Get ready to hear a lot of this sort of thing: “Paul Ryan’s plan would ELIMINATE MEDICARE as we know it.”
The words “eliminate Medicare” will be said with great emphasis, and the phrase “as we know it” will be much softer in volume and spoken a lot quicker. The idea is to have the listener focus in fear on the first phrase, with the second as an almost meaningless afterthought.
What will be left out? Oh, just about everything: the fact that Medicare “as we know it” is already unsustainable, the fact that Medicare “as we know it” would also be “eliminated” by Obamacare, and of course the actual facts of Ryan’s actual plan, which go like this:
But Ryan’s new plan, released this year, is more generous in terms of what it would provide for subsidies, and it keeps traditional Medicare as an option for all beneficiaries, both current and future.
Here’s a quick rundown of the latest Ryan plan:
For seniors who are now in Medicare, nothing changes. They can stay with the traditional program as it is.
Beginning in 2023, 65-year-olds would have their choice of insurance plans — private and traditional — on a new Medicare exchange. A premium-support payment, like a subsidy, would be sent to the plan of their choice.
If the chosen plan costs more than the premium-support, the senior would pay the difference.
The Medicare eligibility age would be slowly raised to 67 by 2034.
All plans on the Medicare exchange would offer a base level of benefits, and they would be regulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The premium-support payments would be tied to the second-cheapest plan, which can’t grow more than gross domestic product plus 0.5 percentage points. If the cost does grow faster, Congress would be required to step in and take some action to keep costs down.
CBO didn’t conduct an analysis that shows what seniors might have to spend out of pocket under the latest plan. But it said that “beneficiaries might face higher costs,” adding that there was uncertainty in making such predictions. CBO said that both the Ryan plan and current law could lead to the same consequences — “reduced access to health care; diminished quality of care; increased efficiency of health care delivery; less investment in new, high-cost technologies; or some combination of those outcomes. In addition, beneficiaries might face higher costs, which could in turn reinforce some of the other effects.” And some of the effects would be greater under the Ryan plan because government spending is lower. But there was no estimate of seniors paying $6,000 more, or any other amount, under the latest GOP plan.
Hey, but if you’re the Obama campaign, why let a few facts get in the way of good propaganda?
More here about Ryan and Medicare.
And here’s a joint interview with Romney and Ryan: