Friday, 31 August 2012
Medicare and the Republican Ticket
I've only glanced at this week's Republican convention coverage on the teevee because I can no longer bear either the faces or voices of the Ryan/Romney ticket, especially those two standard bearers, but many of their surrogates also.
So I read the news and transcripts after the fact of their speeches. It keeps me from feeling sick for the future of the United States and its people if the Republicans win the White House and Congress.
This is being written on Thursday so I do not know what Mitt Romney said yesterday evening. But that doesn't matter because he has bought into Paul Ryan's extremist future for Medicare. As Kaiser Health News notes:
”Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has embraced the broad outlines of Ryan’s proposal. Like Ryan, he would replace Medicare’s current defined-benefit coverage of all medical costs incurred by a beneficiary with a defined contribution toward premiums [vouchers] for private health insurance or traditional, government-run, Medicare.”
Medicare was the centerpiece of Ryan's speech on Wednesday evening although he hid the true nature of the changes he would make. Get a load of this claptrap:
"In Congress, when they take out the heavy books and wall charts about Medicare, my thoughts go back to a house on Garfield Street in Janesville,” said Ryan on that Tampa stage. “My wonderful grandma, Janet, had Alzheimer’s and moved in with Mom and me. Though she felt lost at times, we did all the little things that made her feel loved.
“We had help from Medicare, and it was there, just like it’s there for my Mom today. Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my Mom’s generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours.”
Don't you like all those warm-and-fuzzies about his mother and grandmother? And that stuff about “honor” and “promise” and how he and Romney will “protect and strengthen Medicare.”
DO NOT BELIEVE A WORD OF IT. It is vital to the Ryan/Romney ticket to lull old people into believing the candidates are on their side because it is the only age group that polls higher for the Republicans than the Democrats. (It is forever to my deep chagrin the stupidity of the majority of old people who vote against their own best interests.)
What Ryan's Medicare plan really does is “protect and strengthen” private insurance companies. But it will impoverish many old people and add many others to the rolls of American citizens who cannot afford health coverage at all.
You probably know by now that Ryan's plan involves giving elders a voucher, a coupon if you will, to shop for private coverage. Here is how Kaiser Health explains the plan [emphasis added]:
”The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that Ryan’s proposal from 2011 would require a typical 65-year-old person to pay thousands of dollars more for Medicare by 2030 than would be the case under its current structure.
“However, his latest plan, included in the fiscal 2013 House budget resolution, is missing key details, so the CBO has said it is unable to assess its impact on beneficiaries.
“Although Ryan would give future seniors the option of remaining in the traditional, government-run Medicare program, it would have to compete with private plans.
“Critics predict that traditional Medicare could become unaffordable if it attracts the sickest people while private plans lure the healthiest. They also say that beneficiaries might have trouble finding physicians if they abandon the program because their rates are cut.”
Nearly every time they speak, both Romney and Ryan attack Obamacare and vow to repeal it if they are elected - “on day one” according to Romney.
What they do not tell you is the moment a repeal is signed into law, Medicare recipients will lose the screenings and tests for a variety of conditions and illnesses that now come with Medicare and the doughnut hole, now being gradually closed a little more each year and saving elders thousands of dollars for prescription drugs, will immediately re-open to its full, original size.
Those are the ways Ryan/Romney intend to “honor the promise” of Medicare and in the deeply untruthful and hypocritical nature of the Republican campaign this year, Ryan accused President of Obama of being the one to destroy Medicare:
”An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn’t even ask for,” he told the party faithful on Wednesday. “The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we’re going to stop it."
It is a lie that the Affordable Care Act steals money from Medicare but as this now-infamous tweet shows, that does not matter to Ryan/Romney:
There were so many lies in Ryan's speech Wednesday evening that even Fox News called him out. Believe that there will be even more in the weeks leading up to election day. But the ones they are promulgating to keep old people on their side are about Medicare and Medicaid.
It is going to take a lot of money, persuasion and television ads from the Obama/Biden campaign to counter the Republican surge to maintain and expand their hold on elder voters, now at about 53 percent.
We who blog can help by repeatedly posting the truth and all of us can help by doing what we can to help friends and neighbors understand that a vote for Ryan/Romney is a vote to end Medicare - their children will never see it.
The Kaiser Health News FAQ I quoted above is a good starting place for clear, simple explanations of the Democratic and Republican Medicare positions and their probable results.
With apologies to Mike Lukovich; it is too good not to bend the rules today:
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Nancy Leitz: Gussie Water