Romney’s Dance Around Ryan’s Medicare Plan

Medicare has entered the election campaign is not likely to leave the political arena UNLESS Republicans find a way to sideline the issue.  If Republicans accomplish this by replacing Medicare talk with debate over  the difference between “legitimate rape” and fake rape — they are legitimately and inevitably going to be skewered until November mercifully brings the 2012 election to a close.

Romney wanted Ryan as VP, but not Ryan, the author of the Republican Congressional budget and author of changing Medicare from entitlement program to a premium support program. I am still puzzled as to how Romney could think that this was possible.

Romney’s so-called  guarantee of Medicare to seniors (those who are currently Medicare eligible) pointedly rejected the Medicare cost reductions build into the President’s Affordable Care Act.  This sort of political gimmick makes sane people want to flee politics.  The President’s reduction or “cuts” to Medicare are not reductions in benefits.  Claiming that President Obama plans to decimate Medicare is a political strategy, time honored, that fear is the lifeblood of politics.

The money Romney wants to “restore” to Medicare is actually absent in the Ryan budget. In other words, the Affordable Care Act and the Ryan plan are in agreement on the $716 billion in Medicare savings. The savings are reductions in reimbursements to insurers and hospitals that were built into ACA as part of the negotiation with providers and  companies that will reap financial gains from the reduction in of uninsured.

Romney’s plan for Medicare is short-term would:

  1. Move up the date of Medicare insolvency to 2016 from 2022.
  2. Violate Romney’s promise that benefits will not change for persons within 10 years of receiving benefits.

In fact, out of pocket expenses will increase immediately.

Marilyn Moon, vice president and director of the health program at the American Institutes for Research, calculated that restoring the $716 billion in Medicare savings would increase premiums and co-payments for beneficiaries by $342 a year on average over the next decade; in 2022, the average increase would be $577.

It is hard to dispute that this issue has the potential to work in 2012 as it did in 2010.  Fortunately for us these lies cannot cover up the transformation of Medicare from guarantee of care to a voucher to assist with paying for health care insurance.  I know which program I prefer.  When I am no longer able to work, I don’t want to borrow money for health care I can no longer afford on my own.

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