'Don't Touch My Medicare.' Why is That Slogan Not Being Hurled Against the Ryan Plan?

Michael Santo's picture

When President Obama and the Democrats were working on the Health Care Reform law, the GOP and at least some of their constituents were railing about it affecting Medicare, which in fact it was never designed to do, yet now the Ryan plan aims to kill Medicare as it is now formulated.

It was a cry heard long and hard: "Don't touch my Medicare." Of course, those crying it didn't realize that the Democrat's health care bill, now long passed and signed into law, wasn't aimed at Medicare. Instead, it was aimed at bringing the U.S. into line with the rest of the industrialized nations, giving it a measure of universal health care.

Why, then, is there no massive outcry against the Paul Ryan budget plan, which would essentially emasculate Medicare? Actually, there is. Numerous polls have shown a majority of Americans against anything that would change medicare or social security. Despite this, the GOP continues to push for the Ryan plan. Why, many ask, since America is a republic (not a democracy)? Our representatives are supposed to do just that, represent their constituency.

The answer, according to Bernie Sanders, (I-VT), lies in the details of the Ryan plan. Speaking on the Thom Hartmann show on Friday, June 3 (podcasts available on iTunes), Sanders described the idea as this: each Medicare member will receive an $8,000 voucher. That voucher will be used to pay a private insurance company for a policy. Basically, that's it: the policy will cover costs.

The point is, as Sanders said to a caller, comparing it to her history with Medicare as it exists now, while Medicare paid for all of her stay in the hospital save $1,000 or so, the "new" Medicare would place most of the burden on her. Any who have experienced the vagaries of non-employer-based insurance knows that the death panels that the Democrat's health care plan were supposed to include are really represented by private insurance companies.

As Sanders and Hartmann put it, the Ryan plan is just another windfall for the private insurance industry. Those interested should possibly look up the ticker symbols for Aetna, Cigna, and others and start investing, some believe.

There's another aspect: although it won't affect anyone 55 or older, is it fair to change the rules on those who might have paid in for decades? After all, there's a Medicare deduction on your paycheck. Let's say you're 54, and you've been working since 22. 32 years of paying into Medicare, expecting a certain benefit, and they change the rules? Is that fair?

Randi Rhodes, speaking on her show on June 9, 2011, said that the GOP said the Democrats were trying to kill Medicare. Once they took over the House, the GOP suddenly reversed itself, wanting to kill Medicare itself, through the Ryan plan. What's worse is, on that same Thom Hartmann show (once again, podcasts on iTunes), he said high sources told him the GOP was planning to let the debt ceiling expire on Aug. 2, just enough to damage the economy SLIGHTLY. The reason: hopefully, they believe, voters will forget it was the GOP, not Obama, who screwed the economy in 2011.

There's only one word for playing with the lives of Americans in hopes of political gain: evil.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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