Ryan’s main approach is to unleash competition in the health care marketplace by giving those eligible for Medicare a voucher to buy their own insurance from private companies. The payment will be based on the second lowest price bid by insurers, and the elderly poor will get some subsidies. As with Medicare Advantage, the plan expects insurers to vie for members with a wider array of benefits and competitive premiums, likely by offering them in online exchanges similar to those created by Obama’s health law.
To soften the transition to the new approach, Ryan proposes that the voucher system not go into effect until 2022. In addition, anyone who wants to stay in the traditional fee-for-service model can. Ryan adds his own caveat that seems to undermine savings by promising that the voucher’s value will grow if needed to entice private industry. That’s about it. By his reckoning, this will cut hundreds of millions from future spending. As important, it unleashes the power of consumers to use the marketplace to exact savings.
Sounds kinda cool. More like magic. Though unstated in the plan’s brief outline, my guess is Ryan and Wyden expect that insurers will collaborate with groups of doctors and hospitals to manage their clients care much in the way Medicare Advantage does now, hoping to provide services at costs less than the voucher.
Ryan’s fantasy predicts that insurers will rush in to get the voucher dough as several companies now already have large Medicare Advantage businesses. The problem is that its just as likely insurers will cherry pick only the healthiest folks. The sickest folks who generate Medicare’s main costs will stay in the traditional plan, meaning the government won’t be able to spread its responsibility over a large enough pool to keep spending down. In other words, nothing will have changed unless the vouchers are priced high enough for insurers to make a profit. I don’t see the savings there.
So no savings and less coverage but lots of money to the insurance companies.
But there is more. Paul Ryan may be a Catholic but Romney/Ryan have few friends in the Catholic Church.
There is no doubt Obama is pro-choice. He has said so many times. There is also no doubt Romney is running on what he calls a pro-life platform. But any honest analysis of the facts shows the situation is much more complicated than that.
For example, Obama’s Affordable Care Act does not pay for abortions. In Massachusetts, Romney’s health care law does. Obama favors, and included in the Affordable Care Act, $250 million of support for vulnerable pregnant women and alternatives to abortion. This support will make abortions much less likely, since most abortions are economic. Romney, on the other hand, has endorsed Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan’s budget, which will cut hundreds of millions of dollars out of the federal plans that support poor women. The undoubted effect: The number of abortions in the United States will increase. On these facts, Obama is much more pro-life than Romney.
But let’s not stop there. Obama does not financially profit from the abortion industry. Romney does. Bain Capital, in the time Romney was listed as its legal head and even when he was attending Bain board meetings, was an owner of Stericycle, a major disposer of the dead bodies of aborted children in the United States. (See: Romney Invested in Medical-Waste Firm That Disposed of Aborted Fetuses, Government Documents Show.) Bain owned a share of Stericycle until 2004, selling its interest for a profit in the tens of millions of dollars. We can parse what Romney’s 1999 “retroactive retirement” from Bain means, but he still gets an annual payout from the firm. To the extent those dollars are part of Bain’s Stericycle profits, a strong argument exists that Romney is an abortion profiteer. How pro-life is that?
And it has long been known that millions of Bain Capital’s original outside funding, solicited by Romney himself, came from wealthy El Salvadorian clans, some of whom, while they were funding Bain, were “linked to right wing death squads.” (Salt Lake Tribune, 1999; See also: Mitt Romney Started Bain Capital With Money From Families Tied To Death Squads.) Death squads killed tens of thousands of mostly poor people in El Salvador. They also killed priests, nuns and Archbishop Oscar Romero. How pro-life is that? How pro-life is taking the money of these people and doubling or tripling it for them? And did any of their Bain profits fund more death squads? Before we endorse Romney’s “pro-life” claims, isn’t it important for us to know that?
So speaking as a temporary, part-time member of the parallel magisterium, I think that if anyone should be disinvited from the Al Smith Dinner, it is Mitt Romney. Based on the above record, he, and not Obama, is the anti-life, “pro-abortion” candidate.