Monday, April 11, 2011

Paul Ryans' Proposed Plan to End Medicare is Receiving Bad Reviews.

Apr 11, 2011

The Reviews Are In: Another Day, More Bad Reviews of the House Republican Budget.

On Tuesday, House Republicans proposed a partisan plan to end Medicare as we know it. The first reviews went from tough, to bad, to worse. And this weekend they got terrible.

Ryan: Destroy Medicare, deficit remains [Salt Lake Tribune]

“Ryan’s ‘Path to Prosperity’ runs through various fantasy lands, envisioning that large tax cuts, mostly for the rich, and huge spending cuts, mostly in programs that benefit the poor and middle class, will lead to unprecedented booms in hiring, homebuilding and other economic activities. Ryan’s plan is mostly a means to shelter those who have already benefited from a half-century of fiscal irrationality and dump the burden on those who are to come later. […] Ryan’s plan is anchored in an open contempt for anyone who isn’t wealthy enough to completely take care of themselves in their old age.” [Salt Lake Tribune, 4/9/11]

GOP budget plan slams safety net, not deficit [Lexington Herald Leader]

“It would junk the American social contract and produce a massive transfer of wealth from those at the bottom and middle of the economy to those at the top. […] What he offers is a steroidal version of the Republican playbook from the George W. Bush era: tax cuts for the rich, wink-and-nod regulation of Wall Street and a surrender of Americans' medical care to the insurance industry. […] Not surprisingly, given the Republican record on deficit spending, Ryan's plan would not balance the budget for 20 years. […] It's too bad so many of his ideas look like a bad rerun — in 3D.” [Lexington Herald-Leader, 4/10/11]

Paul Ryan's Medicare Plan Worries Local Voters [Associated Press]

“Brian Krutsch has been long one of many automatic votes here for Rep. Paul Ryan. The unemployed warehouse manager, along with a solid majority of other Janesville voters, has helped elect Ryan seven times and watched with pride as he became one of Congress' leading authorities on the federal budget. But this week, admiration has been tinged with apprehension as one of Ryan's signature ideas – ending Medicare's status as a full, guaranteed benefit for senior citizens – suddenly took a step toward reality. […] Changing Medicare has become a hot topic around town, and the qualms underscore why many officeholders are wary of talking about it.” [AP, 4/9/11]

Let senior citizens design Medicare alternatives, not their kids [Jackson Sun Column]

“The real problem Ryan is trying to solve is that the cost of providing health insurance to seniors has risen faster than expected because of more expensive medical technology, improved drugs and, as a result, people living longer. What Ryan's approach does to make the numbers work is bail out Medicare on the backs of senior citizens by limiting their benefits through private insurance plans just when they need them the most. Talk about a one-man death panel. […] Let's come up with a fix for Medicare that is proposed by senior citizens who will have to live with the solution, not some 41-year-old rich kid who knows how to make the numbers work out on a computer spread sheet. Imagine the comfort Ryan's approach would bring to your 80-year-old grandmother.” [Jackson Sun, 4/10/11]

Ryan plan swells debt [Journal Star]

“As Ryan himself said when he presented the plan, ‘This is not a budget. It's a cause.’ […] The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the typical senior would spend about $20,510 a year for medical insurance and health care in 2022. In other words, the senior would need to come up with about $12,510 to pay for health care. That compares with out-of-pocket expenses of about $6,510 under current Medicare rules.” [Journal Star, 4/11/11]

GOP Gets Its Turn On Medicare Hot Seat [Associated Press]

“The GOP budget expected to go to the full House this week would remake health care programs for the elderly and the poor that have been in place for nearly half a century. Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., says his approach would 'save’ Medicare by keeping the financially troubled program affordable for federal taxpayers. But it turns out that people now 54 and younger would pay the price. By one authoritative estimate, they'd be on the hook for most of their own health care costs after they become eligible for Medicare as retirees. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the typical beneficiary would be expected to pay more than two-thirds of his or her medical costs by the year 2030. Costs wouldn't come down; they'd just get shifted.” [Associated Press, 4/11/11]

GOP budget plan lacks key element: Democrats' support [Grand Forks Herald]

“Rep. Paul Ryan’s federal budget plan is by Republicans and for Republicans. It drew no Democratic support. So, while it succeeds as a political marker for the GOP, it fails as a road map because neither Democrats nor moderate Republicans or independents will touch it.” [Grand Forks Herald, 4/10/11]

A plan to kill Medicare [MetroWest Daily News]

“The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says, ‘A typical beneficiary would spend more for health care under the proposal.’ The news services say ‘considerably more.’ It takes no great leap of the imagination to see this as akin to a middle-class tax increase. As a practical matter, it could end up pitting the individual against giant insurance companies and, since the cost and scope of the plan would be government regulated, their lobbyists. […] The poor would no longer have a right to health care under federal law, meaning that people could be frozen out of state programs for budgetary reasons. There's a term for that, one that might be familiar to Republicans who have used it against Democrats: government rationing of health care.” [MetroWest Daily News, 4/7/11]

Fareed’s Take: Why Paul Ryan’s budget won’t work [Fareed Zakaria GPS]

“So, what's wrong with Ryan's plan? […]. It actually increases defense spending over the next 10 years, then it never actually explains what it will cut from discretionary spending. It simply asserts spending will go down massively. The bulk of the deficit reduction, which allows for $4 trillion of tax cuts, would come from changing America's healthcare. Now, there, too, Ryan's plan is simply unrealistic. The theory behind it is that if individuals have to pay for their health care, they will shop carefully and drive down costs. It's a good theory, but in health care, a huge part of the expenses relate to a small percentage of sick patients and to the last year of life - and those two categories overlap.” [CNN, 4/10/11]

Ryan plan unfairly targets elderly [Merced Sun-Star]

“Unfortunately, his plan takes a hard whack at health care for the elderly, shifting costs to individuals and the states. […] But Ryan's plan, embraced by House Republicans, tries to roll back the clock. Under his proposal, which he borrowed from former California Rep. Bill Thomas' dead-on-arrival 1999 idea, the elderly no longer would receive the traditional Medicare card, with choice of doctors. Instead, older folks would get a voucher to help buy a health insurance policy. […] Ryan says, ‘This isn't a budget. This is a cause.’ And his cause is an attack on the elderly.” [Merced Sun-Star, 4/9/11]

'RyanCare' won't work without new health law [USA Today]

“Say what you want about Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to revamp Medicare, the man has a keen sense of irony. As part of a Republican spending proposal for 2012 and beyond, the House Budget Committee chairman wants to scrap Medicare as we know it and have seniors buy private insurance, beginning with new retirees in 2022. […] The real irony is this: The plan won't work unless joined with something much like the 2010 health care law Republicans want to repeal.” [USA Today, 4/10/11]