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 There are no price controls on private insurance company plans (with the ACA repealed).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.
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.