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May 25, 2012     Post-Gazette
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May 25, 2012
 

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!!= : i .i  i  :  i  + ! i I L) !: ! THE ITAL-RICI VOICE OF MASSACHUSETTS __j (Formerly LA GAZZETTA del MASSACHUSETTS) VOL. 116 - NO. 21 BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, MAY 25, 2012 $.30 A COPY A day of prayer and remembrance for those who died so that we may live in peace. Living in a Post-IPAB World by Peter Pitts The second anniversary of President Obama's Afford- able Care Act (ACA) just passed. And two years after its enactment, the debate over healthcare reform is every bit as contentious. The recently released fore- cast from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offers fodder to both sides. On one hand, the law may cost $50 billion less over the next ten years than pro- jected in January but the national budget deficit is now projected to be $93 billion higher. Medicare and Med- icaid expenditures are pro- jected to more than double over the next decade, despite four million fewer Ameri- cans getting health insur- ance. For anyone in favor of im- proving our healthcare sys- tem, these numbers make clear just how desperately our country's entitlement programs need real reform. Unfortunately. the Presi- dent's chosen cost-cutting strategy for Medicare -- the establishment of the Inde- pendent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), an all-powerful panel of budget enforcers -- is one of the most harmful aspects of ACA. Lawmakers must cast this flawed ap- proach to reform aside and focus instead on innovative initiatives that address the program's real cost-drivers while protecting seniors access to care. IPAB is a board of 15 presidential appointees. Un- elected and unaccountable, these bureaucrats are tasked with drawing up budget cuts if Medicare expenditures exceed preset targets. Those targets will almost certainly be surpassed. Med- icare spending is expected to be $575.7 billion this year, jumping to over $i trillion by 2022, as the country ages. Over the next 75 years, the --.pt+ogram is projecte'l to accu- mulate a $38 trillion budget shortfall. Much of this enormous price tag goes towards fi- nancing Medicare Parts A and B. And yet, IPAB has no authority over either. In fact, the board can't make any substantive structural changes. Neither the fee- for-service structure nor enrollee premiums and fees can be altered. The board's only viable option is to further ratchet down reimbursement rates for Medicare providers, espe- cially doctors, who are already losing money on Medicare patients. Indeed, the financial burden of too- low payments under Medi- care has driven 17 percent of doctors and 31 percent of primary care physicians across the country out of the Medicare program alto- gether, according to a study from the American Medical Association. (Continued on Page 4) by Sal Giaratani Beth Childs Running for Congress in 4 th District This fall there will be an open seat for the new 4 th Congressional District that is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank who finally is retiring from elective office. The 4 th district has been one of the most liberal districts in the Bay State. However, the new redesigned district picks up much of southeast Massachusetts, Wrentham, Plainville, North Attleboro and Attleboro. This is a more conservative area and is a far cry from Brookline and Newton up in the most northern part of this House district. This area for many years was represented by former Speaker Joe Martin, (R-North Attleboro). Republican Sean Bielat is running for the House seat again and this time he will have a Republi- can primary opponent in Beth Childs from Brookline. Currently she serves on the Brookline School Committee and is a town meeting mem- ber. I've known her for over 25 years both as a young psychiatric intern during her residency at Mass. Mental Health Center in Boston and later during her tenure as the Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health. She is smart, down to earth and has a good sense of humor. I always remember her back in the day as a psychiatrist in training driving her grandfather's old Chevy Impala that was the size of a small yacht. The Democrats have crowned young Joe Kennedy 3.0 as their candidate in November. He had to move into the district to be a credible can- (Continued on Page 14) iiiiiiii+ ' ii!!iiiiiiii :iiiiiiiiii:ii +iiiiii!iiiiiiiiiiiii+i iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii +i+iiiiiiiiiiiii!!ii! i+iiiiiiiiiiiiii!iii :::iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii: iiii!iiiiiiiii:iiiii!iii++:iii+iiiiii!i!iiiiiiiiiiiiii [ Armenian Heritage Park Newest Addition to the Rose Kennedy Greenway (Photo by Rosario Scabin, Ross Photography) Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined hundreds of attendees from the Armenian community and surrounding neighborhoods at the dedication of Armenian Heritage Park -- the newest addition to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The park boasts a reflecting pool, a sculpture to honor the immigration experience, and a labyrinth of grass and inlaid stone. Armenian Heritage Park is a gift from Massachusetts' Arme- nian American community to the citizens of the Commonwealth and the City of Bos- ton and is meant for citizens of all ages to enjoy year-round. "This is a proud symbol of resilience for our Armenian community and our Com- monwealth," said Governor Patrick. "It is a (Continued on Page 15) THE POST-GAZETrE SATELLITE OFFICE IS NOW OPEN AT 35 BENNINGTON STREET, EAST BOSTON This office is open on Tuesdays from 10:00 AM to 3.-00 PM and Thursdays from 11.'00 AM to 2.'00 PM, for the convenience of our East Boston and North Shore clients and contributors Call 617-227-8929 for more information