Saturday, May 28, 2011

Republicans Continue Decades-Long Hostility to Medicare, GOP Ups the Pressure, The Constitutionality of Medicare

The Republican hostility to Medicare has never been more evident than it has been of late.  I think the Tea Partiers have emboldened (or simply energized) the Republicans, and now their intentions are more evident than ever before.  (Does anyone remember when you could be a Republican and NOT a be Conservative?  I do.)  They may pretend otherwise, but Republicans have been trying to weaken Medicare for years.  If the public really does support Medicare, how can the Republicans be taking such a political risk?  Or isn't it a risk at all?

Here's the full story:  House Republicans Have Voted To Cut Over $1 TRILLION From Medicare Since 1991.  "While Republicans in both chambers of Congress continue to spread the falsehood that Democratic health care reform cuts Medicare (it doesn't) [note their related strategy below], House Republicans have in fact voted to cut $1.02 trillion from Medicare since 1991 - on top of their refusals to increase payments to Medicare physicians."

How do the Republicans discount the public support for Medicare?  Well, regarding their stunning loss in the NY-26 special election, after making all manner of excuses for their loss (but never fully acknowledging the importance of Medicare), they now say their own candidate -- in a heavily favored Republican district -- was inferior.

Meanwhile, the pressure mounts and the stakes get higher as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he won’t agree to raise the debt limit without Medicare cuts.  He is completely against "entitlements," and says Medicare cuts must be part of the debt limit deal to get his support, and it doesn't matter if negotiators find trillions of dollars in savings elsewhere.  Medicare must be cut.  This appears to be the GOP strategy for getting themselves out of their Medicare mess; get the Democrats to let them off the hook by voting against Medicare. McConnell even invoked President Bill Clinton's name.

When will it end?  Apparently, not as long as there's a Republican / Conservative/ Libertarian / Tea Partier in Congress -- or at least not as long as regressives favor the privileged and ignore the common good.  Give them credit for their persistence.  They don't like Medicare; they don't want Medicare; they are serious; and they won't give up.

Lately, I have been wondering about the false claims that Medicare is unconstitutional.  I know the world has changed and that our country and the American people are different than when the United Sates was founded.  But what about the idea that Medicare is unconstitutional?  Check out this out:  Conservatives Calling to End Social Security and Medicare Are Misinterpreting Constitution. "Numerous lawmakers embrace a discredited theory of the Constitution that would not only end Medicare outright but also cause countless other cherished programs to be declared unconstitutional."

For more, see The Fake James Madison.  "Under the Constitution, national leaders are free to spend money in any way they choose so long as they do so to 'provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.'  For this reason, laws such as Medicare and Social Security are obviously constitutional because they both raise and spend money to the benefit of all Americans upon their retirement.  Many members of Congress, however, do not believe the Constitution’s words mean what they say they mean."  Interesting and informative.


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