Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gephardt Advocates Congressional Responsibility for Medicare Costs, New GOP Candidate Huntsman Supports Ending Medicare, Still the Deficit

Former Rep. Dick Gephardt believes Medicare Must Remain a Responsibility of Congress.  He says, "The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a major accomplishment that will improve both our health care and our health insurance systems.  The provisions to cover millions of uninsured Americans, end the practice of denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, institute delivery system reforms, and promote medical innovation deserve the support of all Americans."

Mr. Gephardt continues, "I have no doubt that the American people will stand firmly against efforts to undermine the law in its entirety, but as is the case with any legislation, there is room for improvement.  I believe there is a step that's needed to continue to protect beneficiaries' access to Medicare services: the elimination of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)."  This article is another thoughtful account which bears careful reading.

While I agree with Mr. Gephardt that this OUGHT TO BE Congress's responsibility, it seems abundantly clear that they are politically gridlocked by a Conservative Republican party with no incentive at all to compromise or to create a better Medicare program.  Furthermore, the present Congress has too many individuals who simply do not have the will to make these tough decisions.  As a result, they are finding it impossible to collectively make reasonable progress on solving America's problems.  We need a considerable dose of statesmanship which -- sadly -- is in short supply.

Former Utah Gov. and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R) has announced his candidacy for president.  He sometimes has been called a moderate, but his positions actually have been Conservative.  For example, "He would end Medicare as we know it: Huntsman didn’t hesitate to endorse the House GOP’s budget plan, which would end Medicare as it exists now by turning it into a voucher program.  ...  The House plan nearly doubles the cost of health insurance for senior citizens by 2023, increases the nation’s health care costs by trillions of dollars, and relies on mathematical magic.  And after all of that, it still doesn’t balance the budget."  (Of course, it couldn't balance the budget using only Medicare, but the budget proposal -- even with all rhetoric surrounding it -- simply doesn't balance the budget.)  See Six Ways Jon Huntsman Would Hurt The American Economy.

The debt limit takes the stage as the "Nevada GOP was decisive in picking its nominee for an upcoming special House election, selecting Mark Amodei over two other candidates in the first round of voting."  "During a debate prior to the selection meeting last week, Amodei praised the Ryan blueprint.  'I like a lot of what he has to say in terms of Medicare.  I think that’s excellent.'”  Hoping to avoid another big defeat, the Conservative Republican already -- before a Democrat candidate is selected -- is running an attack ad on President Obama and the debt.  Perhaps this will be another race like that in NY-26.

And, finally, FYI there's this:  Growing Chorus Of Republicans Demand Social Security Cuts In Deficit Deal.  "Add Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) to the list of Republican lawmakers unsatisfied with the party's reluctance to back Social Security cuts.  The longtime Senator, who will retire at the end of her term in 2012, called on both parties to include the program in debt ceiling talks on Tuesday in a speech at the Heritage Foundation.  She's releasing her own legislation to spur talks, a bill that would raise the retirement age gradually to 69 and reduce benefits by trillions over the next several decades by pegging the annual cost-of-living- adjustment (COLA) to one percent below inflation every year."  She was unconcerned about the cumulative effects of reduced benefits.


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