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YCQM: October 20, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: October 20, 2013

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

HI,. I'M KYLE. THIS IS YOU CAN QUOTE ME. WE ARE JOINED BY THE PRESIDENT OF AARP AND THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT. THANKS BOTH OF YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY.

>> THURSDAY, WE HAD A BIG EVENT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AVOIDING CONTINUING SHUTDOWN. WE HAVE DEBT CEILING AGREEMENT IN PLACE AND PUSHING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD FOR A FEW MONTHS. ROBERT, TELLS ME WHAT IT MEANS FOR SENIORS.

>> FIRST WE'RE THANKFUL THAT WISDOM PREVAILED AND WE DID OPEN THE GOVERNMENT AND PUT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE BACK TO WORK INCLUDING SEVERAL THOUSAND HERE IN VERMONT. VERY IMPORTANT. THE FOCUS NOW SHIFTS TO THE BUDGET DEBATE. THAT IS A VERY IMPORTANT DEBATE. WHAT WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT IS MAKING SURE THAT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICAID AREN'T ON THE TABLE FOR CUTS AND DON'T TRY TO BALANCE THE BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF SENIORS. WE'LL BE EXPRESSING THAT OPINION AS WE REPRESENT 37 MILLION MEMBERS ABOUT HOW TO KEEP THE PROGRAMS STRONG FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

>> WHAT EFFECTS DID SENIORS FEEL WITH THE SHUTDOWN IN PLACE?

>> THERE WERE TWO DIMENSIONS OF THAT. IF YOU WERE APPLYING FOR MEDICARE OR SOCIAL SECURITY, THE APPLICATION WAS SLOWED DOWN. PEOPLE GOT THE CHECKS BUT IT CAUSED A LOT OF ANXIETY FOR PEOPLE NOT TO GET THEIR CHECKS. PEOPLE OVER 50 THAT WE REPRESENT WERE AFFECTED BY THE FURLOUGHS DIRECTLY LIKE THE 500 FOLKS AT IMS FACILITY OR THE FOLKS IN THE NATIONAL GUARD THAT DIDN'T HAVE THE DRILLS ALONG WITH THE CASH THAT GOES ALONG WITH THAT. PEOPLE WERE AFFECTED IN BROAD WAYS. 31% OF AMERICANS WERE AFFECTED IN SOME WAY. THAT INCLUDES PEOPLE, SENIORS AS WELL AS PEOPLE OVER 50. IT WAS A BAD THING. AND REPORTS THIS MORNING THIS PROCESS THAT WE WENT THROUGH IN THE LAST MONTH COST THE ECONOMY ABOUT $24 BILLION. SO IT'S NOT SOMETHING DIRECTLY BUT IT SLOWED THE ECONOMY DOWN.

>> INTERESTING THING, ONE POINT, ONE OF THE ELEMENTS THAT BROUGHT OUR GOVERNMENT TO A SHUTDOWN AND A CRISIS WAS THE HEALTHCARE. REPEAL AND THIS OTHER GROUP OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT FOR OBAMACARE. THERE ARE A LOT OF ISSUES THERE. YOU DON'T HAVE TO AGREE WITH EVERYTHING. SOME THINGS COULD BE BETTER BUT THE REALITY IT MIGHT BE ON BEHALF OF OLDER AMERICANS, 50 MILLION AMERICANS HAVE NO HEALTH INSURANCE. TO ALLOW THAT CONTINUE WITHOUT A PLAN OR PROGRAM IS NOT RESPONSIBLE. IT'S NOT TAKING CARE OF THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE FOR WHATEVER AGE. FROM MY PERSPECTIVE THE FACTS THAT THERE MAY BE NEED FOR CHANGES IN THE FUTURE, THAT PARTICULAR PIECE OF LEGISLATION BENEFITS SO MANY AMERICANS WAS NOT DISMANTLED I THINK WAS POSITIVE.

>> WHAT DO YOU THINK FOR SENIORS AS THEY TRY TO NAVIGATE THE NEW EXCHANGE AS MANY OF OUR VIEWERS ARE WILL NOT, VERMONT WENT A LITTLE FURTHER THAN MANY STATES AND ALMOST MORE THAN ANY OTHER STATE.

>> THE SYSTEM HAS BEEN FLAWED AND SENIORS ARE NOT KNOWN TO BE INTERNET SAVVY THAT YOU REPRESENTED.

>> IF YOU ARE ON MEDICARE ALREADY, 65 YEARS OLDER ALREADY, AND COVERED BY MEDICARE YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO INTO THE EXCHANGE. YOU DON'T HAVE TO PARTICIPATE WITH WHAT THE STATE IS DOING. YOU ARE PART OF THE FEDERAL PROGRAM THAT IS IMPROVED BY THE FEDERAL PROGRAM AND NOT DAMAGED AND FINDING A PLAN. IF YOU ARE UNDER 65, IT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU ARE WORKING AND WHAT COVERAGE YOU HAVE NOW. IF YOU DON'T HAVE INSURANCE, THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE. I POINT YOU A MADE ABOUT THE GLITCHES AND TECHNOLOGY NEED TO BE CORRECTED. IT'S VERY DIFFICULT AND FRUSTRATING, EVEN WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY TO GO THROUGH THE CHOICES OF HEALTH CARE AND MAKE DECISIONS. THE COVERAGE YOU ARE GOING TO GET, HOW MUCH IT IS GOING TO COST, WHAT YOU HAVE TO PAY, THOSE ARE CHALLENGING DECISIONS IN OUR EVERYDAY LIFE COMPLICATED BY A TECHNOLOGY SYSTEM THAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED, I'VE NEVER SEEN A ROLL OUT OF NEW TECHNOLOGY THAT WENT SMOOTHLY NO MATTER WHERE. IT'S A PROBLEM. I EXPECT IT WILL BE FIXED BUT IT WILL NOT AFFECT FOLKS ALREADY ON MEDICARE.

>> WILL YOU BE SUGGESTING TO INDIVIDUALS TO PICK UP SUPPLEMENTAL COVERAGE TO PICK UP AN EXCHANGE OR ARE THERE BETTER RESOURCES?

>> ROB, I THINK KNOWS MORE ABOUT THAT. IF WE ARE COVERED BY MEDICARE, THE SUPPLEMENTAL INSURANCE, IF YOU CHOOSE TO GET THAT, WILL NOT BE AFFECTED BY THE NEW FEDERAL LAW OR THE STATE LAW. IF YOU ARE A SENIOR, YOU ARE INSULATED BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO INTO THE MARKETPLACE. YOU ALREADY HAVE INSURANCE AND ALREADY HAVE COVERAGE. YOUR CHOICES ARE THERE FOR YOU TO MAKE WITHOUT HAVING TO BE CONFUSED BY A LOST THIS. I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS IMPORTANT TO REASSURE PEOPLE WHO ARE MEDICARE ALREADY, DON'T WORRY. YOU ARE COVERED RIGHT NOW. YOU CAN MAKE SOME CHOICES BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO INTO THE MARKETPLACE TO MAKE THOSE CHOICES.

>> IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO ALERT EVERYBODY WHO IS WATCHING AND FAMILIES, IF SOMEONE CALLS YOU AND YOU SAY, YOU NEED TO ENROLL IN THINGS, HANG UP. THERE ARE A LOT OF FRAUD GOING ON. MEDICARE IS MEDICARE, OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD YOU CAN CHOOSE WHATEVER PLAN AND THAT SYSTEM WILL CONTINUE. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SENIORS CURRENT ENROLLMENT OR MEDICAID HAS BEEN STRENGTHENED BY THE PROGRAM BUT IT DOESN'T AFFECT THE WAY PEOPLE ARE PROTECTED.

>> FAR ON THE RISE OVER THE TELEPHONE SCAMS, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE QUESTIONS THAT SENIORS SHOULD ASK ANY CALLER WHO CALLS UP AND SAYS -- HERE IS SOMETHING YOU NEED TO DO -- PLEASE GIVE ME THIS PERSONAL INFORMATION WHETHER YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.

>> AS SOON AS ANYBODY ASKS THAT LITERALLY HANG UP. THEIR STRATEGY IS TO KEEP YOU TALKING AND GET INFORMATION AND START STEALING FROM YOU. IT'S TERRIBLE. WE'VE DOCUMENTED SENIOR FRAUD IN UNITED STATES TWO YEARS AGO, $3 BILLION. IT RANGES FROM SOMEONE COMING TO OFFERING YOU DEAL IN A DRIVEWAY TO YOU WON THE LOTTERY AND SEND $500 TO GET YOUR WINNINGS. IT'S EVIL AND TARGETING SENIORS IS RAMPID. WE SEND OUT MAILERS AND NOT ONLY SENIORS BUT FAMILY MEMBERS CAN WATCH OUT FOR THEIR MOMS AND DADS AND MAKE SURE THEY ARE RESPONDING TO THESE THINGS. ESPECIALLY PEOPLE WHO ARE MEDICARE RECIPIENTS. REENROLLMENT IS NORMAL AND LIVE LIFE AS YOU HAVE BEEN.

>> I WONDER IF I CAN BUILD ON THAT. THE STATE IS WORKING WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE TO INFORM AND EDUCATE SENIORS ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OF RISK OF THESE TYPES OF FRAUDS. IT'S BEEN VERY SUCCESSFUL. THERE IS TREMENDOUS INTEREST IN FOLKS COMING OUT TO GET THAT INFORMATION. ALSO, WHAT THEY CAN DO IN ADDITION TO HANGING OUT WOULD BE TO LET THE CONSUMER FRAUD GAS STATION DIVISION OF THE STATE AND WE CAN HELP MAKE THOSE CONNECTIONS.

>> WE HAVE HEARD THE GROWING OF THE GREEN MOUNTAINS, SECOND MOST SENIORS OF ANY STATE IN THE NATION. WHAT ISSUE WHEN IT COMES TO VERMONT TO SENIOR ISSUES?

>> LIKE YOU SAY, VERMONT IS FIRST OR SECOND OLDEST. THERE IS ANOTHER DYNAMIC I THINK NEEDS TO BE LOOKED AT. ONE OF THE REASONS FIRST OR SECOND IS BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY THERE IS THE AGING OF OUR CITIZENS. FROM THE STANDPOINT, WE HAVE THE LOWEST BIRTH RATE IN THE COUNTRY. WE HAVE IN VERMONT SINCE 2000 EXPERIENCED A DECLINE OF 15,000 STUDENTS FROM KINDERGARTEN THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL, 15% DECLINE OF SCHOOL AGED KIDS. OF KIDS THAT GRADUATE FROM HIGH SCHOOL AND GO TO COLLEGE. WE HAVE THE HIGHEST THAT LEAVE THE STATE FOR THEIR COLLEGE NATION. AT THE OTHER END, WE HAVE A CHALLENGE AT THE OTHER END IN TERMS OF YOUNGER VERMONTERS. THOSE ARE SOME OF THE DEMOGRAPHICS AND WORK TO CREATE GOOD JOBS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND WORK TO CREATE EDUCATION THAT IS AFFORDABLE TO STUDENTS AND FAMILIES. THEN FROM OUR STANDPOINT WE NEED AS OLDER VERMONTERS WE NEED YOUNGER VERMONTER TO TAKE CARE OF US TO PARTNER WITH US AND DO WHAT IN THIS COUNTRY SINCE SOCIAL SECURITY WENT INTO EFFECT AND MEDICARE. ITS BALANCE OF EVERYBODY SHOULD BE IN THIS TOGETHER AND WORKING TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL OF US. VERMONT ISN'T UNIQUE ON THE DEMANDS ON SENIORS. WE HAVE SOME PARTICULARLY CHALLENGING EVENT BUT TRANSPORTATION IS A HUGE ISSUE. IF YOU ARE AN OLD PERSON AND NO LONGER DRIVING OR YOU HAVE MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS, HOW DO YOU GET THERE? HOW DO YOU GET AND SHOP? IF YOU LIVE IN A RURAL TOWN AND YOU HAVE TO GO SOME DISTANCE JUST TO GO TO A STORE? TRANSPORTATION IS IMPORTANT. THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND AFFORDABILITY OF UTILITIES. VERY SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THE SENIORS FIXED INCOME GOES TO PAY THEIR HEAT BILL, POWER. THOSE ARE CHALLENGES WE NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO.

>> LET'S DIG INTO THAT. THE STATE HAS CUT AND EFFECTIVELY WHAT VERMONT SENIORS AS FAR AS CERTAIN THINGS. HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT DID IT HAVE?

>> IT'S A VERY SERIOUS IMPACT. WE NEED TO EMPHASIZE, THAT IS CHOICE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS MADE. TO CUT ASSISTANCE. IT'S IMPACT ON VERMONTERS BECAUSE THE STATE HAS BEEN GENEROUS AND MADE A SPECIAL TO MAKE UP FOR THE LOSS OF FEDERAL DOLLARS. THAT BURDEN CAN'T BE SHIFTED TO A STATE ALREADY TO LOCAL RESPONSIBILITY. STATE OF VERMONT DOESN'T PRINT MONEY. IT'S A REAL CHALLENGE AND YOUR ASSISTANCE YOU ARE GOING TO GET LESS. AT THE SAME TIME THE COST OF LIVING IS GOING UP. IT'S A MAJOR CHALLENGE. THERE ARE REAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS THAT WITH THE STATE, WITH A HOST OF OTHER PARTNERS BUT IT'S NOT GOING TO BE AN EASY ONE TO ADDRESS IF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WALKS AWAY.

>> SO ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS, WHERE DOES IT FALL WITHIN THE PRIORITIES AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL AS FAR AS WATCHING THE BUDGET DEBATE THAT IS GOING TO BE UNFOLDING OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS?

>> WE HAVE BEEN ACTIVE LOOKING OUT FOR THE INTERESTS FOR ALL SEASONS. IT'S PART OF -- LOOKING OUT FOR ALL SENIORS.

>> THE BROAD ARE ISSUE WE UNDERSTAND WILL BE THE FUNDAMENTAL THING FOR FINANCIAL SECURITY IS SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE. THOSE TWO FORM THE PILLARS OF SECURITY. I WOULD ADD MODEST RETIREMENT SECURITY. WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT LAVISH LIFESTYLE. AVERAGE SOCIAL SECURITY IS $20,000. I SPEAK TO AUDIENCES AROUND THE COUNTRY HOW MANY WANT TO LIVE ON $15,000 A YEAR. I DON'T GET A RUSH TO THE PODIUM TO SIGN UP. PEOPLE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN THEY START TALKING ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE AS WAYS OF SOLVING FEDERAL DEFICIT PROBLEMS. LET'S NOT BALANCE THE BUDGET ON THE BACKS OF SENIORS. WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES OF ANY ONE OF THESE BUDGET DECISIONS. IF YOU TAKE MONEY AWAY AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL YOU ARE DOWNSTREAMING IT TO THE STATE LEVEL. YOU ARE SHIFTING THE BURDEN. THE REAL ISSUE IS HOW WE CREATE A BALANCED SOLUTION TO OUR FISCAL CHALLENGE AND PRESERVE SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE FOR GENERATIONS TO COME. WE ARE WORKING ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE SO THEY UNDERSTAND THE CONSEQUENCES. SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD BE OUT OF THIS DISCUSSION. REMEMBER, SOCIAL SECURITY STARTED AS A THREE LEGGED STOOL. SOCIAL SECURITY FOUNDATION, YOU HAVE YOUR PENSION AND YOU HAVE YOUR PERSONAL SAVINGS. LET'S LOOK AT THAT STOOL. PENSIONS, CONVERSATION IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA WITH 200 FOLKS PROBABLY DON'T HAVE PENSIONS. THE PENSIONS ARE GONE. RETIREMENT, SAVINGS, THE LAST FIVE YEARS HAVE SEEN THOSE THINGS DWINDLE. OUR ABILITY TO SAVE HALF THE FOLKS OVER 45 DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TO SAVE HAVE ENOUGH. SO WE HAVE A RETIREMENT ISSUE AND WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW WE CHANGE OUR WORK PATTERNS AND MAKE SURE SOCIAL SECURITY IS PROTECTED. THAT IS A SEPARATE CONVERSATION. MEDICARE BIG PROBLEM. ITS TWO-TIER PROBLEM. FIRST ISSUE IS MEDICAL COSTS IN GENERAL. THAT IS DRIVING THE FEDERAL BUDGET PROBLEM. WE SPENT $2.7 TRILLION ON HEALTHCARE. THAT IS 50% MORE THAN ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN THE WORLD.

>> IS THAT TOUGH TO LOOK AT WHEN YOU CONSIDER MEDICARE WHEN IT ORIGINALLY PASSED WAS A HUGE THING FOR SENIORS BUT NOW IT'S BIGGEST DRAIN ON THE MEDICAL BUDGET. HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THE COVERAGE CONTINUES WITHOUT DRAINING ALL THE FUNDS?

>> THERE WAS SIGNIFICANT EXPANSION OF BENEFITS. THE ISSUE WAS TO CAPTURE THE POWER OF THE FREE MARKETS TO PROVIDE PRIVATE COVERAGE IN THE FEDERAL PROGRAM. IT'S COMING WAY UNDER EXPECTED COSTS TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, THAT PRESCRIPTION DRUG ISSUE CONTINUES TO BE A MAJOR DRIVER OF HEALTH CARE COSTS. CLOSING THAT DONUT HOLE THAT TAKES THE PRESSURE OFF SENIORS FOR TEN TO 20 YEARS. RIGHT NOW FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS MEDICARE THE LARGEST PURCHASER OF DRUGS FROM NEGOTIATING WITH THE DRUG COMPANIES. THAT IS LIKE TELLING WALMART THEY CAN'T NEGOTIATE WITH PROCTOR & GAMBLE. THAT MAKES NO SENSE. IMPORTATION OF DRUGS, THEY ARE CHEAPER IN CANADIAN AND EUROPE, U.S. IS FINANCING THE WORLD FOR DRUG PRICES. THERE ARE LOT THINGS THAT CAN SLOW THAT DOWN. THE BROADER ISSUE ON HEALTH CARE COSTS, KEEP IT BROADLY. IF WE GET HEALTHCARE COSTS JUST IN THE RATE OF DECLINE AS TO OPPOSED WHAT IT HAS BEEN 5-10%, THAT WOULD RELIEVE 40-50% OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET PROBLEM. TO LOWER THE COST OF MEDICARE AND NOT CUT BENEFITS AND CONTRIBUTE TO MAKING SURE THE FEDERAL BUDGET IS MUCH MORE HEALTHIER.

>> WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A QUICK BREAK AND BACK WITH MORE WITH THE VERMONT STATE PRESIDENT OF AARP AND T

>>> WELCOME BACK TO YOU CAN QUOTED ME. WE'RE JOINING BY THE PRESIDENT OF AARP AND VERMONT'S PRESIDENT OF AARP. WE'LL DIVE BACK TO THE DISCUSSION WE'VE BEEN HAVING. LET'S CHAT A BIT MORE ABOUT SOME OF THE ELEMENTS YOU FEAR THAT COULD COME OUT OF POSSIBLE BUDGET DEAL AND TO A CHAIN CPI HOW INFLATION IS KALG KLIATD IS ONE OF THE BIGGER ISSUES?

>> WE'VE BEEN CLEAR. LET ME EXPLAIN WHY WE'RE THAT WAY. CHAIN CPI IS COST OF LIVING INCREASE. IT AFFECTS ALL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS, VETERANS BENEFITS ANY GOVERNMENT PROGRAM. THE THEORY IS CHAIN CPI SAYS I CAN SUBSTITUTE STEAK FOR HAMBURGER. THE REALITY IS WHEN YOU ARE LIVING ON $20,000 A YEAR WHICH IS THE AVERAGE MEDICARE RECIPIENT OR $14,000 WHICH IS SOCIAL SECURITY, YOU ALREADY SUBSTITUTED JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR UTILITIES OR MEDICAL CARE. THE INDEX IS WRONG. TODAY'S CPI IS NOT SENIOR'S BASKET OF GOODS BUT AN URBAN WORKER SO IT'S THE WRONG INDEX. SECOND THING IT LOWERS THE CPI INCREASE OVER TIME SO THE AMOUNT OF BENEFITS YOU WOULD RECEIVE UNDER TODAY'S RESULTS, WHAT HAPPENS YOU GET LESS BENEFITS AS THE YEARS GO. ON IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. OLDER YOU ARE, LESS MONEY YOU GET. WE THINK THAT IS THE WRONG APPROACH. IT NOT ONLY AFFECTS SENIORS BUT AFFECTS VETERANS AND DISABLED. IF YOU ARE DISABLED AS A SENIOR YOU GET CUT THREE TIMES. WE SAY LET'S LOOK A RESPONSIBLE WAY TO USE SOCIAL SECURITY AND NOT TRY TO SOLVE THE BUDGET PROBLEM.

>>> VERMONT LEGISLATURE RETURNS TO ACTION COME JANUARY FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE SESSION. ANYTHING SENIORS SHOULD BE WATCHING OUT FOR?

>> HEALTH CARE WILL BE A TOP PRIORITY IN THE LEGISLATURE. IT DOESN'T DIRECTLY AFFECT SENIORS THAT ARE ON MEDICARE, BUT CERTAINLY THE STATE'S APPROACH TO HEALTHCARE, IT FOCUSES ON PREVENTION AND WELLNESS IS ONE THAT ALL OF US CAN BENEFIT BY. MEDICARE IS A PARTNER WITH THE STATED, WITH THE MAJOR INSURERS IN VERMONT IN CREATING A PROGRAM THAT REALLY WILL HELP HOW MEDICAL PRACTICE IS PROVIDED IN VERMONT AND PARTICULAR FOCUS IN CARE MANAGEMENT IN THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE. TRYING TO MONITOR THEIR CARE. SO THAT IS SOMETHING VERMONT IS MOVING FORWARD AND SOMETHING WE'LL BE WATCHING. OBVIOUSLY THE OVERALL BUDGET WHETHER FOOD ASSISTANCE OR ENERGY RELATED ISSUES, THESE ARE ALL THINGS THAT VERMONTERS WILL PAY ATTENTION TO AND PARTICULARLY IF YOU ARE AN OLDER VERMONTER. ONE COMMENT, THIS IS MORE NATIONAL, BUT THERE HAS BEEN TALKING ABOUT RAISING THE AGE OF ELIGIBILITY TO MEDICARE FROM 65 TO 67 AND THEN TRANSITIONING TO A VOUCHER PROGRAM. WE GIVE YOU X AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU BUY YOUR PLAN. THOSE ARE TERRIBLE IDEAS. FROM 65 TO 67, IF THE AGE WAS RAISED, FOUR MILLION WOULD BE UNINSURED. MANY OF THEM DON'T HAVE RETIREMENT HEALTH BENEFITS. JUST BECAUSE YOU LIVE LONGER SHOULD NOT MEAN TO POSTPONE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE. THOSE ARE ISSUES ON A NATIONAL LEVEL WE NEED TO FOLLOW. IN VERMONT WE WANTED TO PAY ATTENTION AND HAVE OUR FEDERAL CONGRESS HELP PREVENT THOSE TYPES OF MOVES THAT FRANKLY DON'T SAVE MONEY. THEY SHIFT COSTS AND SHIFT COSTS TO PEOPLE THAT CAN'T AFFORD IT. SOME OF THE PROGRAMS THAT HAVE BEEN SUGGESTED, VOUCHER PROGRAMS, THEY LOOK IF TWO CONDITIONS ARE PRESENT. IF YOU HAVE THE MONEY AND YOU DON'T GET SICK. IT DOESN'T WORK. IT DOESN'T REQUIRE GOOD BENEFITS AND REQUIRE HELP IN MAINTAINING HEALTH AND AFFORDING THEIR HEALTH CARE.

>> THAT BEING SAID, PEOPLE ARE LIVING LONGER. HOW DO YOU -- THE RETIREMENT AGE YOU EVENTUALLY NEED TO MOVE UP AS AMERICANS CONTINUED TO LIVE LONGER.

>> RETIREMENT AGE HAS MOVED UP. YOU CAN TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY SOCIAL SECURITY AT AGE 62 BUT YOU TAKE A LOT LESS AT 62. THERE A FULL RETIREMENT AGE AT 67. IF YOU WAIT UNTIL YOU ARE 70 BEFORE YOU TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY YOU GET IN TERMS OF YOUR BENEFITS. THAT HAS ALREADY OCCURRED. 46% OF AMERICANS AND I THINK THE PERCENT NOW WOULD BE AS HIGH TAKE THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY AT 62 OR 63. NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE TRYING TO GET MONEY, IT'S BECAUSE THEY CAN'T AFFORD, THEIR JOB HAS ENDED AND TAKEN EARLY RETIREMENT, BUT THEY DEFER OR DON'T TAKE ALL THE BENEFITS THEY COULD TAKE IF THEY WAITED LONGER. SO THOSE ARE SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT PROVIDE REAL CHALLENGES. SOCIAL SECURITY FROM A STANDPOINT OF THE DEFICIT HASN'T CONTRIBUTED ONE PANE O PENNY TO THE NATIONAL DEFICIT. IT IS PUT OUT THERE AS SOLUTION OR AS A PIGGYBANK, THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE.

>>> MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT RATES ARE NOTORIOUSLY LOW AND BEEN BLAMED FOR THE HIGHER RATES YOU SEE IN PRIVATE INSURANCE OR HIGHER EXCHANGE RATES WHERE YOU MIGHT BE GETTING YOUR INSURANCE. WHAT CAN WE DONE TO MAKE SURE THAT HOSPITALS WILL COVER THE COSTS.

>> THE BROADER ISSUE OF HEALTH CARE COSTS NEED TO BE ADDRESSED. THERE WAS A ARTICLE IN "TIME MAGAZINE" CALLED THE BITTER PILL, WE SHOULD BE ASKING WHY IS IT COSTING SO MUCH. IT'S HOW HOSPITALS CHARGE WHICH DON'T SEEM TO BE RATIONAL PRICES.

>> OVERCHARGE FOR SIMPLE ITEMS.

>> ITS GREAT ARTICLE. IT'S BREATHTAKING. I THINK IT IS WORTHY OF REVIEW. WHAT WE'RE CONCERNED ABOUT PHYSICIANS ARE ADEQUATELY COMPENSATED. WE'VE BEEN ADAMANT ABOUT CHANGING THE REIMBURSEMENT FORMULA. EVERY YEAR CONGRESS IS ENTERED THIS THING CALLED AGR AND FORMULA MECHANISM AND THEY ADJUST IT SO PHYSICIANS DON'T GET 25% CUTS IN REIMBURSEMENT RATES. WE NEED TO FIX THAT LONG TERM. THAT WILL ALLOW PHYSICIANS TO BE FAIRLY COMPENSATED. HOSPITAL SYSTEM IS BROAD ISSUE. GOOD NEWS IS AFFORDABLE CARE ACT AND CHANGES ARE CAUTIONING HOSPITAL PROVIDERS TO HAVE FUNDAMENTAL CONVERSATIONS ABOUT NOT HOW WE GET MORE REVENUE, BUT HOW DO WE DELIVER EFFICIENT CARE. THAT IS THE FIRST TIME THAT HAS HAPPENED. THEY NEVER FOCUSED ON THAT.

>> AND SINGLE PAY THEY ARE APART TO ADDRESS THAT MATTER, ARP NATIONAL DO THEY HAVE SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

>> WE ARE BROADLY COMMITTED THAT ALL AMERICANS HAVE QUALITY AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE. THAT IS WHY WE SUPPORTED ACA AND WE WILL EVALUATE ANY PROPOSAL THAT COMES UP. WE HAVEN'T MADE A PRONOUNCEMENT ON THAT BUT WE LOOK AND SAY HOW DOES THIS WORK. IT'S THE OUTCOME WE ARE IN FAVOR. HOW WE GET THERE REMAINS TO BE SEEN.

>> AND PROSPECTIVE FOR SINGLE PAYER IN 2017?

>> IT'S IN TERMS OF HEALTHCARE REFORM, I'M VERY DISAPPOINTED IN THE DIRECTION, WHETHER IT ENDS UP SPECIFICALLY SINGLE PAYER, I THINK IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN. I'M COMFORTABLE WITH THAT IF THAT IS THE OUTCOME.

>> WHAT IS THE BIG BENEFIT THERE? IS IT COVERAGE FOR ALL?

>> IT'S COVERAGE FOR ALL THAT IS AFFORDABLE. IT'S CHALLENGING TO LOOK AT SMALL STATE TRYING TO LOOK AT COMPETITIVE INSURANCE MARKET. WE HAVE BLUE CROSS AND GOOD NUMBER OF FOLKS IN VERMONT ARE COVERED ON SELF INSURED PLANS, A LOT ARE COVERED THROUGH MEDICAID AND MEDICARE. WE NOT THAT FAR AWAY OF WHAT THE GOAL IS TO HAVE THE MOST EFFICIENT AND AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN THE COUNTRY. WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR WITH HOSPITAL BUDGETS, FIRST TIME IN YEARS THEY ESSENTIALLY CAME IN AND INCREASED AND DID VERY LITTLE, LARGE MEASURE DUE TO THE STEPS THE STATE IS TAKING.

>> WE ARE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BOTH OF YOU JOINING US. JIM LEVY AS WELL AS ROBERT ROMOSCOU. HAVE A GOOD SUNDAY.

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