Archive for April 21st, 2011

Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare!

I think Republicans may actually hate their party’s plans for Medicare reform even more than Democrats hated Obama’s plan for healthcare reform.

McClatchy/Marist:

Americans clearly don’t want the government to cut Medicare, the government health program for the elderly, or Medicaid, the program for the poor. Republicans in the House of Representatives voted last week to drastically restructure and reduce those programs, while Obama calls for trimming their costs but leaving them essentially intact.

Voters oppose cuts to those programs by 80-18 percent. Even among conservatives, only 29 percent supported cuts, and 68 percent opposed them.

WaPo/ABC News:

When simply asked whether they wanted Medicare to remain a defined benefits plan or see it changed into a voucher system to buy private insurance, a full 65 percent of Americans said they were opposed to this change, while only 34 percent supported it. After the poll explained that the cost of private insurance would likely rise faster than the value of the vouchers, causing seniors to pay more for insurance (as the CBO says would happen under the House Republican budget), the total opposed jumped to 84 percent.

Just how incredibly unpopular is this major provision of the Republican budget? With 84 percent opposed to it, Ryan’s Medicare voucher program has even less support among the American people than the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which the latest KFF poll found 67 percent want repealed.

If it were possible to vote against politicians without having to vote for their opponents, DC would be a ghost town.

April 21st, 2011 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Healthcare,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Taxes

If Republicans (And Democrats) Were Really Serious About The National Debt…

Maybe they might want to think about some actual real financial reform, or doing something about runaway healthcare costs:

[T]he financial crisis will end up causing government debt to increase by more than 50 percentage points of G.D.P. over a decade. This is the major fiscal crisis of today and the likely one tomorrow. (I wrote more on this in a column this week for Bloomberg.)

(…)

A future financial crisis, given the nature of our economy, could well cause a debt increase of more than 34 percent of G.D.P. — just look at what happened this time in the United States or the way in which Ireland was ruined by big banks and reaction by the politicians there. There is no way that the S.&P.’s stress situation is sufficiently negative.

(…)

There is, of course, a longer-run budget issue — beyond 2020 –- that is mostly about health care costs. S.&P. follows the current consensus by flagging the Medicare component of this, and the C.B.O.’s projections on this front are undoubtedly scary (see this C.B.O. Web page or jump directly to the document and study the image on its front page).

But the real threat to the economy is health-care costs seen broadly, not just the Medicare component. For more on this, see the analysis by my co-author on the Baseline Scenario blog, James Kwak, writing about an important letter from Douglas W. Elmendorf (the head of the C.B.O.) to Representative Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee, on Mr. Ryan’s budget proposal.

(…)

The real danger to the United States economy –- and to its federal budget –- is that we will somehow derail growth, either by letting too-big-to-fail banks become irresponsible again or by allowing health-care costs to continue to rise on their current trajectory or in some other way.

…Or we could just kill Medicare, slash Social Security, and keep cutting taxes for rich people and corporations until the trickledown fairy works her magic.

April 21st, 2011 at 09:01am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Economy,Healthcare,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Social Security,Wankers


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