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Q&A: Medicare, Flight 370, Social Security

Ask the Times

Lies about Medicare

I got an email titled "Medicare at 76" that says, among other things, that at age 76 people on Medicare will not be eligible for cancer treatments. Can that be true?

It is not true. Our colleagues at PolitiFact Oregon looked into this last June and ruled it a "pants on fire" lie. Here are some excerpts from its report:

"There is no rationing, based on age or otherwise, on cancer treatment under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law in March 2010. Likewise, there is no rationing or cut-off age in 2009's H.R. 3200, which did not become law. H.R. 3200 contained a section on 'treatment of certain cancer hospitals.' But the American Nurses Association described the section as 'the opposite of rationing. The section allows Medicare to pay cancer hospitals more if they are incurring higher costs.' FactCheck.org agrees with the nurses group. And again, the bill never became law."

Further, PolitiFact Oregon contacted Texas judge David Kithil, who was quoted in the email. He said he wrote a letter to a local newspaper in 2009 protesting the initial version of the health care act. He now says he "wants readers to disregard his letter as it is outdated and based on legislation that did not become law."

Flight 370's cargo

Has the cargo manifest been disclosed for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370?

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 went missing March 8, but the cargo manifest was just released Thursday, when the Malyasian Transportation Ministry issued a 5-page report.

The most interesting disclosure was confirmation that the flight carried 440 pounds of lithium-ion batteries, which are highly flammable and have been cited as a source of problems in more than 100 flights since 1991, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Otherwise, the plane carried about 4 tons of mangosteen, a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia, luggage and other routine items.

Why SSA checks credit

I recently pulled my credit report and noticed that the Social Security Administration was one of the entities that requested my credit report. Why would the SSA request my credit information?

The Social Security Administration uses Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, to help verify identities when people create accounts on socialsecurity.gov. "We will not share your Social Security number with Experian. Experian will only keep the information we share for the period of time required for federal laws, regulations, or guidelines," the SSA states on its website. It states that the request is known as a "soft inquiry," which does not affect your credit score, "incur any charges related to them" and is hidden from lenders. Experian "will generally" remove the soft inquiry from your credit report after 25 months.

Q&A: Medicare, Flight 370, Social Security 05/02/14 [Last modified: Friday, May 2, 2014 12:09pm]
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