Monday, August 20, 2012

Ds Have Already “Destroy(ed) Medicare As We Know It"

“Destroy Medicare As We Know It”

That’s the fiendish horror which Democrats accuse Republicans of planning. The phrase is the apocalyptic specter which Democrats invoke when speaking of possible changes in Medicare, especially the changes proposed in the House of Representatives budget by Rep. Paul Ryan, now the Republicans candidate for vice president with Mitt Romney.

Changing Medicare, narrowly taken, does in fact mean ending Medicare as we know simply because any change means ending the old and bringing in something new.

In their stock phrase, the Ds are saying, basically, don’t change Medicare and, by extension, don’t change Medicaid and Social Security. This is a disservice to the American people, to put it politely. That’s because the entitlement programs—Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security—must change before they financially destroy the country.

To argue otherwise is to lie to the people. Of course the phrase is not a policy argument, it seeks to create fear of the Rs and therefore generate votes for Ds.

In addition to being hypocritical, deceitful and dishonorable, to the extent that the Ds phrase pushes the scary status quo for entitlement programs and a good thing, it also is a lie. That’s because the Ds have already changed Medicare.

In the heavy duty angst that has followed Ryan’s VP anointment, a new number has appeared from conservative research gnomes—$716 million. That’s the amount the president’s health care law pulls from Medicare. (As to exactly how, you will have to look around.) But the point is that the President has already “destroyed Medicare as we know it.” Further, the President claims that Ryan’s plan would cost seniors an extra $6,400 per year. I read today that this number came with huge caveats from the Congressional Budget Office, might apply in 2022 and has nothing to do with the current Romney-Ryan proposal.

Not too bad, lying on both sides of an issue. The American people are pretty smart. I hope they figure all this out. Romney and Ryan will have to help the education. I trust they won’t be nice.

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