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House Majority Leader Eric Cantor speaks at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois, October 28, 2011. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)
Eric Cantor
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's big speech is done, the fourth or fifth slathering of lipstick in recent months on his porcine party. As promised, there's a lot of the same on policy, but made to sound just a little less Ayn Randian. That's particularly true on Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid.

What we got was very little in the way actual policy prescriptions beyond what we've already heard, the usual lies, and a few "real people" example to provide the lipstick part of this new, family-friendly part of this farce.

Lies first:

President Obama’s health care law resulted in higher premiums and costs for families, and has made access to quality health care and innovation tougher. If we want to reverse this trend, we should start by choosing to repeal the new taxes that are increasing the costs of health care and health insurance, like the medical device tax.
That's very truthy of him. Actually, the medical device tax doesn't really have anything to do with health insurance premiums nor to costs to families, because it doesn't apply to the kind of devices people themselves buy: eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids. And in real life, Obamacare has very little to do with rising insurance premiums.

Follow along below the fold for the sleight of hand on Medicare and Medicaid part of the show.

Here's where Cantor gets all compassionate conservative.

Many families, like mine, are dealing with the challenges presented by aging and very sick parents. They rely on Medicare for relief. In 1965 the federal government created Medicare modeled after the standard Blue-Cross Blue Shield insurance plan commonly available at that time. In the past 50 years both health care and health insurance have changed dramatically, but the government and Medicare have not kept pace.

Medicaid isn’t doing any better. Under the Medicaid system the rules are set in Washington, but much of the bills are paid in our state capitals. Collectively states are spending more on Medicaid than they do on K-12 education. And states don’t have the flexibility to innovate in order to lower costs and provide better care. [...]

We can modernize Medicare so it isn’t so complicated for seniors or health care providers and make it easier for them to get the care they need in a cost effective manner. [...]

We can provide states more flexibility with respect to Medicaid that will allow them to provide better care for low-income families in a way that ultimately lowers costs. Options for states should include streamlining the process for determining eligibility, and allowing them to offer health coverage through patient-directed health care or flexible benefit programs. And we must make it faster and simpler for states to gain approval of federal waivers to modify their Medicaid programs.

"Modernizing Medicare" is of course the voucher program. He's dressing it up it by saying that it would end "the arbitrary division between Part A, the hospital program, and Part B, the doctor services" and be less confusing for people. What he's not saying, of course, is that the Medicare voucher plan would simply shift more out-of-pocket costs to seniors, costs that would grow over time as the vouchers' value continued to shrink. Cost-shifting is also precisely what the GOP agenda for Medicaid, block-granting it, would do. The massive cuts called for in Paul Ryan's budgets, coupled with the block grant, would force states to have to pick up a increasing share of the costs.

There actually was nothing new in any of Cantor's proposals on health care, because there isn't anything new in the Republicans' proposals. It's a retread of Ryan's ideas that were so soundly rejected in 2012. Cantor just made sure not to use terms like "voucher" and "block grant" in describing them. He didn't even use a different shade of lipstick this time around, just a bigger trowel.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Feb 05, 2013 at 12:16 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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