Elderly man with cane
He's out of luck with Romney and Ryan.
The cynicism in the Romney/Ryan campaign in thinking American senior citizens are so selfish that putting off the destruction of Medicare for a few years will keep current seniors voting Republican is monumental. But here's what they're not telling those seniors: They might not be affected by the Medicare cuts, but they'll be left high and dry if they ever end up needing Medicaid. And most seniors do, because Medicaid is what pays for long-term care for millions of older Americans.
Many middle-income Americans who may be unfamiliar with Medicaid end up relying on the program in their old age because they exhaust their assets. Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care so they turn to Medicaid, which does.

“Most of us could end up in Medicaid whether we imagine ourselves that way or not,” Rother said.

Two-thirds of nursing home patients are covered by Medicaid, some six million Americans. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan both have plans that will slash that coverage. Romney has largely avoided providing specifics for what he'd cut, but his balanced budget proposal, including his tax cuts for the wealthy, would mean that programs like Medicaid would have to be cut drastically: 29 percent in 2016 and 59 percent in 2022. It basically means that Romney's Medicaid cuts would be deeper than Ryan's.

Ryan's plan has been all spelled out: $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid in the next decade. That's a one-third cut in projected spending. By 2050 it would be cut in half. He'd block grant what was left of the money to the states, forcing them to decide where to put their scarce resources: taking care of poor children or taking care of the sickest elderly. Now we're talking death panels, created by the GOP's social Darwinism.

Bottom line, all the but wealthiest seniors will get screwed, sooner rather than later. Generational warfare isn't going to work for Romney/Ryan on this one with the majority of seniors. If there were any seniors selfish enough to not care what happened to future generations with Medicare, they'll look at their own finances and think about their declining years.

They'll wonder what will happen to them if they need to spend their final years in nursing homes without Medicaid. It's a very grim prospect under Romney and Ryan.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 10:28 AM PDT.

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