Saturday, February 13, 2010

Elders Beware

The other day Paul Krugman had an op-ed piece titled Republicans and Medicare in which he proved that the Republicans are the biggest hypocrites on the face of the earth.  Their latest ploy to scare people away from supporting health care reform is seizing on the fact that the bill includes cuts in Medicare.  What the bill really does is cut the waste and fraud now in Medicare.  Newt Gingrich leads the pack (no surprise there) claiming that the Democrat health care reform bill would cut $500 billion out of Medicare.  Are you trembling in your boots?  Newt would like you to think that your benefits are to be cut.  

But wait; if Republican Representative Paul Ryan has his way they will be.   Tea Baggers take note.  Especially you idiots who carried signs reading "Don't Touch My Medicare"  Read on.

Paul Krugman states:


What’s truly mind-boggling is this: Even as Republicans denounce modest proposals to rein in Medicare’s rising costs, they are, themselves, seeking to dismantle the whole program. And the process of dismantling would begin with spending cuts of about $650 billion over the next decade. Math is hard, but I do believe that’s more than the roughly $400 billion (not $500 billion) in Medicare savings projected for the Democratic health bills.
What I’m talking about here is the “Roadmap for America’s Future, the budget plan recently released by Representative Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee. Other leading Republicans have been bobbing and weaving on the official status of this proposal, but it’s pretty clear that Mr. Ryan’s vision does, in fact, represent what the G.O.P. would try to do if it returns to power. 

The broad picture that emerges from the “roadmap” is of an economic agenda that hasn’t changed one iota in response to the economic failures of the Bush years. In particular, Mr. Ryan offers a plan for Social Security privatization that is basically identical to the Bush proposals of five years ago.

But what’s really worth noting, given the way the G.O.P. has campaigned against health care reform, is what Mr. Ryan proposes doing with and to Medicare.

In the Ryan proposal, nobody currently under the age of 55 would be covered by Medicare as it now exists. Instead, people would receive vouchers and be told to buy their own insurance. And even this new, privatized version of Medicare would erode over time because the value of these vouchers would almost surely lag ever further behind the actual cost of health insurance. By the time Americans now in their 20s or 30s reached the age of eligibility, there wouldn’t be much of a Medicare program left.

But what about those who already are covered by Medicare, or will enter the program over the next decade? You’re safe, says the roadmap; you’ll still be eligible for traditional Medicare. Except, that is, for the fact that the plan “strengthens the current program with changes such as income-relating drug benefit premiums to ensure long-term sustainability.”

If this sounds like deliberately confusing gobbledygook, that’s because it is. Fortunately, the Congressional Budget Office, which has done an evaluation of the road map, offers a translation: “Some higher-income enrollees would pay higher premiums, and some program payments would be reduced.” In short, there would be Medicare cuts.

And it’s possible to back out the size of those cuts from the budget office analysis, which compares the Ryan proposal with a “baseline” representing current policy. As I’ve already said, the total over the next decade comes to about $650 billion — substantially bigger than the Medicare savings in the Democratic bills.
The bottom line, then, is that the crusade against health reform has relied, crucially, on utter hypocrisy: Republicans who hate Medicare, tried to slash Medicare in the past, and still aim to dismantle the program over time, have been scoring political points by denouncing proposals for modest cost savings — savings that are substantially smaller than the spending cuts buried in their own proposals.

And if Democrats don’t get their act together and push the almost-completed reform across the goal line, this breathtaking act of staggering hypocrisy will succeed. 

I think that Obama is cleverly trying to best the Repubs. at their own game.  His proposal to have a televised summit on the 25th of this month between the Republicans and Democrats would educate the people on several things.  First,  the lies told by the party of NO would be exposed.  Next, a thorough examination of their milk toast proposals would show they have no idea at all on how to reform health care.  And last, it would be an opportunity to tell American what is actually in the bill that would be beneficial.

I'm sure that the Republican leadership is very aware of this.  Don't hold your breath if they don't show up.  They have nothing of substance to propose to solve the health care mess.  Now their mantra is 'start over.'  Yeah right!  It took 50 years of starting over to finally get close to getting the job done.  'Start over' is a euphemism for 'kill it.'  

I have been so discouraged that I have not posted on this subject for some time. but it's nearing 'do or die' and I would hate to have the whole bill die.   I don't want the Republicans to celebrate on the grave of one of the most important bills to come before the House since the Civil Rights Act.

To read more on the Republicans proposals, please click on the link to read the NYT editorial in this morning's paper.


Rain said...

Republicans (and too many Democrats) only want to hurt the average American and why they keep being believed as being for Americans is beyond me. Not only what you are writing about, but another thing I got notice of in today's email S-3002 the McCain- Dorgan bill would regulate supplements to the point that like many places in Europe we might be unable to buy them. This is more about protecting the pharmaceutical industries than the people. It hurts seniors the most as we are more apt to be taking things like potassium supplements. So they'd demand we get them as a prescription and pay more? I don't know how far the bill would go but I know in Europe it can be difficult to even buy a Vitamin C, my husband said when he was over there on business and got a cold.

I don't know how much good it does to make our voices known on anything but here is more info on what is being proposed.

I am so discouraged.

Darlene said...

*Rain - I know it's hard to keep a positive attitude when you see the pols. just care about their re-election and not the people.

Thanks for the link. Hypocrite McCain is a fraud sponsoring a bill like that. I thought he didn't want the gvt. in our business.

20th Century Woman said...

Darlene, I am so behind with my blogging. I want to respond to your 3 latest posts. I am totally with you on the health care issue. And I am worried about Medicare. Since I am definitely old enough to remember Burma Shave signs, I will probably not live to see the Republicans completely dismantle it.

Many thanks for the lovely award. I will try to deal with responding to it, though my ability to manipulate my blog is limited. My daughter has gone back to England, so I am on my own with it.

sharon said...

Thank you Darlene, I love the clear and forthright way that you lay out the issues. I am so tired of the republican's hate-y fraidy tactics. I am still up for the hopey changey thing. I wonder if Medicare will be there for me? I'm 48, the mother of a three year old. (We still have medical bills because our insurance did not provide maternity coverage for women my age.) I know I will sell the farm if my daughter needs medical care. But I have a duty to die, if I want my husband to have a shot at marrying another mother for my daughter, I don't want him to be saddled with medical bankrupcy or debts. Last year, my husband cut his hand, quite severely, I washed it up and super glued it together, he wouldn't let me take him to the emergency room. My grandma told me all kinds of stories about people in the old days who died from massive infections from little cuts. My mother and my grandmother had no idea that we cannot afford to go to a clinic. My 97 year old grandmother goes to the doctor whenever she wants. My guess is that alot of the people on medicare have never had to make choices about medical care or food or rent or anything.

Darlene said...

*20th Century Woman - I share your pain on computer problems. If you will notice I have lost my picture, followers, blogs I follow and my badges and I can't find out how to get my old template back. Nothing causes my more fr;ustration that a computer.

*Sharon - Oh, I am so sorry that you are without health insurnace and for the trouble this is causing you. It's unconscionable. We shoud have Medicare for everyone.

Anyone my age and your grandmother's age do know what it's like to be without insurance and having to make choices. Until we were 65 we didn't have any coverage unless we were wealthy or had employer coverage. My daughter, who is your age, doesn't have health insurance and needs medication that costs $450 a month. She can't afford it so she does without.

tnlib said...

When polls show that people are unhappy with Congress and a huge percentage is happy with Obama, you can't help but think they're unhappy because of the party of No.

Hattie said...

I know a lot of people where I live who can't get doctors until they go on Medicare. And some doctors won't take Medicare patients either.
But if you want to get botoxed or have little skin cancers or moles removed, the local dermatologist will be glad to be of service to you. He will charge you $400.00 for twenty minutes of his time. Medicare is a gold mine for this gentleman.
When it's all about the money compassion goes out the window as greed takes over.

Kay Dennison said...

Paul Krugman said well and so did you. Thanks!!!!!

Looking to the Stars said...

Good post, once again! I am beginning to lose heart, Obama is trying his best and they keep trying to knock him down. I'd like to give the Republican party a swift kick! They are trying to screw us again. I don't think this is what our forefathers were thinking when they started this country.

Granny Annie said...

Oh Darlene I wish you could call us something else. All Republicans are not hypocrites or deserving of the other name calling any more than are all Democrats. I try to judge you by your goodness and not your political party. I take it personally when you lump all Republicans in the same pot. Can't you call them extreme conservatives? After all the two party system is what has worked to make America great.

Darlene said...

*Grannie Annie - I apologize for the name calling. I wasn't referring to all Republicans, just the party in Congress. You have to admit they are more interested in the party taking control again than in the people. They are being so obstructionist and that does not work for good governing.

sharon said...

Granny Annie,
I have read the 1956 republican party platform, and I can stand behind and up for that. If the republican party has room for the log cabin republicans (Gays) as well as the hatey-fraidy tea baggers, then why not the old fifty sixers. I am off to the library to get more picture books anyway, and maybe a biography of Ike for me. It is harder to fight against something than it is to fight for something else. Especially when you are fighting against lunacy and for decency and common sense. Oh well the next time I talk to my ignorant neighbor about sarah pain and anti-obamans. I will start talking about the 1956 platform. And the administration that built the interstate highway system. I can't wait for the next republican women's meeting. I started to read about the 1956 platform at the daily kos, 2-15-10, google 1956 republican platform, Dwight. D. Eisenhower. Chow for now!! Darlene, I love your blog more and more each day.

Darlene said...

*Sharon - The Republican party has changed since Dwight Eisenhower was president. It's sad to see.

Nance said...

Thank you for your comment on TGB and your pointer to Krugman's article. I'll be back often.

Darlene said...

*Nance - So nice of you to visit. Thank you for stopping by. I do hope you'll return.

Baino said...

I'm really getting sick and tired of opposition doing only that . .opposing for the sake of it. I fear for your health bill, I fear for Obama because I don't think he'll be reelected and sadly I don't think with this kind of sneaky stubborn opposition he will get the health Bill through in time. Just because you're in opposition doesn't mean you stymie good ideas that benefit everyone. Our Government and Opposition to the same. Object for the sake of objection not rule for the good of the people. Very frustrating Darlene as is the campaign of total misinformation.

Darlene said...

*Baino - The politicians don't have the public in mind. They are only interested in talking to their base so they will get re-elected. We are getting the kind of politicians we deserve, I guess. After all, we elected them. Actually, money from the greedy powerful elected them.