fresh voices from the front lines of change







I know the conservatives want to cut “entitlements” but literally killing off old people seems extreme even for them. But they seem to think that the elderly are being profligate spenders on health care and so they need to “take responsibility” and pay more so they won’t use as much. Anyone who’s been around old people and their plethora of health issues knows that’s tantamount to killing them.

Evidently, the right wing deficit commissars are very intrigued by the “savings” we could achieve if we didn’t have so many old people around. The Democrats are all tuckered out from health care and aren’t even engaging on the issue, leaving it to Paul Ryan and his merry band of Galtian supermen to come up with a clever plan all by themselves:

That leaves rigid conservatives like David Camp and Paul Ryan — the GOP’s top budget guy and author of a plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program — at the top of the rhetorical heap. As a result, according to the second source, the commission’s focus reflects their priorities much more than progressive ones.

“There have been some discussions about cost-sharing. There have been some discussions about Medi-gap policies,” the source says.

At a staff level, this source says, the feeling is that “there needs to be more skin in the game and people need to pay more…the whole argument that people don’t understand how much health care costs and are wasteful.”

“A lot of discussion on the commission has been that people need to get better price signals and be smarter shoppers,” the second source said.

Sure. 80 year olds need more “skin in the game.” The fact that they are dying shouldn’t be any excuse for them failing to be “smart shoppers.”

The issue isn’t that medicare costs aren’t a problem. It’s how to solve it. And since the Democrats are so tired of dealing with health care they appear to be allowing the Ryan Express to take the lead. And needless to say, they aren’t interested in dealing with the cost side at all:

“A lot of discussion on the commission has been that people need to get better price signals and be smarter shoppers,” the second source said. “And that is very, very worrisome.”

“The solutions that you come up with on health care are determined by what you identify as the problem,” the source said. “If you think the consumers are the problem, then you’re going to come up with a set of answers that include vouchers and higher cost sharing and that’s a problem. If you believe that the problem is the system, then you look at systemic issues…. If you believe that the only thing you really care about is federal spending, then come up with proposals that shift costs on to businesses and individuals and maybe local governments.”

I wonder if the Democrats might be planning to tell the seniors about this. Too shrill?

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