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Recently in the budget battle, as we know, the Republicans wanted to beat the Democrats to the punch with the best way to save Medicare. The House of Representatives passed a budget that ostensibly saves Medicare but also changes it for those 55 and younger.
The new system is voucher / coupon / premium support system in which those eligible get $8,000 to 20,000 or so to buy insurance. The existing system is a fee for service system in which after you pay for your premiums, co-pays, and deductibles, (Medicare A, B, and C, and MediGap, etc.) for the most part, the Medicare System pays a fee for the service to a provider (doctor, hospital, etc.) at a published rate. The provider either accepts what Medicare pays or they refuse to see Medicare patients. So, instead of the Ryan plan of giving $8,000 or more premium support to buy insurance and then abiding by the company's deductibles, with Medicare you pay about $2,000 or more for the needed Medicare parts and then the parts pay for your services when you need them.
Instead of coming up with their own solution, the Democrats, who, I kid you not, last year stole $500 Billion from Medicare to give to Obamacare, have set themselves up as the defenders of the status quo. While hippie Democrats are blowing smoke ringlets and asking important questions like "Que pasa?" --- Medicare will be signing off the air faster than you can say, "Good night, Chet. Good night, David. And good night, for NBC News."
According to their own trustees' analysis, such neglect promises to kill Medicare dead in just a little over ten more years. With no plan to save Medicare, the Democrats have chosen instead to bad mouth the Republican plan and plan their 2012 reelections. So, the Democrat plan is materializing as the best plan possible to scare seniors, and the plan is already seeing positive campaign results. Seniors are surely scared and the Republicans are already getting the blame. Life could not be better for a Democrat after the recent Buffalo NY elections, which proved that scare tactics are an effective way to get elected to office.
Ironically, for two years, until 2011, with a fully controlled House and Senate and the Presidency, the Democrats could have proposed anything and it would have been virtually unbeatable. The Democrats were essentially bullet-proof. But, if they had proposed something, anything at all, they knew that it would give the other party the opportunity to attack the proposal and therefore, the Democrats themselves. So, our brave Democrats chose not to address the needs of the people. They did nothing with Medicare or Social Security when they had full power. Moreover, the 111th Congress, the most corrupt Congress of all times, did not even pass a budget. In this way, their excessive spending, pork ridden stimulus bills, and corporate bailouts could not be deemed excessive by the opposition.
So, now in 2011, after no Democratic budget and no Medicare or SS plan whatsoever, the Republicans took a shot at coming up with a valid solution. Valid solutions are not always the best and the Paul Ryan bill, though perhaps not the best, was considered a good start and an opportunity for dialogue in a Congress not known for solutions.
The Democrats would have nothing to do with it though its attributes were very similar to plans quietly espoused by the Democrats before the Republicans had the guts to put their plan squarely on the table. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of former top White House aide, Rahm Emanuel, who was a major architect of the White House Health strategy the last few years, wrote a book in 2008, titled Healthcare Guaranteed. This book essentially recommended the "Ryan Plan," complete with vouchers three years before the Ryan plan was announced. How embarrassing.
Whether you use $8,000 and $20,000 as the numbers for the vouchers or a flat $15,000 worth of coverage as Emanuel's bogey, the plans are similar. Moreover, Emanuel highlighted the fact that if you decide to throw in another $4,000 to get a better Medicare plan at $19,000, you could theoretically get limitless care. Another family member, such as a spouse might decide to take a $15,000 HMO type Medicare option that operates within a narrow network but works well for them. Such a plan might have no cost sharing. So, the secret Democrat plan is a lot like Ryan's. Can the Democrats be lying just a little to make political points? We could ask Ezekiel Emanuel. However, just like his brother, he is no longer working at the White House, and the Democrats are staying as far away from his plan as possible. After all, it might hurt their reelection chances.
You see, the Democrats, my party, chose to start running for office rather than address any issues in the Ryan plan (the Ezekiel plan) that might need adjusting. So, now, instead of working on a solution, we find our friendly Democrats in Congress and in the White House working again to win elections. Why take time out to serve the people when there are elections at hand?
The Democrat plan to win back the House and to assure Obama's reelection is already in progress. It is calculated to scare the hell out of all seniors and all Americans who may need Medicare some day. The images the Democrats portray to assure their reelection is that of the big Republican elephant throwing all seniors under a bus or Paul Ryan himself pushing one at a time over a cliff.
Unfortunately, Democrats pull scare tactics all the time on the people and Republicans have no antidote. It is a recurring bad trick on the people every election cycle. The big elephant tries to meet this powerful emotion of the donkey with logic: 'But, Medicare will fail if we do nothing.' The Democrats counter by feeding the people more of the same opium as the last election. Instead of the truth, the Democrats tell the people what they want to hear. The truth is that Democrats have no Medicare plan. Their only plan is to attack the Republican plan. So we all keep this on our minds, the Democrats are working on reelection and they are not looking to solve the Medicare problem if it means risking their seats.
Therefore, lying has become the operative strategy: "Everything is OK " even Medicare, as long as those nasty Republicans are not in charge for they will hurt you." There is not a lot of logic there but people do not like being scared. Emotion beats logic every day. And, so, every election, Democrats scare the people and many of the people buy it as if the purveyors of such nonsense are truth-sayers instead of shylocks. If shame were still of concern today, I would say "shame on both parties." But, compared to Republicans, the Democrats are pros at chicanery and pure spin.
As a Democrat lamenting for the days when the Democrats really served the people, I am embarrassed at how lightly my party takes the coming Medicare financial crisis. Democrats and Republicans admit it is coming but Democrats, for the sake of this coming election, want you to think all is well. As a Democrat, even I know the party leaders are lying so I wonder what the Republicans think!
The Democrats have created Medi-scare, and in this corrupt and dishonest shameful game, Democrats win the prize for least thoughtful. Because nobody really trusts the government, the Democrats have crafted an effective reelection strategy. Democrats have no intentions of saving Medicare as we know it or in any other form, especially when painting the Republicans as the bad guys works so well.
I am not suggesting that as a rule Republicans are squeaky clean and Democrats are the only dirty players. I wish both parties were honest and that both did the people's business instead of their own. I would more than welcome a new Democrat party that once again espoused personal liberty, freedom, honesty, goodness, and a real concern for the people of America.
Both parties owe the people big apologies for years of poor government. One thing is for sure, however, and we Democrats may chuckle every now and then when we win. Our party has used all of the dirty tricks in the book from race baiting to scaring seniors, to gain many a victory. All of these techniques have been in the playbooks for a long time, but Democrats are more likely to use them than Republicans. Even we Democrats know that. Medicare is just the latest example.
When Medicare goes down in ten or so short years because the call for inaction succeeded, despite culpability, will my Democrat brothers and sisters all line up and blame the Republicans? Have the Democrats become so good at lying that the people will forget who was on which side of the Medicare debate, and believe them again? "The Dirty Republicans did it!" Will this mantra work again, even though historical evidence to the contrary will exist? Will the people forgive the Democrats for destroying Medicare by leaving it alone or will they blame Republicans for trying to save it by changing it? When Medicare is gone, and when it can never be brought back, will Democrats continue the same dirty politics and will such ploys continue to get them reelected?
Never trust a politician to do a job that is so important that it must be done. Elections come too often, and reelections breed corruption. What happened to honesty and personal dignity? Is getting elected worth the cost of giving up simple human decency? I regret that my party, the Democrats, believes the answer is "yes." As the party that was once "of the people," becomes more progressive / socialist, and even communist, the term, "ends justify the means," does take on new meaning.