Thursday, August 30, 2012


The old adage goes something like this: “If it looks like a duck, smells like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck.”

There’s a corollary to this: “If it doesn’t look like a duck, and it doesn’t smell like a duck, and doesn’t quack like a duck, then calling it a duck doesn’t make it a duck.”

Nowhere is this more evident than the Ryan/Romney plan to “save” Medicare.

While they may call their proposed outcome “Medicare”, it’s just one more Republican reverse Robin Hood ploy to take from those who can least afford it in order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and unnecessary foreign wars.

Ryan and Romney propose to replace Medicare with vouchers that would be used by senior citizens to purchase health insurance on the open market, thus enriching the for-profit insurance donors.

Let’s say their plan gives each senior a voucher for $8,000. While this may be adequate for relatively healthy people without pre-existing conditions, it will force many to make difficult choices between food and medical care. Policies for a 68 year old with cancer could cost well over $30,000 a year. Those seniors who have spent a lifetime paying into the system will have the rug pulled out from under their safety net. Calling the Ryan/Romney proposal “Medicare” is cruel and misleading.

President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare” neé “Romneycare”) is a better solution. With Ryan’s and Romney’s approach to repeal the ACA, many with pre-existing conditions would simply not be able to afford insurance and many more would not be able to afford preventative care, bringing emergency room costs through the roof, and raising the overall cost to the nation.

The Affordable Care Act is not perfect. Single-payer (“Medicare for all”) is a better solution and would bring America in line with our other developed partners. But the election of the Ryan/Romney ticket would move the health insurance industry right into pure quackery.

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