Great news from this weekend, Paul Ryan is Romney’s pick for VP. Great news especially if you want Paul Ryan to personally murder your grandma.
That’s what some people on the left would have you believe anyway. Paul Ryan wants to “end Medicare as we know it.” The way that the campaign is responding to that right now is basically “no we don’t.” That’s probably smart politically, but let me suggest another response. “Yup.”
Medicare, as we know it, is a complete failure.
Medicare, as we know it, can’t pay for itself.
Medicare, as we know it, covers health care costs for people like Bill Gates.
Medicare, as we know it, has over $38 trillion in unfunded liabilities.
Medicare, as we know it, is a program that spends five times what it was as a percentage of the economy in 1970.
Medicare, as we know it, will become insolvent in 2024, five years sooner than previously estimated.
Obviously, this could go on and on. But, the bottom line is this:
Medicare, as we know it…sucks.
The Romney-Ryan ticket should own Obama’s assertion that his plan “ will ultimately end Medicare as we know it.” Everyone acknowledges that Medicare is in serious trouble. Whether you think we should go with Ryan’s plan or you’d rather just raise taxes only on Republican millionaires by 445,000%—we need to do something. Even Barack himself used to think we needed entitlement reform.
So, why are Democrats adding “as we know it” if they themselves acknowledge it has to be changed? Because they used to just say Ryan would “end Medicare”— and even the left leaning media called them out. It was even called Politifact’s lie of the year for 2011.
Politifact has been an ardent, if unlikely, defender of Ryan’s Medicare plan. They have set the record straight time and time again when big fat lying liars wearing pants on fire who lie say Ryan’s budget plan will end Medicare.
Politifact clarifies each time that “if you are 55 years or older already, your Medicare coverage would not change. And if you are younger, the Ryan plan would leave you with a different Medicare system, but one in which the government still played a big role in your health coverage.” That’s not exactly an encouraging quote for conservatives, and it understates how much better Ryan’s plan is than the current one, but it does show how badly democrats have been lying.
Let’s pretend for a second we live in an alternate universe where these liars are right and Paul Ryan is just out to murder Medicare. In that world, we really don’t have to worry about Paul Ryan killing Medicare. Medicare, as we know it, is killing itself.
But the Ryan plan would work. An early indicator:
“For instance, on August 1, three Harvard researchers published a study in theJournal of the American Medical Association (you can find it here, but it requires a subscription) that used data from the Medicare Advantage program (a much more limited experiment in insurer competition in Medicare) to consider how the Wyden-Ryan reform would have worked if it had been in effect in 2009. They found that, “nationally, in 2009, the benchmark plan under the Ryan-Wyden framework (i.e., the second-lowest plan) bid an average of 9% below traditional Medicare costs (traditional Medicare was equivalent to approximately the tenth-lowest bid).”
“In other words, even under the very constrained competition of Medicare Advantage, in which prices are set by Medicare’s bureaucracy, the Ryan-Wyden approach would have reduced per-beneficiary spending by 9 percent in a single year while still providing seniors with the same comprehensive insurance coverage. With real competition through a bidding system, the reductions in the rate of the program’s growth over time could be enormous. And if those savings don’t in fact materialize, we would just end up where we are today — which is where Democrats seem to want to end up anyway.”
Yes, I know, the new campaign slogan “Death to Medicare! (As We Know It)” probably won’t catch on anytime soon. But, Romney/Ryan shouldn’t run away from it. The current debate is like saying “Asking Glenn Beck to lose weight would end Glenn Beck as we know him.” Yes, it would. But, that doesn’t make it bad. Unless, of course, you run an ice cream company.