Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Medicare Repeal Back on Table, Charitable Ron Paul, Premium "Support"

Paul Ryan: Enact Conservative Budget - Repeal Medicare

"In a speech at Stanford University's conservative Hoover Institution, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) offered a recitation of his controversial, alternative vision for the country's social safety net.  But despite the backlash Republicans have faced taken [sic] since they voted overwhelmingly in the spring to adopt his approach, Ryan says now's the time for conservatives and GOP candidates to renew their support for that vision, not to walk away from it."

Mr. Ryan still keeps trying to play the "Mediscare" card -- that Democrats only want to attack his proposals by scaring people.  Well, guess what?  His proposal to repeal Medicare IS VERY SCARY.

Ron Paul: Replace Pre-Paid Public Benefits With Charity

Ron Paul "summed up his view of charity in one deceptively simple sentence.  'We should take care of ourselves and our families, and for those who need special help, a generous society [is the answer],' he said.  This 'generous society' forms a pillar of Paul's libertarian vision of a nation with radically limited government."

"If Paul were to get his way, he would abolish Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and in their place, he believes private, donor-funded charities would step in to voluntarily assume the responsibilities of America's three biggest social safety nets -- programs that cost the federal government $440 billion in 2008."

For Paul, "a generous society" is not the responsibility of government.  He couldn't be more wrong when the have-nots so far outnumber the haves that the only equitable means of distributing wealth is through government.  The wealthy have shown that they will not do it on their own.  It's either wishful thinking or a smoke screen to pretend otherwise.

Republican Version of Medicare

Sometimes a really interesting, and wonky, report comes along, and this is one of those.  "Some policymakers and analysts have proposed to convert Medicare to a 'premium support' system -- that is, replace its guarantee of health coverage with a flat payment that beneficiaries could use to help them purchase private insurance or, in some versions, traditional Medicare.  But proponents have crafted a widely diverse set of proposals that they call premium support."

"Premium support -- no matter what form it takes -- raises several very important and challenging issues that may seem manageable in theory but would be extremely hard to resolve satisfactorily in practice.  And failure to resolve these challenges satisfactorily would likely lead to a two-tier health care system: the affluent would receive the most up-to-date medical care (since they could buy comprehensive coverage by supplementing the premium support payment with their own funds), while those of modest means who could only afford the coverage that their premium support payment buys would increasingly find medical advances out of their reach."

This is a thoughtful study from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:  "Converting Medicare to Premium Support Would Likely Lead to Two-Tier Health Care System."  It will take a while to go through, but it's worth your time as it clarifies many of the difficulties presented by a premium support approach.

The Republican Reality-Free Zone


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