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AdLib On August - 16 - 2012

Today’s GOP is the equivalent of a 1960’s Madison Avenue ad agency aggressively promoting the benefits of cigarette smoking, fully knowing that if they’re successful, millions will suffer and die but only caring about making the wealthy people they work for, wealthier.

Republicans have explained very clearly when addressing their constituency that their goal is to make America an Ayn Rand Abusement Park (DisneyRand?) where only the top 1% get to go on the rides and the other 99% are below-minimum-wage paid ride operators without medical insurance.

In light of the Paul Ryan pick as Mitt Romney’s VP, the strategy being employed by the GOP is to get behind the destruction of Medicare that Ryan has spearheaded by completely lying to and deceiving the American People, pasting Orwellian bumper stickers saying “Choice!” and “Saving Medicare!” on their plan to take away medical care from the poor and elderly.

If this wasn’t such a literally life and death issue, it would be ridiculous. What they are literally doing, all of the facades aside, is trying to sell dying younger and devastating bankruptcies to 99% of Americans so that the top 1% can pay less taxes and be wealthier. An absurd but indisputable fact.

To dispense with the Republican argument for taking away health care for seniors as “saving Medicare” (saving it for only the wealthier to use, that is), let’s look at the simple facts about the Romney/Ryan/Republican plan to destroy Medicare, a stated goal of all of them.

 

HOW THE ROMNEY/RYAN PLAN KILLS MEDICARE AND SENIORS

1. Instead of having a right to medical care under Medicare, seniors would have “a choice” between staying in Medicare or being able to go into a pool of people who could instead use a fixed government credit/voucher towards a medical plan in the private marketplace.

2. A critical component of Medicare funding is from workers who haven’t retired, paying into it now so they can have it when they are older.

3. If enough workers under 55 put their contributions towards a government credit/voucher plan instead of Medicare, Medicare would not be sufficiently funded and would eventually collapse into bankruptcy, leaving only the option for using government credits/vouchers for private plans. Despite hollow assurances by the Republicans, if Medicare collapses, it would collapse for seniors currently receiving it as well.

4. There are no price controls on private insurance company plans (with the ACA repealed). The amount of the government credit/voucher, which under Romney/Ryan/Republicans would absolutely be less than what is currently provided to seniors under Medicare since the Republicans’ whole point is that they have to slash the current costs of Medicare, would not be sufficient to fully pay for a comparable plan because the current cost per person of Medicare doesn’t include the added cost from a profit margin that private insurance require.

5. If for example, the amount of the Romney/Ryan/Republican government credit/voucher was $10,000 and the cost for the least expensive, highest deductible health insurance plan for seniors in the private marketplace was $16,000 annually, the millions of senior citizens who didn’t have that extra $6,000 (and if Social Security is privatized too, as Romney/Ryan/Republicans are seeking, another unregulated Wall Street scheme could permanently end their retirement income) to hand out every year of their lives, simply wouldn’t have medical insurance.

6. Instead of having a Universal Health Care Plan such as the Affordable Care Act that is reducing the number of Americans without health insurance, the Romney/Ryan/Republican plan to kill the ACA and make Medicare a credit/voucher plan would hugely increase by millions the number of Americans without health insurance…and plunge millions of Senior Citizens into a new reality of being elderly and not having the security of health insurance to allow them to go to doctors, have life saving medication or medical procedures…and finding themselves forced to die at younger and younger ages than those who have more money…just to let the wealthiest 1% become wealthier.

This can’t be honestly argued as anything other than the sacrificing of human life for the profit of the wealthy, an elitist version of a Satanic ritual. And who says the Republican Party isn’t a cult?

A key part of this scam has been to mischaracterize the $716 billion in savings on Medicare expenses the ACA has made, applying those savings to pay for even greater benefits for seniors and other Americans in the ACA. Instead, the RRR team flat out lies and claims these are cuts to benefits. The lie is double-strength since the Ryan plan includes the same cuts…but instead uses the savings to give tax cuts to the wealthy…taking $716 billion OUT of Medicare and stuffing it into the pockets of the wealthy, making the system poorer and weaker…along with 99% of the American public.

Per The Washington Post on the “Everything Else” cuts:

The rest of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts are a lot smaller. Reductions to Medicare’s Disproportionate Share Payments — extra funds doled out the hospitals that see more uninsured patients — account for 5 percent in savings. Lower payments to home health providers make up another 8.8 percent. About a dozen cuts of this magnitude make up the green section above.

It’s worth noting that there’s one area these cuts don’t touch: Medicare benefits. The Affordable Care Act rolls back payment rates for hospitals and insurers. It does not, however, change the basket of benefits that patients have access to. And the Ryan budget would keep these cuts in place.

A secondary and necessary part of this RRR scam is to refuse to confirm any details about their plan, make generic assurances (as Romney did today, writing on a white board that their plan means “No Change” to Medicare…which they say needs to be changed?) and generally cloud the water with dishonest statements about how ideal their plan is (even claiming that it is like the plan Congresspeople have…which is completely false since Congress has 100% of their premiums paid for by taxpayers and Senior plans in the private marketplace will require them to pay thousands out of their own pocket to fill the gap left by vouchers, offer far less in benefits and require far higher deductables).

Add to all of this that in order to manipulate seniors into supporting taking away Medicare from their children and grandchildren, Romney/Ryan/Republicans happily assure those currently on Medicare or coming up on it that there won’t be changes for 10 years. Here’s the problem. Since there is nothing in the RRR plan that stems the rise of health care costs and the repeal of the ACA would throw tens of millions back into being uninsured and not paying hospital bills, the costs to Medicare will grow exponentially, sending it quicker to the edge of the cliff…some estimate that the RRR plan would shorten the currently projected funding deadline of 2024 by 8 years, bankrupting it by 2016, even before the RRR plan would come into effect. Which would mean, despite the chest pounding against Obama’s cutting billions in waste (and reinvesting it back into health care services), a President Romney would need to slash trillions from Medicare just to keep it afloat until his privatizing plan began.

So here we are in 2012, having the equivalent of a hard sell by the cigarette industry Mad Men that buying their deadly product is actually buying happiness and security. Will many Americans be fooled by this and obliviously vote to turn their current guarantee of health care into a crap shoot that at least tens of millions of Americans will lose? If the insidiousness of this fraud is exposed in an ongoing way, it is doomed to fail. As long as the Obama campaign, Democrats and those in the blogosphere keep ripping down the facade from this deception, it will probably be what dooms the RRR to defeat in November.

Written by AdLib

My motto is, "It is better to have blogged and lost hours of your day, than never to have blogged at all."

16 Responses so far.

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  1. Olderandwiser55 says:

    Exactly AdLib! I love the tobacco analogy-so completely true.

    I’m not sure that people believe that Mad Men is the way it truly was-and republicans would like to drag us back.

  2. kalie says:

    Great article. The GOP just really doesn’t get it and doesn’t really care. If i get laid off at 45, and there are no jobs, i am not funding anything for….several years now! And I am not over 55 so am stuck in the “death spiral”. How can people be laid off earlier, and they want to move back the social security age??? That makes about as much sense as starving my dog to death, and expecting him to play fetch with me. And then we want guest workers?? And others to take our jobs? Its just insanity.

    The key to everything was the jobs bill and infrastructure projects that the GOP obstructed on. Now many of us have lost much. Jobs, houses, money, and how do we get that back if there are no jobs and because we are older, we are not desirable enough to hire??? Yes I’m waiting for Mittsy or Ryan the fakir to tell me the answer. They have wasted so much time and have been so anti-American. They need to be held accountable.

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    • I don’t have a Twitter or Facebook account, but I recommend this site often. I believe it IS the smartest site on the web. I have found none better.

      It’s not only smarter, but factual and honest.

  4. Excellent work setting the record straight and comparing what the Republicans are doing now with their lies about their Medicare intentions to the Tobacco industry could not be more appropriate.

    I’ll just add a couple more facts about the RMONEY/RYAND budget. All in they will end the ACA, privatize Medicare and cut Medicaid almost in half. These cuts will total almost $2 trillion. That will leave about 75 million without insurance including about 6 million seniors where Medicaid fills in the gaps to cover things like nursing home care. So in the richest country on earth about 25% of it’s population will not have medical coverage and over a third will have no coverage or inadequate coverage. Of course like you said this will result in even faster increases in costs for those who have coverage because having so many people without coverage will lead to providers having to make up the money they lose on the uninsured with higher premiums and costs for the insured.

    About 40,000 people died each year before Obamacare because they lacked medical coverage. It’s not hyperbole to say that number could double, triple or even quadruple if Romney and Ryan get their way. This is not just about the election either. If heaven forbid Obama is not reelected and the Dems lose congress. We will all have to fight that much harder after the election to make sure we save the safety net. Losing the midterm elections in 2010 was bad enough. What was worse was letting the GOP enact their right wing agenda without a fight for nearly a year.

    The silver lining is since Romney and Ryan are lying about Medicare now and especially about how their future budgets would end Medicare AWKI they can’t get their story straight. Sure they have talking points but once you get past the superficial they are both babbling idiots. The reason for this is simple. They absolutely hate Medicare and the rest of the safety net so their spin is just not coming off with any integrity. It would be like Obama trying to spin something he does not believe in like more tax cuts for the rich.

    One last point Romney’s latest cynical approach is saying he won’t take the Medicare cuts even in his budget. So this results in extending all that wasteful spending illustrated in your graph. Worse it would make Medicare insolvent by 2016 which would force an abrupt change to the program most likely leading to reduced benefits.

  5. choicelady says:

    With the changes that Obama has made (and we do hope reimbursements will rise once ACA is in place and smart people are back in charge of the budgeting) the longevity of Medicare has been vastly improved. It could further be improved by eliminating ALL of the privatization of useless expenditures, including Part D, and slightly -- ever so slightly -- raising the annual contributions.

    Once you pull people OUT, you collapse BOTH Medicare AND private insurance as affordable. The entire premise of insurance is “everybody into the pool” and it matters not what program you’re discussing. In private insurance, with ACA gone, there will be NO guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions meaning you once again are priced out or forced out, and with Medicare crumbling there will be NO options for seniors. And who among us aging folks does not have some kind of “pre-existing condition” even if it’s pretty minor?

    Medicare works. Medicare is entirely sustainable. Medicare beats private insurance hands down for those with fixed incomes. Who in their right mind would voluntarily give it up???

    Oh -- and that right mind issue? Medicare has mental health support. Private insurance usually does not.

  6. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    Ad Lib….well done. Powerful summary. Clear and disconcerting.

    Remember Alan Grayson’s Poster Card Presentation on the floor of the house?

    http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/scarce/grayson-gop-health-plan-youre-sick-die-quic

    It’s a very simple plan. Here it is. The Republican health care plan for America: Don’t get sick. That’s right, don’t get sick. If you have insurance, don’t get sick. If you don’t have insurance, don’t get sick. If you’re sick, don’t get sick.

    If you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: die quickly. That’s right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick.

    • AdLib says:

      Thanks Murph. And looking back at Alan Grayson’s statement now, the only thing he may have been too generous about is saying that the Repubs even had a health care plan.

      Not exaggerating, the Ayn Rand Repubs actually don’t want there to be any government health plans for Americans.

      So they don’t care enough even to say, “Don’t get sick”, they just don’t think that anyone who doesn’t have their own money to pay for health insurance deserves to have any.

      Better for lowering their taxes and fattening the insurance companies.

      • kalie says:

        I think Ayn Rand was a miserable hater. She probably tortured animals.

        • Hey Kalie. Absolutely. Just look at pictures of her. There isn’t a trace of kindness to be seen. She also would never fit into the RW’s version of “family values.” She had an affair, with her husband’s permission. Not exactly “Focus On The Family,” material.

  7. kesmarn says:

    AdLib, I was just reading today about the assessment of the RRR plan that shows that it would make Medicare insolvent by 2016. I have to admit that stopped me in my tracks. I knew it was a horrible plan, but I really didn’t realize that it would blow up traditional Medicare that quickly.

    I state the obvious, I know, but it seems this can only go in one of two ways. Either voters take the time to determine what’s really going on here and realize that re-electing the president is the only way to preserve any semblance of civilized life for the ordinary citizen. Or they find out the hard way what happens when they’re too lazy to discover the truth; when they opt for delusion over reality.

    I’m afraid that’s going to be an unbelievably hard lesson to learn. And a lot of people who didn’t vote for the Rmoney-Ryand ticket are going to be feeling the pain right along with the dunces who did. I really, really hope it doesn’t come down to that.

    Btw, I love the term “Abusement Park.” Might just have to “borrow” that one.

    • AdLib says:

      Kes, yep, by repealing the ACA and re-instituting the wasteful spending it cuts, including Medicare Advantage which hands an unnecessary 10% of the amount of each policy as extra profit to insurance companies, RRR would strip Medicare of the additional 8 years of funding the ACA provides.

      I think that Obama’s campaign, his SuperPAC and Dem candidates know that this issue is a huge winner for them and they will be hammering on the truth of this situation enough that the RRR lies just won’t be able to sit still long enough to be adopted by the lazy folks out there.

      Fear is more powerful than any amount of reason or intellectual reasoning, no matter how dishonest it is. Fear is usually used against us but in this case, it works in our favor. We have a very simple case to make:

      “Romney and Ryan want to take Medicare and Social Security away from you and destroy it for future generations.”

      This time, we have the simple message about fear and in this case, it’s a legit fear. As long as this is expressed to voters consistently from now until Nov., I am confident Obama and Dems will do very well in the election.

  8. Jenuwin says:

    I like that you compare the Republicans as a “cult”. Mitt Romney is certainly sinister! Republicans and Mitt are manipulative and bring up issues close to the heart of all Americans including healthcare as a front to push their own agenda which is equally sinister and not pure. They make $$ for themselves and the wealthy by pushing our collective buttons.

    • AdLib says:

      Very true, Jenuwin. All tyrants cloak their tyranny in altruism. Hitler modernized this kind of propagandizing,, the GOP has modernized it since then from Lee Atwater to Karl Rove and Fox News.

      All con men say “Trust me, it’s for your own good”. Those who don’t want to be stabbed in the back should never blindly accept that assurance or turn their back. ReasonIng for oneself has never been more important than it is today.


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