Wednesday, April 11, 2012

GOP Reform, Medicare Political Fallout (Bush II), Tea Party Visions

Ask Republicans About Healthcare Reform

"As we await the verdict of nine Supreme Court Justices on the constitutionality of all or part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is worth asking what the remaining Republican Presidential nominees would create in its place."

"We know that Mitt Romney would 'direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health care solutions that work best for them.'  We know that he has changed his position from 'pro-choice' to 'pro-life,' and that he now supports the Blunt proposal allowing employers and insurers to limit coverage of contraceptives if they have religious/moral objections to that provision.  We also know he is proposing to return Medicaid spending entirely to the states, that he would raise the Medicare eligibility age by one month per year during his presidency, and that he would offer Medicare recipients (by 2022) a choice between 'the traditional, fee-for-service government health-care program and a new option to purchase private insurance, with the cost partly supported by the government.'  Since so many of those proposals also appear in the 2012 Ryan budget passed by the House in March, we also know that Romney has declared that budget 'a bold and exciting effort, very much consistent with what I put out earlier.'"

Still Feeling the Effects

"Now we have a yawning federal deficit that continues to grow past $15 Trillion.  Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who was fired by VP Cheney for advocating that the four Clinton years of budget surpluses be used to put social security and Medicare on a more secure footing, described the result of the debate that led to such a disastrous decision in The Price of Loyalty.  It was to return government to its 1900 size, the era of William McKinley and the Robber Barons, by reducing government spending enough 'to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub', Grover Norquist, architect of the no tax increase pledge signed by more than 200 Republican legislators, once famously said."

Which America?

"Americans have long debated two fundamentally different visions of what kind of country the U.S. should be.  The first is the vision of a society that provides unrestricted liberty to acquire wealth.  The second is the vision of a realized democracy in which rights over society's major institutions are established."

"The Tea Party is overwhelmingly white, middle-class, and either middle-aged or elderly.  It thrives on a deeply felt dichotomy between the deserving and the undeserving.  At the grassroots level, much of the Tea Party is not hostile to Social Security or Medicare, unlike the professional ideologues that are exploiting it.  Tea Party Republicans are quite certain that they deserve their own Social Security and Medicare.  But they are outraged that undeserving people get taxpayer-funded benefits from the government.  In the Tea Party version of the American dream, there is no such thing as the common good.  There is only the sum of individual goods, which many people do not deserve."

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