Ryan’s Medicare Voucher Plan

We in Louisiana have had quite the discussion about vouchers in the way of education reform this year. To cut to the chase, the idea behind vouchers is that by shifting government money from education suppliers (public schools) to consumers (parents) you end up with a more cost effective product and better results.

If that’s confusing, just think of school vouchers as a way to empower those with a vested interest in actual results—parents who want to see their kids get a good education—by introducing free market principles that forces schools to work harder to deliver a quality education to get public money.

It’s a concept that anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of free-market principles—you know, the ones our economy is supposed to be founded on—should be able to appreciate.

Not everyone gets the voucher thing, however, as evidenced by progressives’ jumping on Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform plan in his “Path to Prosperity” budget proposals in the wake of Gov. Mitt Romney picking the congressman to be his running mate.

Ryan’s Medicare reform plan, like Gov. Jindal’s education reform, also uses vouchers—only more so. While the voucher portion of Jindal’s education reform—though controversial— is a relatively small part of the equation, Ryan is hoping to use vouchers as the primary component for revamping Medicare.

Those opposed to Jindal’s plan have been trying to turn “voucher” into a dirty word for a while now. Obama’s team is now trying to do the same thing, with campaign manager Jim Messina taking to the talk show circuit this weekend to warn America that Ryan’s plan “would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors.”

Sounds pretty scary, unless you actually understand what it actually means. The Obama campaign is counting on stupid people who will believe that “shifting thousands of dollars in healthcare costs to seniors,” means that the money would be coming out of old folks pockets instead of from the government.

That’s not what it means, however.

Messina told the truth about Ryan’s plan, but a less ominous way to put it would be that Ryan’s plan “would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system that gives federal money to seniors so they can make their own decisions about their healthcare instead of relying on Washington number-crunchers to do it for them.”

Sounds better when you say it that way, huh?

As for the part about “ending Medicare” as we know it, the program is already set on self-destruct. Don’t take our word for it:

To be more specific, Medicare will go away by 2024 in a best-case scenario. It could go broke by 2016, depending on who’s cooking the books. Since the president raided over $700 billion in Medicaid funding for Obamacare, it’s looking more like 2016 or even sooner if nothing changes.

That little clip above is illustrative. It should dispel the myth that the Democratic party is really the party of compassion that cares about the poor, elderly, sick, ect.

It’s long been a contention of mine, and a lot of other people’s who have at least half a brain, that all Democrats are doing with entitlement programs is engaging in vote buying while using other people’s money to do it. Here we have the president of the Untied States admitting that Medicare will soon be bankrupt—no matter how much taxes go up.

Obama knows the truth, but chooses to cast the only viable plan that has a chance to save Medicare—co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden—as a radical measure that would send granny over the cliff. This is being done, of course, to win an election with no regard of the people who will be harmed.

The “radical” Ryan plan, it should be pointed out, originated from the President Clinton’s 1999 Medicare commission, first chaired by Louisiana Democrat Sen. John Breaux.

Obama taking $700 billion from a program that millions of elderly Americans count on to stay alive is also a vote buying scheme, as strange as that sounds. The idea is use the money to grow dependency in a single-payer healthcare system—the direction Obamacare is leading us. Since the system will be unsustainable, rationing will have to happen. That rationing will come from 15 unelected bureaucrats – the Independent Payment Advisory Board. We know them better as “Death Panel.”  Those whose medical care will be cut first will the group that’s least cost-effective to keep alive—sick, old folks. Since virtually everyone will be getting government medical care, old peoples’ votes over healthcare issues will be less important to the powerful. Those who now count on Medicare will simply get lost in the shuffle and be dumped over the cliff by the very people who are trying to scare them over Ryan’s plan.

More important that votes from Senior Citizens will be those from the swelled dependent class. They will take precedent over sick, old folks who don’t have long to live or vote, anyway. Since Obamacare is a future dependency scheme to keep people voting for Democrats to keep from losing medical coverage, the Obama camp is hoping that spreading lies about Ryan’s healthcare voucher plan will scare enough elderly voters into pulling the lever for the president.

But, here are the salient facts about Ryan’s plan to save Medicare that you won’t be hearing from the Obama campaign:

  • Ryan’s plan wouldn’t affect anyone over 55 years-old, ten years away from the current Medicare age of 65. People who are 55 or older on the date of implementation would be on the same government program that currently exists.
  • If someone wanted to stay with the traditional Medicare model (fee-for-service), they wouldn’t have to accept vouchers—called “premium support” in the Ryan plan. Like in Jindal’s school reform, no one is forced to take a voucher. People are just given the option.
  • Overall funding for Medicare under the Ryan-Wyden plan is scheduled to grow at the same rate, while saving the program around $205 billion over the next decade, as measured by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

In this video, released last year, Ryan explains the idea behind his Medicaid voucher program:

Unleashing the power of the free market into a program that’s headed, by Obama’s own admission, toward insolvency seems like a great idea.

But, as stated, not everyone gets the voucher thing—or the free-market. It takes at least a rudimentary understanding, which some folks just don’t have:



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