Tuesday, April 05, 2011

"Fix" Medicare? Nah, Ryan just wants it abolished.

Medical costs are climbing sustainably. No question. But America pays more than twice as much per person for health care as any other industrial nation while NOT getting as good results for what is bought as those other nations get! So what is the Republican solution as presented today by Rep. Ryan? Abolish Medicare.

Here's an excellent description of what was offered written by Josh Marshall,.
What the Republicans are proposing are not cuts. Some level of cuts and/or cost containment in Medicare are necessary because medical inflation is growing so quickly. But these aren't cuts. They're using a temporary budget crisis and the need to slow the rate of Medicare costs over long run simply to abolish the program. That's a bait and switch. It's the medical side equivalent of the "private accounts" bamboozle that President Bush used in 2005 to try to phase out Social Security.

Medicare is a federally-backed health insurance program for seniors. Why seniors? Because seniors as a group are just too sick for the private health care insurance sector to adequately provide coverage for. To rein in costs you can reduce benefits that the program provides or place more cost containment measures in place. Real pain is involved in both. But that's a legitimate area for debate. Medicare is a long term budget problem, unlike Social Security which isn't.

Or you can decide just to abolish the program altogether. Just eliminate Medicare in its entirety. This is what Rep. Ryan (R-WI) calls "fixing" Medicare, i.e., getting rid of it. Getting rid of it means abolishing the program and pushing seniors back into the private health insurance system and providing a subsidy to help pay the costs of your average 75 year old's health care. If costs go up? Well, start saving now.
This piece of Republican bamboozlement is going to get a lot of media blather in the next few weeks - even as the tea baggers shut down the federal government. But what it should get is total rejection. There is simply nothing here except a conservative primal scream shouting "We hate government except for Wars!! Government exists to Kill - kill - Kill and nothing else!!"

What no one today remembers is that when Medicare was passed in 1965 there was no insurance for anyone after age 65. If you had insurance and turned age 65 that health insurance was cancelled and there was no company in the market which would sell you a policy. People over age 65 were simply uninsurable.

This is the nature of the market that Paul Ryan wants to throw medicare beneficiaries back into.

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