In case anyone in America didn't know, Mitt Romney is rich. So rich, in fact, that yesterday on his 65th birthday, he announced that he's not planning to sign up for Medicare.
I'm not sure what Romney's trying to prove, but what his action says is clear: I'm not like the Americans who enroll in Medicare. I'm special. I'm rich. I'm better than you.
Ask yourself: If Romney doesn't need or want Medicare for himself, will he protect it for the rest of us who do? Of course not. Instead, he'll continue to support the Republican plan to eliminate Medicare as we know it. He'll work to turn Medicare into a voucher program that will saddle seniors with thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket health care costs. Because, after all, what senior can't afford to spend an extra $6,400 a year on doctors and hospitals?
Romney's support for eliminating Medicare as we know it is serious. Along with Medicaid and Social Security, Medicare is the foundation of economic security for America's seniors and families. It allows middle-class people to retire with dignity and the knowledge that they will have health care when they need it. Medicare is part of ensuring that everyone gets to share in America's prosperity.
Before Medicare, seniors were left at the mercy of the private market and therefore virtually uninsurable. Without insurance, even brief hospital stays could impoverish them. The result was that the elderly went without the care they needed -- unless their families were rich. Most seniors were one illness away from bankruptcy.
The concern that Mitt Romney is out-of-touch is a real one, not just because he's insulated from the day-to-day financial struggles that 99% of America's families have to deal with. The problem is that he self-selects into the 1% every chance he gets.