samedi 4 juin 2011

Can we please stop saying that Medicare won't change for anyone 55 and over?

The Republican meme on Medicare seems to be that the Ryan plan won't eliminate Medicare because no one CURRENTLY IN THE PROGRAM will be affected. Of course, if you are NOT currently on Medicare, then all bets are off. "But the Ryan plan keeps everyone over 55 on the current program!", you might say, or might have heard. But here's the problem: Do you honestly think that Gen-X voters are going to allow the current Medicare program to stay intact when the late-year boomers and themselves will not be able to obtain benefits? As I've written before, I have FRIENDS who are Gen-Xers who blame us for everything, and it's only a short path from "All boomers voted for Reagan" to "Why should you get something I don't" to "Why don't you all just fucking die already?"

It's only a matter of time.

The evil genius of the Ryan plan is that it gets those pesky elderly voters -- those currently in the existing program -- off their backs and hopefully away from the polls in the immediate future, under the assumption that "greedy geezers" won't care about whether their children and grandchildren are able to rely on obtaining medical care in their old age. It remains to be seen whether this is a valid assumption, but 57% of those polled in a recent Kaiser Health survey favor keeping Medicare as a guaranteed plan.

What we don't know is how that number would be affected if people understood that the "vouchers" in the Ryan plan would cover less than 1/3 of the cost of the average health insurance plan, that their value would NEVER be increased, and that the Ryan plan contains NO requirement that insurance companies from which the elderly would now be trying to buy policies "take all comers." Because the repeal of the Affordable Care Act that is also part of the Republican agenda, current safeguards against cherry-picking would disappear, meaning that the nation's elderly would now receive vouchers that don't cover anywhere near the cost of premiums, let alone care itself, to buy insurance from private for-profit companies that don't want CHILDREN with health problems, let alone the elderly.

The Ryan plan is relying on "I Got Mine And Fuck You" for support. The question is whether voters are going to take their attention away from Anthony Weiner's penis long enough to understand how Paul Ryan essentially wants the nation's citizens, once they become elderly, to do as former Rep. Alan Grayson so succinctly put the Republican health care plan, "die quickly."

And if you think you are off the hook because you are 55, remember: Gen-X is right behind us, and all to many of that cohort would be perfectly happy to have us dead NOW.

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