Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Pay Attention Seniors
I know that I said that no one should be paying attention to the 30 second political ads, but I didn't factor in the play they would get in the media. Play close attention to the Paul Ryan interview where he stumbles and seems like he's looking for the exit gate. I've got to give credit to Brit Hume for putting aside his partisan views and instead using his journalistic skills in pinning down Paul Ryan. The reason Paul Ryan had the “the deer in the headlights look" is twofold, the first being, he was trying to say the right words that would not get him in trouble with his boss because it's no longer his plan. The second reason is that he is accusing President Obama of taking $716 billion out of Medicare to fund Obamacare. Brit Hume did his homework; he knows that the Ryan budget calls for the same $716 billion Medicare cuts, but his plan would short-change the beneficiaries; where is the president's cuts would short circuit the providers. The Romney/Ryan will include a repeal of the current healthcare plan. The Ryan plan did not have a provision to close the doughnut hole. The Ryan plan does not guarantee Medicare nor could it have anything that was provided in the affordable Health Care Act because the Republicans want to repeal it.
The GOP can no longer use the word "Mediscare" in describing their opponents because they are using the same tactic on the president.
The president did take $716 billion out of Medicare in over 10 years; to cut down the rate of growth, eliminate subsidizing the Medical Advantage program and remove wasteful expenditures. The president's action did not take a dime out of the Medicare recipient's pockets, in fact, fact some of that money went to preventive care for seniors, closing the doughnut hole in prescription-drug purchases because seniors are not excluded from the Affordable Health Care Act. The Republican legislators cannot say that Obama does not want to talk about reforming Medicare and say he took $716 billion out of Medicare at the same time without sounding hypocritical. You can't have it both ways.
I've got to give it to the Republicans because they are great campaigners. Several Republican legislators are using their moms in their ads saying," Sonny boy wouldn't take away Medicare from his mother." Oh' if she only knew. Every since its inception, Republicans have been trying to wither down Medicare enough for its eventual demise. Newt Gingrich famously said, "he would like to see Medicare “wither on the vine” and has supported plans to privatize Medicare.
I don't know of a single republican, and you can't walk ten feet in Victoria without running into one, who wants to privatize or get rid of Medicare. They have seen their parents, and grandparents praise the program and now they, themselves understand the meaning of guaranteed health care when you most need it. I would bet my last dollar that seniors would make the sacrifice to keep the guarantee of Medicare even if it meant paying co pays or paying a little more, but we must keep in mind that most of these people are on a fixed income.
The Ryan plan gradually raises the Medicare eligibility age to 67. That doesn't seem like a big deal since we are living longer, and it would save a lot of money. I don't normally use personal stories, but I don't think my personal example is out of the norm. When I retired, my blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress factors came down considerably, and I knew that in eight years I would be eligible for Medicare. I became an insulin-dependent type 2 diabetic at age 62. I have it under control, but I shudder to think of what would have happened if I didn't have health insurance. I can't imagine retiring at age 67 before starting a wellness program that Medicare provides. I still have Aetna, but I haven't used it for the two years other than Medco for my drugs, since I've been on Medicare because I haven't met the $2000 deductible. To make a long story short, our legislators have a great health care plan, but they don't have any idea what affect their policies will make on the average Joe. It's not always about what the Congressional Budget Office calculates.
I hope that we get back to discussing the issues because I caught a glimpse this morning of why people hate politics. This morning the host of "Morning Joe" Joe Scarborough was having a fit over a Democratic Super PAC ad accusing Mitt Romney of being responsible for a worker's wife dying of cancer just because Bain Capital shut down the plant, leaving the workers without health care. It is a fictitious ad because the wife had her own insurance, and she died six years after the plant closing. He was also angry about the words Joe Biden used yesterday at a campaign stump when he said, “Look at what they [Republicans] value, and look at their budget. And look what they’re proposing. [Romney] said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks write their own rules — unchain Wall Street,” Biden said a rally in Danville, Va. “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.” Both could be seen as crossing the line but that line was blurred a long time ago.
It's going to be a long 85 days but I would bet my life savings that if injected with sodium pentothal(truth serum) most republicans wishes that Romney and Ryan would have left Medicare out of the discussion for now because repealing Obamacare without a plan to take it's place and messing with Medicare is a scary political platform.