Medicare

Democrats Also Happy to Demagogue Medicare

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Yet another reason why Republicans were foolish to oppose the health care overhaul on the grounds that it cut Medicare: Democrats were sure to use the same line against them in future health care skirmishes. And whaddayaknow, Senate Democrats have sent a letter to incoming GOP House Speaker John Boehner warning that repealing last year's health care bill would mean losing the law's expansion of the Medicare drug benefit:

The new law provides that seniors will receive a 50-percent discount on the brand name drugs that they purchase while stuck in the "donut hole" and thus will save them thousands of dollars starting in 2011. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, seniors who have high prescription drug spending will save as much as $12,300 over the next 10 years and seniors with low drug costs will save an average of $2,400 over 10 years.

This is no minor reform. But almost as soon as it has taken effect, it is already in jeopardy….Taking this benefit away from seniors would be irresponsible and reckless at a time when it is becoming harder and harder for seniors to afford a healthy retirement.

With letters like this, the GOP is getting a taste of its own medicine. Throughout the health care debate, high-profile Republicans argued repeatedly that the PPACA was a bad idea because it included hundreds of billions in cuts to Medicare. Since then, top Republicans like John Boehner have refused to give specifics about entitlement reform. This was an effective line of attack with many voters, but it also backed the party into a tight policy corner. The GOP's recent line on Medicare just isn't terribly compatible with serious health policy reform: If Medicare benefits must be protected at all costs, then it becomes very difficult to fix the part of the health care system most in need of a fix. And, as this letter demonstrates, defending Medicare when convenient makes the GOP vulnerable to similar Medicare-centric attacks whenever the party attempts to repeal or reform a health system change that includes additional Medicare benefits.

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46 responses to “Democrats Also Happy to Demagogue Medicare

  1. And, as this letter demonstrates, defending Medicare when convenient makes the GOP vulnerable to similar Medicare-centric attacks

    True, but not defending Medicare, um, also makes the GOP vulnerable to Medicare-centric attacks. Suppose that the GOP had not attacked the Medicare cuts. The Democrats would *still* attacking repealing Obamacare as cutting Medicare because of this doughnut hole provision repeal.

    Indeed, that line of attack would seem *more* plausible, not less, because Republicans would not have muddied the water by saying that repealing Obamacare would, on balance, preserve Medicare.

    Obamacare on net either cuts or does not cut Medicare. In truth, the extra spending comes earlier, the cuts are later and hypothetical. Given a choice, I’d rather have the GOP attack the hypothetical cuts eight years in the future while repealing the near-term extra spending, since I don’t think that the future cuts will actually happen in any case, not until absolutely forced.

  2. Republicans need to learn the One Big Lesson: You are going to be pilloried as flint-hearted ogres regardless, so you might as well make the cuts anyway and do the right thing.

    1. Aye.

  3. “…incoming GOP House Speaker John Boehner warning that repealing last year’s health care bill would mean losing the law’s expansion of the Medicare drug benefit:…”

    If only we could get rid of the Medicare drug benefit! I’ve seen the price of some medications double since the introduction of that benefit.

    …but that was John Boehner’s Bush Era drug benefit, wasn’t it? If I remember correctly, it was John Boehner who fought to expand Medicare beyond anything it had been up to that point. That was John Boehner’s (and the Bush Administration’s) drug benefit.

    He voted for TARP too! Did I mention that John Boehner voted for TARP?

    It was stuff like this that voting the Tea Party into Congress was supposed to address–but the real problem won’t go away until John Boehner and like-minded fake conservatives are gone!

    …and John Boehner is a fake conservative.

    1. the house vote on Part D was epic. lots of otherwise conservative members went against their instincts and expanded Medicare on the grounds that it “modernized” the program, because treatment had changed so much since the 1960s in that it now consists much more of prescription drugs.

      the less dim members just figured they couldn’t lose passing a big handout to seniors. maybe it’s biting them in the ass now.

      1. holy shit. that post is a grammar teacher’s nightmare.

  4. repealing last year’s health care bill would mean losing the law’s expansion of the Medicare drug benefit

    Who cares? No one’s riding Bush’s coattails anymore. Unless they want to ride them on the way out of Washington.

    1. Again, that’s John Boehner’s Medicare expansion.

      Yeah, it was the Bush Administration too, but if memory serves, John Boehner was the face of the Bush Administration and that bill in the House.

      Don’t expect John Boehner to give up his Medicare expansion–that he’s so proud of! Seriously, all you Tea Party people, if it hasn’t sunk in yet? This is what being co-opted looks like.

      …when the guy who’s leading the charge against ObamaCare is doing it in the name of preserving his own personal Medicare expansion? …and he’s using the momentum created by the Tea Party to do it?

      That’s when you know you’ve been co-opted.

      1. And somehow we thought the politics of raping would be far more pleasurable when perpetrated by Team Red. 🙁

      2. Again, that’s John Boehner’s Medicare expansion.

        Actually, again, it’s last year’s ObamaCare bill expansion of the previous expansion.

        In other words, the larger, more expensive Medicare Part D that the Bush Administration warned that we’d be getting anyway if they didn’t go ahead and pass the more moderate version.

        However, in the counterfactual, had they not passed that bill, then the Democrats would have won at least as large a majority and still passed the same sort of prescription drug benefit.

        The polling guaranteed that the result would arise. Libertarian bitching is unfortunately as useless as squishy going along. No matter what tactic was chosen, our democracy would have ended up in the same point.

        1. I’d like to point out for posterity that George W. Bush was a Southern Democrat in the tradition of Lyndon Johnson–in all but name. Had it not been for Reagan bringing the South into his grand coalition, “Republicans” like Bush the Lesser and Boehner would still be Democrats today–so should we blame Reagan for ObamaCare too?!

          Just because our bitching didn’t win that battle, doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily lose every battle, much less the war. In fact, it’s the tolerance conservatives show to fake conservatives like Boehner is (and Bush was) that gave the left both of those victories.

          …and libertarian bitching is part of the solution to that. We’re the conservative’s conscience. The Tea Party may not have been entirely libertarian, but it had libertarian impulses at its core. So, I would say we haven’t lost every battle–and there’s still hope.

          IF we can get people like John to criticize the Republican leadership–even if they are better than the progressives and the Democrats–then there’s still hope.

          I’ll grant you that’s a big “IF”.

  5. So Pete is gonna be the buttboy of Pelosi’s propaganda machine. Got it.

    1. Nah…Suderman is just trolling for a job at the Atlantic magazine … apparently they pay better then Reason does.

  6. seniors who have high prescription drug spending will save as much as $12,300 over the next 10 years

    This (believe it or not) pisses me off. This vogue of projecting numbers into the future to inflate them is completely bogus; particularly in the case of a “Senior” who may very well croak without ever seeing the “savings”.

    How much is it per day? More than a cup of coffee, or a Big Mac?

    1. The fortune of $3.37 per day.

    2. Actually, in this estimate, they are adjusting for expected high levels of inflation. In real dollars, the savings will amount to $0.05. Over ten years.

      1. Now my sister can have that operation!!

        1. That shouldn’t be a problem, as virtually all doctors will be operating on the black market by 2014.

          1. As someone who lived through Brazil’s “Cruzado Plan” in the 1980s, I know exactly what to expect. I even have a vocabulary all ready for it.

    3. Not to mention that slippery “as much as” — which, like its “up to” cousin, really means “less than” — lurking in the midst of the sentence.

    4. It’s less than the price of a cup of coffee a day!

      Of course, if we just cut off my fat, we could feed all the hungry children in perpetuity.

  7. OMFG people! This program will be so fucking expensive, your granny will have to forego eating at Red Lobster once a week!

    Oh, ignominy! The Nation is kaput.

  8. Who will politicians pander to when the baby boomers are all dead?

    Seriously.

    1. Innumerate dumbasses, same as now.

    2. Seriously, we Boomers have been a blight on this nation.

      1. I just read something that said that in polls taken during the tail end of the Vietnam War, the older citizens opposed the war by a much, much larger percentage than younger citizens. So that whole Baby Boomer vision of them being the force behind our exit from Vietnam is wrong. Just like the claim that they had anything whatsoever to do with the victories of the Civil Rights movement.

      2. Wait until you see the damage we leave in your wake. We patented stupid, then threw in a lack of worth ethic and common sense for good measure.

        1. By the time Gen X is in charge, we’ll be standing in the ashes fighting over rubble. Those Gen Y bastards will have to rebuild.

          1. I’m moving to Hong Kong

          2. This. There isn’t going to be any more money for the Gen-X’ers to be stupid with…we’ve made damn sure of that.

    3. Dead? Baby boomers are immortal, didn’t you know?

  9. “And whaddayaknow, Senate Democrats have sent a letter to incoming GOP House Speaker John Boehner warning that repealing last year’s health care bill would mean losing the law’s expansion of the Medicare drug benefit:”

    Would be some of the same Democrats who lambasted the GOP for creating another entitlement that “wasn’t paid for” – as if of the entitlements they’ve created have ever been “paid for”.

  10. So had the Republicans played nice and never mentioned medicare, does Suderman actually expect us to believe that the Democrats wouldn’t be saying the exact same thing today? Give me a break. The Democrats were going to demagogue on medicare no matter what.

    I understand that Suderman doesn’t like it that Republicans do it to. And he is right to criticize them for it. But he needs to stop insulting people’s intelligence by claiming that Democratic demagoguery is in any way the result of or related to Republican demagoguery.

    1. You mean the party that produced a cartoon showing W pushing an old lady in a wheelchair down a flight of stairs would be disingenous? N’ah, it can’t be. They’re fountains of integrity!

  11. So had the Republicans played nice and never mentioned medicare, does Suderman actually expect us to believe that the Democrats wouldn’t be saying the exact same thing today? Give me a break. The Democrats were going to demagogue on medicare no matter what.

    I understand that Suderman doesn’t like it that Republicans do it to. And he is right to criticize them for it. But he needs to stop insulting people’s intelligence by claiming that Democratic demagoguery is in any way the result of or related to Republican demagoguery.

    1. “But he needs to stop insulting people’s intelligence by claiming that Democratic demagoguery is in any way the result of or related to Republican demagoguery.”

      I think you’re missing the big picture here. It isn’t about blaming one on the other; it’s that their both bad. It isn’t that Democrat/Progressive demagoguery is better than Republican demagoguery; it’s that it’s just as bad coming from the Republicans.

      You know the reason John Boehner is getting away with screwing conservatives over? It’s because he thinks he can count on the support of Republicans like you–no matter how he treats you.

      The reason John Boehner is screwing us over is because he thinks you’ll support him just because you despise the Democrats and the Progressives. That’s why he screwed us over when he expanded Medicare–he was counting on you and your support.

      It’s the support of loyal Republicans that always screws us over–not the Democrats. …not the yuppies or teh gay lobby. Loyal Republicans who will support Boehner and his ilk no matter how hard they screw us over–you tell us how to solve that problem, and we can change the world.

      1. There’s got to be room for some loyalty. No individual agrees with their party on EVERYTHING. Outside of Cuba, China and North Korea that is where the workers ARE the power.

        And there’s also the ‘other guys’. Folks don’t support a party in a vacuum. If Boehner’s only 99.9% as bad as Pelosi I’m with Boehner. Because that’s what the choices are. There are no wild card games with 7-9 teams in politics (and really that’s about where tea party ideas stand).

        1. “Because that’s what the choices are. There are no wild card games with 7-9 teams in politics (and really that’s about where tea party ideas stand).”

          Which is why politics is such a crummy way to go about solving problems!

          Anyway, why not let the politicians worry about political realities? …if the reality is that John Boehner thinks he can sell us all short, and we’ll still support him? Then that’s the reality in which political decisions will be made.

          If, on the other hand, Boehner thinks he can’t do something without losing the support of people like John? Then we’re looking at a completely different reality.

          If John Boehner sells us short again–just like he did with Medicare expansion and the bailouts last time? You know what? We shouldn’t even blame John Boehner for that!

          We should blame the people who were loyal to Boehner and his party no matter what…

          It really is their fault.

  12. Captain Kirk: Harry lied to you, Norman. Everything Harry says is a lie. Remember that, Norman. *Everything* he says is a lie.
    Harcourt Fenton Mudd: Now I want you to listen to me very carefully, Norman. I’m… lying.
    Norman: You say you are lying, but if everything you say is a lie, then you are telling the truth, but you cannot tell the truth because you always lie… illogical! Illogical! Please explain! You are human; only humans can explain! Illogical!

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708432/quotes

    1. That episode was so unbelievable. No way Kirk voluntarily leaves a world full of robot slave girls.

  13. virtually all doctors will be operating on the black market by 2014.

    With coat hangers, box cutters, and duct tape. See, the cost curve, she is bent!

    1. Just like the coat hanger!

      1. Can I borrow that when you’re done with it? My mother took back her knitting needles…

    2. Only the fancy ones. You can make a coat hanger and box cutter from duct tape.

  14. I forget which congressfuck (R – Team Redville) was on the TEEVEE yesterday shilling for Teh Medicare, and Repealing Teh Obamacare, but Keeping the Good Parts…I almost shot my dinner through my nose.

    Fuckers. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck all Teams. Fuck ’em.

    Except Team Me.

    1. I dunno, I’m not partial to Team Almanian, either. You’ll descend into power-mad demagoguery soon enough.

      Team T, though, is a winner, unlike my actual sports team. That’s because I really don’t like people and want them to leave me alone.

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