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Monday, July 27, 2015

Dear "Jeb!"- "Don't Touch our Medicare!"

Americans must stop Bushy-Boy from promoting "coupon medicine" by advocating for a Medicare voucher system.

It's impossible to understand how "Jeb!" i.e., "Bushy-Boy", could gain political traction, in his struggling attempt to build a campaign voters can identity with, by criticizing Medicare as being "unsustainable".  

Dear "Bushy-Boy", your brother's failed Operation Iraqi Freedom was an unsustainable war, but we're still pouring money into this decade long struggle. There's always "sustainable" funds found someplace for war and defense contracts. Therefore, there must be enough money to care for Americans who have contributed to Medicare and deserve the insurance coverage they've paid into.

Moreover, Americans also deserve "Medicare for All". In other words, when a worker has paid 40 quarters into the program, the beneficiary should be able to access and receive the coverage.

(CNN- reports) On July 30, 1965, 50 years ago this coming Thursday, President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, creating some of the biggest changes in social programs in America's history.

The politics surrounding Medicare and Medicaid remain contentious. Several red states are still refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), claiming it constitutes yet another excessive expansion of government. (Meanwhile, deserving Americans are denied coverage available under the ACA but their states are blocking their access!)

While Republicans backed away from Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to radically overhaul Medicare, GOP candidate Jeb Bush just brought the issue right back into the campaign by telling a Koch brothers event in New Hampshire that Congress should phase out the program. What Bushy-Boy is calling for is "coupon medicine", in other words, "vouchers".

"We need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits," he said, "that are receiving the benefits. But we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something, because they're not going to have anything."

Faced with an immediate backlash that he was veering far right, Bush backed off and said his statement was taken out of context.

Well, Bushy-Boy should never go there.  It didn't work for Congressman Ryan and it sure won't work for Busy-Boy, either.

Bushy-Boy was picking up on Ryan's claim that Medicare won't have enough money to pay for benefits by 2026, which ignores the fact that adjustments can be made to the revenue stream of the program that would keep it solvent (there have been many times since 1965 when projections indicated a shortfall and Congress and the president resolved the problem through adjustments to taxes and benefits, such as when Ronald Reagan was president in 1983).

It also ignores the fact that the recent report by trustees of Medicare includes much more favorable projections than the one on which Bush and Ryan are relying. Whereas in 2005 they projected that spending on Medicare would increase to 13% of gross domestic product by 2080, now, as a result of a number of factors including Obamacare, the projections are down to 6% of GDP in 2090.

On the anniversary, Americans should take this moment to look at some lessons from the history of those policies.

Fifty years ago, liberals were optimistic the passage of Medicare and Medicaid would transform health care. The program's founders hoped to end one of the biggest policy problems of the post-World War II period: the fact that, as health care costs started to skyrocket for older Americans with advances in medicine and technology, a huge percentage of the elderly lacked access to adequate insurance.

Medicare works! Therefore, it's impossible to understand why rich Republicans like "Bushy-Boy" want to deny Americans their right to access a health insurance benefit they've paid into for 50 years!



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