GOPocrisy, Republican-Fail, Republicans — January 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

Republicans consider privatizing Medicare


I know this is no surprise but Republicans are considering privatizing Medicare.

Months after they hammered Democrats for cutting Medicare, House Republicans are debating whether to relaunch their quest to privatize the health program for seniors. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is testing support for his idea to replace Medicare with a fixed payment to buy a private medical plan from a menu of coverage options.

Party leaders will determine if the so-called voucher plan will be part of the budget Republicans put forward in the spring.

They want to give elderly Medicare recipients coupons. And force them to shop around for the best medical coverage. As anyone with a relationship with an elderly person knows, this is not something most of them will be able to do easily. Most are not online. They often struggle with reading small-print documents. It’s a recipe for disaster for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

This after their hypocritical hue and cry over the Obama administration cutting Medicare costs by 6% over the next ten years.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York put it best:

Anyone who doesn’t think privatization will mean severe cuts to Medicare benefits, I have a bridge I’d like to sell them. Privatization will make the cuts previously proposed by either party look tame.”

But at least the über-wealthy get to keep their tax cuts, though, eh?

Meanwhile, the GOP is also going after another initiative designed to rein in Medicare costs, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

[The IPAB] become a prime target in the Republican effort to unravel the Democrats’ health care reform overhaul. This week, a half-dozen House Republicans unveiled a one-paragraph piece of legislation to dismantle the IPAB, well before it ever gets going… The advisory board was created, in large part, to do what some politicians are afraid of: make hard decisions about Medicare costs.

Although the Affordable Care Act specifically forbids the IPAB making decisions that would ration health care, the Republicans are, of course, going there, calling it another step toward Communism.

“I take you back to the old Soviet Union,” Rep. John Fleming, R-La., said at a news conference this week unveiling the GOP’s bill to repeal the IPAB. “That’s the way they did things–a central planning committee would set prices, they would control costs–and of course their economy failed.”

Former Obama administration official Peter Orszag has the best comment on this particular effort:

It’s only in Washington, D.C., that a board created to help address our long-term fiscal imbalance while boosting quality in health care and that is specifically by law prohibited from rationing care could be called a death panel.

GOPocrisy, pure and simple.

I’m just sayin’…

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