Monday, April 11, 2011

Yes, Medicare has to be ended as we know it

Democrats are attacking Paul Ryan for ending "Medicare as we know it." That is their talking point for Paul Ryan's plans to change Medicare into a program that in ten years will give seniors premiums to choose their own health insurance plan just as they pick their own provider for prescription drugs. Just as the Medicare prescription drug benefit program came in for 40% less than projected, competition can help to address Medicare spending.

So yes, Republican want to end Medicare as we know it. And the reason is because Medicare cannot continue as it is. This is not a choice between some wonderful program that is chugging along without a problem and the Ryan plan. It's a choice between a program that is going over a cliff and an attempt to save the concept of providing health care for the seniors who will be retiring in ten years.

Jonah Goldberg addresses the silliness
of the Democrats's whining about ending Medicare as we know it.
Here’s the thing: Of course he wants to end Medicare as we know it. You know why? Because the way we know it right now, the program is barreling toward insolvency.

Personally, if I were on a plane that had one engine out and was belching smoke, I would certainly hope somebody with some judgment and competence might calmly remove his oxygen mask long enough to suggest “ending this flight as we know it.”
Oh, and ignore the Democrats' screeching about how seniors are going to be starving in the street. No one over the age of 55 would see a difference in their Medicare plans.
No one who is currently elderly or who will be elderly within the next 10 years will see their Medicare change — at all, ever — according to Ryan’s plan.

You can hardly say the same thing about the president’s plan, or the congressional Democrats’ plan (since they don’t have one), or, most importantly, the status quo — because under them, our metaphorical plane will crash into a mountainside of insurmountable debt. That’s why Ryan’s plan is not an attempt to destroy the social safety net, it’s an attempt to mend it.
Mark Steyn adds in his own brand of comedic doom-saying.
What’s about to hit America is not a “shock.” It’s not an earthquake, it’s not a tsunami, it’s what Paul Ryan calls “the most predictable crisis in the history of our country.” It has one cause: spending. The spending of the class that laughs at the class that drives to work to maintain President Obama, Senator Reid, Senator Baucus, Senator Harkin, and Minority Leader Pelosi’s “communications director” in their comforts and complacency.

The Democrats’ solution to the problem is to deny there is one. Unsustainable binge spending is, as the computer wallahs say, not a bug but a feature: We’ll stimulate the economy with a stimulus grant for a Stimulus Grant-Writing Community Outreach Permit Coordinator regulated by the Federal Department of Community-Organizer Grant Applications. What’s to worry about?
Yes, the Republicans want to end Medicare as we know it. The political crime is that the Democrats want to ignore the problem. But it's a totally predictable problem. The Baby Boom is retiring and living longer.
Spending on Medicare is going to dwarf all other federal spending over the next few decades.
This is why we must change Medicare as we know it now. The longer we put this off, the worse the problem will get and the more politically difficult it will be. Ryan's plan can preserve Medicare now for those 55 or older. If we stall a few more years, that won't be possible. Do you think such a delay will make it any easier to address the problem?