Friday, May 27, 2011

The Special Medicare Election, A New Medicare Popularity Poll, and More

In the face of evidence to the contrary, House Speaker John Boehner (R) attributed only a small part of the Republican loss in theNY-26 special election to the electorate's rejection of the GOP's actions to eliminate Medicare.  Yet, for once, everyone who followed the story even remotely knows otherwise.  Medicare was the driving and deciding issue. It's heartening that Americans are beginning to understand the value of Medicare and the crucial consequences of some of the Republican budgetary proposals.

More about the election:

               > VICTORY FOR MEDICARE: Democrat Wins Huge Upset

Meanwhile, as we well know, the Public Is StronglyAgainst Cutting Medicare.  This excellent article offers new polling information. "The conservative assault on government marches on.  Their latest trick is passage of the House Republican budget bill.  This bill takes direct aim at Medicare by proposing to cut funding for the program and turn it into a fixed amount voucher that seniors would have to use to purchase private health insurance.  To say this approach is unpopular is to considerably understate the case."  Excellent charts.

Predictably, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) disagrees with the media's coverage of Wednesday's Senate vote on the GOP's Medicare-privatizing budget.  He says they're not really ending Medicare.  However, according to the plan, after 10 years, Medicare hospital insurance would be phased out and replaced with a subsidy to buy "regulated" insurance on an exchange.  Looks like welfare for the insurance industry and less free choice for older health insurance consumers.

Let's face it;  Republicans are in trouble, because they do not understand the importance of Medicare.  Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), whose proposal to privatize Medicare has become the center of national controversy, now is viewed unfavorably by a plurality of voters back home in his perennial swing state. He's not the only one in trouble, as elected Republicans and potential candidates alter or spin their messages.

Yet, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Thursday -- for the first time -- that he supports the House Republicans' budget outline that calls for cuts to the federal deficit as well as federal programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. We'll have to see if he changes his position.

In the meantime, the Architect Of GOP’s Constitution Reading On House Floor Says Social Security And Medicare Are Unconstitutional.  In response to a constituent, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) agreed that Medicare isn't in the Constitution and said that the courts have stretched the document to say that it's allowed.  We're not sure if he would agree that the Constitution was created to "promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity."

But enough of the republican nonsense.  For much more thoughtful comments about some of Medicare's real problems, check out Medicare Fix Rose by any Other Name Still Has Thorns by Sheri and Allan Rivlin.  They point out some of the mistakes Democrats make when thinking about solving Medicare's problems.  It begins, "Republicans love the idea of a small government that gives people freedom to pursue their dreams without interference, believing that the free market can, almost magically, solve any problem.  At the same time, Republicans tend to overlook the problems that markets create.  It was from this dream that Republicans passed the budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) through the House of Representatives."

"The Ryan Budget relies on spending cuts exclusively to achieve deficit reduction -- and in its most controversial and ultimately unpopular provision, it replaces the 'Medicare as we know it' guarantee of health insurance for life with a voucher which future seniors can test for value in the free market."


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