Republicans want to turn Medicare over to the insurance companies. They’ve been so kind and helpful to us all.

Republicans have always hated Medicare, but most Americans have always loved it. Now, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republicans are trying to kill it once and for all.

When JFK and LBJ proposed and passed it, Ronald Reagan called Medicare socialism and warned that it would lead to the end of freedom. If Medicare passed, the Gipper said, “… one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”

A half-century after Reagan’s dire warning, I suspect most Americans see Medicare — the single-payer health system that covers seniors — as an essential element of our freedom. But not Congressman Ryan, nor many other Republicans. Ryan would end Medicare as we know it, replacing it with a voucher that seniors would take to insurance companies, upon whose tender mercies their lives and health would then depend…

There is no doubt that Mr. Ryan is bright. He is also engaging and charming. But forgive me if I fail to see the courage in a young and privileged man harming the most vulnerable while rewarding the most wealthy. Born to a family whose 125-year-old corporation boasts that it is “one of the nation’s largest site-work contractors,” Mr. Ryan won the genetic lottery. There is no doubt that his great-grandfather worked hard to build that company. But a century and a quarter later, young Mr. Ryan — who estimates his net worth at up to $2.4 million — has no calluses on his hands. Just on his heart.

The question for Republicans is, will they follow Ryan’s plan? The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says that under Ryan’s plan, “most elderly people would pay more for their health care than they would under the current Medicare system.”

A lot more. In fact, under Medicare, a 65-year-old would pay just 25% of the total cost of her or his health care coverage.

Under the Ryan Republican plan, that jumps to 68%. (Individuals currently 55 or older would not be affected by the changes.)

If Republicans follow Ryan like lemmings, they should not be surprised when they find they’ve taken a firm step into thin air. Back in 1995, Newt Gingrich virtually assured President Bill Clinton’s re-election by proposing $270 billion in cuts to Medicare…

Clinton’s defense of Medicare was so central to his re-election that the word “Medicare” appears 49 times in his two debates with Sen. Bob Dole…

Medicare – like Social Security – is a single payer system that is run by our federal government at an efficiency rate about 4 times better than the average corporation. The cost of management for either socially-beneficial plan is less than 4% of the operating budget. American corporations think they’re mean and lean if they get down to 16%. Insurance companies? Well, they don’t even pretend to be mean and lean.

Funding either mandate is already covered a decade or so out into the future – if we can keep Republicans from screwing it up. And all any revision need do to guarantee more solvency – is require every American to pay their fair share. No loopholes. No break for the wealthy. A fair share for all and no subsidy for insurance companies.

They don’t need it anymore than do the oil companies.

4 thoughts on “Republicans want to turn Medicare over to the insurance companies. They’ve been so kind and helpful to us all.

  1. Mr. Fusion says:

    This will go as far and as fast as Bush’s idea of privatizing Social Security. AND it does give the Democrats ammunition to feed nervous Americans.

  2. Misanthropic Scott says:

    What we desperately need is medicare for all. What we have is a propaganda system running virtually unopposed that tells people to vote against their own self-interest.

    The problem is that we never hear the other side. Those who speak of medicare for all instead of medicare for none are labeled crackpots.

    We no longer have a two party system. We have the old school republicans now calling themselves democrats and the radical right-wing nutjobs calling themselves republicans. So, it’s just republicans versus uber-republicans.

    When we the idiots voted out the democraps in favor of the repugnicans this last time, it wasn’t because we believed the same old Voodoo-Reaganomics would cure anything. It was because there was no alternative being offered.

    There are some differences between the repugnicans and the uber-repugnicans in terms of human rights. But, in economics, Ayn Rand/Ronald Reagan (Rayn Reagand?) reigns supreme and unchallenged.

    Must we wait for the middle class to become so poor that McDs and Faux Spews no longer satisfy them? Must we wait for a revolution?

    Where are the values that built this once-great almost-nation?

  3. exult49 says:

    Unfortunately ignorance about alternatves is too great in USA. In Europe we have an almost perfect system. When my american wife received a card from the city hall in Italy asking her to have her mammography,pap and uterus test, she could not believe her eyes. Yes, they were calling her for a 100% free of costs medical preventive test because she was over 38 years. In national health systems the preventive medicine realizes more than 35% reduction of general costs.Immunization for children is also free and since 2009 the cervix immunization against cancer for girls under 12. This is a caretaker civilized society,not the insurances lobby you are supporting.

    • Mr. Fusion says:

      The difference is in preventive medicine and reactive medicine.

      Generally Universal Healthcare cares more about stopping the illness before it starts or as soon as it becomes noticed. American medicine is much more about reacting to a problem after it happens when the treatment becomes so much more expensive.

      One of the few exceptions to that is the campaign against tobacco. Even there, however, there are still those who deny tobacco causes any problems.

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