Saturday, June 4, 2011

Democrats Continue Medicare Pressure on Republicans, Ad Wars, Playing Chicken With the National Debt

Wondering how the Medicare (and Medicaid) changes proposed by Republicans would hurt you or your local area?  Here's the answer:  Democrats Break Down Impact Of GOP Medicare Plan District By District.
 "House Democrats have broken down the massive changes to Medicare and Medicaid proposed by the House GOP into a convenient take home size.  ... voters can now see what Democrats say is the direct impact of the Republican plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system on every congressional district in the country."  Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman (CA) and Frank Pallone (NJ) have set up "an interactive map that allows viewers to pop open a report on the impact of the Medicare change on the population in their community."  " 'The Republican's budget would end Medicare as we know it.  It also slashes Medicaid programs that cover millions of seniors in nursing homes and provide basic coverage for tens of millions of children,' they write.  'These Republican proposals would have a devastating impact on every congressional district in the country for generations to come.'"

More Medicare fallout for House Republicans, as an ad critical of a local Congressman remains on the air after Republican complaints.  " 'As a social worker here in the north country, I've spent my life helping people with disabilities.  Now, I have a disability,' the woman in the ad says.  'If I didn't have Medicare, doctors' bills could wipe me out -- and put a burden on my five kids.  When Congressman Charlie Bass voted to end Medicare, that was an attack on New Hampshire families just like mine.'"  The National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) complained in a letter to WMUR in New Hampshire and to Comcast that the ad (sponsored by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee) was false and demanding that it be taken down.  The ad remains on the air, and you can check out the video.

PolitiFact is saying that a new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) ad is wrong to say that Republicans don't want to end Medicare.  Here's another side, and another video:  "If Democrats proposed to turn Medicare into a system that only provided free veterinary services to seniors, would Republicans be lying to say Dems wanted to 'end Medicare,' without including the caveat 'as we know it'?  Of course not.  But that's more or less the charge PolitiFact is leveling at Democrats over a new DCCC ad which flatly charges Republicans with proposing to 'end Medicare.'"  Generally, I like PolitiFact, and I won't complain if they are literal.  Of course, simply keeping a name doesn't mean it's the same.

The story continues:  "The House GOP budget, which passed with all but two GOP votes over unanimous Democratic opposition, would over time replace the single-payer, government-run Medicare program with a different system that subsidizes private insurance plans for beneficiaries.  Those subsidies would work like vouchers -- they would increase in value year-on-year at a much slower pace than the rate of the rise of health care costs, thus leaving seniors exposed to increasing costs as time goes on.  Republicans call this new health insurance system 'Medicare.'  But it's a completely different program from today's Medicare."

Meanwhile, Obama And Boehner Pledge Neither Will Blink OnTaxes In Debt Ceiling Talks.  Forget about blink; what about brink?  "A deadlock in the high-stakes talks to raise America's debt limit loomed Friday as President Barack Obama and Republicans each drew lines in the sand over taxes."  Remember, it's the Republicans and Conservatives who are creating a completely unnecessary threat.  There are better, more rational ways to address the debt and budget problems and show your principles.  The priority here seems to be that ending Medicare is even more important than America paying its loans.

And, since the Republicans and Conservatives have heightened our awareness of the national debt, we bring you this item:  Failing To Raise Debt Ceiling Could Cause Bigger GDP Drop Than The 2008 Recession.  "For months, Republicans have been playing games with the nation’s debt ceiling, threatening to not raise it unless they receive various items off of an ever-shifting list of demands, including cuts to Social Security or cockamamie Constitutional amendments.  The GOP even held a sham-vote on increasing the debt limit this week, explicitly designing it to fail and then using that failure to up their calls for concessions on the part of Democrats.  As we’ve been documenting, failure to raise the debt ceiling could have several adverse consequences, including threatening the fragile housing market and wiping out economic growth (depending on the duration of the stalemate).  On that note, CAP’s [Center for American Progress] Michael Ettlinger and Michael Linden found that failing to raise the debt limit for two months could cause a bigger GDP drop than that experienced during the Great Recession of 2008."

You can read the Center for American Progress article -- Frozen Federal Debt Could Do Serious Damage to the Recovery - The Economy WouldSuffer from the Loss of Federal Dollars.  "A failure to raise the federal debt limit could be a disaster for the fragile economic recovery -- and conservative threats to block action could already be causing harm.  There’s been great concern about how financial markets might react to not raising the debt ceiling, but there’s a much more direct effect that could be devastating.  Freezing the debt would result in an immediate withdrawal of billions of dollars of economic activity from the economy that would rapidly affect businesses nationwide."


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