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In the week since Mitt Romney named Paul Ryan as his running mate, both Democrats and Republicans have claimed theirs is the party which will save and protect Medicare, the federal health insurance program for nearly 50 million seniors. But Americans have good reason to believe one side is lying to them. After all, the Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama adds 8 years to the Medicare trust fund, realizing $716 billion in savings over 10 years from private insurers, hospitals and waste while expanding today's benefits to include free preventive care and closing the prescription "donut" hole. In stark contrast, in 2011 and 2012 98 percent of Republicans in Congress voted for Paul Ryan's budget plan, which not only repeals the ACA but would transform Medicare into an under-funded voucher scheme the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirmed would dramatically shift health care costs onto future elderly. Just as damning, the Ryan plan takes the same $716 billion in savings to partially offset the cost of its budget-busting tax cut windfall for the wealthy.

Of course, there's nothing new in this latest GOP effort to roll back the popular and successful old-age insurance program. The same Republican Party that tried to kill Medicare in the 1960s and gut it in the 1990s now wants to smother it again. The only question now for Mitt Romney and his number two Paul Ryan is how fast.

Republican demagoguery of Medicare began well before President Johnson signed it into law in 1965. "I was there, fighting the fight, voting against Medicare," Bob Dole later boasted, "Because we knew it wouldn't work in 1965." In 1964, George H.W. Bush was among the first to call it "socialized medicine." And three years earlier, Ronald Reagan voiced his opposition:

"One of these days, you and I, are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America, when men were free."
But they were wrong. Medicare did work and Americans in their sunset years were more free, not less. Before Medicare, half of seniors had no health insurance at all, a crisis which has been virtually eliminated. And the poverty rate for Americans 65 and older was cut in half in under 10 years. Far and away the poorest age group in 1959, the elderly saw their poverty rates plummet from 35 to 9 percent by 2010 (see chart below the fold).  It's no wonder a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that Medicare was the single most important health care issue for voters, with 73 percent rating it "extremely" or "very" important.

Of course, for Republicans yesterday defeats are tomorrow's battles. Their long war on Medicare was no different.

Throughout the 1990s, Newt Gingrich, Mitch McConnell and their Republican colleagues renewed the GOP assault. (In 2010, McConnell would falsely charge that Democrats were "sticking it to seniors with cuts to Medicare.") Hoping to slowly but surely undermine the program by shifting its beneficiaries to managed care and private insurance, in 1995 McConnell was among the Republican revolutionaries backing Gingrich's call to slash Medicare spending by $270 billion (or 14 percent) over seven years. As Gingrich put it then:

"We don't want to get rid of it in round one because we don't think it's politically smart," he said. "But we believe that it's going to wither on the vine because we think [seniors] are going to leave it voluntarily."
When President Clinton and his Democratic allies in Congress rushed to defend Medicare from the Republican onslaught, Gingrich launched a blistering assault:
"Think about a party whose last stand is to frighten 85-year-olds, and you'll understand how totally morally bankrupt the modern Democratic Party is."
But as the debate over health care reform heated up in 2009 and 2010, the leading lights of the Republican Party out their brand of political morality on display. Within a span of a few days, Michele Bachmann (R-MN) echoed Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) insisted "what we have to do is wean everybody" off Medicare and Social Security. (Blackburn is now one the leaders of the committee drafting the 2012 Republican platform.) In 2009, Missouri's Roy Blunt argued that "government should have never gotten into the health care business." That same month, Georgia Rep. Tom Price, a one-time orthopedic surgeon and then chairman of the Republican Study Group, proclaimed:
"Going down the path of more government will only compound the problem. While the stated goal remains noble, as a physician, I can attest that nothing has had a greater negative effect on the delivery of health care than the federal government's intrusion into medicine through Medicare."
When asked at a 2009 rally, Rep. Price refused to defend Medicare after stating "we will not rest until we make certain that government-run health care is ended."

All the while, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was listening and working hard to make it happen.

(Continue reading below the fold.)

In April 2009, 24 months before all but four House Republicans voted for Ryan's plan to ration Medicare, the smaller GOP minority said yea on essentially the same plan. As Steve Benen detailed in the Washington Monthly in the fall of 2009:

In April, 137 Republicans voted in support of a GOP alternative budget. It didn't generate a lot of attention, but the plan, drafted by the House Budget Committee's Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called for "replacing the traditional Medicare program with subsidies to help retirees enroll in private health care plans."

The AP noted at the time that Republican leaders were "clearly nervous that votes in favor of the GOP alternative have exposed their members to political danger."

In February 2010, Rep. Ryan unveiled his "Roadmap for America's Future" and its "slash and privatize" agenda for Social Security and Medicare. Because the value of Ryan's vouchers fails to keep up with the out-of-control rise in premiums in the private health insurance market, America's elderly would be forced to pay more out of pocket or accept less coverage. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein described the inexorable Republican rationing of Medicare which would then ensue:
The proposal would shift risk from the federal government to seniors themselves. The money seniors would get to buy their own policies would grow more slowly than their health-care costs, and more slowly than their expected Medicare benefits, which means that they'd need to either cut back on how comprehensive their insurance is or how much health-care they purchase. Exacerbating the situation -- and this is important -- Medicare currently pays providers less and works more efficiently than private insurers, so seniors trying to purchase a plan equivalent to Medicare would pay more for it on the private market.

It's hard, given the constraints of our current debate, to call something "rationing" without being accused of slurring it. But this is rationing, and that's not a slur. This is the government capping its payments and moderating their growth in such a way that many seniors will not get the care they need.

(Of course, Ryan left out the real culprit—the private insurance market. But with 50 million uninsured, another 25 million underinsured, one in five American postponing needed care and medical costs driving over 60 percent of personal bankruptcies, Congressman Ryan is surely right that "rationing happens today.")

It was the Republicans' fear of being the branded "The Party That Killed Medicare" that led GOP leaders to run away from the Ryan Roadmap for America—at least until the 2010 midterms were safely won. As you'll recall, the centerpiece of the Republicans' 2010 effort was an ad campaign to terrify the elderly about changes to Medicare Advantage and the growth of its funding contained in the Affordable Care Act. (Republicans would later go on to vote for exactly the same $500 billion in reductions over 10 years.) That was tough to square with the Paul Ryan's plan to ration Medicare by ending guaranteed health insurance for the elderly and replacing it with under-funded vouchers to buy coverage in the much more expensive private market. Which is why the party ran as far away as possible from Ryan's Roadmap for America before the actual voting took place.

That's why in July 2010 then House Minority Leader John Boehner disowned Ryan's plan. "It's his," Boehner said, adding, "There are parts of it that are well done. Other parts I have some doubts about, in terms of how good the policy is." With only 13 co-sponsors that summer, Paul Ryan himself denied his was blueprint was the GOP's. As Ryan put in August 2010, "My plan is not the Republican Party's platform and was never intended to be."

Not, that is, until Republicans secured their massive new House majority in November 2010. (Which is why, by the way, Senate Republican leaders Mitch McConnell and Jon Kyl were furious with RNC chairman Michael Steele over his "Seniors Bill of Rights" promising "no cuts to Medicare.")

But victory won, version 2.0 of Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" now known as the "Path to Prosperity" became the basis for the House Republican budget. In April 2011, 235 House Republicans and 40 GOP senators voted for Ryan's budget and its inevitable rationing of Medicare.

To be sure, the Ryan budget blessed by Republicans on Capitol Hill means de facto rationing for the system that today serves 46 million American seniors. As the CBO documented last year, Ryan's plan to replace public insurance provided by the government with vouchers for the elderly to buy their own coverage in the private market means getting less care for more money. The CBO analysis concluded that "a typical beneficiary would spend more for health care under the proposal." At $6,500 a year, make that, as Director Douglas Elmendorf explained, a lot more.

Under the proposal, most elderly people who would be entitled to premium support payments would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system. For a typical 65-year-old with average health spending enrolled in a plan with benefits similar to those currently provided by Medicare, CBO estimated the beneficiary's spending on premiums and out-of-pocket expenditures as a share of a benchmark amount: what total health care spending would be if a private insurer covered the beneficiary. By 2030, the beneficiary's share would be 68 percent of that benchmark under the proposal, 25 percent under the extended-baseline scenario, and 30 percent under the alternative fiscal scenario.

Last year, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explained the dynamic at work. If past performance is any indication of future results, the Ryan voucher scheme would mean big problems for those now under 55 years old and for the U.S. budget.

The larger point is that we don't have a Medicare problem, we have a health care cost problem. And Medicare actually does a better job of controlling costs than private insurers -- not remotely good enough, but better...

If Medicare costs had risen as fast as private insurance premiums, it would cost around 40 percent more than it does. If private insurers had done as well as Medicare at controlling costs, insurance would be a lot cheaper.

In March 2011, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post made much the same point. "The private health-insurance market has exacerbated cost growth in Medicare," he noted, adding, "Medicare's costs have grown more slowly than private health insurance and Medicare's premiums are about 20 percent lower than private health-care insurance." Last June, Klein recounted the sad history of Republicans' recent efforts to privatize the delivery of Medicare benefits:

What they've got in mind already exists in Medicare. "Our premium-support plan is modeled after the Medicare Part D prescription-drug program," Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told me. But Part D hasn't controlled costs. Instead, premiums have risen by 57 percent since 2006, and the program is expected to see nearly 10 percent growth in annual costs over the next decade.

Moreover, this isn't the first time we've tried to let private insurers into Medicare to work their magic. The Medicare Advantage program, which invited private insurers to offer managed-care options to Medicare beneficiaries, was expected to save money, but it ended up costing about 120 percent of what Medicare costs.

Which is why as 2011 progressed, Republicans once again began to get cold feet about the Ryan Medicare privatization scheme they virtually all supported. With opposition running as high as 65 percent, even die- hards like Michele Bachmann "put an asterisk" next to her vote for the bill, announcing, "I'm concerned about shifting the cost burden to seniors." (As recent polls from National Journal and the Kaiser Family Foundation show, voters--including Republicans--remains strongly opposed.)

Which is why in December 2011, using Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden as cover, Paul Ryan introduced a new version of his voucher scheme, this time to keep traditional government Medicare as a "public option" future beneficiaries could choose.

The Ryan-Wyden proposal, or "Ryden" plan, if you will, looks a lot like the Medicare prescription from 2010's Domenici/Rivlin blueprint. Unlike Ryan's previous attempt to end Medicare as we know, Ryden maintains traditional fee-for-service government insurance as one option. As the New York Times explained:

Congress would establish an insurance exchange for Medicare beneficiaries. Private plans would compete with the traditional Medicare program and would have to provide benefits of the same or greater value. The federal contribution in each region would be based on the cost of the second-cheapest option, whether that was a private plan or traditional Medicare.

In addition, the growth of Medicare would be capped. In general, spending would not be allowed to increase more than the growth of the economy, plus one percentage point -- a slower rate of increase than Medicare has historically experienced.

Which is just one reason why Democrats hate the Wyden initiative. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) told Bloomberg News, "I don't know why Ron Wyden is giving cover" to Ryan. "For starters, this is bad policy and a complete political loser," one Democratic aide said. "On top of the terrible politics, they even admit that it dismantles Medicare but achieves no budgetary savings while doing so—the worst of all worlds."

That worst of all worlds was embodied in Ryan's 2012 House Republican budget, one which this spring garnered the votes of 228 GOP Representatives and 41 Senators.  (That's why Senator Wyden voted no, opposition he reiterated this week.)

Looking at the CBO's March 2012 assessment of the new House GOP budget, ThinkProgress explained why version 2.0 of Ryan's voucher program was little better than the first:

Beginning in 2023, the guaranteed Medicare benefit would be transformed into a government-financed "premium support" system. Seniors currently under the age of 55 could use their government contribution to purchase insurance from an exchange of private plans or--unlike Ryan's original budget--traditional fee-for-service Medicare...

But the budget does not take sufficient precautions to prevent insurers from cherry-picking the healthiest beneficiaries from traditional Medicare and leaving sicker applicants to the government. As a result, traditional Medicare costs could skyrocket, forcing even more seniors out of the government program. The budget also adopts a per capita cost cap of GDP growth plus 0.5 percent, without specifying how it would enforce it. This makes it likely that the cap would limit the government contribution provided to beneficiaries and since the proposed growth rate is much slower than the projected growth in health care costs, CBO estimates that new beneficiaries could pay up to $2,200 more by 2030 and up to $8,000 more by 2050. Finally, the budget would also raise Medicare's age of eligibility to 67.

Even though the new Ryan plan's endorsement of a competitive exchange for rival health insurance plans is in essence "a vindication of the Affordable Care Act," the Obama White House quickly rejected the Ryden scheme. For President Obama's opposition, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and its benefits for seniors was just the beginning:

"We are concerned that Wyden-Ryan, like Congressman Ryan's earlier proposal, would undermine, rather than strengthen, Medicare," said White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. "The Wyden-Ryan scheme could, over time, cause the traditional Medicare program to "wither on the vine" because it would raise premiums, forcing many seniors to leave traditional Medicare and join private plans. And it would shift costs from the government to seniors. At the end of the day, this plan would end Medicare as we know it for millions of seniors. Wyden-Ryan is the wrong way to reform Medicare."
Of course, for Mitt Romney, his running mate's latest gambit is the perfect way to reform Medicare. Romney didn't just merely proclaim in his 59-point, 162-page "Believe in America" manifesto that "the plan put forward by Congressman Paul Ryan makes important strides in the right direction" and repeatedly claim he would have signed the 2011 House GOP budget if it crossed his desk. This week, he announced their plans are "close to identical." A quick glance at his website confirms that judgment:
"Traditional" fee-for-service Medicare will be offered by the government as an insurance plan, meaning that seniors can purchase that form of coverage if they prefer it; however, if it costs the government more to provide that service than it costs private plans to offer their versions, then the premiums charged by the government will have to be higher and seniors will have to pay the difference to enroll in the traditional Medicare option."
As Think Progress warned, over time private insurers would cherry-pick healthier seniors, leaving the sicker pool remaining in traditional Medicare with to pay their increasing see premiums with under-funded vouchers.

Put another way, Medicare would "wither on the vine," indeed. Nevertheless, Medicare's would-be killers—the same Republicans who slandered Democrats with the charge of creating "death panels" which would "pull the plug on grandma" and see seniors "put to death"—now pretend to be its saviors. As Paul Krugman lamented two years ago:

"Don't cut Medicare. The reform bills passed by the House and Senate cut Medicare by approximately $500 billion. This is wrong." So declared Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House, in a recent op-ed article written with John Goodman, the president of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

And irony died.

Looking over the data regarding Medicare's superior costs performance compared to private insurance, Paul Krugman concluded:

"It's a mystery why anyone claims that shifting more people into private insurance is a good idea. Actually, no, it isn't a mystery; it's an outrage."
While Republicans want to destroy the program in order to save it, Democrats have a simple solution for providing health insurance for the elderly today and tomorrow. As Nancy Pelosi put it, "It's called Medicare."
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Comment Preferences

  •  Change language (43+ / 0-)

    Romney wants to continue overpaying hospitals, Medicare advantage, pharmacies etc

    wall Street Casino is the root of the problem. Don't call them banks.

    by timber on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:03:36 AM PDT

    •  Excellent summary of the problem: the GOP fools (17+ / 0-)

      I have always thought that those who vote to make changes in Medicare and Social Security should be required to have the same changes be immediately linked to their own pension and health plan, if the changes become law.

      It has always baffled me as to why the Republicans saw Medicare as so heinous.  Is it that any hint of universal healthcare makes them wet their pants?   Are they, as Mitt Romney so "Presidentially" referred to members of his own party, Bedwetters?  Ah, spoken like an accomplished bully, right?  Next he will be calling people Fags and Pussies, just to show us how macho he is.

      But I digress.  The biggest problem with Medicare these days is that they are not permitted to bargain over the cost of medications, which every other insurance system in this and other countries is permitted to do, for example Medicaid and the Veterans Administration.  Is this a sop to the massive pharmaceutical industry?  The one with soooo many lobbyists?

      An important thing for us all to remember, even those over 55 or 65, is that although the proposed changes will only apply to younger individuals (or so we are told) that those who foster such legislation have a lot of ways that they can game the current system for retirees that will cost participants significantly more.

      Paul Ryan?  Cut from the same cloth.  Just a more buffed moron, nothing new, nothing believable, just same old, same old.

      •  Medicare Part D giveaway to Pharma (10+ / 0-)

        Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) wrote into Medicare Part D law that the government could not negotiate drug prices, and could not even get the same discounts as negotiated by the Veterans Administration. Billy Tauzin retired soon after and went to work as the head of PhRMA, the drug industry lobbying group for $2Million per year. Coincidence (I think not) or pay-off? Legalized bribery. See Tauzin's wikipedia page.

      •  Republicans have always seen Medicare as heinous (5+ / 0-)

        because its existence takes money out of the private health insurance market.  Medicare Advantage was the best they could do to claw back some of that money for the for-profit insurance players.

        The Republicans have spent decades attempting to convince younger citizens that both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and won't be there when it's time for that demographic to retire, and this tack has worked pretty well.  Many of the people I deal with in their 20's and 30's are convinced these programs won't be there for them, and many of them are frankly aggravated at having taxes taken out of their paychecks to pay into programs that won't exist in the future.

        By splitting citizens into age groups - young workers who resent paying FDIC and Medicare taxes, middle-aged workers who fear the programs' insolvency, and retirees who are cast as "greedy geezers" - Republicans have managed to foment fear and resentment thereby making destruction of both programs more palatable to voters not currently receiving benefits.  Thus the insidious but politically advantageous ploy of targeting cuts to the programs at those 55 and younger while current beneficiaries see no changes.

        But I have news for current beneficiaries of both these programs:  Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" includes cuts to the federal budget so draconian that taking the ax to these programs even for current retirees will become a necessity.  And when that necessity comes about, the then-current workforce, having already lost their rights to these programs' benefits, will not be inclined to lift a finger to help retain them for their elders.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:35:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  redistribution of collective wealth upward /nt (5+ / 0-)

      Don't roof rack me bro', Now the brown's comin' down; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

      by annieli on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:39:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So much for small government & being a fiscal hawk (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      1Nic Ven, OhioNatureMom

      Ryan Myth want to increase government and the deficit to give tax cuts to the wealthy, increase the government and the deficit by increasing waste and fraud money to wealthy insurance company millionaires/billionaires, want to increase government and the deficit on unnecessary inreased defense spending when we already outspend/dwarf the military budget of the next 15 countries' military budgets combined but they're fiscal comservatives who will lower the deficit & make government smaller? Bwahahahahahaha. Seriously, tell us another one boys, what's your real plan as fiscal conservative hawks
      Do we hear another W 2.0 on steroids coming on people? The only people they'll make government small for are the 98% of Americans, the middle class, seniors, the poor and hungry moms & kids. At least Millionaires & billionaires 2% of the population will have big fiscal government in their favor while 2% of the population will have small fiscal government but big government in social issues, so in that sense I guess they are fiscal hawks in taking away the safety net for 98% while showing largesse toward the 2%.
      Yay for Ryan Myth. No, I don't think so boys, not so fast.

  •  Better dead than "socialist"... (12+ / 0-)

    the Republican message to seniors.

    Mitt Romney treats people like things. And he treats things - corporations - like people.

    by richardak on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:04:39 AM PDT

    •  you can have my Ikea furniture when you pry (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msmacgyver, stewarjt, basket

      it from my democratized Svedka-soaked fingers

      Don't roof rack me bro', Now the brown's comin' down; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

      by annieli on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:02:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  social security (10+ / 0-)

    Republicans never wanted social security because they don't want government services for individuals.  The US has always fostered the Horatio Alger myth, if you work hard, you'll be rich.  The corollary that socialism is always bad--and ss and medicare are forms of Marxism.  In many parts of the country, Rs want to put Scopes back on trial--they have not evolved.  They never will, they don't believe in it.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:10:35 AM PDT

    •  It's A Small Point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli, basket, StrayCat

      Your main point is well taken.  However, Social Security and Medicare aren't forms of Marxism.  Whether they are or aren't depends on your definition of Marxism.  You seem to equate it with socialism.  No definition of Marxism I'm familiar with fits your statement.

      If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

      by stewarjt on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:42:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One Thing That Should Be Understood (14+ / 0-)

    is that traditional Medicare is already a burden for many seniors.  Medigap and Part D policies are not cheap; it is not a free entitlement giveaway.  If you start loading on extra costs via the Ryan voucher scheme, many seniors simply will not be able to keep coverage.  Or some will be into dog and cat food.

  •  Medicare for all (9+ / 0-)

    Don't blame Republicans for your failure to sell a simple message.  If the Catfoodcrats hadn't spent the better part of the last 4 years with their arms around Alan Simpson maybe Americans wouldn't be totally confused about where Democrats stand on the safety net.  I mean just try getting an answer from your Senators.  Where do they stand?  Mine will tell me 100 times that they support the troops but just try getting one straight answer on Medicare or Social Security.

    •  well said (4+ / 0-)

      And where have the progressives been?

      We have progressives in the House but do they chide other Democrats for their weakness?

      When are progressives learn that things will not just come to us? We have to take them

      Blake: I am an enemy of the Federation but it is corrupt and oppressive. I will destroy it if I can

      by GideonAB on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:25:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Health care was a significant issue in 2007-08 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msmacgyver, basket

      in the Democratic caucuses and primaries for president. None of the 6 (or so) active candidates advocated Medicare for all. Richardson wanted to lower the eligibility age for Medicare to 50. That would have been a step in the right direction, but he was gone soon after Iowa and NH. (He probably wouldn't have been a good candidate anyway.) The Edwards, Hillary, and Obama plans were all similar to what we ended up with, the ACA, except they included a public option in the exchanges. The big debate between Hillary and Obama was whether there should be an individual mandate. Hillary said yes; Obama said no. Obama and those writing the legislation eventually decided that Hillary was right.

      Politics is the art of the possible. Medicare for all would be great, but it was not a political option in 2009. It's probably not realistic in 2013 either. Maybe some day. Let's keep pushing for it, but in the mean time fully fund, implement, and strengthen Obamacare.

  •  Conscience of a Conservative (8+ / 0-)

    Goldwater. Bozell. Buckley.

    Their "consciences" have told them the same thing, all these years.

    "Let them die!"

  •  Vulture & Voucher Team's $726 Billion LIE (4+ / 0-)

    When will the media silence forever the $716 Billion LIE that Mitt Vulture & Paul Voucher keep repeating?  Rep. Voucher repeated to Florida seniors the BIG LIE about Medicare.  He knows that Obama's ACA will not strip or steal $716 Billion from Medicare, but instead will save that amount and preserve Medicare.  

    WHEN will the media challenge these liars and call them out on this LIE?

    •  The media is 1% owned remember, wolf in (0+ / 0-)

      sheep clothing pretending to be Liberal slanted. Just think about it, aren't MSM owned by the 1%. Except for many in Hollywood an billionaires like Buffet, Soros, most millionaires are greedy & want a tax cut.

  •  Gawd, these people are completely oblivious to (6+ / 0-)

    what other countries are doing and how they're taking care of their citizens.  The USA is extremely backward in comparison.  We don't have paid maternity leave; not many companies offer paid sick leave; and on and on.

    They're completely oblivious to the fact that Medicare WORKS!  Or perhaps they do know it works and they hate that.  Because they know it's best to starve and abuse the young and poor, the working class, the old, the LGBT community, and just about everyone except aging, overfed Caucasian males.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:15:44 AM PDT

  •  Medicare eligibility age (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Obama put it on the table.  Did he take it off?  Ryan says no changes for 61 year old me.  Will Democrats promise the same?  What is their position?  

    •  Obama put it on the table to add savings (0+ / 0-)

      by cracking down on fraud, reduce the deficit & save the program but keeps age at 65. When I buy a house listed for 500K and negotiate the price down to 300K because of repairs I argue it needs or because I promise to buy all my houses in the future  through this guy. It's not  a cut to the house? The house is still the same house I just saved myself 200K on the purchase so that's what BO did, add 716 billion $ in savings to medicare by cracking down on waste and fraudulent claims, while not just keeping benefits but enhancing the same medicare benefits, then  adding years to Medicare. So Dems added those savings back into medicare to save seniors money on preventative care & free prescription drugs (Closing the donut hole as they call it), so seniors now get their prescription drugs without out of pocket costs.
      Of course Ryan Myth have to frame the 716 billion dollar savings from Obama as a cut because that's what their plan actually does --which is cut medicare funds for seniors/benificiaries. Dems are crazy if they don't get a clue & frame the argument themselves for what it is: Dems don't cut medicare, they add savings to medicare whereas Ryan Myth do cut it so that's why they have to frame the argument as a cut & pretend Dems are cutting too. Dems are not cutting, they're saving $ so big difference. Dems better start setting the narrative instead of letting Rethugs set the narrative thereby arguing on their turf. Wise up, Dems, this is your program, we all know it so don't let the wolf argue to the baby sheep that he's their best protector for them over over their own mother.
      Dems are not Myth who would eat his young (He promised to repeal O'Romneycare & increase waste spening blowing up the deficit), Dems are proud of medicare, ss medicaid and welfare reform. Dems are the "socialists" who have always argued for medicare and so-called socialist programs or are rethugs embracing "socialism" now? Seriously this argument is so stupid from Rethugs to make, I'm surprised they're not being laughed at by the few serious reporters around. This argument is so surreal from rethugs it doesn't pass the giggle test, all it takes is one swift attack from Dems and they're out of the water. Dems need to bring out those 2010 TV ads where Rethugs used their moms to reassure voters they would protect medicare and promised they would never vote against medicare...and what did they do as soon as they were elected? They made liar put of their own moms as 98% of rethugs voted to support Ryan's budget which cuts medicare into a voucher coupon program that places cost burden on seniors, requiring seniors to come out of pocket for $6500 to cover medicare expenses. In addition, Ryan Myth re-opens the donut hole so seniors have to start coming out of pocket on prescription drugs again which are now covered for seniors due to the 716 billion $ savings BO added into medicare with health care, medicare reform. So BO, the "socialist" big spender adds savings to a program, lowering the gov't spending and the deficit VS Ryan Myth who want to make gov't bigger by adding waste, pork, fraud claims to favor the millionaire insurance company owners but Bo's the "socialist" big spender & Ryan Myth are the fiscal hawks? Yea, right, tell us another funny story boys.
      Dems need to go hard with this, in lockstep. Rethugs are going to be forceful, bold since they're desperately lying but Dems have truth on their side, so we need to be bolder & never let up on driving this truth home. Shame them with those TV ads where they pimped out their own sweet innocent moms & made liars out of their own moms, as soon as they were elected. Anybody who would make a liar out of their own moms would do anything, even sell out their own country to a group of oligarch billionaires who want to go to war with Iran.

      •  I'm worrying about cuts in December (0+ / 0-)

        Did he ever take eligibity age off the table?  Catfood recommendations?  I want to know NOW what Democrats plan to do in December.  I repeat.  I can get no answers from the Democrats who represent me.  They support the troops.  Seniors are cute.  Puppies are cuddly.  Babies are kissable.  But where they stand on the safety net?  Maybe that Assange guy could find a leak.

        •  Under Ryan's plan, trust fund is bankrupt in 2016. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          When were you hitting Medicare eligibility again?

          Ryan promises you can keep your Medicare starting at age 65 and for the rest of your life until 2016.  If that's the deal you want, fine.  

          The Dem plan for Medicare is Obama's, which is:
          (1)  Donut hole closed (prescription drug closed)
          (2)  Puts an extra trillion dollars in theMedicare trust fund, keeping it afloat an extra decade
          (3)  Reduces out-of-pocket costs for seniors by something like 5-10%.

          That's it.  Ryan undoes all that.

          On the 'eligibility age' thing, there was never any plan on the table that would have allowed it to go up from 65 before 2025.  When SS got the eligibility age hike, it went from 65 to 66 about 20 years after the deal was passed and 66 to 67 like 20 years after that (my dad will be a 66er, retiring 35 years after the deal was struck).  More importantly, Obama's plan guarantees access to healthcare access to seniors at whatever age they retire (through the income-based subsidy on the exchange).

          Finding Medicare coverage under Ryan is like hunting snipe or trying to kick Lucy's football.  Might be entertaining for a while, but not my cup of tea.

    •  I am also 61. I know that (0+ / 0-)

      when Ryan says no changes for 61-year olds, it is B.S.  If they can divide over 55-year olds from under 55-year olds, then once they get what they want, they will come back around and start attacking Medicare for the over 55-year olds.

      During the debt ceiling debate, Senate Democratic Leader Reid and House Democratic Leader Pelosi were adamant about protecting Medicare.  The best way to protect Medicare is to make sure we have an Obama presidency, a Democratic House, and a Democratic Senate with as many Democratic Senators as possible.

  •  The Party's Over... (5+ / 0-)

    The Republican Party died with Abraham Lincoln.
     As a character in Gore Vidal's novel 1876 points out:
      "....THAT Republican Party did its work, and died. We abolished slavery. We preserved the Union. Now a corrupt machine continues to use our name..."

  •  Request for Info (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Perr aka Avenging Angel

    I have read that the new healthcare law will drain funds from Medicare Advantage, and that the only reason this is not evident is because of a 'rob Peter/pay Paul' demonstration project that temporarily funds Medicare Advantage. Would someone please comment on what's actually what? TIA.

    •  More Background on Medicare Advantage (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Here are a couple of pieces which help explained where the $716 billion/10 year savings from:

      Washington Post


      There are detailed explanations in each, but in a nutshell:

      1.  Savings from Medicare Advantage are only about a third of the $716 billion total.

      2.  On average, the private Advantage plans cost the government 117% of the public Medicare plan.  Some of these plans include extra benies (gym memberships, wellness, etc.) not included in traditional Medicare. But most are pretty much the same and just cost Uncle Sam more.

      3.  Under the Affordable Care Act, no benefits of the traditional Medicare plan will be ended.  In fact, they are expanded (free preventive care, closing the donut hole for prescriptions). Advantage plans must provide the new benefits as well.

      As Stuart Guterman, assistant vice president for the Commonwealth Fund’s program on payment system reform put it:

      "People enrolled in (Medicare Advantage) get services that people in traditional care do not get under Medicare," he said. "Insurance companies can afford to cover these services because taxpayer money is subsidizing them. Plans will most likely not offer those extra services, but in no case will [patients] get less Medicare benefits than people in the rest of the program."
    •  I think Medicare Advantage cuts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KayCeSF, gmats

      are being delayed until 2014. The overpayment subsidies to insurance companies will be phased out. That's a big source of the savings that helps Obamacare extend the fiscal life of Medicare. Here's something from a source I found:

      Private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans were introduced to Medicare because they were supposed to be a cheaper alternative to the traditional Medicare program. However, they have turned out to be more expensive. The Medicare program has been paying Medicare Advantage plans an average of 14 % more (more than $1,000 per person each year) than it costs traditional Medicare to provide the same care. This has added hundreds of billions of dollars of costs to Medicare. It also adds more than $3 a month to every Medicare beneficiary’s monthly premiums, even for the 75 percent of beneficiaries who are not in Medicare Advantage. These overpayments generate considerable profits for the insurance companies that run Medicare Advantage plans [6].

      Starting in 2014, the ACA offers additional protections for Medicare Advantage plan members by taking steps that limit the amount these plans spend on administrative costs, insurance company profits, and things other than health care. Under the new law, payments to Medicare Advantage plans will be gradually reduced until they average about the same as traditional Medicare. The reductions in overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans will strengthen Medicare’s finances without diminishing access to any of Medicare’s guaranteed benefits [6]. Insurance companies that run Medicare Advantage plans will no longer benefit from billions of dollars in subsidies and will not have a financial edge over traditional Medicare [3].

      There was some fear that insurance companies would bail out of Medicare Advantage programs, but that as not happened so far.

      Medicare Advantage was a gift to the insurance industry put in place by the Bush administration and congressional Republicans.

      •  So, in a sense Medicare Advantage (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happymisanthropy, cocinero

        simply demonstrates the failures of the insurance industry.  Again.

        •  Exactly! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The Ryan/Romney/GOP Medicare plan is basically Medicare Advantage with a declining level of government support and no regulations to restrict insurance company abuses. Been there. Done that.

          From Think Progress on Medicare Advantage:

          Over the years, a number of government reports and independent estimates have found that some plans use the taxpayer subsidies to pad their bottom lines and expose beneficiaries to serious financial risks. A recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that some MA plans used lower premiums to attract healthier enrollees, but then hit them “with high and unexpected out-of-pocket costs.” It’s an embarrassing record indeed and one that Republicans seek to build on.
    •  That makes no sense, both plans have same source (0+ / 0-)

      for funding, so it makes no sense to say ACA will drain funds from medicare maybe Medicare could by accident drain funds from ACA once. They're the same program except one make health care accessible to all Americans and Medicare is for people over 65. Intuitively you know by bringing more people into the pool of insured will add money to the program. If nothing else, Medicare could drain from ACA, which is very unlikely, since both funded by same parent company of gov't funds... but it could never be the other way around that ACA drains Medicare as ACA is the bigger pool of insureds, so that talking point makes no sense.
      Rethugs better go back to the drawing board, that talking point fails.

      •  Clarification (0+ / 0-)

        The assertion was not that "ACA will drain funds from medicare," but that it might drain funds from Medicare Advantage. From what I can tell from the comments and links, this may well be true after next year, when subsidies are cut, but specifics are not available.

  •  I got into an argument with 2 Repugs a week ago (6+ / 0-)

    They both said that "ours is the best healthcare system in the world".

    I asked them what they based that assertion on and they immediately and almost as a chorus they said "if you live in another country and have money you come here for treatment".

    I believe this logic is all they have but like true believers it's all they need.

    These friends of mine are from Orange County, the reddest county in California just south of Los Angeles county.

    I believe that healthcare and Medicare in particular (more than Obamacare) is the key issue this November.

    The Repug logic stands on shaky ground; foreign rich people come here for treatment.

    What about the millions of Americans that go to Mexico, Canada and elsewhere for medical or dental treatment, what about infant mortality and longevity, what about costs?

    I want a landslide and the way to get it is to talk Medicare every time.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:32:53 AM PDT

  •  Underfunded Voucher Scheme (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Mike08, howd, happymisanthropy

    Take note of this.  This is an example of a useful description  that will make the point more effectively than "ending Medicare as we know it."  Every word in this description is negative.  Use it.

  •  For those of you who may not have seen (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Farkletoo, closerange, FiredUpInCA

    the diaries yesterday on the campaign conference call with the President - he put out the word that if you are going to contribute money to his campaign, NOW would be the best time because the October ad buys are being sewn up now.

    This inspired me to put up a fundraising challenge on my Facebook page.  Now this may not be much on the Sheldon Adelson level - but in 12 hours - I got my friends to kick in $225 to the campaign!

    I urge everybody who reads this post to give it a try.  It's easy to set up your own "challenge" page on ... and you might be surprised who comes out of the woodwork to give, just because you, their friend, had the courage to ASK.

    Still enjoying my stimulus package.

    by Kevvboy on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:37:36 AM PDT

  •  Republican want to end (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, kovie, annieli

    Medicare  and Social Security.

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:38:00 AM PDT

  •  Belated Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mike08, Aquarius40, indres, KayCeSF, basket

    I knew I forgot something...

  •  What a bunch of fucks. (0+ / 0-)

    By the way, I never realized that "freedom" was the Republicans' buzzword all the way back in the 1960s.  After all, providing government health insurance to seniors takes away their "freedom."  Yeah.  Good luck figuring that out.

    28, white male, TX-26 (current), TN-09 (born), TN-08 (where parents live now)

    by TDDVandy on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:42:15 AM PDT

  •  Call it Couponcare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howd, happymisanthropy, VirginiaBlue

    But then get the Democrats to give Alan Simpson a coupon to go away and take Medicare eligibility age off the table and don't sneak benefit calculation changes into Social Security.

    Democrats must commit to no cuts in benefits.

  •  Medicare, unlike Social Security (0+ / 0-)

    really IS going to be rather tricky to fix.  

    I am implacably opposed to Republican voucher plans.  But the rate of growth is really rather staggering.  I don't think tinkering around the edges is going to be enough. It's already single-payer, so that's a good start.  But changing the financial incentives away from fee-for-service and towards wellness outcomes is an enormous undertaking, which will take MUCH concerted effort.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:48:57 AM PDT

    •  It's actually quite simple, in principle (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Pay a fair rate for what works and don't pay for what doesn't. There are ample studies at this point indicating which is which and what a fair rate is.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:13:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, it's really not that simple. (0+ / 0-)

        Because in terms of the medical needs of an aging population, the demand -- even for what "works" and has a reasonable cost-benefit ratio -- is almost infinitely elastic, whereas the supply is by no means equally elastic.  

        Personally I'm in favor of "rationing" -- by public policy (on what works and has a reasonable cost-benefit ratio) rather than by each individual's ability to pay.  But politically that's a hard sell, perhaps impossible.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:47:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "But they have a 'plan' " (0+ / 0-)

    Yes and I'm sure the Pentagon has a plan to invade Sweden but that doesn't make it a good idea right now.

    The 1st Amendment gives you the right to say stupid things, the 1st Amendment doesn't guarantee a paycheck to say stupid things.

    by JML9999 on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:01:22 AM PDT

  •  People like Medicare. Tough to fool people (0+ / 0-)

    on an issue that directly impacts them.  Ryan plan ends Medicare; turns it into a voucher; raises costs.  Those facts can't be denied and we're hitting them with it in ads and on the stump and will do so for the next 2+ months.

    They're so afraid that they've taken the odd position of saying they won't cut anything out of medicare. Gone is all the deficit reduction talk.  Gone is all the talk against government spending.  

    I think the debate has already been won by the Democrats.  The issue now is to keep repeating the message every day of the fall campaign.  There is a clear risk averseness among seniors regarding the Ryan plan. This is the GOP's best performing demographic and we will reduce their margin in that group of voters which will make it very tough for them to win the Presidential election as well as a number of Senate seats and probably some House seats.

    Nothing hurts a candidate more than an unpopular vote.  Every GOP candidate voted or supported the Ryan plan.   Just give the Dems time to keep rolling out the ads and make it stick.  By the time we get to mid-October, the GOP will be on the run on this issue.

    Alternative rock with something to say:

    by khyber900 on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:05:24 AM PDT

  •  Can someone please explain to me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Publius Cornelius Tacitus, howd

    what's wrong with "socialized medicine"? Does that imply that "anti-socialized medicine" is therefore better, which means that everyone's out for themselves? To "socialize" anything is to basically distribute its costs and benefits in a more equitable, fair and, really, efficient manner than would be the case in a free for all system. Is not a country a way of "socializing" a set of people living in a given region for a period of time with certain common histories, values and interests? Aren't political parties the "socialization" of people with similar political ideologies and goals? Aren't sports leagues, gated communities and country clubs a form of "socialization"? What's their beef with what people have been doing for millenia?

    These people are in need of some therapy. They're congenitally unhappy and it kills them that not everyone is as unhappy as they are.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:11:36 AM PDT

    •  Their beef is that their individualism and freedom (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      get swallowed up by the "collective." They imagine that
      socialized programs reduce them to drones in a huge bee hive.

      I think we can do both.: I for one can be a self-reliant individual who contributes to a community and has compassion for others at the same time. The rest is paranoia about being "smothered" or "controlled." And fear of the "other."

      I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

      by Wildthumb on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:25:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But the entire concept of a country (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if not a nation depends upon some measure of collectivism. We the people, not us individuals, and all that. Same for sports, even companies. Are they really this dense? This goes beyond greed and selfishness. It's actualy idiocy. You cannot be a modern conservative and sane and intelligent as well. Simply NOT possible.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 08:30:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. This group has elevated competition (0+ / 0-)

          and isolation to an insane degree.

          I hope someday to see some progress toward a society based on cooperation. (Dream on!)

          I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

          by Wildthumb on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:57:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats don't "frighten seniors" when they... (3+ / 0-)

    ...tell seniors the truth about Republican's terrifying plans that have the potential to undermine the health of all but the wealthiest seniors.

    It's not Democrats' fault that the truth about Republican policies is frightening.

    •  DEMs Medicare Talking Points Very Muddled... (3+ / 0-)

      the Rs have won the message so far on Medicare with their UNISON "OBAMA CUT MEDICARE!" They are all on the same page lying. The DEMS are all over the place. The contrary rebuttal must be succinct. Yesterday, Obama said the Rs are trying to Voucherize Medicare. Ok, how about that - every DEM in the county every day of every hour in every place scream that Ryan/Romney want to VOUCHERIZE MEDICARE OR BETTER YET THEY WANT 'VOUCHERCARE' NOT MEDICARE!" This is NOT a message the Ds should lose AGAIN (remember 2010). So far, I give Obama.Biden/Chicago/DEMS a D+. They better shape up quick and I do NOT want to hear they are going to come on strong in the fall.....

      •  I think we'll gain on them and surpass them (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        with our message over time. I think most people already know that Dems are better on entitlement programs than Republicans.

        One commentator said this last week: The GOP can try to demonize Obama's position but they won't be believed.

        I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

        by Wildthumb on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:29:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I always wait for someone on our side (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to talk up the gigantic elephant in the room on medicare and social security (pun intended about the GOP elephant):

    E.J. Dionne on MTP got the last word: Republicans have  never liked medicare or other entitlements and have always wanted to turn it into another program. Their "saving medicare" is burning down the village to save it. Bravo, E.J.

    We should make a wall of push-back about this: Ask all
    Republicans if they'd have voted for medicare or social security from the get-go.

    I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

    by Wildthumb on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:15:10 AM PDT

  •  Good ole St. Ronnie (3+ / 0-)
    "One of these days, you and I, are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America, when men were free."
    Free to jauntily step over starving sick old people lying on the sidewalk.

    Republican Nirvana.

    That the ELECTED might never form to themselves an interest separate from the ELECTORS, prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often -Thomas Paine

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:15:34 AM PDT

  •  What does a photo of people laughing (0+ / 0-)

    have to do with this diary?

  •  Question...if Democrats are so strongly (3+ / 0-)

    for protecting Medicare, why do they only have 9pt lead over Republican's on the issue of which party you trust to protect Medicare?

    That is what happens when you move the Overton Window in the interest of triangulation.

    Great article btw

    "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

    by justmy2 on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:25:30 AM PDT

  •  Hyperbole 'r Willard (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    excerpt: "...Romney said Obama is the "only one president that I know of in history that robbed Medicare." In reality, several presidents have reduced Medicare spending.

    We reviewed this history in detail in a fact-check of Romney’s statement from December, "Only one president has ever cut Medicare for seniors in this country . . . Barack Obama." We rated that False. Many presidents have sought to rein in Medicare spending.

    Here are a few highlights from that fact-check:

    President Ronald Reagan cut Medicare by reducing payments to hospitals, and he cut benefits by raising deductibles.

    President George H.W. Bush cut benefits by repealing a law that would have expanded coverage for drugs and catastrophic illness.

    President Bill Clinton cut Medicare by changing payments to doctors and other providers, which could be considered to have an indirect effect on beneficiaries.

    When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:25:35 AM PDT

  •  In your real cost per beneficiary chart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jon Perr aka Avenging Angel

    I am perplexed as to what the numbers on the left side of the graph represent. 1969=100 what?

    I went to the Krugman link, and I went to the source he posted too. I would just take your word for it, but I'm reading this with my kids and I'm teaching them to research claims instead of just blindly accepting them.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:26:27 AM PDT

    •  To Clarify Further... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...1969 represents the "baseline" year.  "100" is not a dollar value, but a point of comparison for all following years.  (This is a pretty common approach for statistics that show inflation of anything over time.)  Using "as a percentage of what it cost in 1969" allows for a visually easier representation of an apples-to-apples comparison.

      So, the chart shows by 2009, private insurance cost roughly 8 times what it did in 1969.  Medicare cost per beneficiary increased only about 5 times in comparison.

  •  Ryan has only been the pick for a week...but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RNmakingsense, VirginiaBlue

    why aren't we attacking them about this.  It seems that Obama has been slow to go on the offensive, while Ryan and Romney have been everywhere trying to establish the narrative about medicare.  

    We seem to be defending our positions, which most of the country agrees with.  That's what they want b/c if we are doing that then we aren't pointing out how they want to completely change it.  We need to take it to them.  That's what we were doing before Ryan, and we need to do it after.

  •  Think about a party whose last stand is to lie to (0+ / 0-)

    85-year-olds about how the Affordable Care Act really effects Medicare and health care in this country, and you'll understand how totally morally bankrupt the modern Republican Party is.

    "Above and beyond the question of how to grow the economy there is a legitimate concern about how to grow the quality of our lives." -- Paul Wellstone

    by idlemoments on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:33:37 AM PDT

  •  Instead of defending Obama "cuts" to medicare, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, happymisanthropy

    it is time for the Obama Administration and the Obama Campaign to put forth the proposition of Medicare for All.

    Yes; the best defense is a great Offense.

    Notice: This Comment © 2012 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:33:56 AM PDT

    •  I saw a bumper sticker yesterday which read: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Lord, save us from Obamacare." At the bottom it had a link to some fundie site.

      Imagine if it were medicare... "Lord, save us from Medicare." Doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 10:08:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And ya know what.... (0+ / 0-)
    People like Medicare. Tough to fool people on an issue that directly impacts them.  Ryan plan ends Medicare; turns it into a voucher; raises costs.  Those facts can't be denied....
    Doesn't matter that Ryan got his mother to boost his convoluted bogus voucher lie.  Ryan wants to 'save' medicare, he wants to 'tweak' it with his voucher system.... what a crock of sh*t.  It's a fraud, a shell game gimmick, and it's designed to give the shaft to 99% of the people.  
    Shame on Ryan for bringing in his mother to shill for his snake oil crap.

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

    by Lilyvt on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:34:20 AM PDT

  •  OT: Republicans finally out of the closet... (0+ / 0-)
  •  Like the apocryphal village in Vietnam, (0+ / 0-)

    republicans will destroy Medicare in order to "save" it.

    ",,, the Political whorehouse that is Fox News." Keith Olbermann

    by irate on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 09:48:10 AM PDT

  •  Republicans always put business before people (0+ / 0-)

    profits before life and oppression over democracy.  They belong to the rotten tradition that brought unscrupulous colonizers to America to steal the land, kill the inhabitants and bring enslaved Africans as well as poor indentured Europeans to their new possessions in order to work them to death so business could amass fabulous profits.  Today they hate Medicare because it deprives business of exploiting the sick and make easy profits from suffering.  And they hate Social Security because it deprives businesses of the opportunity to steal pensions from the old.  

  •  Thanks, John. This is a really excellent history. (0+ / 0-)

    I fear that if AARP and other groups don't scream to the top of the mountains, seniors won't hear. And if they don't hear, they will vote the wrong way... and that dooms everyone.

    This is the time to have that talk with parents and grandparents about medicare/SS. NOW is the time. Don't wait until early voting. NOW.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 10:04:33 AM PDT

  •  A simple question to ask Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How much does the government pay the head administrator of the Medicare program vs. how much the CEO of any major health care corporation makes*? The dollar difference right there should convince anyone that Medicare makes way more sense than private insurance.

    * Somebody look up those numbers because I don't have a clue; however I'd be surprised if the difference isn't low 6-figures for the Medicare guy vs. high-7/low-8 for the other guy.

    “HEY MITT: RELEASE THE RETURNS!!” POSTER: -- Take it to a Rmoney rally, bring lots of friends & chant "RELEASE THE RETURNS! RELEASE THE RETURNS!" loud enough for him to hear – you’ll be glad you did!

    by Miscweant on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 10:15:22 AM PDT

  •  the people who advocate for these changes (repugs) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are confident they themselves and their families will never need it. They simply don't represent our interests.

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:10:55 AM PDT

  •  I don't think you understand. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stuart Heady, Jack Hare

    When instinct-driven people talk about freedom, they're talking about being free of the social obligations they find themselves endemically incapable of carrying out. What they want is to be accountable to no-one, probably because during most of their lives, they've not measured up.  They can't do; they can only talk.

    "All hat, no cattle."

    They have ideas, but they're not connected to reality.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage". He's not into "catch and release."

    by hannah on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 11:15:16 AM PDT

  •  Clinton & Medicare / Social Security: (0+ / 0-)


    Mr. Clinton, with some passion, returned to the topic at the end of an hour-long interview. “I think the Democrats are going to have to be willing to give up, maybe, some short-term political gain by whipping up fears on some of these things — if it’s a reasonable Social Security proposal, a reasonable Medicare proposal. We’ve got to deal with these things. You cannot have health care devour the economy.
    The former president charged that Republicans are being haunted by their decision to distort the Obama healthcare reforms to Medicare Advantage in the 2010 election. “The Republicans ran to the left of the Democrats,” he noted. He reiterated a complaint that Democrats did not do enough on the campaign trail to explain the changes.
    And what, prey tell, is this:
    “So anyway, I told them before you got here, I said I’m glad we won this race in New York,” Clinton told Ryan, when the two met backstage at a forum on the national debt held by the Pete Peterson Foundation. But he added, “I hope Democrats don’t use this as an excuse to do nothing.”

    Ryan told Clinton he fears that now nothing will get done in Washington.

    “My guess is it’s going to sink into paralysis is what’s going to happen. And you know the math. It’s just, I mean, we knew we were putting ourselves out there. You gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving,” Ryan said.

    Clinton told Ryan that if he ever wanted to talk about it, he should “give me a call.” Ryan said he would.

    Well isn't that interesting.

    Why, one could almost be forgiven for harboring fears that Medicare and Social Security won't be protected.

    I wonder if Ryan ever made that call?


    WAIT!  I forgot about Social Security:

    The American people had a mixed reaction to events in Washington last week. They continue to support Bill Clinton and all but ignore his Senate impeachment trial, which 88% describe as providing little that is new or interesting. But by a 52%-34% margin they also reject Clinton’s surprise proposal to put some Social Security funds into the stock market.
    And here I thought George Bush's idea to give Social Security to the 1%'s Casino on Wall Street was an original idea.

    Silly me.

    I voted for Change. Not Three Chiefs of Staff from Wall Street Banks. Not Bernanke, Summers, Geithner, Holder, Simpson, or a Monsanto Lobbyist. Not more Free Trade. Not more Patriot Act. Not defending Wall Street's Savvy Businessmen.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 12:03:23 PM PDT

  •  Running for public office to rob the public (0+ / 0-)

    It is kind of inspired piracy.  A lot more articulate than saying, "aaaarrrrgh."

    But no different.  Amazing that there is so much money to be made that there can be enough people aspiring to join the robbery to create the prospect of a majority in Congress.  

    Is this some kind of equivalent of lemmings on a march to drown in the sea?

    Are these people so limited in their thinking they do not see that they are living on a planet that includes a human race they are inseparable from?

    Sadly, the answer is yes.  

    What is the cure for massive stupidity?  Clearly research into this is needed.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Aug 19, 2012 at 12:45:42 PM PDT

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