Medicare reform?

Demagoguing Medicare reform proposals.  From the Washington Post fact checker:

“The Republicans have a plan to end Medicare as we know it. What they would do is they would take the people who are younger than 55 years old today and tell them, ‘You know what? You’re on your own. Go and find private health insurance in the health-care insurance market. We’re going to throw you to the wolves and allow insurance companies to deny you coverage and drop you for pre-existing conditions. We’re going to give you X amount of dollars and you figure it out.’ ”

— Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee, May 29, 2011

Something about the debate over Medicare prompts eye-popping rhetoric. A few weeks ago, it was Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying the Republican plan for Medicare would let cancer patients “die sooner.” This weekend, on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Wasserman Schultz said Republicans would “throw you to the wolves.”

We’ve previously taken Republicans to task for claiming their plan is “a system just like members of Congress and federal employees have.” Not so. We also criticized Sebelius for her assertion. So where does the DNC leader stand in this collection of conflicting claims?

The Facts

The current Medicare system, in place since the mid-1960s, is essentially a government-run health care program, with hospital and doctors fees paid by the government, though beneficiaries also pay premiums for some services as well as deductibles and coinsurance. The new system envisioned by House Republicans would transform Medicare into a competitive market for people who are now younger than 55.

Retirees would get from the government what Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, calls “premium support” — a set payment adjusted to inflation; they would use that money to pick from a range of plans offered by insurance companies through what is termed a Medicare exchange. Democrats tend to refer to this payment by the more ominous-sounding word “voucher.”

Wasserman Schultz did not say voucher, but her statement suggests that people would be handed a check (“X number of dollars”) and then have to go out and find a plan that they can afford. She also said the plan would “allow insurance companies to deny you coverage and drop you for pre-existing conditions.”

Neither of those claims are true. The system as envisioned by Republicans would operate much like the Medicare prescription drug plan currently does. The government would not give people a check or anything like that; the government would handle the funds, just as they do under the drug plan. As the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said when it examined the plan, “The premium support payments would go directly from the government to the plans that people selected.”

Meanwhile, different plans approved by Medicare would compete for business, as under the drug plan. Moreover, the GOP proposal specifically says that to participate in the Medicare exchange, insurance companies would have to accept all retirees.

via Wasserman Schultz’s bogus claim that the GOP Medicare plan will ‘throw you to the wolves’ – The Fact Checker – The Washington Post.

Actually, the proposal sounds like the Democrats’ health care program that everyone will be on! If that is so, why are (1) Republicans for it, and (2) why are Democrats against it?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Kirk

    1. Because a Republican proposed it. 2. Because a Republican proposed it.

  • Kirk

    1. Because a Republican proposed it. 2. Because a Republican proposed it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @1

    Yup.

    Corollary

    Rep = Dem

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @1

    Yup.

    Corollary

    Rep = Dem

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Part of the bizaare support/rejection is that for many Democrats, Obamacare is just a step on the road to single payer, which Medicare is. Taking Medicare a step away from single payer is a step in the right direction for the GOP, but the “wrong” direction for liberal Democrats.

    That said, the big issue here is that unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security are, according to the latest accounting reports, over $100 trillion. There is no realistic tax that can rescue these programs as they currently stand, and anyone who argues against it (like our President) can only be called fundamentally unserious about the issue.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Part of the bizaare support/rejection is that for many Democrats, Obamacare is just a step on the road to single payer, which Medicare is. Taking Medicare a step away from single payer is a step in the right direction for the GOP, but the “wrong” direction for liberal Democrats.

    That said, the big issue here is that unfunded liabilities for Medicare and Social Security are, according to the latest accounting reports, over $100 trillion. There is no realistic tax that can rescue these programs as they currently stand, and anyone who argues against it (like our President) can only be called fundamentally unserious about the issue.

  • Jeremy

    What I don’t get is how any male under 65 doesn’t support the new health care plan. I know a man who is in his 40s, has his own company, and is unable to get health insurance because of a preexisting condition. If he would have been elderly or a pregnant woman, or child, he would be getting free health care from the government. His taxes pay for coverage for other people that he himself can’t get. When my cousin was in med school, he was kicked of his parent’s insurance. Yet both of these people are against the new health care laws. It blows my mind.

  • Jeremy

    What I don’t get is how any male under 65 doesn’t support the new health care plan. I know a man who is in his 40s, has his own company, and is unable to get health insurance because of a preexisting condition. If he would have been elderly or a pregnant woman, or child, he would be getting free health care from the government. His taxes pay for coverage for other people that he himself can’t get. When my cousin was in med school, he was kicked of his parent’s insurance. Yet both of these people are against the new health care laws. It blows my mind.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What I don’t get is how any male under 65 doesn’t support the new health care plan.”

    Probably suffers from future time orientation.

    I was thinking about the health care bill and why the gov’t is so gung ho to do it. I was reminded of an article I read on balance sheets. Liabilities and assets can be fudged, but not cash flow. A system that will lead to more gov’t control will help them better manage cash flow. Our unfunded liabilities, debts and deficits make our bonds look less attractive and our gov’t insolvent. However, if the gov’t can control more of the economy, it can have more control over its cash flow.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “What I don’t get is how any male under 65 doesn’t support the new health care plan.”

    Probably suffers from future time orientation.

    I was thinking about the health care bill and why the gov’t is so gung ho to do it. I was reminded of an article I read on balance sheets. Liabilities and assets can be fudged, but not cash flow. A system that will lead to more gov’t control will help them better manage cash flow. Our unfunded liabilities, debts and deficits make our bonds look less attractive and our gov’t insolvent. However, if the gov’t can control more of the economy, it can have more control over its cash flow.

  • Arfies

    What bothers me is the seeming indifference of politicians to anything except their own re-election. We don’t really know what they are proposing because of the obfuscation that they practice and the half-baked ideas that they tout. As a retiree with renal failure, I am deeply grateful for the help I get from Medicare and my supplemental insurance; without that help I might as well buy a grave site and get ready to occupy it. With that help, I am able to live a fairly active life and enjoy my grandchildren. The laws that Obama and our Congress generate affect me deeply, but I don’t have much confidence in them.

  • Arfies

    What bothers me is the seeming indifference of politicians to anything except their own re-election. We don’t really know what they are proposing because of the obfuscation that they practice and the half-baked ideas that they tout. As a retiree with renal failure, I am deeply grateful for the help I get from Medicare and my supplemental insurance; without that help I might as well buy a grave site and get ready to occupy it. With that help, I am able to live a fairly active life and enjoy my grandchildren. The laws that Obama and our Congress generate affect me deeply, but I don’t have much confidence in them.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Arfies, the politicians are only as adult as the electorate demands…

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Arfies, the politicians are only as adult as the electorate demands…

  • helen

    Arfies @ 6
    What bothers me is the seeming indifference of politicians to anything except their own re-election.

    What else?
    A couple of terms down the road they are eligible for a retirement that any “ordinary Joe” can only dream of, plus a cadillac health plan. They exempt themselves from the laws they pass for the rest of us.
    It’s “I’ve got mine. Tough about you.”

  • helen

    Arfies @ 6
    What bothers me is the seeming indifference of politicians to anything except their own re-election.

    What else?
    A couple of terms down the road they are eligible for a retirement that any “ordinary Joe” can only dream of, plus a cadillac health plan. They exempt themselves from the laws they pass for the rest of us.
    It’s “I’ve got mine. Tough about you.”


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