Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 12:23 p.m.
In Rep. Paul Ryan's 'The Path to Prosperity' budget, Medicare, the health insurance program that is loved by older Americans and hated by deficit hawks, will cease to exist some time around 2022. The program - a lasting stipulation of Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society - will be transformed into a voucher system, where anyone born after 1956 will be forced to seek private insurance instead of having the government pick up the bill. The HMO machine spurs on and, by 2033, you will have to be 67 to receive all of this good stuff.
Well, one main problem with this insurance realignment is that Americans in their 30s and 40s do not want to hear that
shit - according to a poll conducted by the Washing Post a year ago, 78% of Americans are opposed to Medicare cuts as a way to solve the deficit problem. And that makes absolute sense: who would want to give up their entitlements to fix a problem Washington created? National sacrifice is one thing but this is hard-earned health insurance we're talking about here, right?
Wrong. As the campaign season heats up during the later days of August, the most recent pseudo-controversy is the to-and-fro arguments over Medicare cuts by the two tents. The sides are pretty simple: the Obama/Biden camp believes government needs to continue to pick up the tab for elders while the Romney/Ryan camp seeks to shift responsibility over to the private insurance companies.
And today, down in Florida, Rep. Paul Ryan brought out his own mama to tell the world's largest retirement community at the Villages that the change in Medicare will not hurt them... just everyone else.
Now, with Obama accusing the Republican ticket for attacking the elders with their Medicare proposals, it is no surprise that Ryan would want to come off as an old-person-loving candidate. So, at the rally, 42-year-old Ryan pointed
to his 78-year-old mother, Betty Ryan Douglas, as the reason why Medicare was an American achievement - with the socialized medicine in hand, she has been able to live happily in retirement, along with countless other grandparents, presumably in Florida, too. And, for this reason, the possible VP swore to protect the retiring demographic from any Medicare cuts in the future.
Except the audience sooth-saying hits a bump in the road when you start to realize what the Romney/Ryan tent is doing here. Of course the Representative can say to these people in Florida that once Mitt's in the Oval Office, they will be unaffected by Medicare cuts: they're already in retirement! That's like telling veterans with PTSD that the U.S. has decided to spend another ten years in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the damage is already done.
As mentioned before, 2022 is a decade from now, which means that the people who will immediately be affected by the Medicare cuts proposed by Ryan are just starting to mull over retirement. They're more considered with paying off the 30-year mortgage than finding a place in Florida's Retirement Belt.
So, in the end, Ryan's shout-out to Betty works for the audience that was present at the rally but, for the rest of us young whipper-snappers, she represents the sole reason why no one should come near our entitlements.
Now, that poll makes much more sense.