Saturday, March 17, 2012
The GOP Licks The Third Rail
Jim DeMint and Lindsey Graham from the Confederate State of South Carolina have come up with a great new plan to end Medicare. While I'm sure the folks at PoltiHack will say that it's still called Medicare, and therefore doesn't end it, the reality is that the GOP leadership in the Senate Teatard Caucus has come with with a plan to end Medicare and throw everyone into private insurance policies.
Typically, the authors of the plan (including likely GOP VP nominee Rand Paul) say that it will reduce Medicare expenditures by $1 Trillion. What they fail to note, is that Medicare will save this money by transferring costs to seniors.
If you take away the spending on something, you will reduce the costs. Of course, you will also reduce the ability of the program to function as it was designed to.
Also, there is zero, and I mean ZERO evidence that private insurance plans are more efficient than public insurance plans. They tend to deny coverage while funneling money to compensation and profits.
This is, once again, the triumph of ideology over evidence.
In the GOP telling, Medicare creates people who aren't free, because it gives them something. It's also inherently wrong, because it is the government doing something rather than the market.
The reality is that Medicare, by removing the oldest and therefore sickest members of the population from the insurance pool, transfers the most expensive category of medical patient to the public rolls. There simply isn't any way that private insurance can provide what Medicare can at the costs that Medicare has.
In fact, the entire history of private versus public insurance in the developed world is that public insurance provides better coverage at lower costs.
What the Four Horsemen of the Medicare Apocalypse are proposing is to strip Seniors of comprehensive coverage and put them at the mercy of the private insurance market. People like Medicare because it is incredibly patient friendly.
I can't help but wonder if the guys who came up with this plan are thinking one of two things.
First, they might be attacking ACA from the Left. That is to say they are making the point that everyone else is at mercy of the private market under the mandate, why not seniors, too.
Second, they might be realizing that the eventual end point of ACA will be a public option and likely a single payer system. It might take several decades to get there, but it might also happen sooner if the stars align next November. But if they destroy Medicare, they will be ending the most popular public option available.
This strikes me as perhaps a bigger act of folly than the fight over contraception. So, you know, thanks Tea Party.