Republican reforms, saying we need to prioritize seniors, “not prioritizing insurance companies, it's not prioritizing giving tax breaks to multi-millionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas.”  

When asked about Republican claims that their system would not affect anyone over 55, Ruiz told Palm Desert Patch, “Medicare is needed for this generation and the next generation.  This plan is the beginning of the demise of Medicare.  The guarantee of Medicare is being broken, the promise that America made to our seniors; not only seniors back in the 1960s, but seniors now and in the next decade.  That is a promise broken for all seniors and this is the beginning of the end of Medicare.” 

Ruiz called on the incumbent to work closer with seniors on a solution to the Medicare crisis, saying, “In fact, Mary Bono Mack said a week and a half ago that she believes its time to engage that American people about the future of Medicare and what they think.  Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack has had 14 years to engage the American people, 14 years to listen to our seniors, and unfortunately she’s been absent. Just like right now. 

“Instead of listening to our seniors, she’s partying with party bosses, vacationing, and campaigning for other candidates in other states.” 

In response to the Ruiz’ press conference, Bono Mack’s campaign manager John Pezzullo said, “Raul Ruiz knows that Congresswoman Bono Mack is in Tampa at the national convention.  This is a pathetic stunt not worthy of comment and not worthy of someone who wants to serve in Congress.”

ATC August 31, 2012 at 02:08 PM
I agree with John Pezzulo. This was a stunt, nothing more. Medicare, "as we know it" HAS TO CHANGE, or it will collapse under it's own increasing weight.
Charles Ferrell August 31, 2012 at 02:53 PM
The Obamacare cuts to Medicare will lead to its demise much more quickly. The Republican plan seeks to restructure the program only for younger people who have just started contributing to Medicare. The Democrats are just using their "tried and true" which is becoming "tired and true" tactics of trying to scare the must vulnerable of Americans into voting for their candidates. Obamacare is in reality more scary than any Republican plan.
Ruth Farley August 31, 2012 at 04:47 PM
What are the Obamacare cuts to Medicare? And when do they take effect?
Charles Ferrell August 31, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Obamacare calls for a reduction of more than $700 billion to Medicare in order to fund other Obamacare programs. The reduction to Medicare comes in a reduction in payments to doctors. This will result in fewer doctors winning to accept Medicare patients, thus reducing the access to Medicare for those already qualified for coverage and those who soon will. Republicans want to restructure the program for younger workers who are decades from drawing from the Medicare pool of funds, but only for reasons for preserving the program altogether. Obamacare, which is already underway, already has many private doctors considering not accepting Medicare patients, no longer accepting any new Medicare patients, or simply getting out of the profession.... just retiring early. Under Romney-Ryan, no person currently on Medicare or within 10 years of qualifying, will have to worry about any change in the benefits they have earned and therefore must receive. Under Obamacare, the future of Medicare is seriously in doubt in the very near future, if not right now. Programs such as Medicare, Social Security and Veterans Benefits are not "entitlement" programs, because the recipients all paid or earned their way into receiving the benefits. They shouldn't even be called "benefits." They are merely a return on investments, either through paying up front from their paychecks over the years for from serving America in a military uniform.
nobodyuno August 31, 2012 at 05:48 PM
The "pathetic stunt" is something the "Republicans" are masters of.. I'm 46 and have been contributing for 31 years, hardly "just starting to contribute", and I want every penny, plus interest and penalty, back.. My generation is being robbed.. Compensate us or the seniors of today and the criminals (politicians) paid to represent us will regret cheating us to support your "ponzi" scam.. You won't get away with it..
Betty McMillion August 31, 2012 at 08:09 PM
There were no cuts to Medicare benefits. The Affordable CareAct is dedicated to making Medicare more efficient, and to do that it cuts bloated payments to hospitals and big insurance companies. Why would you want want to give that money back?" And then move on. Medicare will only be seriously jeopardized if the Ryan Budget is implemented. Obamacare takes 716 Billion Dollars and improves care to the seniors while imaproving the financial health of the plan. The Ryan Plan Takes 716 Billion Dollars just as cuts without any improvements. This was not a stunt by Dr. Ruiz, it is a matter of getting the truth out. Dr Ruiz is an outstanding Medical Doctor with 3 degrees from Harvard, who understands what is at risk for our Seniors and our middle Class. Betty McMillion
ATC August 31, 2012 at 09:59 PM
On the contrary, Betty, regardless of a person's opinion of Obamacare and/or Medicare, this WAS indeed a "stunt", holding an event in front of Bono's office, while she was at the Republican National Convention, in order to try to make it look like she was just out partying without a care in the world, without caring about her constituents. It's low, and it's classless. I quote Ruiz: "Instead of listening to our seniors, she’s partying with party bosses, vacationing, and campaigning for other candidates in other states.” You know darn well that Ruiz, if given the chance, will be at the Democratic National Convention. Would that mean he doesn't care as well? These are the kind of pathetic stunts that "thinking" people can see right through, and hopefully it will come back to bite Ruiz in the proverbial a__. His entire campaign has been, not about voting FOR him, but rather about voting AGAINST Bono. This is just more of the same, and it's pathetic. This is why he'll lose the race.
ATC August 31, 2012 at 10:05 PM
So what's your plan to save the program, Steve? Because doing "nothing" will guarantee that it will not be there for you. You won't get "every penny, plus interest and penalty, back", in fact, you'll get nothing. Closing your eyes won't save it. I'm 50, and I'm smart enough to realize that unless Medicare "as we know it" changes drastically, it won't be there for me at all. Medicare, and Social Security,is in fact a huge ponzi scheme; always has been. But that's OK as long as you get yours, right? And to h___ with those who come later? Every recipient of Medicare, as well as Social Security, ends up receiving far more than they ever paid in. Simple math tells us that can't be sustained forever. I used to complain that Social Security would likely be gone by the time I retired, and as such it's unfair for me to be paying into it (and this was in my 20s, the writing was already on the wall). But then I realized that my widowed grandmother wouldn't be receiving those benefits if I (and others like me) stopped paying into that system. That's how it works, Steve; "you" will never see "your" contributions. Those go to older citizens, and your benefits will come from the younger generation. As a Liberal, you should be in love with that idea. Of course, it will only continue to work IF the system can be fixed. And if not, then at least you helped out your elderly parents while you still could. Or would you rather they end up on the streets so that you can "Get yours"?
Charles Ferrell August 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM
Thanks to the U.S.Supreme Court's ruling, the fate of the Obamacare Tax will be determined by the voters, all the voters, not just the Democrat members of Congress, the President or five of the nine Supreme Court justices. The debate over how to improve our medical care in this nation will continue, but the voters will decide on Nov. 6, in their votes for either the Obama-Biden ticket or the Romney-Ryan ticket, on whether Americans believe the Obamacare Tax is the answer. The politicians and the justices have spoken; it will be up to the people to make the final call on Nov. 6 if the Obamacare Tax should move forward or tossed into the trash while a real bi-partisan effort takes over. Let's trust the voters on this. Meanwhile, a number of especially small town or neighborhood private doctors are waiting to see if they will continue to accept Medicare patients or at least consider accepting new Medicare patients.
Steve Mehlman September 04, 2012 at 08:45 PM
After the Republicans have spent the last two years blocking the President's efforts to deal with the jobs problem, after the Republicans declared that their primary goal--rather than doing something to solve the nation's problems--was to make President Obama a one-term president, we should expect that the Republicans will suddenly become "bipartisan" if Romney is elected. Yeah, right, and pigs fly.
Mariana Zuelsdorf September 04, 2012 at 09:20 PM
I'm just amazed at what people will believe, just because a candidate/commentator/the guy next door said it. Both parties have put a spin on Medicare and brought out the scare tactics, just as Dr Ruiz did/does, Do the research yourself on a non partisan website, and for heaven's sake, don't believe everything you hear or everything you read on a partisan website.

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