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Republicans want to privatize Medicare IMMEDIATELY even for current recipients. Good idea?

Diane 2012/03/18 03:17:16
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‘Mediscare,’ Republican style



By Dana Milbank, Published: March 16



Are Republicans ready to be trusted with the reins of power?



If you’re thinking of answering this in the affirmative, you might want to pause long enough to learn what transpired on the third floor of the Capitol on Thursday. There, four prominent Republican lawmakers announced their
proposal to abolish Medicare — “sunset” was their pseudo-verb — even for those currently on the program or nearing retirement.



In Medicare’s place would be a private plan that would raise the eligibility age and shift trillions of dollars worth of health-care coverage from the government to the elderly. “This will be the new Medicare,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the proposal’s author, announced.



For years, Republicans have insisted that they would not end Medicare as we know it and that any changes to the program would not affect those in or near retirement. In the span of 20 minutes Thursday, they jettisoned both promises.



“The president and Harry Reid have been licking their chops for over three years now waiting for Republicans to actually try to deal with the large problems like Medicare,” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told reporters. “So, this is the moment they’ve been waiting for.”



He’s right about that. Don’t expect Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Mitch McConnell or John Boehner to take up the cry; the party leadership isn’t about to line up for abolishing the popular entitlement program. The real question is whether party leaders would be able to repel this conservative movement to end Medicare if Republicans gain control of the White House and Congress, where conservatives already dominate the GOP caucuses.



The end-Medicare sponsors are key figures: DeMint is the godfather of the Tea Party, and he was joined by Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), two conservative rising stars. Completing the foursome was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an influential thinker. Two other Republican senators, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, have introduced a somewhat related plan to deal with Medicare, and Rep. Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget would also privatize Medicare, though on a slower timetable.



But DeMint and his colleagues think the time to end Medicare is now — with a cold-turkey conversion to a private program, effective in 2014. “I think if Americans actually find out the truth about what we’re doing, it will be a very big positive for Republicans in the fall,” DeMint forecast.



All the details aren’t out, but Paul says his plan would cut funding of Medicare by $1 trillion over 10 years and reduce Medicare’s liabilities by $16 trillion. It would do that by enrolling Medicare recipients in the health plan now used by federal workers. The government would pay 75 percent of the insurance premium on average but 30 percent or less for those who earned more than $100,000 a year. The eligibility age would gradually be raised to 70 from 65. If seniors can’t afford their share of the premium, they can apply for Medicaid, the health program for the poor.



Paul claimed his idea came from the Democrats’ 2004 presidential platform. But John Kerry wanted to extend the federal employee health plan to the general population, not to Medicare recipients. The 2004 platform vowed to “oppose privatizing Medicare.”



At Thursday’s news conference, Jonathan Weisman of the New York Times pointed out that the lawmakers were proposing to do with Medicare almost exactly what President Obama’s reforms do for non-retirees: Direct them into private insurance with a subsidy for those who need it most.



Paul was flummoxed. “Uh, anybody want to comment on that?” he asked, producing laughter in the Senate TV studio.



DeMint gave it a try. “Medicare’s already set up as a government program, so we’re beginning to privatize with this idea,” he said. He said his plan takes Medicare recipients “out from under that manipulative umbrella of the Democratic Party.”



With each answer, the senators seemed in danger of sparking an all-out Mediscare in the populace. No, seniors could not opt to keep Medicare as it now exists. Yes, this would sharply
increase insurance costs for federal workers.



DeMint’s justification: Medicare will soon be dead anyway. “It is not going to be there in five or 10 years if we don’t do anything,” he reasoned.



True, Medicare is in trouble. But is killing it before it dies the best solution? “Trust me, it’s a good deal,” Graham assured the public. “We designed it. I can assure you, you will like it.”



Now there’s a winning slogan for 2012: Trust him — he’s a politician.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/dana-milbank/2011/02/24/ABhhJwI...
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Top Opinion

  • luvguins 2012/03/18 05:47:31
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    luvguins
    +19
    LOL. The president is going to love this. The GOP has trashed women, and now it's the elderly. I am seeing the Obama political campaign ads being drawn up now. Wait until those using Medicare hear this over and over in the Fall. We found out what they thought of Bush's privatization of Social Security. Rand Paul and Jim DeMint are lunatics that could only be elected in Southern redneck states. Are Republicans just stupid, suicidal, or want money for more wars with all this social engineering?

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  • Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~ 2012/03/20 22:10:28
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    Ali ~ In My Heart I Trust ~
    +1
    I read about this and scratched my head. Are these guys crazy?

    Personally, I've paid into this all my working life and they want to take it away? NO!

    no
  • aneed2know 2012/03/20 06:58:29
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    aneed2know
    +3
    of course its a horrible ideal, and if any elderly conservative thinks this is a great ideal, give me back the money that has been taken out of my check since i started working.
  • scbluesman13 2012/03/19 19:32:05
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    scbluesman13
    +2
    Paul Ryan is making a challenge for higher leadership in the house. He's trying to overstep Cantor to do it. And he's using the future of medical services for our country's elderly and infirm to do it. Don't let him get away with it.
  • #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT... 2012/03/18 23:23:05
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +5
    One of the most poignant statements was:

    “Trust me, it’s a good deal,” Graham assured the public. “We designed it. I can assure you, you will like it.”

    It kind of reminds me of a story that had either a crockadile or a snake & a small animal. The small animal was forced to trust the reptile & in the end lost its life because it was not in the reptile's nature to NOT eat that small animal. The poor in Arizona were forced to trust Jan Brewer & her death panels are still killing them off.
  • Lulu's Mom #Justic... 2012/03/20 21:37:56
    Lulu's Mom
    +2
    Good example!
  • Avenged7 2012/03/18 22:07:11
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    Avenged7
    +4
    As usual another plan by the right wing STINKS!!!! Any Plan that Rand Paul and Jim DeMint come up with, you know the American public will take it in the butt. These Tea Party guys will only make sure that the health insurance come out on top. When the B.P. oil spill happened, Paul was complaining about the government demanded to much money from B.P. to compensate businesses that were hurt from the spill. He didn't care about the small mom and pop businesses that were going out of business because of the spill. Only the Goliath B.P.
  • Jane 2012/03/18 21:57:07
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    Jane
    +4
    Privatizing would put greedy people in charge. SCARY
  • moonchild 2012/03/18 19:24:57
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    moonchild
    +8
    Republicans want to privatize everything.. and do away with regulations. Every elderly person out there has 'per-existing' conditions.. man they'll make money hand over fist while denying almost every retiree of basic medical care. Great idea!
  • mich52 2012/03/18 18:37:59
  • Jakedog 2012/03/18 18:29:22
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    Jakedog
    +7
    That is the biggest problem with our Medical System in this Country, is it's mostly Privately owned.
    If you want to lower the cost of Medical insurance and medical treatment get the private for profit out of it.
    What does an Insurance company add to medical treatment other than cost?
  • NarcolepticGoat 2012/03/18 18:20:57
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    NarcolepticGoat
    +9
    If the seniors can't afford it then they will fall back on medicaid? How long will medicaid last if medicare is successfully destroyed?
  • moonchild Narcole... 2012/03/18 19:28:56
    moonchild
    +7
    That is exactly what I thought when I read that.
  • #Justic... Narcole... 2012/03/18 23:26:00
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +4
    Let's not forget that last year Ryan planned on block granting Medicaid back to the states.
  • Narcole... #Justic... 2012/03/18 23:46:50
    NarcolepticGoat
    +3
    iow, not long
  • Lulu's Mom Narcole... 2012/03/20 21:39:27
    Lulu's Mom
    +1
    Good question!
  • Damocles 2012/03/18 17:42:49
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    Damocles
    +7
    Even with Medicare, my wife and I pay over $500 a month for part D and Medigap insurance. If they privatize the whole thing, it will take the whole Social Security check to just have medical coverage. Forget maintaining a house and utilities. Then there is the unfortunate habit we have of eating. Hard habit to break.
  • #Justic... Damocles 2012/03/18 23:31:55
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +5
    Alan Grayson's words were prophesy & we're seeing it unfold before our eyes. We're seeing the handwriting on the wall before our eyes. Better run them TeaTHUGnicans out of Congress in November before this video becomes OUR reality!

  • SneakyPete 2012/03/18 16:01:15
    Yes, it's a good idea.
    SneakyPete
    At least give an individual the choice of choosing which way to go, Private of Medicare.
  • Diane SneakyPete 2012/03/19 23:01:47
    Diane
    +1
    Read the article again. There would be no choice with this plan. You would not be allowed to stay on Medicare. Starting in 2014, there would be no Medicare.

    From the article:

    Four prominent Republican lawmakers announced their proposal to abolish Medicare — “sunset” was their pseudo-verb — even for those currently on the program or nearing retirement.

    In Medicare’s place would be a private plan that would raise the eligibility age and shift trillions of dollars worth of health-care coverage from the government to the elderly. “This will be the new Medicare,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the proposal’s author, announced.
    [...]
    But DeMint and his colleagues think the time to end Medicare is now — with a cold-turkey conversion to a private program, effective in 2014.
  • aneed2know SneakyPete 2012/03/20 06:59:50
    aneed2know
    +1
    okay then will you stop receiving medicare?
  • C. C. Rider 2012/03/18 14:36:56
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    C. C. Rider
    +9
    Cons need to realize this will not happen. Every idea they have had to make money for this country has fallen flat into bankruptcy. I think they should privatize what the go'vt pays them. Let their damn voters support them. They can step up to the plate and be the first to REFUSE their caddilac of insurance AND retirement we pay for, the perks we pay for and of course their paychecks. COME on CONS get on board with that.



    cartoons on privatizing medicare refuse caddilac insurance retirement pay perks pay paychecks cons board cartoons on privatizing medicare
  • Raymond Allamby 2012/03/18 14:24:49
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    Raymond Allamby
    +8
    i think we should round up all the right wingers, and put them into forced labor camps for eternity. maybe then they can be useful.
  • C. C. R... Raymond... 2012/03/18 14:37:59
    C. C. Rider
    +8
    LMAO FOR SURE
  • Sinpac 2012/03/18 13:51:53
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    Sinpac
    +11
    Kinda like what happen to my pension? Gambling with my money on wall-street was BullSH!T Now they want to gamble with Medicare.
  • No, it's a terrible idea.
    Gยเtคг Plคאєг ( JFK Democrat )
    +9
    I remember something i heard on the news about people ranting and telling the Democrats to keep their government hands off their medicare. lol
  • Lady Whitewolf 2012/03/18 10:20:31
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    Lady Whitewolf
    +9
    I second Melly!!!!
  • ehrhornp 2012/03/18 07:51:31
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    ehrhornp
    +8
    For sure the program will be run into the ground.
  • A Founding Father 2012/03/18 07:37:28
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    A Founding Father
    +4
    What about "Medicare" is there to "Privatize"? All the medical services paid for by Medicare are already provided by private physicians and corporations, which is the
    reason the costs keep increasing at two or three times the rate of inflation in the rest
    of the economy. But, Medicare is simply a group of laws, regulations, and mechanisms
    to pay the private services. The payment processes are already provided by private
    companies. Warren Buffet once said that Medicare had paid his companies over $8 Billion just to process the paperwork. What would a "private" company do except to
    maybe add another layer of overhead and profits to the existing system and perhaps
    approve more fraudulent billings?
  • Gir 2012/03/18 06:39:40 (edited)
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    Gir
    +2
    I haven't actually seen this bill yet. What is it called? Is it in the house or the senate?

    EDIT: Sorry I saw it now, looks like some light reading. Early impressions are "Bad Idea" but I will read on.
  • The Electrician 2012/03/18 06:33:11 (edited)
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    The Electrician
    +13
    I've been on Medicare for 2 years, Nothing wrong with it. Leave it alone. Social Security is the most successful social program in the country. The "greedy" GOP will get their hands on that money and we'll be a 3rd World nation in a matter of months. They managed to deregulate almost everything else and destroy the country. it will take us another 12 to 16 years to recover from this "Depression" just as it took to recover from the last one.
  • Diane The Ele... 2012/03/18 14:45:14
    Diane
    +5
    I absolutely agree. I hope it doesn't take 12 to 16 years to recover. I've heard some economists say seven years. I hope by 2015 economic conditions will be better.
  • The Thinking Woman 2012/03/18 05:58:36
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    The Thinking Woman
    +12
    In that case, you might as well sign death certificates for about 90% of the nation's elderly. This is absolutely sickening.
  • Lady Wh... The Thi... 2012/03/18 10:23:41
    Lady Whitewolf
    +8
    agreed
  • #Justic... The Thi... 2012/03/18 23:40:03
    #Justice4Trayvon 629 BLOCKT CONS
    +5
    Alan Grayson called it correctly at the beginning of President Obama's administration.
  • scblues... #Justic... 2012/03/19 19:33:40
    scbluesman13
    +4
    He certainly did.
  • jeepster4 2012/03/18 05:57:17
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    jeepster4
    +12
    The Republican's might as well try now, while they have a majority in the house, because they probably will not have a majority in the house or senate again after 2012. The Republicans, as they stand now, will have to reform themselves as a true conservative party instead of a tool of the RWNJs of the world before they stand a chance of winning a majority again.
  • Diane jeepster4 2012/03/18 14:52:01
    Diane
    +6
    What do you consider a true conservative, as opposed to RWNJs? I think the Democratic Party is more responsible. They want to balance spending cuts with revenue increases, paid for by those who can afford it. And the Democratic Party will protect Medicare.
  • jeepster4 Diane 2012/03/18 19:14:11
    jeepster4
    +4
    It's kind of like porn, i.e. I'll know a conservative when I see one...This bunch of spend and borrow neocons who kiss the tails of the religious fanatics aren't conservatives.
  • luvguins 2012/03/18 05:47:31
    No, it's a terrible idea.
    luvguins
    +19
    LOL. The president is going to love this. The GOP has trashed women, and now it's the elderly. I am seeing the Obama political campaign ads being drawn up now. Wait until those using Medicare hear this over and over in the Fall. We found out what they thought of Bush's privatization of Social Security. Rand Paul and Jim DeMint are lunatics that could only be elected in Southern redneck states. Are Republicans just stupid, suicidal, or want money for more wars with all this social engineering?
  • Lady Wh... luvguins 2012/03/18 10:24:31
    Lady Whitewolf
    +9
    LOLZ agreed!

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