Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) just announced that he expects an “overhaul” (read: privatization) of Medicare in 2017 to begin within the first “six to eight months” of the Trump Administration.
A longtime goal of anti-government Kochian extremists like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Republicans finally have their chance to implement some of their proposals, which include “eliminating the ObamaCare cost-cutting panel called the Independent Payment Advisory Board to a major shift that would phase out the publicly run program into private plans.”
Ryan and his cronies have been smearing Medicare for years now, saying that it’s “going broke” and that “you have to deal with those issues if you are going to repeal and replace Obamacare. Medicare has serious problems [because of] Obamacare.” Medicare is not going broke, and in fact, Obamacare has helped deal with those problems, not made them worse.
The [Medicare] trustees reported in 2010 that passage of Obamacare had postponed the projected exhaustion date of the Medicare trust fund by 12 years—to 2029 from 2017. Projections of Medicare spending growth have consistently come down, year after year, at least in part due to changes in the program imposed through Obamacare.
But that doesn’t matter to the GOP, who are hell-bent on turning the beloved health insurance program for our seniors into yet another for-profit enterprise, leaving millions of elderly Americans on fixed incomes at the mercy of healthcare corporations, as Gary Legum notes at Salon:
Ryan’s plan is to replace the totally-not-going-broke Medicare with what he calls “premium price supports.” This is fancy wonk-speak for “vouchers that would be used to buy private insurance but would not keep up with the cost of inflation, thereby saddling seniors with enormous additional health care expenses out of their own pockets.”
It is extremely disturbing that Republicans are talking about tearing down the social safety net not a week after Trump became the President-elect. All the dastardly plans they’ve been cooking up over the past eight years are about to become a reality, and we should all be very worried.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.