Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Polling Continues to Support Medicare, Medicare Saves Money, Texas GOP & Medicare

Politics often is about public opinion -- what it is, what can be done to play upon it, how to change it.  A new poll says most want Medicare changes, but are wary of GOP plan.  "A new CBS News poll shows that Americans have mixed feelings about what should happen to Medicare:  While 53 percent say the program needs fundamental changes, 58 percent say it should continue the way it is set up now."  "A majority of Americans between ages 18 and 64 want fundamental changes.  Only 37 percent of those 65 and older feel the same way."

The poll deals a blow to "vouchercare" -- the Conservative Republican plan to repeal Medicare.  The poll also reveals that "a majority of Americans have unfavorable views of both major political parties, though Democrats fare slightly better than Republicans."  These numbers should be of little comfort to Democrats.  We need to watch carefully to see how Republicans pay attention to these numbers and spin or hide their intentions.

Finally, Obama-Allied Group Are Running Ads Seeking To Make Medicare Part Of the GOP Presidential Debate.  "It's clear what the Obama administration wants Monday night's Republican presidential primary debate to be about: the impact of the Paul Ryan budget on Medicare.  A group closely associated with the president, Protect Your Care has bought TV time before, during and after the debate.  They will run ads accusing Republicans of trying to 'end Medicare.'"

The Ryan plan continues to spark opposition from the public.  Now, Town Hall Protesters Say 'Keep Your Hands Off My Medicare.'  "Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) headed to the Newseum in downtown D.C. on Monday to participate in a town hall meeting with fellow Republicans.  But while the participants inside focused their talk on the economy and jobs, a line of protestors outside the museum took aim at Ryan's proposed changes to Medicare and Medicaid."  It's getting tiring for us to hear about this; isn't it getting tiring for the Conservative Republicans?  Prediction:  They will change their message soon.

RECOMMENDED READING:  One argument for continuing Medicare is that "Medicare actually saves money -- a lot of money -- compared with relying on private insurance companies.  And this in turn means that pushing people out of Medicare, in addition to depriving many Americans of needed care, would almost surely end up increasing total health care costs.  The idea of Medicare as a money-saving program may seem hard to grasp.  After all, hasn’t Medicare spending risen dramatically over time?  Yes, it has: adjusting for overall inflation, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose more than 400 percent from 1969 to 2009."

Paul Krugman presents impressive evidence about how much Medicare actually saves.  He disagrees with Sen. Lieberman's suggestion about Medicare [see my blog of June 11] and continues: "none of what I have said should be taken as a reason to be complacent about rising health care costs.  Both Medicare and private insurance will be unsustainable unless there are major cost-control efforts -- the kinds of efforts that are actually in the Affordable Care Act, and which Republicans demagogued with cries of 'death panels.'"  Very interesting reading, particularly if you're serious about Medicare reform.

As mentioned earlier [this blog, June 10], Texas is trying to change Medicare.  Now, the Governor says the Economic Crisis Is Part of God’s Plan To Return Us To Biblical Principles.  "Of course, the most alarming take away is that [Governor] Perry seems comfortable plunging his own state into economic ruin because he thinks it will encourage people to come back to God.  By signing this budget, a nonpartisan state commission estimates that Perry will cost more than 300,000 Texans their jobs and purge millions from the Medicare roles -- but Perry apparently believes that to be God’s plan and himself just an instrument of it."


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