The Sequestration Comes Home
One Woman’s Opinion
By – Sheri de Grom
We saw what happened when air traffic controllers were furloughed. Because the resulting upheaval was so public and Congress wanted to travel immediately, Congress acted and the air traffic controllers went back to work.
I’m concerned about the portion of set-aside monies Congress instructed the Federal Aviation Administration to now ear-mark for salaries. The ear-marking of previously set-aside funds means something potentially vital to aviation safety will not happen because the monies have gone to salary and not its ear-marked purpose.
Of further concern, Congress has set a precedent for its own selfish interests ahead of the average citizen’s needs.
What about the Medicare patient with cancer now being turned away from his usual place of treatment? Congress hasn’t made an exception for this person.
It doesn’t sound like much when you read that Medicare providers (hospitals, doctors, stand-alone clinics, etc.) are now receiving reimbursements of ninety-eight cents on the dollar. That’s only a cut of two percent, but when you add up the total number of patients and the total cost of care and see what is actually reimbursed, the cost differential is staggering.
It’s important for everyone of Medicare age seeking treatment to call a facility or doctor first and determine if they are accepting Medicare as payment. Many providers will treat a person but in the fine print it will state it’s the patient’s responsibility to ensure their insurance company is a payer to the provider of care.
Many health facilities are no longer accepting new patients with Medicare and Tricare (the insurance for active duty and retired military personnel). If a facility has never accepted Medicare or Tricare patients, they don’t have to accept them now. Furthermore, providers of Tricare may opt-out when it’s time to renew their contract and many are.
If you’re headed to a national park this summer, expect visiting hours shortened at all three hundred ninety-eight parks. Thousands of seasonal workers will not be hired due to the sequester. According to National Park Service director, Jon Jarvis, visitors will encounter locked restrooms, fewer rangers and trash cans will be emptied less frequently.
The Department of Education is warning the parents of some seventy thousand students enrolled in pre-kindergarten that Head Start will be cut and fourteen thousand teachers will lose their jobs. For students with special needs, the cuts will eliminate an additional seven thousand teachers and aids. The Education Department is also warning that twenty-nine million student loans could be at risk.
I haven’t mentioned Homeland Security, the Food and Drug Administration, nuclear security, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Defense in the above risks taken by Congress and President Obama. Each agency is vital to the welfare of our country. Our nation will eventually come to an operational stand-still without the freedoms set forth in the Constitution of the United States.