Thursday, March 22, 2012

Targeting Seniors, Faith Leaders Blast Ryan Budget, No Grand Bargain, IPAB Facts

GOP Has Sights on Seniors

From NCPSSM:  "If America’s seniors really want to get at the heart of the ongoing political debate about our nation’s economic mess and the solutions offered to change course, yesterday provided a good snapshot of what’s at stake.  House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has introduced the GOP/Ryan budget and as expected it envisions balancing the budget by turning Medicare into a privatized program giving seniors a voucher (designed not to keep pace with their health costs over time) to buy private insurance."

"The new twist offered this year is a promise to also keep traditional Medicare as an option.   Unfortunately, what that really means is private insurers will siphon-off younger-healthier seniors while older and sicker patients remain in traditional Medicare which will increase the programs costs, potentially limit doctor participation, and create a death spiral to the Medicare’s demise."

The Conservative Republicans want to "reset" Medicare.  They think it's just like Etch-a-Sketch -- you can give it a good shake, tip it upside down, and it goes away.  You have a blank slate upon which to create an insurer-friendly profit center called vouchers, or coupons, or even "stamps."

Believe in Helping

"That the GOP cuts vital programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and other safety net programs while giving tax breaks to the richest Americans is 'immoral' and 'unconscionable,' other leaders said.  'The poor are not statistics,' Rabbi Jackie Moline said.  'Whatever one thinks of Congressman Ryan’s ideas, it is unimaginable to look into the face of a child who would go hungry without government assistance and say, ‘Sorry — we need to reduce the deficit.’'"

Sorry, No Big Deal

"On Sunday, the Washington Post published a detailed story about the arduous negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner last summer, trying to use the debt ceiling crisis manufactured by Republicans to forge a 'grand bargain' on revenues and spending cuts."

"What remained on the table, the official clarified, was the notion that there could be a deal.  But instead of including the specific elements previously agreed upon by Obama and Boehner, any major deficit reduction measure considered going forward will have to more closely resemble a separate plan introduced by the president in the fall as part of his presentation to the congressional super committee charged with deficit reduction."

IPAB - About It

"It sounds like a new Apple product, but IPAB is actually a controversial board that is at the heart of House Republicans' efforts to upend the 2010 federal health law -- or at least make it a strong campaign issue.  The Independent Payment Advisory Board, created by the health law, is designed to help hold down costs in Medicare, the federal health program for seniors and the disabled. It is not yet operating."

For Your Information

 The Affordable Care Act: Before and After  (From the Medicare Rights Center)


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