Monday, August 29, 2011

SPECIAL REPORT - GOP Presidential Hopefuls: Where They Stand On Medicare

Much of the following is from GOP Presidential Hopefuls: Where They Stand On Health Care prepared by Kaiser Health News.  Our focus is on Medicare, the aging, and the disabled.

Michele Bachmann

               >> Voted for the Ryan budget plan, but later qualified her support, saying she thought it could hurt senior citizens.
               >> Supports reducing future Medicare benefits for people who are now 55 or younger.
               >> Claimed during the health overhaul debate that the law would create death panels and lead to rationing.
               >> Opposes creation of the 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board, saying the panel, charged with making binding recommendations to reduce Medicare spending, will cause seniors to lose control over their care.
               >> Voted against allowing the government to bargain with pharmaceutical companies to get lower drug prices for Medicare Part D, arguing it would lead to draconian price controls.
               >> Voted to override President Bush's veto of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, which temporarily blocked a Medicare pay cut for physicians, prohibited some Medicare Advantage marketing practices, expanded coverage of mental health services and authorized Medicare to cover new preventive services.
               >> She says, "Senior citizens will lose control over what they actually get in Medicare, because a politically appointed 15-member board that's unelected and unresponsive to the will of the people called IPAB will make the decisions about what care we get and what care we don't." -- Bachmann to conservative bloggers, June 2011
               >> TMDR Factor:  Generally ridiculous and not credible on any issue.  Member: The Republican Gaffe-Free Zone, The Republican Delusion Zone.

Jon Huntsman

               >> Backed the Ryan budget plan, which proposed turning Medicare into a “premium support” program to curb spending.
               >> Supported the August 2011 debt-ceiling deal, which leaves entitlement programs untouched in its first phase; the only GOP presidential hopeful to take this position.
               >> He says, “I admire Congressman Paul Ryan's honest attempt to save Medicare. Those who disagree with his approach incur a moral responsibility to propose reforms that would ensure Medicare's ability to meet its responsibilities to retirees without imposing an unaffordable tax burden on future generations of Americans.” -- Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2011
               >> TMDR Factor: Scary.  Subtle.  Anti-Medicare.  Member:  The Republican Reality-Free Zone.

Ron Paul

               >> Argues that Medicare and other entitlement programs create undesirable dependence on the government, worsening the nation’s financial woes.
               >> Views the Medicare’s Part D prescription drug program as an unwarranted expansion of the government’s role in health care and a “reminder that the GOP sometimes can't resist the temptation of big government.”
               >> Didn’t take part in Medicare when he practiced medicine; offered low-cost or free care to those who couldn’t afford his services.
               >> Proposes redirecting resources from defense spending and foreign aid to fund Medicare for those already enrolled, while weaning younger people away from such assistance programs in favor of free market approaches.
               >> He says, “Why exactly should Americans be required, by force of taxation, to fund retirement or medical care for senior citizens, especially senior citizens who are comfortable financially?  And if taxpayers provide retirement and health care benefits to some older Americans who are less well off, can’t we just call it welfare instead of maintaining the charade about ‘insurance’ and ‘trust funds’?” -- Texas Straight Talk weekly address, Nov. 2010
               >> TMDR Factor:  Triple scary. Extremely Conservative.  Anti-Pre-Paid Public Benefits.

Rick Perry

               >> Argues that, based on the 10th Amendment, states should be able to opt out of Medicare and develop their own means of providing health care.
               >> Led the charge in 2005 against a provision of the Medicare Part D program, which was designed to relieve states of prescription drug costs for low-income elderly people.  The policy required states to pay a portion -- known as “clawback payments” -- of their savings back to the federal government.  Perry argued this was unfair to states that had already reduced their Medicaid drug spending.  His administration filed a lawsuit in 2006 charging that the policy was unconstitutional.
               >> He says, "I think every program needs to stand the sunshine of righteous scrutiny.  Whether it’s Social Security, whether it’s Medicaid, whether it’s Medicare.  You’ve got $115 trillion worth of unfunded liability in those three.  They’re bankrupt.  They’re a Ponzi scheme." -- Newsweek interview, Aug. 12, 2011
               >> TMDR Factor:  Dangerous opinions; baseless facts.  Views of Federal governance border on sedition.  Member:  The Republican Knowledge-Free Zone, Republican Reality-Free Zone, The Republican Shame-Free Zone.

Mitt Romney

               >> Said, as president, he would sign the Ryan proposal, but also pledged to put out his own plan for reforming Medicare and Social Security.
               >> Wants to publish federal yearly balance sheet to help people understand the impact of entitlement spending on the budget and economy.
               >> Promises he won't slice benefits for current seniors or jeopardize their retirement security.
               >> TMDR Factor:  Talks much, says little.  Biz-friendly and slippery.  Member: The Republican Reality-Free ZoneRepublican Shame-Free ZoneRepublican Reality-Free Zone (again and again).

TMDR Says . . .

We can't support any of these candidates based on their positions regarding Medicare.  Is there a "Republican" anywhere who will stand up for Medicare?  Is there a "Republican" anywhere who believes in Medicare?


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