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Old 06-29-2011, 04:39 PM   #916
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Medicare: Give Coburn-Lieberman a Chance - The New Republic, June 29 (Jonathan Chait)
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Tom Coburn and Joe Lieberman's bipartisan plan to cut Medicare is one of those notions whose every word ("Coburn," "Lieberman," "bipartisan," etc.) seems designed to provoke liberal antagonism. Talking Points Memo calls it "Ryan Plan 2.0." Joan McCarter and Greg Sargent are attacking it as well. I think they're making a mistake.

First, it's just not accurate to conflate this proposal with Ryancare. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan has two huge problems. First, it privatizes Medicare, fragmenting the system into an inefficient private insurance market. Second, it provides grossly and increasingly inadequate subsidies for insurance within that system. Describing that proposal as "ending Medicare" is contestable but fair. Coburn and Lieberman's proposal does neither of these things. It may not be perfect, but it's basically a standard package of trimming Medicare while leaving the basic structure in place. Here's [TIME]'s handy thumbnail description:

* Raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, which the senators acknowledge is only feasible because the Affordable Care Act makes it easier for 65 and 66-year-olds to buy private insurance.
* Institute a single Medicare deductible of $550, ask seniors to pay coinsurance for services from 5% to 20%, and set a new annual “out-of-pocket” maximum of $7500, which will protect seniors from medical bankruptcy. (Higher income seniors will face higher “out-of-pocket” maximums, up to $22,500 for individuals earning $160-$213,000 per year.)
* Limit supplemental insurance coverage so that seniors can’t purchase Medigap policies to cover all of their out of pocket expenses. Studies show this change could reduce over-utilization without harming health.
* Stop paying hospitals for debts incurred, but not paid, by Medicare beneficiaries.
* Increase Medicare Part B premiums for all enrollees, but especially high-income earners. Increase Part D premiums for high-income earners.
* Fix the SGR (Sustainable Growth Rate) for three years. This would prevent Congress from having to constantly vote to prevent Medicare reimbursements from falling dramatically.
* Combat Medicaid Medicare fraud.
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The irony here is that comparing this to Ryancare plays into Ryan's intellectual sleight of hand. Ryan argues that Medicare as it's currently structured can't continue. The only alternatives are to do nothing and watch it disappear, impose draconian bureaucratic rationing, or try his proposal. The truth is that Medicare is in trouble, and the cost-saving measures in the Affordable Care Act are an important step toward controlling health care cost inflation but probably not enough to solve the problem on their own. Over the very long run we need to build on its cost-control devices. In the medium-run, we probably need to impose some straightforward cost saving. Coburn/Lieberman is a way to do that while preserving the traditional Medicare system. It's proof that Ryan is wrong. Conflating Ryan's radical plan with standard Medicare cuts is essentially to endorse his argument from the other direction. Ryan paints his proposal as merely a way to bring Medicare's financing into line, while the most ardent critics of Coburn/Lieberman paint a plan to bring Medicare's financing into line as Ryancare. It's not only wrong, it concedes Ryan's argument for him.

Now, it's true that a bipartisan deal on Medicare will help Republicans present the Ryan plan as just a conversation starter they don't really want to, you know, happen. But everybody still knows this is what Republicans would like to pass if they actually had the power to do so, and Democrats should be able to make this case to the voters. Meanwhile, the deficit is an actual problem, and Democrats need to find politically feasible ways to help solve it. There are bright lines to draw: slashing the already-lean Medicaid program, starving the long-starved domestic discretionary budget, and failing to require any sacrifice from the affluent. "No cuts to Social Security and Medicare" is the wrong place to draw the line.
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Old 06-29-2011, 05:08 PM   #917
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Nancy Pelosi is out with the predictable boilerplate liberal rejection of any proposal to rein in out-of-control entitlement spending..

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"It is unfair to ask seniors to get less in benefits and wait longer to get onto Medicare – all while Republicans back tax breaks for Big Oil and corporations that ship American jobs overseas. Just like the Republican plan to end Medicare, this proposal is unacceptable, especially for struggling middle-class Americans."
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Old 06-29-2011, 09:37 PM   #918
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Both parties are just using the debt ceiling as a political chess piece. No one really seems to give a damn on either side in Congress. Republicans are trying to use the debt as an excuse to cut small potatoes shit to make sure the black folks stay in the inner city/tick off liberals, and Democrats are useless as always and have no plan.

Good times yall.
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:42 PM   #919
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Nancy Pelosi is out with the predictable boilerplate liberal rejection of any proposal to rein in out-of-control entitlement spending..
Republicans successfully campaigned in 2010 against the $500 billion in Medicare cuts and Independent Payment Advisory Board that is specifically tasked with reducing the cost growth rate in Medicare death panels contained in the Affordable Care Act.

Which passed. A Democratic Congress and President signed it.
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:59 PM   #920
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Republicans successfully campaigned in 2010 against the $500 billion in Medicare cuts and Independent Payment Advisory Board that is specifically tasked with reducing the cost growth rate in Medicare death panels contained in the Affordable Care Act.

Which passed. A Democratic Congress and President signed it.
The unconstitutional IPAB is actually scarier than any death panel.
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:46 PM   #921
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The IPAB is one of many liberal proposals to cut Medicare spending.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:08 AM   #922
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Nancy Pelosi is out with the predictable boilerplate liberal rejection of any proposal to rein in out-of-control entitlement spending..
From another thread:-

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So you feel a person with no insurance has a right to walk into a hospital; get lab work, physician care, medications and possibly a room and meals--for free?
Sure. Why not?

You realise the system you described is in place in many countries around the world, some poorer than the US, and ALL of which, every single one, spend less than the US on health care costs as a % of GDP.

You realise that most of these countries have higher life expectancy than the US, in spite of being, in many cases, no wealthier, and in some, significantly less so?

Have you ever considered the possibility that the reason US healthcare is dramatically more expensive than elsewhere precisely because of the ideologically based and non-rational bias against 'socialised' medical care that right wing politicians shill for and people like you vote for?
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:33 AM   #923
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I have friends overseas and in canada that say they love united health care. I also have a friend here in the states that has medicare and she says that if united health care gets passed here, she's screwed. I guess whatever happens happens, Rome wasn't built in a day.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:34 PM   #924
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My son was severely sick as an infant. So sick, they couldn't treat him in the town where I live. So a private plane (air ambulance) flies my husband, my baby and I to Toronto for what I can only describe as a miracle. One of the best hospitals in the world at my fingertips. I didn't pay a penny. I love Canada's healthcare system. It isn't perfect, but I never, ever take it for granted.
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Old 07-01-2011, 01:03 PM   #925
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That's really amazing Ryancoke, these accounts make the system seem like a really great thing
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Old 07-01-2011, 05:09 PM   #926
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You realise the system you described is in place in many countries around the world, some poorer than the US, and ALL of which, every single one, spend less than the US on health care costs as a % of GDP.
How viable are these systems without the direct and indirect subsidies provided by the American people? Could you spend the % of GDP you now spend on health care if not for the U.S. military providing the bulk of the defense for NATO countries?

Would you enjoy the quality of health care you now enjoy if not for the innovations and new drugs developed in the "for profit" American health care system?

American conservatives worry about the failure of American leadership in foreign policy and the looming Obamacare bill. So should you imo.
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You realise that most of these countries have higher life expectancy than the US, in spite of being, in many cases, no wealthier, and in some, significantly less so?

Have you ever considered the possibility that the reason US healthcare is dramatically more expensive than elsewhere precisely because of the ideologically based and non-rational bias against 'socialised' medical care that right wing politicians shill for and people like you vote for?
Life expectancy numbers are quite misleading as an indicator of health care quality. If reflects poorly on many things when a 19 year old gang member is shot dead in the street during a drive-by shooting--- but the healthcare system isn't one of them.
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Old 07-01-2011, 05:39 PM   #927
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If the United States doesn't lead the league in foreign policy, you will all die.
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Old 07-01-2011, 06:02 PM   #928
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If the United States doesn't lead the league in foreign policy, you will all die.
And if they do only the poor will die(according to indy's thinking). Think about that as you chug your beer for July 4th, isn't that worth it?
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Old 07-01-2011, 06:07 PM   #929
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since that line of Dalai Lama action figures didn't work out

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Old 07-01-2011, 07:46 PM   #930
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Wouldn't it be fun to look up military spending per country and learn something?
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