I just read a fast-moving mystery novel, Pryme Knumber, by Matthew J Flynn. It was a great read, and none other than Paul Ryan (R-WI) appears briefly. Very appropriately, he appears first standing with a lobbyist. Presciently, Flynn says that, because he does not appear as someone who would "torch a lingerie factory," and for that reason only, he was considered a "future leader" by Republicans who might "do something."
We know what that "something" is -- killing Medicare. And, that is not fiction.
Like all Republicans, Paul Ryan really hates Medicare, not just for the political reasons of his fellow travelers (it makes the elderly more likely to vote Democratic), but also because it violates the philosophy espoused by the Russian Ayn Rand that Ryan somehow believes defines Americanism.
So, they are, and always have been, out to destroy it. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich thought Medicare should "wither slowly on the vine."
Romney-Ryan has a quicker plan in mind. They just do not want to tell us about it.
Ryan claims that his plan will not impact anyone 55 or over.
He is lying. Romney-Ryan will kill Medicare now.
It is not complicated. First, repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act ("PPACA," a.k.a., "ObamaCare") will cause Medicare to start paying out more money than it takes in in 2017. ObamaCare increased Medicare's longevity until 2029.
So, with Romney-Ryan, we will have to start finding more money for Medicare very, very soon.
But, here's the rub: Both Romney and Ryan have pledged to Grover Norquist that they would never, ever, ever, raise any taxes on anyone. So, raising Medicare taxes is out.
Here's another rub: they are determined to provide the wealthy with about a $4T tax cut. And, they are going to increase defense spending.
So, there is only one place left to go -- Medicare itself. By first repealing the PPCA, Romney-Ryan will force themselves to... end Medicare for all seniors, including those currently being covered.
OK, we are going hear more lies about $700B cut from Medicare because of ObamaCare. That $700B is savings in payments to hospitals and other providers (other than physicians) negotiated as part of the health care deal plus elimination of over-payments under a program called "Medicare Advantage" that did not work.
No one's benefits were reduced or eliminated. No money went from Medicare to ObamaCare. Otherwise, how could ObamaCare extend the solvency of Medicare?
The PPACA, "ObamaCare," not only extends the solvency of Medicare, it also closes the "doughnut" hole in the prescription drug benefit, so that eventually seniors will have their cost of prescriptions fully covered.
Romney-Ryan will rob seniors of that, too. After all, we don't want to make anyone "too dependent"... except on tax accountants and lawyers to hide taxes overseas, because that is a true reflection of our values.
So, from Romney-Ryan to the rest of you who have contributed to Medicare all these years, including those who are currently on it -- good luck, you are on your own. And, good luck finding insurance at all, since many of you will have pre-existing illnesses and the repealing ObamaCare lets insurance companies deny coverage, and set life-time limits again.
As the 17th Century British philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, reminded us, "life in the state of nature is solitary, poor nasty, brutish and short."
Welcome to Romney-Ryan world.