So Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who best exemplifies the soulless Randroid bean-counting dweeb demographic, has decided to release his plan to “reform” entitlements this week. As you can imagine, it completely sucks:
Ryan also said that he would propose changing Medicare, the popular health program for seniors, into what he called a “premium support plan” similar to the Medicare prescription drug program. […]
Seniors would be able to pick from a list of private plans competing for their business, Ryan said. Seniors would pick the plan of their choosing, and Medicare would subsidize that coverage.
Children, let’s stop and think about this for a moment.
Do you know why Medicare was established in the first place? That’s right — because retirees had difficulty getting affordable health insurance due to their higher medical liabilities. And of course, even those who could afford such insurance would find their policies rescinded if their care got too expensive — in essence, a private-sector death panel.
So we created Medicare! And it has been one of the most successful government programs of the past century, helping countless seniors get quality care without putting themselves into bankruptcy paying for private insurance. And now Paul Ryan wants to turn it into another corporate welfare scam.
As Ezra Klein notes, this is not going to improve care or really even save money:
The current Medicare program would be dissolved and the next generation of seniors would choose from Medicare-certified private plans on an exchange. But that wouldn’t save money. In fact, it would cost money. As the Congressional Budget Office has said (pdf), since Medicare is cheaper than private insurance, beneficiaries will see “higher premiums in the private market for a package of benefits similar to that currently provided by Medicare.” […]
In both cases, what saves money is not the reform. It’s the cut. For Medicare, the cut is that the government wouldn’t cover the full cost of the private Medicare plans, and the portion they would cover is set to shrink as time goes on.
Hear that, Granny? Your health care is about to be sacrificed at the altar of Aetna and Cigna! I hope you like it!
But hey, not everyone’s doing quite so poorly. Take a look at what Charlie Sheen’s been up to: