Fund Your Utopia Without Me.™

12 August 2012

No, Grandma Won't Get Run Over By A Ryandeer

 M2RB:  Alexander Ebert


 All out of my secrets
All my enemies are turning into my teachers.
Because, lights blinding, no way dividing what's yours or mine 
when everything's shining
You darkness is shining my darkness is shining
Have faith in ourselves

Yes I'm only loving, only trying to only love
That's what I'm trying to do is only loving
Yes I'm only lonely loving feeling only loving
Till I'm feeling only loving
Ya say it ain't loving ain't loving my loving
But I'm only loving only loving only loving
Only loving the truth.


"ThinkProgress popped out "Ryan's Original Medicare Plan Ends Medicare, Period,"...DailyKos called Ryan the leader of the "committee to end Medicare." Earlier this year, The American Prospect produced a "Guide to Ending Medicare As We Know It."  Ryan as you know is sort of a celebrity with seniors. Not in a good way.

lester on August 11, 2012 at 11:56 AM

Part I

First off, Obama has already cut more than $716 billion out of their Medicare, of which Paul Ryan will frequently remind them.

Secondly, Ryan’s  proposed changes to Medicare would not affect ANYONE over the age of 55.

For those younger than 55,  just as every member of Congress does now, they would have the option of staying in regular Medicare or opting for alternatives such as purchasing plans that best suit their needs and reflect their preferences and tastes.  The latter would remove Washington from their doctor-patient relationship.

Thirdly, means testing will be conducted by the Federal government to determine, based on each individual's economic needs, who needs financial assistance to purchase health insurance plans.  Obviously, if you are rich, you will get little or nothing.  As it should be -- considering the fiscal condition of the country -- the poor will receive the most financial assistance, if they choose to opt out of Medicare.

Finally, if a senior is uncomfortable with the voucher programme, she can remain in or return to the Medicare programme, as we know it, which will likely not last for much longer than 2024 according to Mr Obama's own Social Security and Medicare Trustees May 2011 report.

For the record, on our current path there will be “actual” cuts to Medicare of 17% and Medicare would “end as we know it” in 2024, according to the Social Security and Medicare Trustees May 2011 report. 


Medicare hospitalisation, as we know it will end in 2024, absent some change in policy or some change in moving forward.

I’ve got news for a lot of you. Social Security and Medicare ARE going to change whether you like it or not.

Fact: In 1940, the average worker had to pay only 0.2% of his salary to sustain the seniors of his time.

Fact: In 1950, the average worker had to pay only 2% of his salary to sustain the seniors of his time.

Fact: In 2011, the average worker has to pay 11% of his salary to sustain the seniors of his time.

Fact: In 2131, the average worker will have to pay 17% of his salary to sustain the seniors of his time. This is a staggering sum, considering that it is apart from all the other taxes he pays to sustain other functions of government, such as Medicare, whose costs are exploding.

Projection: When today’s college students reach retirement (about 2054), Social Security alone will require a 16.6% payroll tax, one-third greater than today’s rate, according to the non-partisan Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform.

Projection: When Medicare Part A is included, the payroll tax burden will rise to 25.7% – more than one of every four dollars workers will earn that year.

Projection: If Medicare Part B (physician services) and Part D are included, the total Social Security/Medicare burden will climb to 37% of payroll by 2054 – one in three dollars of taxable payroll, and twice the size of today’s payroll tax burden, according to the non-partisan Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform.

Projection: More than one-third of the wages workers earn in 2054 will need to be committed to pay benefits promised under current law. That is before any bridges or highways are built and before any teachers’ or police officers’ salaries are paid.

Projection: By 2030, about the midpoint of the baby boomer retirement years, the Medicare will require nearly half of all income tax dollars, according to the non-partisan Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget Reform.

Projection: By 2060, Social Security and Medicare will require nearly three out of four income tax dollars.

If you think that such is going to happen, then you are delusional. The young are not going to live lives of poverty to pay for your Social Security and Medicare. That may sound harsh, but it is true nonetheless.


Part II

CBO Reports That ObamaCare Cuts $716 Billion From Medicare

"A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report hikes the ten-year Medicare cuts contained in Obamacare from around $575 billion to $716 billion.

These cuts are reductions in what the government will reimburse medical facilities to take on Medicare patients. For the past few years, automatic cuts in these payments have been stalled in what has become known as the “doc fix.”

According to the report, current law under Obamacare would result in a $260 billion payment cut for hospital services, $39 billion payment cut for skilled nursing services, $17 billion payment cut for hospice services, $66 billion payment cut for home health services and a $33 billion payment cut for all other services.

In other words, these savings have failed to materialize.

Of course, should Obamacare stay in force and these reductions to health care providers go into effect, seniors on Medicare will find significantly fewer options for health care available to them

The Medicare Trustees report in 2012 estimates reductions in reimbursement rates will cause 15% of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies to operate at a loss by 2019, 25 percent to operate at a loss in 2030, and 40 percent by 2050.

These facilities will either have to close or will have to stop taking Medicare patients in order to remain open.

There will also be a a further $145 billion in cuts for payments to Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) that care for large numbers of poor patients, along with unspecified cuts in other services.

Additionally, the CBO shows Obamacare slices $156 billion from the popular Medicare Advantage (MA) program. Right now, about 27% of Medicare recipients take advantage of the MA program to access more or different care than the traditional Medicare package allows.

By 2017, about half of current MA patients will be forced to abandon MA and re-enroll in the traditional Medicare plan. A House Ways and Means Committee report jacks the Obamacare cuts in the MA program to $308 billion.

Medicare patients, already facing the exhaustion of the Medicare trust fund by 2024, also must cope with the redirection of Obamacare’s 31% increase in the Medicare payroll tax — not into Medicare, but into paying for Obamacare.

Roughly $318 billion will be collected from Obamacare’s hike from 2.9% to 3.8% of income subject to Medicare tax. This windfall will be used to offset other Obamacare expenses and notbe used to fund Medicare benefits.

Seniors can expect big changes in Medicare as a result of Obamacare. Most likely, they will face a severe shortage in medical facilities willing to accept them as patients and they will lose some of the coverage options they currently enjoy.

Part III

Many have argued that Mitt Romney's choice of Paul Ryan will kill him with Seniors, but they overlook this:

From 2011:
A new Gallup/USA Today poll contains a counterintuitive finding: the age group most receptive to House Budget Chair Paul Ryan's plan to deal with the budget - seniors.

The poll finds 48 percent of seniors (those 65 and over) support Ryan's plan over President Obama's plan, while 42 percent back the president. 

That's the highest total among the age groups tested - a 47 percent plurality between the ages of 50 and 64 backed Ryan, and a 45 percent plurality of those between 30-49 backed Ryan. But young voters overwhelmingly sided with Obama by a 23-point margin, 53 to 30 percent.

Republicans hold a double-digit lead over Democrats in public perception of which party would do a better job dealing with the federal budget, according to the survey. 48 percent prefer Republicans, while 36 percent prefer Democrats in Congress.

The poll, conducted between April 20-23, surveyed 1,013 adults and has a four percent margin of error.

Part IV

Every 2 years, Democrats utilise one of their tried-n-true, go-to propaganda and fearmongering tools:  Mediscare.

But, could a funny thing have happened on the way to Mediscare 2012?  Could its name be the Obama Administration and Democrats' crown jewel, Obamacare?  

And, wouldn't that just be beauuuuuuuuutiffffffffffuuuuuuuuulllllllllll?

Hear me out:

Here are a few example of trollscaring from today:

1.  "If Grandma is 54 years old today she loses here guaranteed Medicare coverage."

2.  "Ryan is going to get rid of Medicare and give grandma a voucher to buy private health insurance.  The grandma goes to buy health insurance and the health insurers laugh."

3.  "65 year old: 'Here's my RyanCare Voucher, I would like health insurance.'  Health Insurance Company: "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ho Ho Ho Hee Hee Hee, oh that's funny grandma!"

Under Obamacare, insurance companies will not be able to deny coverage to seniors.   If Obamacare is repealed and a voucher programme is put into place, I think that a similar provision would be included.

Remember, under their precious Obamacare, preexisting conditions will not be a bar to coverage and community rating will ensure that seniors' premiums are not much more than a 27 year-old, newly-minted "adult."  We have heard, repeatedly, that Republicans would keep the "popular" parts (stupid parts like preexisting conditions and community rating) even if they do, in fact, "repeal and replace."

Could it be that with their beloved Obamacare, they are now "all sheath and no sword" when it comes to Mediscare demagoguery?  As noted above, they've already cut $716 billion dollars from Medicare, seniors back the Ryan Plan, and there is no compulsory participation in the voucher programme?

Part V

One of the constant refrains of the Left is that Bush's Medicare Part D is the cause of Obama's deficits because it was "unpaid for."  For the sake of argument, let's ignore the fact that, until Democrats took over Congress, deficits were decreasing and revenues increasing, and agree with them.  Personally, I believe that it should never have been passed and should be repealed.  Below are the final votes for Part D:



Now, that I've admonished Republicans, let's remind Democrats of something that theyALWAYS CONVENIENTLY FORGET AND OMIT:

Democrats were pushing for their own prescription plans at the time...which were also unpaid for...from Time Magazine:

"Everyone in Washington seems to agree: the nation's seniors need better prescription drug coverage, and quickly. The major point of debate between Republicans and Democrats: how much the whole thing should cost — and exactly what should be covered. 

The price tags for coverage plans range between gigantic and elephantine. Monday, House Republicans, led by Rep. Bill Thomas of California, introduced a plan that would rack up a $350 billion bill over ten years, with $300 billion earmarked for the prescription program itself. The rest would go to subsidize health care practices that agree to serve Medicare patients — a community that's dwindling thanks to rising costs of care and plummeting Medicare reimbursement rates.

The figures are higher across the congressional aisle: House Democrats have a plan that would cost $800 billion over a decade, and last week, Senate Democrats offered a blueprint that would run about $500 billion to implement. Meanwhile, the White House wants to keep the bill under $200 billion. Now lawmakers are wondering if Congress has the political will to up the President's ante.

In an election year, if anyone nudges the President's hand on this legislation, it won't be Congress — it will be the voters. No politician wants to start off the election cycle with a "victory" over extremely expensive — and extremely popular — prescription drug benefit legislation. So if Republicans prevail with a slightly less costly plan, they'll spin it as a triumph of responsible government over the whims of spendthrift Dems. And if the Dems are the big winners, we'll get an earful about the victory of the people over tightwad Republicans.
Not surprisingly, there's a lot of support for the most generous of the plans. Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization based in Washington D.C. that advocates "high-quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans," issued a statement supporting the House Democrats' $800 billion plan. Does this vote of confidence come at the exclusion of other plans? "Certainly to the exclusion of the GOP plan," says Families USA spokesperson Jennifer Laudano, who adds there are simply "too many holes" in the House Republicans' proposal. The AARP, the nation's largest lobbying group for seniors, is also lukewarm on the GOP proposal, worrying that it just doesn't provide enough money to cover enough people.

Chances are, no one will be completely satisfied with any one of the plans: each would require some kind of monthly premium payment, as well as a deductible of varying amounts. The Senate Democrats' plan, for example, would charge $25 monthly but have no deductible, while the House Republicans call for a $35 monthly fee and a $350-per-year deductible. Prescription coverage specifics are also variable, ranging from the government paying 80 percent of the first $1,000 spent and 50 percent on the next $1,000 (House Republicans) to requiring a co-payment of $10 for generics and $40 for name brand drugs (Senate Democrats).

For those on the business side of the issue, the emphasis is on balance. John Jones, vice president of legal and regulatory affairs for Prescription Solutions, a pharmacy benefit management company argues for the middle ground. "We need a more generous prescription plan but we also need to control the dispensation of drugs," he says. He advocates pushing generic alternatives to high-profile, high-cost name brand drugs, and urges everyone to be realistic. "This isn't a giveaway for everyone who says, 'I want no deductible and all the drugs I've ever wanted.' The country could never afford that — so Congress is trying to put together something that's sustainable."

Sustainability is in the eye of the beholder — and Democrats and Republicans have very different ideas of how much money is required to guarantee prescription coverage. Andrew Rettenmaier, an economist at Texas A&M University who specializes in analyzing Medicare policy, believes we need to prepare ourselves for the inevitable sticker shock of prescription drug coverage, and thinks the best way to do that is to imagine what might happen if we didn't create coverage in the first place. "Medicare currently covers about five percent of what seniors pay for drugs," Rettenmaier says. That means 95 percent of the cost has to be picked up by private insurance and out of pocket payments from seniors. Real coverage, he continues, "is going to be expensive," and it's going to be a drain on federal coffers. And in a country that's aging by the day, that price is just going to keep going up.

Part VI

And, what did famous Democrat Lanny Davis have to say about the Ryan-Wyden or Wyden-Ryan Plan?

Wyden-Ryan Plan Deserves A Look!

By Lanny Davis - 03/21/12 07:31 PM ET
Among the most hypocritical aspects of certain purist Democrats who call themselves liberals is their willingness to attack any Democrat who veers even slightly from liberal orthodoxy.

Sadly, their attacks almost always turn personal, substituting name-calling for thoughtful analysis of the facts.   
Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden is one of the Senate’s leading progressives, with a voting record on every major issue defining liberalism that is second to none.

Yet he has also been a target of attack by purist liberals — because he has shown a willingness to mix liberal approaches (relying on government to assure social equity) with conservative principles (relying on private market competition and individual choices) to achieve traditional progressive social goals.

In 2010, Wyden introduced the Healthy Americans Act (HAA), co-sponsored by Utah conservative Sen. Bob Bennett.

It combined a commitment to national healthcare coverage and the individual mandate with allowing everyone to cash out their employer-provided insurance to exercise their choices to purchase insurance among competing private insurance companies.

The bill quickly attracted broad bipartisan support from leading liberals and conservatives in the Senate.

Had President Obama and the House and Senate Democratic leadership supported that bill, it was estimated it would have attracted 70 or more votes in the Senate and overwhelming bipartisan majorities in the House. 

But it never gained traction among the liberal base of the Democratic Party, and the Obama White House never seriously considered it.

Now, in recent months, Wyden has joined with conservative Republican Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) to come up with a Medicare reform proposal that reflects a similar mixture of liberal and conservative principles.

It combines the “Medicare Guarantee” — ensuring all seniors access to Medicare as we know it — with providing seniors an option to purchase private Medicare policies that would compete for their business.

In short: If you want to keep your Medicare, you do. If you want to shop and, with some federal subsidies, purchase private insurance, you can.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

Here are just a few facts about the Wyden-Ryan approach:

• Unlike a voucher program that would give seniors a fixed amount of money to purchase health plans — the original Ryan plan — Wyden-Ryan would adjust premium support payments each year to reflect the actual cost of health insurance premiums and still give seniors the option of being on Medicare.  

• All participating private plans would be required to offer benefits that are at least as comprehensive as traditional Medicare. Cherry-picking healthier seniors — the key criticism by liberals of giving seniors a private alternative to Medicare — will be made unprofitable by a robust risk-adjustment mechanism that would be policed by Medicare administrators. 

• Low-income seniors choosing private options would receive additional benefits to cover out-of-pocket costs — ensuring that seniors have the same choices regardless of income.

• Seniors would have access to a catastrophic benefit that does not exist in traditional Medicare. 

• The Wyden-Ryan Medicare Exchange, where private insurance options would be listed and forced to compete in a transparent fashion, would operate under strict federal oversight to ensure a level playing field. 

Here is the ultimate fact that liberal ideologues who have attacked Wyden’s proposal fail to address: 

Unless something is done to control costs, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund that finances Medicare hospitalization coverage will be out of money by 2022.

The result — seniors will likely be forced to endure more cost-shifting and arbitrary cuts until they are left with a program that doesn’t guarantee much of anything. 

Of course, there are concerns that the private options might be so successful as to swallow up “Medicare as we know it.” 

But as Wyden wrote recently in the Huffington Post:

“Doing nothing is also a direct threat to the Medicare Guarantee. Congress must pass meaningful reform within the next few years, and since it is highly unlikely that Democrats are going to win a supermajority of seats in both the House and the Senate this year, the only way to pass legislation upholding the Guarantee is for Democrats and Republicans to work together.”

Davis, the principal in the Washington law firm of Lanny J. Davis & Associates, which also specializes in legal crisis management, served as President Clinton’s special counsel from 1996-98 and as a member of President George W. Bush’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.  He is the author of the book Scandal: How ‘Gotcha’ Politics Is Destroying America.

Truth - Alexander Ebert

The truth is that I never shook my shadow
Every day it's trying to trick me into doing battle
Calling out "faker" only get me rattled
Want to pull me back behind the fence with the [cattle]
Building your [lenses]
Digging your trenches
Put me on the front line
Leave me with a dumb mind
With no defenses
But your defenses
If you can't stand to feel the pain then you are senseless

[Since] this
I've grown up some
Different kind of fighter
And when the darkness come let it inside you
Your darkness is shining
My darkness is shining
Have faith in myself

I've seen a million numbered doors on the horizon
Now which is the future you choosen before you gone dying.
I'll tell you 'bout a secret I've been underminding
Every little lie in this world come from dividing
Say you're my lover, say you're my homie,
Tilt my chin back slit my throat take a bath in my blood get to know me
All out of my secrets
All my enemies are turning into my teachers.
Because, lights blinding, no way dividing what's yours or mine when everything's shining
You darkness is shining my darkness is shining
Have faith in ourselves

Yes I'm only loving, only trying to only love
That's what I'm trying to do is only loving
Yes I'm only lonely loving feeling only loving
Till I'm feeling only loving
Ya say it ain't loving ain't loving my loving
But I'm only loving only loving only loving
Only loving the truth.

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