Beware when wingnuts use the word “serious.” When they say it, it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

For example, a “serious” foreign policy is one that sees war as the principal foreign policy option. A political leader is not “serious” until he threatens to nuke Tehran.

Now we see that “serious” domestic policy means feeding the old and poor to Soylent Green factories so that the rich and the corporations can keep their taxes low.

The Republican’s new budget eliminates the Medicare program. They don’t come out and say it, but that’s what it does. They’re just going to scrap Medicare and replace it with what they’re calling a “premium support plan.” As I understand it (a lot of details aren’t public yet), they will stop reimbursing doctors and hospitals for services and simply subsidize some part of seniors’ insurance, purchased from private health care companies. Basically, they want to privatize Medicare.

Even better, increases in the amounts of the subsidies will be tied to increases in GDP. So if health care costs rise faster than GDP — which has been the case for the past few years — the seniors will make up the difference out of their own pockets..

And since they’re scrapping “Obamacare,” there will be no restrictions on what those private insurance companies can pull on their customers. Grandma needs chemotherapy? Sorry; the CEO wants gilded bathroom fixtures this month. Grandma has to do without.

Paul Krugman says “[S]avings will come entirely from limiting the vouchers to below the rate of rise in health care costs; in effect, they will come from denying medical care to those who can’t afford to top up their premiums.” Hey, if Grandma had wanted to live longer, she should have eaten more fiber. Back when she still had teeth, of course.

From The Economist:

Mr Ryan’s plan ends the guarantee that all American seniors will have health insurance. The Medicare system we’ve had in place for the past 45 years promises that once you reach 65, you will be covered by a government-financed health-insurance plan. Mr Ryan’s plan promises that once you reach 65, you will receive a voucher for an amount that he thinks ought to be enough for individuals to purchase a private health-insurance plan. … If that voucher isn’t worth enough for some particular senior to buy insurance, and that particular senior isn’t wealthy enough to top off the coverage, or is a bit forgetful and neglects to purchase insurance, there’s no guarantee that that person will be insured. It’s up to you; you carry the risk.

Ezra explains the details better than I can. The budget would also destroy Medicaid by turning it into a block grant program for states, meaning that Haley Barbour could use it to remodel his mansion while the Mississippi infant mortality rate continued to climb.

17 thoughts on “Seriously

  1. And, these people are NOT even remotely embarrassed with this plan. It seems to have death panels, bureaucrats between me and my doctor–all the things they said were really horrible and in Obamacare. What a bunch of liars, thieves, and crooks.

  2. Okay, Barbara. I’m getting very scared. When the Wisconsin Republican Party started harassing Professor Cronon, I started getting chills. The Republican budget proposal is another such.
    I thought these people were all mad; now I’m wondering whether they are human beings at all.

  3. “Basically, they want to privatize Medicare”

    Well of course, insuring an ageing population, excellent business plan. I find as I get older I need the doctor less and less, why by the time I’m eligible for Medicare I’ll have virtually no need for medicine at all. And while they are at it, I’ll bet I’ll have no need for that SSI stipend either. I mean once I stop working full time and start living off my 401K, I” have even more money. I mean its simple math really, lower income-better standard of living, as you get older-you get heartier, its just like taxes the less we all pay the more the government will collect!

  4. As others (too lazy to provide links) have explained, it’s unlikely to pass now given the Democrats’ control of the Senate, but once the far right gains more control (they had all three branches during Bush), this plan will be resurrected. The way they’ll get it past the population at large is to create a dual tier system, where people 55 and up stay with Medicare as-is, but everyone else gets the shaft.

  5. Oliver Wendell Holmes said that taxes buy civilization. It appears that in the hands of these soulless greed machines, tax cuts buy barbarity and for some unfortunates death.

    Republicans control two branches of government with an iron fist, the Supreme Court and the US House. Those ten Democrats who voted to confirm Clarence Thomas in 1991 should have left a lesson. Compromise and bipartisanship with these “people” is foolish and a very bad move.

  6. Maggots!….They’re all a bunch of maggots. My consolation is that I’ll be long departed by the time they finally collapse this country.

  7. “My consolation is that I’ll be long departed by the time they finally collapse this country”

    Unless your foot is on fire now, you may yet see the collapse. I’ve always assumed the same, but lately stupid gets multiplied, and the outcome advances daily. Don’t count on being dead.

  8. The big kicker in his plan is that he’s slashing the safety net for older Americans so he can give the wealthy a huge 35%+ tax cut, and get rid of the capital gains tax altogether. This is obscene. I can’t wait to see how Obama compromises and “meets him in the middle” on this. I smell catfood in the Oval Office.

  9. Swami,
    If we don’t stop “Privatizing Ryan” and the Republicans soon, the end of this country as we knew it is not far off. Not decades. Maybe not even one decade.

    -This plan will create a new wave of senior poverty.
    -Continued cuts to women and children will lead to more still more poverty.
    -Their cuts to education means newer workers having even less skills, hence more outsourcing.
    -Unemployment will remain high – despite the absolutely LAUGHABLE claims by Ryan to get it down to 2.8%. Anyone with a head made not entirely of bone will realize how ludicrous this is.
    -The banks, hedge funds, insurance companies, real estate firms, etc., are still basically unregulated, and doing pretty much what they did prrior the collapse in ’08.
    -We are bleeding the budget with 2 occupations, and in essence, a minor air war.
    -We are bleeding the budget still more by keeping the Bush Tax Cuts – let alone if Ryans proposal to lower the tax rate on the wealthiest down to 25% goes through.

    And I agree with Bonnie and Lynne above – these are inhuman liars, crooks and thieves.
    Our only hope is that the people look at this plan and see it for what it is – an upgrade from our current “Gilded Age 2.0” to “Super Gilded Age 3.0.”

    But, the Wurlitzer will crank up the dial past 11 to 12.
    Our MSM will tell us how serious all of these people are.
    The hard sell is just beginning.
    And the rubes will look at this game, and think they know where the ace is, figuring they’ll be the ones to win – while all the while the aces are all up the rich grifters sleeve.

    I have NO confidence in the MSM to portray this Gilded Death Star legistation as the disaster in waiting that it is. And I have even less confidence in the people realizing it.
    This radioactive turd will be polished until it it looks diamond hard and bright to the usual suspects in the voting population. And it is those same usual suspects who have been destroying this nation for the past 40 years by voting against their own best interests who’ll be counted on to drive the final nail in the coffin.
    I wouldn’t plan on buying a tombstone right now. I’d wait awhile. There’ll be a glut on the market soon enough to lower the prices – your “free market” finally at work.
    And frankly, one way or the other, I’ll be dead, so a stone or a mass grave won’t mean a thing to me. I’ll be buried in a dead nation.

  10. Ha! “Privatizing Ryan.” Many many Spielbergesque slogans suggest themselves.

    “He won’t hurtcha, Gertie.” “Wanna bet?”

    I hate snakes.

  11. I just read Digby, and she makes a GREAT point!

    And that’s that Obama and the Democrats can now blow the dust off and try to polish that less radioactive turd, the ‘Catfood Commission Report,” and compromise around that with “Privatizing Ryan” and Conservative Clown Posse. Or, maybe call them ‘Genghis Ryan and the Mongol hordes.’

    Jesus, I think finally understand the real reason why Conservatives were so against stem cell research!

    They were afraid the someone could grow spines and infuse the Democrats with them.

    Well, no worries there…

  12. Ryan said this is a “cause” more than a budget. This is tossing red meat to their base. They imagine a privatized world where only they have real power. We are shocked at their vision, but we also can not imagine owning human beings. It was not so long ago that the south was run by slaves. We come off as weak and fun to bully. Time for a new Gandhi and MLK although we can not count on their basic humanity when the push comes.

  13. The so-called deficit/debit crisis could be solved with a mere flick of Ryan’s wrist – return to fiscal responsibility by nullifying the $2 1/2 trillions in tax cuts put in place by the Bush/Reagan tax cuts. And, has anyone noticed that as Main Street gets economically sicker and sicker, Wall Street gets economically healthier and healthier? Can we venture an educated guess that the former causes the latter?

  14. Looks like “Glennda the Bad Witch” Beck is off of FOX News.

    Everybody ready to join me?
    “Ding-dong, the witch is dead…”

  15. Off topic.. We’ll be spending 109 Billion dollars in Afghanistan this year. Plus an additional 20 or 40 billion on incidentals related to our nation building efforts Afghanistan. I know it’s not directly relevant to this post, but it’s just a handy little guide post, so to speak, to use in navigating the complexities of budgetary thinking..

  16. Swami – oh but it is relevant. Among other things, it’s $109 billion that we’re literally throwing away while back in DC petty, discombobulated, dysfunctional politicians (led by a Party, Tea, whose only interest is fame) are arguing over the size of chump change, proving what most of us have known all along – their only relevance being how successful they are at toadying to their supra-wealthy benefactors.

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