Friday, June 17, 2011

Democrats & AARP Take the Offensive, House Republican Districts Hardest Hit by Ryan Plan

Some Democratic Senators are now arguing, correctly and forcefully, that the health reform law reins in Medicare -- emphasizing cost control without benefit cuts.  "Top Senate Democrats argue that if Republicans want to find savings in Medicare, they can build on the health care reform law passed last year instead of cutting benefits.  'The Affordable Care Act makes significant changes to our health care system to control health care costs, changes that are already under way,' several Senate Democrats write in a letter to be sent to Republican Leader Mitch McConnell today.  'To protect Medicare, we should build on these kinds of delivery system reforms, rather than cut seniors’ benefits.'"  It's good that the Democrats finally are speaking out in a more unified and coherent manner.

Apparently following the lead of other organizations, AARP Launches Second Ad To Fight GOP Medicare Plan.  "Maybe the government should cut funding for treadmills for shrimp and poetry in zoos before hacking away at Medicare or Social Security, the influential lobby for older Americans, AARP, is arguing in a new national TV ad released Thursday.  With Congress and the White House locked in intense negotiations over spending cuts and the nation's looming debt limit, the multimillion-dollar ad buy marks AARP's second major campaign aimed at derailing proposals to cut and privatize Medicare and Social Security."  "The fact that it has made its second expensive ad buy suggests it is much more worried now that some of the Ryan ideas could be adopted in the high-pressure budget negotiations being conducted on Capitol Hill."

From AARP:  Congress Must Prevent Harmful Cuts to Social Security and Medicare -- Slashing benefits would reverse decades of progress.  "American seniors have earned their Medicare and Social Security benefits by working hard for decades.  But those benefits are at risk: Congress is considering harmful cuts to both Medicare and Social Security.  Instead of cutting the benefits seniors have earned, Congress should cut wasteful spending, close tax loopholes and hold down health care costs."

The heat continues for Republican House members who have supported the Ryan plan to drastically "reform" Medicare.  It turns out that Medicare cuts would hit Republican congressional districts hardest.  "There was some anecdotal evidence that freshman Republican members of Congress were under fire for their vote on the Republican budget slashing Medicare, Medicaid and providing even more tax cuts to rich people.  That's been clear from the town meetings over the last few months where they have regularly faced constituent ire.  That's in part because Republican districts would be most impacted by the Medicare cuts."  Here's the report from Bloomberg:  Medicare Cuts Would Hit Republican Lawmakers.

There seem to be more and more comments and opinions emerging in support of correcting Medicare's problems -- not repealing it or replacing it wholesale.  Here's a sample and a little perspective.  Misleading Medicare Mantra  "When you criticize the Republican's plan for Medicare privatization, their kneejerk comeback is to claim that Medicare is going bankrupt.  They've got to break it to fix it.  It's a misleading non sequitur that should not go unchallenged."  (Of course, Conservative Republicans would disagree; they think it's already broken.)  However, projections of Medicare Hospital Insurance insolvency have varied considerably over the years -- one reason it seems always to be in the news ... and always already broken.


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