There has been lots of buzz the past few weeks about Paul Ryan’s plan to abolish Medicare to help Republicans lower their deficit. Why they focus on demolishing Medicare rather than on reducing military spending, I’ll never understand, but that is just me.
Here is all you really need to know about the Republican Medicare strategy: Seniors will pay a lot more for medical care under the Ryan Plan.
If you want to really understand why this is so, I recommend you turn to the always informative James Kwak at the Baseline Scenario blog. He wrote several excellent posts last week discussing the issues surrounding Medicare and how they could be addressed.
Now For The Important Part
If you are over 55, you may have already decided that this debate doesn’t concern you. Don’t make that mistake.
The Ryan plan has been designed so that the over 55 population will pay as little attention as possible. This is a transparent, cynical attempt to take the citizens who know the most about this issue out of the debate.
Think about it. Which segment of the population knows the most about Medicare? (Okay, besides health care providers.) The answer is the Seniors who are already covered by it. Most Seniors are satisfied with Medicare. So what does the Ryan plan do? It takes them out of the debate. No one who currently receives Medicare will be affected by the Ryan Plan. Hear that sound? It’s the sound of everyone over 65 losing interest. Mission Accomplished.
Okay, next question. What segment of the population is most concerned about their health care costs? Could it be people in their 50s who have been watching their health insurance premiums and co-pays and deductibles rise and rise and rise just as they themselves are starting to need more healthcare? Ah, well they don’t have to worry. The Ryan plan will not affect anyone over 55 either. Hear that sound? It’s a heavy sigh of relief from about 35 million citizens.
So who is left to worry about the Ryan Plan? Let’s see, could it be the young, healthy 20 or 30-somethings who feel great and don’t think they will ever get sick? Or maybe the 40-somethings who are being told (falsely) that Medicare is bankrupt and won’t be around for them anyway?
Divide and conquer
It is all a craven political ploy, typical of modern day Republican politicians. Take the people who know and care about the issue out of the debate. Then lie to anyone else who is paying attention until you convince enough of them something bad is going to happen no matter what. Then say, “Hey, we will give you a voucher when you turn 65 to help you with medical costs. It’s better than nothing.”
Voilà! The only decent, working aspect of the US healthcare financing system is destroyed.
Don’t let it happen.
Pay attention. Read and learn. Share your knowledge. Help protect what works about the US healthcare financing system and demand that politicians fix what doesn’t.