Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 26, 2009

MEDICARE'S 'CHAMPIONS'?.... About a month ago, the Washington Post reported, "After years of trying to cut Medicare spending, Republican lawmakers have emerged as champions of the program, accusing Democrats of trying to steal from the elderly to cover the cost of health reform."

Of course, the idea that congressional Republicans could be Medicare's "champions" has always been a little silly, but the notion gets a little more ridiculous all the time.

On Wednesday, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) introduced his own health care reform plan. Broun, one of the most vocal and persistent critics of comprehensive health care reform, calls his legislation the "only true free-market reform alternative." And free-market it is. While most of his legislation mirrors other Republican proposals, Broun's plan for Medicare seems rather revolutionary. He wants to completely get rid of Medicare and replace it with vouchers....

Presumably, seniors would then use their vouchers in the private insurance market. Unfortunately, since nothing in Broun's OPTION Act deals with the issue of preexisting conditions, insurance companies would deny seniors, who are more likely to have a chronic health problem, left and right.

And as Zaid Jilani explained, "While Medicare is facing future budgetary problems, privatization isn't the solution. Medicare Advantage, the Medicare plan under which the administration of the program is farmed out to private insurance companies, has more than five times the administrative costs of the traditional public Medicare plan."

It's worth noting that while the RNC and congressional Republican leaders have feigned outrage about Democratic efforts to find cost savings in Medicare, no GOP officials in Washington have denounced or distanced themselves from Paul Broun's privatization plan.

(Note to Hill reporters: ask John Boehner at his next presser, "A leading House Republican last week called for privatizing Medicare. Will you and other party leaders support his effort?")

Most Republican lawmakers opposed the creation of Medicare; GOP lawmakers pushed for Medicare cuts in the '80s and '90s; and last year, the McCain/Palin platform called for significant cuts to the popular program. This year, many prominent GOP lawmakers have argued that Medicare is unconstitutional, and three-fourths of the House Republican caucus voted in April to privatize Medicare out of existence.

It's probably safe to drop this "emerged as champions of the program" talk.

Steve Benen 3:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (8)

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Comments

Over a 150 congressmen are on Medicare now aren't they? They like it for them but not for us.

Posted by: bjobotts on October 26, 2009 at 3:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Medicare Advantage, the Medicare plan under which the administration of the program is farmed out to private insurance companies, has more than five times the administrative costs of the traditional public Medicare plan."

Not to mention that the Medicare Advantage plans cost 14% MORE than regular fee-for-service Medicare.

Posted by: Joe Friday on October 26, 2009 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's probably safe to drop this "emerged as champions of the program" talk.

Along with talk about Republicans as:

- the party of law and order
- the party of fiscal responsibility
- the party of national defense
- the party that supports the troops
- the party of moral standards

Posted by: SteveT on October 26, 2009 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Now that Reid has announced that the merged Senate bill will include a public option with a State opt-out, it will be hilarious to see which Republicans line up to be 'Public Option Defenders'

The track record is good - no State Republican or otherwise has ever opted out of Medicaid.

Posted by: Ohioan on October 26, 2009 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure the "dropping seniors left and right" is considered by Broun, et al. to be a feature, not a bug.

Posted by: biggerbox on October 26, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

It's as if the Post has set out to emulate FOX "news". It's truly a shame.

Posted by: JW on October 26, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Is there no problem that privatization and vouchers won't solve? How about vouchers for government? I'm sure that some company in the Philippine Islands or Haiti would cheerfully set up a government, complete with Congress, that would do the job for less money.

Posted by: Dennis-SGMM on October 26, 2009 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Hayes on March 12, 2010 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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