Friday, November 18, 2016

Paul Ryan's Dream to Scuttle Medicare Is Within His Grasp.

The closest to guaranteed healthcare regardless of wealth -- and reserved only for seniors -- has rankled Republicans for decades. Now they're coming after it.

Yes, it says right on the card "IS ENTITLED TO," and that makes it
an entitlement, as in "entitled to live, regardless of how rich you are."

Paul Ryan has had the destruction of Medicare in his sights for several years now, so ignore how he'll dissemble and call it something else. He'll call it:
  • Medicare modernization
  • premium support
  • fixing Medicare
  • won't happen to people over 55 (or some such age)
  • saving Medicare from Obamacare
  • entitlement reform
But none of that is true or, if true, necessary. Let's be clear: Paul Ryan wants to turn Medicare into private insurance that the government will then support with vouchers that seniors then use to pay for said private insurance. Get that? He adds a layer of costs that add nothing to coverage. What?

We all lose, that's what. Paul Krugman explains it well:
It has been obvious for a long time that Medicare is actually more efficient than private insurance, mainly because it doesn’t spend large sums on overhead and marketing, and, of course, it needn’t make room for profits.
What’s not widely known is that the cost-saving measures included in the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, have been remarkably successful in their efforts to “bend the curve” — to rein in the long-term rise in Medicare expenses. In fact, since 2010 Medicare outlays per beneficiary have risen only 1.4 percent a year, less than the inflation rate. This success is one main reason long-term budget projections have dramatically improved.
So why try to destroy this successful program, which is in important respects doing better than ever? The main answer, from the point of view of people like Mr. Ryan, is probably that Medicare is in the cross hairs precisely because of its success: It would be very helpful for opponents of government to do away with a program that clearly demonstrates the power of government to improve people’s lives.
Josh Marshall flagged the lie at the heart of Paul Ryan's new push:
PAUL RYAN: Well, you have to remember, when Obamacare became Obamacare, Obamacare rewrote medicare, rewrote medicaid. If you are going to repeal and replace Obamacare, you have to address those issues as well. What a lot of folks don't realize is this 21-person board called the ipap is about to kick in with price controls on Medicare. What people don't realize is because of Obamacare, medicare is going broke, medicare is going to have price controls because of Obamacare, medicaid is in fiscal straits. You have to deal with those issues if you are going to repeal and replace Obamacare. Medicare has serious problems [because of] Obamacare. Those are part of our plan.
There are a couple key points to note here.
First, Ryan claims that Obamacare has put Medicare under deeper financial stress. Precisely the opposite is true. And it's so straightforward Ryan unquestionably knows this. The Affordable Care Act actually extended Medicare's solvency by more than a decade. Ryan's claim is flat out false.
Second, I've heard a few people say that it's not 100% clear here that Ryan is calling for Medicare Phase Out. It is 100% clear. Ryan has a standard, openly enunciated position in favor of Medicare Phase Out. It's on his website. It's explained explicitly right there.
Barack Obama was all there was between the Republican plan to gut Medicare and their actually doing it. Though Trump stated explicitly that "I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” during his campaign, Ryan is going whole hog on his Medicare destruction plan. What are the odds Trump will veto it? For seniors who depend on affordable healthcare for their very survival, it's a frightening prospect to see it weakened.

Remember, folks: If Republicans succeed in privatizing Medicare (and raising the eligibility age) as well as repealing or gutting Obamacare, people will have less or no insurance and people will die, and that will be measurable. When we start to see the deaths rack up, it'll be too late. Stop it now. Completely. Make Donald Trump keep his campaign promises.

Read this line:
You only deserve the healthcare you can afford.
Does that sound American? Unfortunately, maybe yes.

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