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Medicare: Obama Ignores the Two Most Important, and 'Winningest' Differences With Romney-Ryan

Posted: 09/10/2012 12:00 pm

Can the Old Guard pass itself off as the New Deal? I think not... You have all been to the circus, but even the best performing elephant could not do a handspring without falling flat on its back -- FDR, 1940

Based on its actions, one can only suspect the Obama campaign "poll-tested" Romney's lies about Medicare, found that they had some traction, and thus decided to counter them directly.

By getting embroiled in the Romney lie about $716 billion, the Obama campaign has ignored focusing on the two clearest, most salient, most important, most unassailable and winningest differences between President Obama and Romney-Ryan on Medicare.

The first is that Romney-Ryan's repeal of the Affordable Care Act will cause Medicare to go insolvent in 2016. With promised tax cuts and defense spending increases, Romney-Ryan have no place (none, zero, zorch, nada) in the budget to make up for that shortfall. Hence, and this is why this is such an important and such a winning issue, current seniors, not just those under 55 will face major cuts under Romney-Ryan, either in benefits or in being forced into VoucherCare.

With the Affordable Care Act in place, the 2016 date is pushed out to at least 2024.

So, which is it, Florida/Ohio/Pennsylvania/Iowa/Michigan/Virginia/New Hampshire/Colorado/ North Carolina/Arizona retirees? Want to be thrown out from Medicare into the private health insurance market a year or two after Romney-Ryan take office, or rest comfortably for at least another decade?

To the Obama campaign -- could there be anything simpler, more obvious and more important to all seniors (current as well as future) about the Medicare "debate"? Especially since Romney-Ryan are promising to repeal the Affordable Care Act on day 1 of a nightmarish Romney presidency, creating a clear-and-present danger to today's seniors.

Sure, add in the threat to nursing home care that begins immediately under the Romney-Ryan's block-granting and cutting Medicaid, and throw in the re-opening of the prescription drug doughnut hole if you wish, but the clear-and-present danger is that repealing the Affordable Care Act as Romney-Ryan promise precipitates a crisis for all Medicare recipients, current and future.

The second "winningest" difference between the President and Romney-Ryan is that the Republican party, especially today's Republican party as clearly conveyed by its vice-presidential nominee, is philosophically opposed* to Medicare. They do not believe that Medicare (or Medicaid, or Social Security, or unemployment insurance, or work-place safety, or protecting our air and water) is a proper function of the government.

The "Ryan Budget", passed twice by the House of Representatives (so, retirees, this is not just some remote possibility, these people will do it to you if you give them the chance), destroyed Medicare's guaranteed benefit for the ostensible reason of saving money, but for the overarching reason that they want to sever the citizen and society from responsibilities toward one another. Such a program is particularly obscene because it really saves no money -- it just shifts it from the general taxpayer pool to whatever individual seniors can scrape up, and assumes that the insurance companies would cover an octogenarian with, e.g., diabetes and cardiac disease, at all.

Of course, Romney-Ryan's main goal between now and November 6 is to convince us that they really do not mean it, that all their talk over the last two years should be ignored and suggest that their real motivation in running in the first place is to save these programs their party's cultural core abhors.

Will an election-eve conversion of two eager nominees erase years they have bashed and disdained and tried to torpedo this guarantee of a dignified retirement regardless of what life's exigencies wrought?

So, which is it, Florida/Ohio/Pennsylvania/Iowa/Michigan/Virginia/New Hampshire/Colorado/ North Carolina/Nevada/Arizona retirees? Are you willing to trust your health and your peace-of-mind to a party that is philosophically opposed down to its DNA to the very program that guarantees your health care?

Sometimes, it is a bit embarrassing to state and repeat the obvious.

Do not worry. It will reap a huge electoral reward. And, even more importantly, seniors will continue to enjoy the dignified retirement Medicare provides, defended against the most vigorous onslaught Republicans have mounted in 47 years.

That is well-worth any embarrassment that may be caused by repeating the clearest, most important and winningest distinctions over-and-over-and-over-and-over-and-over again.

*I do not argue that Republicans may grudgingly accept Medicare as a fact-of-life, but that is only because of its popularity. I have not seen or heard a single Republican endorsing the principle behind Medicare as an appropriate government response to a problem, only at best grudging acceptance that people have lived a lifetime expecting it. If provided the chance, they want to destroy that expectation.

 

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