Saturday, February 27, 2010

Paul Ryan: Government Spends Too Much! Also, Stop Government From Killing Wasteful Spending! is still waiting for rebuttals to points made by GOP Rep. Paul Ryan at Thursday's health care summit. They have a list of points, some of which I would concede. I don't support this bill, and there are obviously problems with it. I would just like to point out that Ryan has no solutions other than to get rid of Medicare altogether. But one of his points just illustrates Ryan's basic dishonesty:
"Millions of seniors who have chosen Medicare Advantage (Medicare through a private insurer) will lose the coverage that they now enjoy."
I'll let Ezra Klein explain the Medicare Advantage ripoff.
Philip Rucker takes a good, hard look at the scam that is Medicare Advantage. Essentially, it works like this: Congress allowed private HMOs to compete for Medicare patients under the rationale that they could offer better service at lower cost than the government. They couldn't. So Republicans in Congress began boosting their payments, to the point that Medicare Advantage gets paid 114 percent what Medicare gets paid to care for a patient. That leads to some fun perks, like free gym memberships and complimentary aspirin and band-aids, which in turn leads seniors to defend the program because they like their perks. But it also means a lot of unnecessary expense for taxpayers.
And it's important to remember that those free perks do not account for the whole of Medicare Advantage's overpayments. Rather, economists have estimated that for every extra dollar we pay the program, 14 percent is passed on to seniors and 86 percent goes to profits or other costs. In other words, we're getting only 14 cents of obvious value for every dollar of overpayment.
So Ryan is complaining that the bill will kill off this scam, which is basically just welfare for his rich buddies in the corporate world. Ryan pretends to be in favor of free-market, private sector solutions, but what he's really in favor of is just giving taxpayer dollars to rich, private sector corporations. And then, of course, trying to scare the "millions of seniors who now get Medicare Advantage" into turing against health care reform, even though he knows they won't lose health care, but will simply be required to use regular Medicare instead of the tax-payer ripoff known as Medicare Advantage.

It was irresponsible and dishonest for him to not say that. But political dishonesty and irresponsibility works, because now a bunch of people are going to waste their correcting him, when they could be fighting for single payer.

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