Medicare reform

Will Romney-Ryan "Preserve" and "Strengthen" Medicare? And if They Do, Will They Cut Any Spending Ever?

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Here's Paul Ryan talking at the Republican National Convention:

Medicare is a promise, and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan administration will protect and strengthen Medicare, for my Mom's generation, for my generation, and for my kids and yours.

Over at National Review's The Corner, Mercatus Center economist and Reason columnist Veronique de Rugy writes

My fear is that by making the $700 billion "cuts" from Medicare the centerpiece of their attack on Obama's health-care law, Republicans are implicitly putting Medicare out of the reach of reformers after the elections. In fact, it is hard to reconcile the words Ryan used during his speech with the Medicare-reform plans he has pushed for in the last three years….

"Protect" and "strengthen" Medicare could easily be interpreted as meaning that Republicans aren't running on the Ryan plan to reform the program and instead have promised to preserve the program in its current form and even beef it up for all seniors,today and tomorrow. This is reinforced by the fact that the speech made no mention of how Ryan would like to reform the program through premium support.

We know that the GOP will not dismantle Medicare, don't we? For starters, it's far from clear that Ryan's voucher plan would ultimately make Medicare fiscally solvent—and that's leaving aside the fact that if it goes according to his schedule, the vouchers won't kick in for another decade, during which the program will swell with the ranks of baby boomers.

Arguably more important, the Republicans are pushing to be seen as "the party of Medicare," a mantle they laid claim to with the indefensible passage of Medicare Part D, which gave reduced-price prescription drugs to seniors regardless of need (when it passed, seniors paid a whopping 3.2 percent of their annual income on prescription drugs). The days when characters such as Ronald Reagan railed against Medicare as "socialized medicine" (as he did in the early '60s) are long gone.

In his acceptance speech at last night's Republican National Convention, Mitt Romney made it clear that he wanted to increase defense spending, and that he would create a world "where no senior fears for the security of their retirement." Assuming that covers Medicare and Social Security, that's pretty much it when it comes to cutting the budget. Game, set, match. Pre-order Rosetta Stone's Greek program.

The seniors who benefit from Medicare love the program. Why shouldn't they, since they pay for only a portion of essentially unlimited coverage? But the program is a mess—all beneficiaries get far more out of it than they put in. As the single-largest factor in the future bankrupting of the government, Medicare doesn't need to preserved or protected, it needs to be scrapped and replaced with a much-smaller and targeted plan that helps only those who cannot pay for their own health care.

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  1. Win one for the Geezer!

  2. I just figured out who Paul Ryan reminds me of.

    1. Eddie Munster?

      1. Newp.

        Michael Scott, erstwhile boss of Dunder Mifflin Scranton.

        1. Aren’t republicans all supposed to be Dwights?

  3. they might want to get a photo of the two guys actually standing together, instead of a bad Photoshop. It looks like Ryan’s severed head is being hung next to Romney as a prize of some sort.

    1. They had to photoshop it since they totally didn’t know until the delegate voting this week who the candidates would be.

    2. Also it kinda looks like they made that image on Blingee.

  4. It’s a bit naive to wring hands about what Republicans are saying before the election. It matters much more whether they capture the Senate and hold the House. Perhaps then we’ll see the winners break their promises in favor of less government, rather than more.

    Cross-generational programs like Medicare are moral only when a voting majority reauthorizes them yearly. This is equally the case with any so-called entitlement.

    http://whatdirectdemocracymigh…..democracy/

    1. “Cross-generational programs like Medicare are moral only when a voting majority reauthorizes them yearly.”

      Are you nuts? Do you really think it’s a good idea to have this issue perpetually at the forefront? It’s all that we will ever hear about as it will be politicized to death.

    2. Yeah, it’s a great idea for people to vote themselves MOAR STUFFZ!

      That will end well….

  5. “As the single-largest factor in the future bankrupting of the government, Medicare doesn’t need to preserved or protected, it needs to be scrapped and replaced with a much-smaller and targeted plan that helps only those who cannot pay for their own health care.”

    There is no candidate in a major party, including the Libertarian Party, taking this position on Medicare. They all say the same thing about protecting Medicare.

    1. So we’ll be kicking that can down the road until it falls off a cliff, then jumping after it. Got it.

  6. I think that should the Romnibot win POTUS he won’t cut any spending. Especially since the purse strings lie with Congress and those scumbags just use the budget to justify re-election to their “constituents”.

  7. The days when characters such as Ronald Reagan railed against Medicare as “socialized medicine” (as he did in the early ’60s) are long gone.

    And one by one, sooner or later, according to their native strength and to the good or evil of their wills in the beginning, they fell under the thraldom of the ring that they bore and of the domination of the One which was Sauron’s.

    Once they feel the power, it becomes painful to release themselves from it.

  8. Fearing for the security of your retirement is a good thing, as it tends to promote saving money and being financially prudent. Why on Earth we want to tell everyone, “fear not, no matter how irresponsible you are, the government is here to bail you out” is completely beyond me.

    1. How we got to the point of the government being the insurer of last resort for everything bad under the sun baffles me completely.

  9. I just keep thinking everyone’s taking the ‘preserve’ part of this thing way too literally and not understanding what ‘strengthen’ entails.

  10. At this point, the only thing we can ever get is a cut in the rate of growth of the government.

    Hell, the Democrats scream when that happens.

  11. John Williams of ‘Shadow Stats’ is now predicting the dollar run to begin quite possibly in 2013 and assuredly by 2014. If you follow him, you know he has been right on the money since 2006.

  12. The picture of Medicare’s future is not a pretty one, and doing nothing about it won’t improve the situation. America can’t afford the status quo, and it’s time for leaders in Washington to do more than talk a good game, but to actually enact reforms that make sure Medicare’s promise can be kept for those who need it most.

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