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Archive for the ‘Medicare’ Category

Crooks & Liars

By karoli

August 11, 2012 06:00 AM

As I write, the only thing lacking is official confirmation by the Romney campaign that Mittens will adopt young Paul Ryan as his running mate. It would appear as though Mittens’ disaster-laden campaign of the past few weeks has prompted his billionaires to lay down the law and require Ryan as the Very Serious Running Mate.

Ah, yes. Paul Ryan, “zombie-eyed granny starver” extraordinaire. The guy who loved Ayn Rand until he didn’t.

Here’s a nice video of Paul Ryan. I’ll bet it would make a great commercial, this lovefest with Glenn Beck.

AUDIO

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Paul Ryan is a disaster, but that doesn’t mean the Villagers won’t treat him as a Very Serious VP Candidate Who Will Give Mittens A Much-Needed Bump. They will treat him that way. Meanwhile, the Very Serious conservatives will rejoice and forget Mitt is their candidate, substituting Paul Ryan in their minds for the first name on the ballot, and the Kochs will open their wallets wider for Their Black-Haired Boy. See, for example, the fawning by Chuck Todd and David Gregory over Ryan As Visionary.

I suppose that’s enough bashing for one post. (Can Ryan ever be bashed enough?) Let’s review some of the facts on Paul Ryan and whether he’s a good fit with Mitt:

Also? President Obama turns him into a whining, sniveling wimp.

I have a theory about why Ryan is the Boy Wonder, and no, it’s not the one that says Mitt is really Herman Munster and Ryan is his sixth son, Eddie. I think Mitt’s billionaires were tired of his very terrible, awful campaign and decided they’d better get the base fired up before they gave up entirely. And so word was passed to Mitt: It’s Ryan or we’re done with you.

After that, all that was left was tapping Tagg to fire TPaw and Rob Portman. Mitt seems to be quite good at delegating tasks, even firing people.

Over on the left, there is much rejoicing about Mitt’s the billionaires’ choice for the veep slot, and for good reason. After all, for eighteen months we’ve been trying to get the general electorate to see the do-nothing Congress in all its glory, from the debt ceiling debacle to the Ryan budget monstrosity to the zillionth meaningless vote to climb into women’s reproductive systems. Now it will be on display for all to see, naked, fat and ugly.

A few other random thoughts. Does anyone giggle at the thought that Bill Kristol picked Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan?  How will Newt Gingrich cover his tracks? Has anyone asked Paul Ryan about Ponzi schemes, particularly those he benefits from?

Who does Eddie Munster’s hair? Quick, hire them for Pretty Paul’s campaign appearances.

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TPM

Sahil Kapur May 1, 2012, 6:16 AM

In the first two years after “Obamacare” was signed, Medicare reforms in the law saved seniors a total of $3.4 billion in prescription drug costs by bridging a coverage gap, according to official figures.Over 220,000 beneficiaries have saved an average of $837 in the first three months of 2012, the Medicare agency said Monday. That’s on top of $3.2 billion in savings enjoyed by some 5.1 million seniors in 2010 and 2011 thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to the advisory on the new figures.The savings were wrung through a combination of discounts on Medicare prescription drugs — 50 percent on brand names, 7 percent on generics — and rebates for seniors who fell under a coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole.”

“The Affordable Care Act is helping millions on Medicare save billions of dollars on care and prescription drugs,” top Medicare official Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement. “The Affordable Care Act gives people on Medicare the relief they need from medical costs and more resources to stay healthy.”

The figures, circulated to reporters, reflect the administration’s latest attempt to highlight the successes of President Obama’s signature domestic achievement. Just last week, they released data showing that an “Obamacare” insurance regulation is yielding rebates for consumers and businesses who provide employees health care.

Republicans have instead seized on cost projections and some of the law’s failures, such as the now-neutered long-term care CLASS program, to paint the law as an expensive monstrosity. The dedicated stream of attacks from the law’s opponents, and ensuing partisan shouting matches that have defined debates of the law, has painted the legislation in a negative light.

Polls say Americans continue to view “Obamacare” unfavorably on balance. With a Supreme Court decision looming on its constitutionality, the law is shaping up to be an important issue in the November elections.

Image from Shutterstock

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Politico

By GLENN THRUSH|

3/20/12 7:17 PM EDT

Greg Mankiw, the Harvard professor who serves as one of Mitt Romney’s top economic advisers, has managed to take a shot at two key constituencies – Hispanics and seniors – in a single linked post on his popular economics blog.

Under the header “A Fiscal Solution,” Mankiw, who served as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, posted an uploaded photo of an unidentified newspaper clip, a joke, that read:

“Budget Cuts: The Immigration Department will start deporting seniors (instead of illegals) in order to lower Social Security and Medicare costs. Older people are easier to catch and less likely to remember how to get home.”

It’s unclear what the source of the original clip was – but it doesn’t appear to be The Onion. Mankiw offered no comment other than “Thanks to the reader who sent this along” – but he clearly thought it was funny.

If Mankiw was just a Harvard professor, the joke wouldn’t likely resonate. But he posted it on Tuesday – the day when Paul Ryan released a budget Democrats instantly decried as a Medicare killer and two days after Romney scored a big win in Puerto Rico’s primary – which counter the flurry of criticism he’s drawn from Hispanic groups for his embrace of the controversial “self-deportation” immigration strategy.

A Romney spokesperson referred calls to Mankiw. He later responded to an email query with this statement: “Obviously, it is not serious. A joke.”

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by Joan McCarter for Daily Kos

Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:20 PM PDT

The progressive advocacy group Americans United for Change is taking on the GOP, running versions of this ad on broadcast television in the districts of Reps. Steve King (R-IA), Sean Duffy (R-WI), Chip Cravaack (R-MN), and Paul Ryan (R-WI).

“What are House Republicans thinking asking millions of seniors, the less fortunate and the disabled to make more sacrifices and the richest among us to make less,” says AUC executive Tom McMahon in a statement.

If Republicans have their way, there would be no more guaranteed Medicare benefits for America’s seniors, only a guarantee of paying more and more out of pocket for less care after being left to the mercy to the private insurance industry. There would only be a guarantee that millions of Americans would lose their jobs – only a guarantee that America’s poor and disabled will live sicker and die younger while millionaires get another tax break they don’t need and the nation cannot afford. This is not a path to prosperity, only a path to bankrupting seniors so Paris Hilton and BP can have another tax break. And there’s nothing courageous about that.

The television ads are in addition to robocalls the organization began making last week in 23 districts for a total 360,000 calls. But Americans United for Change isn’t the only game in town. The House Majority PAC, a new Democratic Super PAC, has launched a six-figure ad buy with radio ads targeting 10 Republican House members.

In what it’s calling a “substantial” media buy, the House Majority PAC is rolling out 60-second radio spots accusing Republican members of voting to “gut Medicare.””Just days ago, Sean Duffy voted for the Republican budget plan that’s going to have the wealthiest Americans lining up at the trough,” says one spot targeting freshman Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.). “It protects billions in subsidies for big oil, and cuts taxes by trillions for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations. That’ll just make the deficit worse.”
….

The nine other GOP targets are Reps. Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Rick Crawford (Ark.), Allen West (Fla.), Chip Cravaack (Minn.), Charlie Bass (N.H.), Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.), Joe Heck (Nev.), Francisco “Quico” Canseco (Texas) and Blake Farenthold (Texas).

The biggest chunk is being spent against West, in FL-22. The good news is outside progressive and Democratic groups recognize the political value of protecting Medicare. Hopefully they’ll help convince Democratic electeds that the push for austerity and the subsequent hurt on the middle class is a really bad idea.

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Democrats Target John Boehner With Mocking Medicare Ad (VIDEO)

HuffPost- Michael McAuliff

First Posted: 04/20/11 09:37 AM ET Updated: 04/20/11 11:13 AM ET

This story has been updated to include additional reporting.

WASHINGTON — After getting mocked by GOP operatives for launching an “offensive” on 25 vulnerable Republicans with minuscule ad buys Tuesday, Democrats are turning the tables with a new stunt aimed at putting some muscle behind their Medicare media campaign.

And they’re doing it in the district of House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

In an email sent to supporters around 9 a.m. Wednesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Steve Israel challenged donors to pony up $25,000 by midnight — in order to run a pointed spot in Boehner’s backyard.

It would mark the DCCC’s first TV buy of the 2012 cycle.

“Let’s go big,” Israel writes, offering to splash the spot featuring an older man mowing lawns with his walker and doing a strip tease to afford his Medicare under the budget plan written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) earlier this month.

“After House Republicans rammed through a disgraceful budget that would end Medicare — while giving millionaires and billionaires another tax cut — we knew we had to have an eye-popping response,” Israel said.

“We just cut a creative new ad to break through the clutter and take the fight directly to Republican Speaker John Boehner,” he said. “I won’t ruin the ending for you, but trust me, this ad is like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”

The gambit comes a day after the DCCC launched a radio campaign that the National Republican Congressional Committee derided as both a scare tactic and a joke.

“[Democrats] are continuing to use partisan scare tactics and insist on the ability for Washington to continue spending money we don’t have,” the NRCC’s Paul Lindsay emailed reporters.

“Well, if you have heard their radio ad you’re one of the lucky few,” Lindsay added. “Based on early reports on the size of this buy, they are spending a whopping $60.00 in many of the 25 districts.”

$25,000 will likely impress the GOP a little more, especially in a district like Boehner’s where relatively small sums can go a long way.

The publicity also will likely aid the DCCC’s effort to spread the ad further.

WATCH:

UPDATE: 11:01 AM

Lindsay said he wasn’t tickled by the spot, and suggested the ad left out what was actually obscene — what he described as the Democrats’ unserious approach to the deficit.

“Steve Israel was smart to leave out the X-rated part of this ad,” Lindsay said. “That’s the version where Democrats tease Americans into believing their party is serious about tackling the deficit, dance around the issue until Medicare is obsolete, strip seniors of the benefits they have been promised, and force small businesses to foot the bill when the time is up.”

Democrats point to Congressional Budget Office estimates that say the GOP plan to shift seniors into the private insurance market with a voucher-like program will raise their out-of-pocket costs.

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Now Republicans are attacking Obama for not cutting Medicare Advantage

by Jed Lewison for Daily Kos

Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 08:10 AM PDT

AP:

Obama administration eases pain of Medicare cuts

Millions of seniors in popular private insurance plans offered through Medicare will be getting a reprieve from some of the most controversial cuts in President Barack Obama’s health care law.

In a policy shift critics see as political, the Health and Human Services department has decided to award quality bonuses to hundreds of Medicare Advantage plans rated merely average.

As you may recall, the health reform law cut subsidies for ineffective Medicare Advantage plans by about $150 billion over ten years because those plans cost more than traditional Medicare without delivering better care. Ending the subsidies was an obvious move to reduce spending on Medicare without compromising the quality of care, but Republicans like Karl Rove have attacked the policy shift as an attempt to pull the plug on grandma.

So now that the administration is granting a reprieve to many—though not all—of the Medicare Advantage plans that Republicans were so proudly defending, you’d think they would celebrate having saved grandma’s life. Except now that the administration is doing what they had said they wanted it to do in the first place, they’re still on attack:

In a recent letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, two prominent GOP lawmakers questioned what they termed the administration’s “newfound support” for Medicare Advantage.The shift “may represent a thinly veiled use of taxpayer dollars for political purposes,” wrote Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan. Camp chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees Medicare. Hatch is his counterpart as ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.

Republicans won an election in part by attacking the Obama administration over cuts to Medicare Advantage subsidies, but now that they have gotten their way, they are once again on the attack. For Hatch and Camp, this isn’t a matter of principle. It’s about opposing Obama because he’s their political enemy. They aren’t fighting for their ideas, or for what they think is right. They are fighting to save their own political ass. And it’s pathetic.

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