The Truth About Paul Ryan’s Medicare Reform Plan
No politician in my lifetime has ever wanted to touch Medicare. We all know it’s heading downhill, but we just watch it roll down because it’s too politically risky to tackle. Now, we have a man brave enough to do that. There has been a lot of spin and distortion from the other side, so let’s just get to the truth about it. (emphasis mine)
The short story is that, no matter how unsustainable or inefficient our entitlement programs may be, the burden of proof is absolutely on the party that wants change. Back in 2005, we constantly asked our opponents, “Where’s your Social Security plan? When will you put something on the table.” Had they done that, President Bush’s plan would have appeared in a far better light. But Nancy Pelosi’s answer— literally, according to Time Magazine—was, “Never. Is that soon enough for you?” And guess what? She paid zero political price. The public doesn’t care if the other side doesn’t have a plan. They do care if your plan appears to threaten them.
That’s why the Romney campaign needs to come out strong. They need to point out that it was President Obama, not Romney, who cut $700 billion from Medicare to fund other priorities. Listening to Democrat Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on the Sunday shows, you’d think it was the other way around.
Next, Romney’s campaign needs to proactively head off false attacks on Ryan’s Medicare plan. Voters needs to know three things about Ryan’s Medicare reform proposal co-sponsored with Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden. First, no one over the age of 55 would be affected in any way. Second, traditional Medicare fee-for-service would remain available for all. “Premium support”—that is, government funding of private insurance plans chosen by individuals—is an option for those who choose it. No senior would be forced out of the traditional Medicare program against his will. And third, overall funding for Medicare under the Ryan-Wyden plan is scheduled to grow at the same rate as under President Obama’s proposals. Is this “gutting Medicare” and “ending Medicare as we know it”? In reality, it’s the market giving seniors cheaper, higher quality choices they can take if they wish, with the traditional program remaining an option.
From Fox Business News:
The Ryan plan does not get rid of Medicare. People now and in the future can choose to stay in it. Ryan does propose new Medicare enrollees age 65 would get to pick between private insurance plans offered in a new Medicare exchange in 2023, where Medicare would compete with private insurers for their business.
The insurance must cover a base level of benefits, must cover pre-existing conditions, can’t charge higher rates based on health condition or age, plus it must offer a minimum threshold of coverage. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would regulate the plans.
The federal government would pick up the tab for premium support, and pay that subsidy directly to the insurer of their choice, with seniors paying the difference. If the plan is cheaper than Medicare, seniors get a rebate check.
And the more ill or poor the Medicare enrollee is, the more government insurance support they get in the Ryan plan.