This paper carried a week or two ago a letter blaming Republican spokesman Paul Ryan for proposing cuts in Medicare.
Ryan works from his perch in the House of Representatives as the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee.
Let us preface the following essay by agreeing that Republicans (all of them wealthy beyond imagining) work quietly to see that the poor and the middle class suffer. Further, we must stipulate that Democrats (every one good and poor beyond imagining) do the opposite. They always see that the public purse rarely theirs - is forcibly opened to the less fortunate. Heaven is crowded with them while the fiery pit awaits all others.
Now that we're in agreement, what would you say about President Obama and his planners proposing Medicare cuts and loving it when Ryan is flogged for doing the same thing.
The president and his planners have written Medicare cuts into their health bill. "The truth is that the Obama health law reduces future funding for Medicare by $575 billion over the next ten years, and spends the money on other programs, including a vast expansion of Medicaid. In 2019, Medicare spending under the Obama health law is projected to be $14,731 per senior, instead of $16,162 if the law had not passed, according to Medicare actuaries (Health Affairs, October 2010)."
With medical costs climbing, we will spend less on elder care eight years from now? That means less care, lots less care.
The quote comes from a report by Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Her analysis appeared in the April 27 Wall Street Journal.
We begin to see past the new health care blessings touted by its architects to its real-life (no pun intended) characteristics.
The point of McCaughey's analysis is that "Medicare as we know it isn't an option." I'm unsure whether the Express letter writer would agree but I will. Reinforcing the notion of unsustainable federal outlays are the rising premiums for health care insurance that backstops Medicare. Those premiums have risen before the new health care bill. After the passage of this blessed cost-containing legislation, the same trajectory continues.
What can anyone expect with physician, hospital, and diagnostic costs increasing? What can anyone expect with an aging population? And we haven't even added in the new millions waiting to drown in "low-cost" health heaven.
I wish someone could make sense out the following pleasantry. We're to shift billions of dollars from the aging who need more care to young people who need less of it. Surely, a better balance could be struck.
Another comment from the letter writer puzzled me. He wrote about health insurance not working. Actually, it works pretty well. My health plan from Penn State is a Medicare Advantage operation run by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. My mother and father had a similar gap plan. Millions of others are protected by such plans. Millions more in the workforce and in business for themselves buy private health insurance. Federal workers are insured by private firms.
Once again it appears we are missing a debate on facts.
In another example, "the Congressional Budget Office excludes a $7,800 annual medical savings account to help low-income seniors with out-of-pocket costs. Their warning about low-income seniors suffering is baseless." This example of a flawed CBO analysis of the Ryan plan was cited by McCaughey.
She also asks if we want an "unelected board of presidential appointees called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, a cost-cutting panel, deciding payments for Americans retiring in 2022?"
That's how far out this sweetie's full-bore rationing reaches. Notice how far current elected officials have put themselves from responsibility.
Will "Americans now in the 40s and 50s choose to put their health care in the hands of this cost-cutting board, or pick their own health plan when they retire," asks McCaughey.
Note the word "choose." No matter your politics, ObamaCare is not choice. We know that from the president's April 13 words. He said the board would decide what care is "unnecessary" for seniors. That's consistent with his Colorado words of two summers ago. He said savings from Medicare would help pay for his plan. Again, less for seniors.
So far it isn't Ryan who has stuck it to us.
Harlan Berger at email@example.com is a freelance writer whose views do not necessarily represent those of The Express.