Monday, October 24, 2011

Health Reform & Medicare Cuts, Seniors Speak Out

Cutting Medicare

"For all the chatter about how politicians have to buckle down and get serious about reining in Medicare, you might have missed this development: Last year's health reform bill cut $500 billion out of two big Medicare programs over a decade, while increasing the number of high-income retirees who have to pay larger Part B premiums."

"To be sure, health reform wasn't a let's-shrink-the-government project.  The reason Democrats got their hands grimy and made cuts to the program was to help pay for a new health care entitlement, making it easier for Americans under 65 to buy their own insurance.  Still, the new law shows that liberal lawmakers will slice into Medicare if needed, and offers a glimpse into how they'll try to do it."

Senior Protest

"Senior citizens clad in flapping hospital johnnies and hoisting signs reading 'Keep seniors covered' took the streets of downtown Boston to protest the proposed increase in the eligibility age for Medicare.  'Nobody’s giving us anything,' said Ann Stewart, 87, a Medicare recipient and president of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council.  'This is our money.'  Stewart and other speakers said seniors have already paid for access to the federal health insurance program throughout their working lives."

Ms. Stewart makes just the point we -- and others -- have made over and over: these "entitlements" (as if that were a bad name) are pre-paid public benefits.  These benefits have been earned and paid for with hard work and payroll taxes.  They are not gifts from the government.

Rehash of Old Ideas

Didn't TMDR just say we needed new, fresh ideas to address our fiscal and other problems?  Didn't we just worry that the Congressional Committees' ideas would be inadequate?  "The supercommittee asked for a few good deficit-cutting ideas from around Washington.  Here’s what it got: tens of thousands of recommendations that were culled from the legislative recycling bin, cloaked in fresh wrapping paper and regifted.  Washington, perhaps not surprisingly, is the wrong place to shop for fresh policy ideas."

Once again, no surprise here.  Same old safe (and inadequate) ideas.

The Republican Reality-Free Zone


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