The new president-elect, Donald Trump, is promising to “modernize” Medicare. Paul Ryan promises to “reform” Medicare. Although they’ve changed the language, they haven’t changed its meaning: the “modernized, reformed” Medicare will be privatized. Different words, same outcome.
Ryan first began proposing to privatize Medicare in 2010 when the GOP took control of Congress away from Democrats under President Obama. As USA Today reports, Paul Ryan saw it as an opportunity.
“Ryan used his position in the new GOP House majority to propose his first extreme makeover of the program. It would have slashed the government’s obligations to future retirees by feeding all of them into private insurers, with a coupon to cover some or all of the premiums depending on income.”
Once Trump was elected, and before he enraged the party by back-pedaling on one of his biggest campaign promises, to repeal Obamacare “on day one,” Paul Ryan seized the day once again by eyeing cuts to Medicare. In an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier, the House speaker jumped on the Medicare-is-bad bandwagon as quickly as humanly possible.
“What people don’t realize is because of Obamacare, Medicare is going broke, Medicare is going to have price controls because of Obamacare, Medicaid is in fiscal straits. You have to deal with those issues if you are going to repeal and replace Obamacare. Medicare has serious problems (because of) Obamacare. Those are part of our plan.”
Never mind the proven fact that Medicare became solvent for an additional 12 years thanks to the Affordable Care Act and that Ryan’s argument is completely false. Bret Baier didn’t mind it; in fact, he didn’t even correct him.
Ryan has not given up on the idea.
Rather than a single payer, universal health care system provided by Medicare traditionally, the voucher system proposed by Ryan would force seniors to buy insurance through private insurers with a little help from the government via subsidies…as long as the money holds out. After all, the economy has crashed before.
Where exactly will Grandma get the money to pay for the outrageously expensive American medicines then?
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Featured image via Getty/Zach Gibson