Sunday, May 29, 2011

Republicans Deny Medicare, Democrats Deny Problems, JFK's Historic Medicare Speech

The GOP continues to minimize the political importance of Medicare, even as they continue their assault:  McConnell Downplays the Politics of Medicare.  "Senator Mitch McConnell knows one of the golden rules of politics: when your friends are down, do some punching on their behalf.  Mr. McConnell, the Senate minority leader, took advantage of a quiet Friday morning before a holiday weekend to make some things clear on behalf of his party:  the defeat of a Republican in a New York special election portends nothing; any compromise to lift the debt ceiling will include a reshaping of the Medicare program but not tax increases; and Bill Clinton agrees with Republicans."

It makes sense that the harmful changes in Medicare sought by Republicans also will create problems for the ability of Social Security to provide income security for older and disabled Americans.  Here's a new analysis demonstrating just that:  Republican Medicare Proposal Erodes Social Security. "Forty Republican Senators and 235 Republican House members have voted not just to eliminate Medicare, eviscerate Medicaid, and give the wealthy and corporations even bigger tax breaks.  They've also gone on record in support of eroding Social Security benefits.  That's analysis from Social Security Works and the Strengthen Social Security Campaign.  Even though the Republican plan doesn't directly cut Social Security, the increased costs to seniors for Medicare would continuously erode the value of Social Security benefits, and by 2014 [sic -- they mean 2041], '19 years after the Medicare voucher begins—an average worker’s Social Security benefit is estimated to be worth less than their Medicare costs.'"  Here's the analysis -- Republican Medicare Plan’s Increased Costs to Seniors Will Consume Social Security Benefits Needed to Live.

What’s really scary? Acting like nothing’s wrong with Medicare.  And we agree.  Democrats and Liberals deserve a spanking for not taking a serious look at how to fix Medicare's real problems, and this is it.  "If Medicare reform is on life support, it’s not because of a special election in upstate New York or the Senate’s rejection of the House GOP budget plan.  It’s because one side wants to air TV commercials of a dark-suited Republican pushing grandma off a cliff, while pursuing a path of neglect that would let her die bed-ridden and alone.  There can be no 'hands off Medicare' policy.  Either your hands are busy trying to fix the indisputably broken program, or your hands are holding it down, helping it collapse under its own unbearable weight."  We need more hands on deck fixing Medicare.

A Little History:  At a Medical Care for the Aged rally at Madison Square Garden on May 20, 1962 -- almost exactly 49 years ago, President John F. Kennedy spoke about the need for medical care for the aged:  "Now why are we here?  What is the issue which divides and arouses so much concern?  I will take a case which may be typical, a family which may be found in any part of the United States.

"The husband has worked hard all his life and he is retired.  He might have been a clerk or a salesman or on the road or worked in a factory, stores, or whatever.  He's always wanted to pay his own way.  He does not ask anyone to care for him; he wants to care for himself.  He has raised his own family, he has educated them -- his children are now on their own.  He and his wife are drawing social security, it may run seventy-five dollars, a hundred, hundred and twenty-five in the higher brackets let's say it's a hundred.  He has a pension from where he worked, the results of years of effort.

"Now, therefore, his basic needs are taken care of.  He owns his house.  He has twenty-five hundred or three thousand dollars in the bank.  And then his wife gets sick -- and we're all going to be in a hospital, 9 out of 10 of us, before we finally pass away, and particularly when we're over 65 -- now she is sick, not just for a week but for a long time.  First goes the twenty-five hundred dollars -- that's gone.  Next he mortgages his house, even though he may have some difficulty making the payments out of his social security.  Then he goes to his children, who themselves are heavily burdened because they're paying for their houses and they are paying for their sicknesses, and they want to educate their children.  Then their savings begin to go."

"So therefore now, what is he going to do?  His savings are gone -- his children's savings, they're contributing though they have responsibilities of their own -- and he finally goes in and signs a petition saying he's broke and needs assistance."


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