Dead Man Walking

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ron wyden paul ryan eliminate medicare planI’m referring to Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, who joined Paul Ryan on Wednesday in a plan to kill Medicare as we know it. You read that correctly. Paul Ryan, who simultaneously showed the nation why seniors cannot trust the GOP and gave Democrats the single best opportunity to stop the radical right’s “protect the one percent” agenda, has a new friend in Democrat Ron Wyden. This traitor to Democratic ideals and principles just neutralized the Democratic Party’s ability to protect Medicare. From this moment on, the discussion will not be about if Medicare will be “reformed”, but when. Any protests to reforms will be met with the Republican response, “Democrats are also on board with the Ryan plan.”

And its the same ol’ B.S.; it won’t affect anyone in the near term, just those under 55. As if the younger generations don’t matter. As if, in this new economic normal, there’s a chance for most Americans to prepare and save for the loss of the Medicare promise. I’m 51; and it feels soooo good to be screwed by a fellow Dem.

Wyden parrots Paul Ryan, claiming this won’t hurt the next generation of seniors. But Rep. Pete Stark of CA says (hat-tip to DailyKos):

“Despite Wyden’s claims otherwise, the Wyden-Ryan plan ends Medicare as we know it, plain and simple. If these two get their way, senior citizens’ health coverage will depend on what big insurance offers and what seniors — most of them on modest, fixed incomes — can afford. That combination will jeopardize health and economic security for seniors.”

Crooks&Liars is reporting:

Seniors would get a fixed amount to spend on a health plan, no matter which coverage they selected.

A “fixed amount”, or a voucher.

Talking Points Memo broke down the plan and concluded:

… it proposes turning Medicare from a single-payer government insurer into a market place where private plans can compete with the traditional government Medicare program. That is, it gives seniors a version of ObamaCare, with a Medicare as a public option. This idea has no public bipartisan support, if you don’t count Wyden, and is the key reason Democrats are so unhappy with the plan. Setting aside publicly stated concerns about the risk it poses to the Medicare guarantee, there’s little evidence that competition among insurers will contain health care costs in and of itself. And indeed, by diluting Medicare’s enormous purchasing power, it could actually weaken the program’s cost containment advantage.

Feel free to let this jackass Wyden know what you think – here’s his contact page. In today’s pro-labor (thanks Wisconsin), Occupy WallStreet environment, I’m sure he can expect a primary challenge, if not a recall election.

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