While the American president and the Senate majority leader are trying (and so far, failing) to make sure only the rich in the United States can afford health care, GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan is proposing to take out Medicare.
He released a 2018 budget plan last week that would make it possible to overhaul the tax code (read: cut taxes for the rich) and he wants to do it on the backs of elders and the poor.
The plan promises to balance the budget through unprecedented and politically unworkable cuts across the budget. It calls for turning this year's projected $700 billion-or-so deficit into a tiny $9 billion surplus by 2027,” reports the AP.
“It would do so by slashing $5.4 trillion over the coming decade, including almost $500 billion from Medicare and $1.5 trillion from Medicaid and the Obama health law, along with sweeping cuts to benefits such as federal employee pensions, food stamps and tax credits for the working poor.”
Ryan's plan would privatize Medicare, as noted on the website of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM):
”Undermining Medicare has been a long-held dream of fiscal conservatives. Their 'premium support' proposal is a thinly veiled scheme to allow traditional Medicare to 'wither on the vine,' as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich once put it.
“Privatization is being sold as 'improving customer choice,' but based on the way current Medicare Advantage plans work, private insurance will continue to offer fewer choices of doctors than traditional Medicare does. If traditional Medicare is allowed to shrink and collapse, true choice will disappear, too.
“'Weakening Medicare is a politically perilous path for Republicans,' says [NCPSSM President Max] Richtman. 'Recent polling indicates that large majorities of Americans across party lines prefer that Medicare be kept the way it is...'”
As Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California noted in the AP story:
"Republicans would destroy the Medicare guarantee for our seniors and inflict bone-deep cuts to Medicaid that would devastate veterans, seniors with long-term care needs, and rural communities.'”
I know a little more about this lately than I used to. The Medicare Parts A and B summaries for the biopsy and subsequent surgery I recently experienced are beginning to come in.
The mailings haven't caught up to the expensive part yet but it's already apparent that without traditional Medicare as it currently operates, I would not have been able to afford any of these medical needs and that gives me chills for all of us.
It may seem that Washington, D.C. is taken up these days with Russians and collusion and a president's threats to fire nearly everyone he's hired and pardon himself from wrongdoing but the budget bill must come up. So it wouldn't hurt to let your Congress person know how you feel.
Meanwhile, here is an excerpt from the best story I've read on Ryan's 2018 budget plan by John Wasik at Forbes:
”What House Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP congressional leaders are proposing is to tear down and remold basic Medicare into the troubled Medicare Advantage program, which would be like throwing kerosene on a house fire.
“There's even more of a muddle on how the GOP would calculate how much to give seniors for their yearly stipend to cover private premiums. What if policy costs go up double digits and the stipend doesn't keep pace with the private market?...
”I think there's a reason why there's a billboard in Kenosha, Wisconsin - in the heart of Ryan's Congressional District - that shows Ryan in a robber's mask. There's an attempted theft in progress, but older Americans and the disabled will be the victims.”
During the 2016 campaign, candidate Trump repeatedly promised not to cut Social Security and Medicare. If, somehow, Ryan's 2018 budget gets through Congress, don't count on President Trump to veto it. So far, he has reneged on every campaign promise he made.