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 canâ€™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.