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Robert Reich
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Wednesday 22 August 2012
Ryan “reforms” Medicaid by destroying it – cutting the federal contribution by some $800 billion and then continuing the cuts after the first ten years until federal spending is a small fraction of what it is today, and handing it over to the states, which can’t possibly keep the program going.

Ryan Isn’t an Entitlement Reformer, He’s an Entitlement Destroyer

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David Brooks in today’s New York Times commits the standard error of pundits who want to appear neutral but know the Romney-Ryan plan would be a disaster for America. He asserts that Ryan makes a serious effort at entitlement reform. “If you believe entitlement reform is essential for national solvency, then Romney-Ryan is the only train leaving the station.”

Baloney.   

Ryan “reforms” Medicaid by destroying it – cutting the federal contribution by some $800 billion and then continuing the cuts after the first ten years until federal spending is a small fraction of what it is today, and handing it over to the states, which can’t possibly keep the program going.  

Ryan “reforms” food stamps by slashing them – reducing the federal contribution by around $125 billion and then, beyond the first decade, essentially ending the program altogether.

He “reforms” Medicare by substituting vouchers that can’t possibly keep up with the rising costs of health care.

Originally he wanted to “reform” Social Security by turning it into private savings accounts whose value would rise or fall at the whim of the Wall Street casino. (Now he doesn’t suggest any reform of Social Security. )

You want real entitlement reform? President Obama has begun it. Rational people would make sure he gets a second term to:

Use the government’s huge bargaining clout in Medicare and Medicaid to push down drug costs and the costs of medical providers, and to shift from a fee-for-services system to a payments-for-healthy-outcomes system.

Then allow anyone of any age to join Medicare so all Americans can get affordable health care.

Fold food stamps and other programs for the poor into a single enlarged Earned Income Tax Credit  — a monthly cash grant that’s inversely related to income.

Save Social Security by eliminating the ceiling on income subject to it. (Now, income over $110,100 isn’t touched.)

These are real reforms. Ryan isn’t an entitlement reformer. He’s an entitlement destroyer. And in an era of rampant economic insecurity, Ryan’s destruction would cause American families even greater hardship.

This article was originally posted on Robert Reich's blog.



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ABOUT Robert Reich

 

ROBERT B. REICH, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org. Robert Reich's new film, "Inequality for All" is available on DVD
and blu-ray, and on Netflix in February.

One of the reasons for

One of the reasons for China's high savings rate is the lack of a social safety net. As the US safety net disappears, you could expect the US savings rate to go up as well. Sounds good, but what that really means is less spending and a slower recovery.

Don't believe? Read the Ryan

Don't believe? Read the Ryan Budget. Parallel lives: Paul Martin, Minister of National Health and Welfare from 1946 to 1957, played a central early role in the adoption of hospital insurance and is also remembered as the father of Medicare. National hero in Canada. Paul Ryan, the killer of US Medicare.

R&R are dead serious. If you

R&R are dead serious. If you rely on your SS check and Medicare they expect you to panhandle for food and, if in the hospital, will dump you to the sidewalk. Keep Obama.

Great column by Mr. Reich.

Great column by Mr. Reich. HOWEVER: Let's be smart progressives and stop calling Medicare and Social Security "entitlements." The GOP loves to use that word, because it connotes getting something for free, guaranteed. But people PAY TAXES into the Medicare and SS funds, and when they retire they begin drawing benefits that they and millions of others PAID FOR.

Ryanist attempts to destroy both programs amount to upward redistribution of middle-class income and benefits. These are programs that work, doing great things to preserve democracy and bring dignity to the lives of seniors. The only reason they're endangered is because politicians have spent too much money on other stuff, like tax breaks for millionaires, and who refuse to commit to repaying the people who put money into Medicare and SS.. That's a bait and switch scam, and it's also thievery.

Hear, hear. Progressives

Hear, hear. Progressives need to talk about the Safety Net or social insurance. "Entitlement" not only connotes getting something for free, it says "a privileged group" is getting something for free that is undeserved. For progressives, that conjures up images of a privileged elite; for conservatives, it prompts visions of (black) welfare queens.

Otherwise, I applaud Mr. Reich's suggestion of lifting the cap on income subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes as the (or one of the) solution(s) for fixing those programs. He is one of a very few opinion leaders willing to even make reference to that solution. Liberal/progressive pundits should be shouting it from the rooftops! I'm sick and tired of the news media ignoring it seemingly because it is unthinkable! LIFT THE CAP! LIFT THE CAP!

I am for doing the

I am for doing the unthinkable. Start paying the Treasury IOU's for the money Congress took out of Social Security and REGULATE / RESTRICT anyone from going after Social Security monies ever again. Start regulating Medicare expenditures and over-written hospitial costs by many DOCTORs signing up for a dying patient care - high cost procedures that EVEN they don't want & having nothing to do with the health of the patient. Expose those who abuse the system from WITHIN.

This whole attempt to portray

This whole attempt to portray Ryan as 'evil' or 'heartless' instead of simply looking at the facts is PATHETIC.
No party can sustain Medicare & Medicaid in the future. It's already costing more than the entire defence budget and rising.
The COST is the main issue, and the voucher system is a good place to start addressing it. Individuals doing their own comparisons will force healthcare providers to bring down their costs to reality.
The crippling dependency on insurance companies & Government departments MUST be reduced.
There's a detailed explanation in this video from ABC called "Sick in America" on how to achieve this.
Watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kf3MtjMBWx4

I watched your John Stossel

I watched your John Stossel piece. He made a great case for public health care! Tell me, how many individuals can save enough money - even over a lifetime - to pay for even one hospitalization? (Well, we know at least 1% who can.) And how many individuals will go their entire lives without needing a hospitalization, or an expensive medical procedure?

How do you think individuals will do their own comparison-shopping for health care, including MDs, blood tests, imaging, radiation, transfusions, bone grafts, and thousands of other providers, tests and treatments? This puts an enormous burden on individuals that most people don’t have the capacity to undertake (myself included, despite my considerable education and research ability).

Do you really think that more competition - within a limited area for most people - will bring costs down to affordable levels without dramatically cutting the quality of care? For one thing, increasing competition will mean the need for more advertising and marketing, which will increase costs for providers and consumers alike, as well as increase the amount of misleading information consumers have to sort through. Are doctors going to get into price wars?

Caring for the human body and treating illness and injury aren’t like choosing items in a grocery store (as Stossel would like us to think). Are you going to say, well, I just won’t have this triple bi-pass operation since it’s too expensive? I don’t think so. But conservatives expect lower and middle-income people to do just this. This in effect rations health care according to level of income, something I would indeed call heartless and evil and disgusting.

Conservatives always ask, why should I pay for someone else's health care (or education, or food stamps, or retirement, or whatever)? The answer is, because we live in a SOCIETY, not as a collection of individuals who exist in self-contained self-sufficiency and isolation. EVERYTHING we do, including breathing, is dependent on other people. What Paul Ryan’s budget represents is a removal, over 10 years, of government-provided Safety Nets (two of which we all paid into for that purpose) for the elderly and the poor that provide a MINIMUM standard of living for people who cannot provide that for themselves. Let’s call a spade a spade. It’s the latest battle in the class war being waged by the wealthy and the smug.

Well reasoned and said,

Well reasoned and said, Molesoul... thank you. Those individuals who think that they "exist in self-contained self-sufficiency and isolation" are victims of the "intellectual flypaper" that comprises "conservative" thought these days. Once caught up in it, it's terribly hard to get unstuck from it and let in the light of truth and reason. It's an epidemic psychosis generated by the Atwater, Norquist & Rove triumvirate and their minions. The antidote is overwhelming citizen outrage, wisdom and involved action.

As I explained, the major

As I explained, the major issue is the COST, hospitalisations costs will fall through the floor once people compare the costs between hospitals.
If they don't know which one are good or bad - they can ASK THEIR DOCTOR.
In the 1950s - 1960s millions of people paid cash for routine procedures and only relied on insurance for major procedures - this worked much better at keeping costs down.

Your reasoning and facts are

Your reasoning and facts are as bad as your spelling. There's even a spell check here. Redumbican- defense

Just looking at Lyan Ryan I

Just looking at Lyan Ryan I would expect to find him in some failed marketing office trying to peddle something no one would waste two seconds looking at. A failed vacuum cleaner salesman or the like. A Flim Flam man. My confidence is not misplaced. This guy does not belong in our Congress. I don't believe he is even bright enough to con the American citizens nearly as well as the older politicians in Congress do. And Mitt the Twitt wants to make him V.P. It just gets better by the day.

Equal opportunity bad

Equal opportunity bad spelling. It's Lyin

Why-o-why is the health care

Why-o-why is the health care / Medicare debate solution not 100% obvious? It's clear to me that all Congress members, and their staff members (at least) should have the same health care options and costs as every American citizen (employed or not, pre-existing condition or not.) They are not super-duper special people, THEY WORK FOR US, or are supposed to. Open up federal health care plans (at their current subsidized cost) to all Americans -- EXACTLY the same as what Senators and Congressmen get. If a corporation wants to offer more/better coverage to their employees, so be it. But we all should have access to the same deal as the Congress has access to. If their deal changes, so does ours, in lock step.

Considering that Obama is

Considering that Obama is also proposing large cuts to these programs rather than ending the progression of unjustified foreign military actions, all we can do is sit back and wait for the body count to rise to a point that will hopefully wake up an American public that lives in a magical La La Land constructed by a compliant corporate media. If the American public refuses to alter this progression toward the second brutal fascist dictatorship in 80 years, i'm certain the rest of the world will not have to think twice before taking the required action to stop this genocide and that will lead to something we've never seen, a war on this continent. When you've pretty well pissed off the rest of the planet and have no remainig wealth to fund your questionable goals, it's time to end all the mindless hubris and stop digging a bottomless pit !

ryan plan start cuts in 10

ryan plan start cuts in 10 years so a person can prepre for them bho plan do cuts now and have old folks die ryan suggested that young people be offered an option on part of their $ to put it in other investments

The $716 Billion in "cuts" by

The $716 Billion in "cuts" by Obama are NOT cuts to care. They are cuts to private insurance companies, hospitals, and other providers. Hospitals & providers AGREED to the cuts because with 30 MILLION more people insured, they will not lose any money. Again, the monies saved by those cuts provides health coverage to 30 million more Americans.
Private insurers must spend 80% of all revenue on patient care. Those who do not are fined, as they should be. NO CEO deserves $30 Million a year salary. NO WAY.
By keeping Medicare and expanding to single payer, we invest in each other.

I am not sure I can make any

I am not sure I can make any sense at all of your post Oldhat. How is it that BHO has a lan to do cuts now and let old folks like me die? I have not heard of this dire conspiracy even from Romney.

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