Unicorns, Castles, and Endless Love for Everyone
Actually, Paul Ryan calls his plan “The Path to Prosperity,” but I think my name for it is more accurate. Here he is in the Wall Street Journal, spinning madly:
A study just released by the Heritage Center for Data Analysis projects that The Path to Prosperity will help create nearly one million new private-sector jobs next year, bring the unemployment rate down to 4% by 2015, and result in 2.5 million additional private-sector jobs in the last year of the decade. It spurs economic growth, with $1.5 trillion in additional real GDP over the decade. According to Heritage’s analysis, it would result in $1.1 trillion in higher wages and an average of $1,000 in additional family income each year.
The federal Medicaid program will be eliminated. States will be given flat sums of money (“block grants”) for each state to do with as it wishes — or not, as the case may be. No specifics on how block grant amounts will be determined or whether they will be realistic in relation to the need in each state, but no matter — each state will now be free to “design programs” that help the poor, or stiff the poor, as they wish. There are no requirements for how the block grants must be spent. States can spend them on new sports stadiums in the suburbs, if they want to.
Medicare will be turned into a private voucher program for all Americans currently under 55, thus pitting older Americans and younger Americans against each other.
Ooops, sorry… that’s the truth. Here’s the spin (emphasis is mine):
This budget will build upon the historic welfare reforms of the late 1990s by converting the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant that lets states create a range of options and gives Medicaid patients access to better care.
This budget’s reforms will protect health and retirement security. This starts with saving Medicare. The open-ended, blank-check nature of the Medicare subsidy threatens the solvency of this critical program and creates inexcusable levels of waste. This budget takes action where others have ducked. But because government should not force people to reorganize their lives, its reforms will not affect those in or near retirement in any way.
Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health-care program that members of Congress enjoy. Future Medicare recipients will be able to choose a plan that works best for them from a list of guaranteed coverage options. This is not a voucher program but rather a premium-support model. A Medicare premium-support payment would be paid, by Medicare, to the plan chosen by the beneficiary, subsidizing its cost.
In other words (the other words being in plain English):
- The overwhelmingly white and conservative Republican group of Americans who are 55 and older will not have to reorganize their lives. The more heavily non-white, liberal Democratic Americans who are under the age of 55 will have to reorganize their lives.
- … but without the financial resources that members of Congress also enjoy.
- Or, to put it another way: A voucher program.
There is plenty of reaction here. I may be doing a follow-up roundup after I go through it all.