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Former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell  is promoting false information about Medicare to weaken support for it.

Former Democratic Governor Ed Rendell appeared Sept. 7 on Colbert to promote his book "A Nation of Wusses" in which he says "our leaders" are not brave enough to tell us the truth.

http://www.colbertnation.com/...

Starting at about 3:00 in the interview clip he gives his example of how the Democrats are not being honest.  He claims that since Medicare was enacted in 1965 life expectancy has gone from 69 years to 85 years and that the program "was never meant to cover 20 years of retirement."

In reality, "Life Expectancy" in the US has only gone up from 70 to 78  since Medicare was enacted:

http://www.google.com/...

But "Life expectancy" isn't relevant.  It includes the large number of people who die before they reach retirement age and never collect on Medicare.

The relevant figure is the additional life expectancy of people who do reach 65.  In 1965 that was about 13.5years for men and 18 years for women

http://www.ssa.gov/...

Today that is only up to 17 years for men 19.7 for women:

http://money.usnews.com/...

The years spent on Medicare have only gone up about 12% since 1965, not the 400% Ed Rendell is claiming.

Medicare was indeed meant to cover many more than 4 years of retirement.  

Some change will need to be made to accommodate the small increase in years spent in retirement but a proper solution won't be found if influential Democrats are intentionally trying to create panic.  

I'm sure Rendell is making the talk show rounds for his book and probably not getting challenged on this disinformation anymore than he did on the Colbert Show.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Gov. Cheesesteak says lots of stupid things. (5+ / 0-)

    In 2008, he said Sen. Obama could never win Pennsylvania.

    As late as October 2008, he was gnashing his teeth over the fact that Obama wasn't campaigning in Pennsylvania.

    Obama, of course, won Pennsylvania by 11% over Sen. McCain.

    It would be safer for all if Ed stuck to watching his favorite Philly sports teams and stopped commenting on things of substance.

    I'm not sure why folks like Chris Matthews and especially Rachel Maddow seem to hold Rendell in such high esteem.

    I understand Matthews' views, of course, because Matthews has this weird PA fixation and will be forever convinced that every single presidential election will be decided "by a guy with a lunch bucket in Scranton" (yes, maybe in 1956, Chris; not so much now).

    But Rachel should know better.

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:13:36 AM PDT

  •  Just... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    papahaha, Gary Norton

    ..keep in mind Stewart & Colbert fall victim to these book-pimping con-men (and women) as much as anybody else.

    They are there for the laughs, not the fact-checking.

    The booksters realize this & proceed accordingly.

    Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate. ~ Proverbs 22:22

    by wyvern on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:13:57 AM PDT

  •  Also, medicare tax rates have gone from .35% (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, tardis10, pgm 01, Mr Robert

    to 2.9%. In addition Medicare premiums have gone from $3/month to $97/month. As with SS Medicare has been continually changed to adjust to changing costs and demographics.

    Further, affiant sayeth not.

    by Gary Norton on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:19:19 AM PDT

  •  Money is a useful measure of relative value. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phonegery, Gary Norton, pgm 01

    However, it should not be taken as a measure of value itself.
    What is the value of a person in the prime of life continuing active and involved in the community? What is the value of a surgeon practicing his skill on people of all ages and learning from the elderly what has worked and what hasn't?
    No only is the money worthless in itself, but the money spent on medical care sustains the providers of the medical care, not the recipients. Most people would prefer not to get sick. If doctors and nurses and all the technicians who provide care had to depend on rich people getting sick, their employment opportunities would be few and far between.

    Medical care is a disutility. It is a lesser evil. Most people aren't keen to pay for what they don't want, especially when the outcome is uncertain. Lesser evils is what we organize government to provide. If it's a success, then real evil is avoided. Bush/Cheney didn't understand that; so they failed.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:22:07 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for the new word, and the concept (0+ / 0-)

      brought with it.  Disutility. Lesser evils is what we organize government to provide.

      Democrats - We represent America!

      by phonegery on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:31:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Only yesterday, my barber was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kck

      saying that Medicare is the reason that medical costs have gone up. He longed for the days when it only cost $10.00 for an office visit and $75.00 for taking care of a pregnancy. He is about 50 years old.

      I told him that I was born before WWII and I had a long memory about those times. I asked him what he thought people did before Medicare. He paused and said, "They had health insurance?"

      I remember those days before Medicare very very well, and they were filled with suffering for the elderly. Part of that was due to the fact that we didn't have the medical capabilities then that we have now, but it is also a fact that the advent of Medicare created a market for advanced drugs and prodecures which otherwise would never been developed or, at the least, made available to most old people.

      But, my barber still clung to the idea that Medicare is responsible for the rise in medical costs. I asked him how he knew that for a fact, and he said that several of his friends told him so. I wonder if he was talking about his friends at Fox?

      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

      by hestal on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 08:36:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  sometimes people say things in hopes of being (0+ / 0-)

        refuted.  So, it is important to challenge misinformation.
        Medical care costs more because we use more money to account for everything we do. Also, more people means using more money and more water and more food.
        The nice thing about money is that while it can be recycled like water and food, we can make as much as we need by issuing more, just as easily as we issue written congratulations.  Money is, after all, just a tangible token of an obligation and its value rests entirely on the honesty of the people who use it -- that they will honor their obligations down the road.  Which is why the congressional a threat not to honor the nation's obligations is so devastating.

        We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:02:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

          "Medical care costs more because we use more money to account for everything we do."

          Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

          by hestal on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 12:22:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Life expectancy is relevant (0+ / 0-)
    But "Life expectancy" isn't relevant.  It includes the large number of people who die before they reach retirement age and never collect on Medicare.

    The relevant figure is the additional life expectancy of people who do reach 65.  In 1965 that was about 13.5years for men and 18 years for women...Today that is only up to 17 years for men 19.7 for women

    If people who reach 65 are only living 2.7 to 3.5 years longer than they did in 1965, but the overall population is living 8 years longer, then a larger portion of the population is reaching age 65. Medicare has to cover a greater share of the population, for a longer time, than it did in 1965.

    Doesn't excuse Rendell for using bogus numbers, and it doesn't mean that steps haven't been taken to try to address the increase (see the Medicare tax increase mentioned above.) But life expectancy does matter.

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