Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Wyden Speaks Out, Ryan On Parade, Clinton Weighs In, Voting For Medicare

"Preserving the Medicare Guarantee: Why I've Been Working with Paul Ryan"

From Senator Ron Wyden:  "I know that polls show that the majority of Americans like Medicare the way it is today.  But don't let that number confuse what's at stake: unless Congress enacts meaningful Medicare reform in the near future, seniors will be faced with inevitable cost-shifting and eventual benefit cuts until Medicare doesn't look anything like the program does today.  The Congressional Budget Office projects that the Medicare Hospital Trust Fund will be out of money by 2022.  And as MedPac explained in its report to Congress last year, Congress's continued inability to come up with a long-term solution for Medicare's reimbursement rate for doctors 'is undermining confidence in the Medicare program.'"

"I believe the most important aspect of Medicare is not the structure of the program but the guarantee to all Americans that they will have high quality health care as they get older.  I will always fight to protect traditional Medicare, but in my mind, what makes Medicare so important is its guarantee.  It is one of our nation's most solemn promises and history has shown what can happen when it doesn't exist. "

Recommended reading.  Although I don't agree with everything he says, Sen. Wyden does a good job of explaining his thinking on this issue.

Ryan Still Pushing For End To Medicare

"It seems like only yesterday when House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin introduced a federal budget that would change Medicare as we know it.  Actually, it was a year ago when Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, offered, controversially, a federal spending blueprint that would transform Medicare from a single-payer health insurer for seniors into a program that would give them money to purchase insurance on the private market, so-called premium support."

"Undeterred, Ryan and House Republicans are expected to make public Tuesday their latest budget proposal.  And while full details aren't out, the expectation is that it will once again propose that Medicare become a premium-support program for people under a certain age."

MORE:  "When House Republicans unveil their 2012 budget on Tuesday, they are expected to include a Medicare privatization plan endorsed by one Democrat -- Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). That, Republicans will claim, proves their controversial overhaul proposal has bipartisan support.  Leading Democrats say they won’t let the GOP get away with it."

President Clinton on Medicare

"Former President Bill Clinton said Saturday that the 2012 election boils down to a simple issue -- 'some version of how bad is government after all.'  He told a crowd of about 6,000 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks that Democrats have dealt with that question from Republicans for 30 years."  "Clinton said Republicans 'got away' with claiming the 2010 health care reform legislation slashed Medicare funding.  But he said the reform actually shifted funding from a Medicare program that was overly profitable for companies in order to add life to the Medicare trust fund, pay for the prescription drug program and close the so-called 'doughnut hole.'"

Older Voters

"Elections are decided by the people who show up at the polls.  In the United States, the oldest citizens are the most likely to cast their ballots, which gives them political clout beyond their numbers alone."  "Some 61 percent of citizens age 65 and older voted in the November 2010 election, the best turnout of any age group. More than half (54 percent) of those ages 55 to 64 also cast a ballot."


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