Why is it whenever we have lived high on the hog as a nation for decades, when it comes time for us to tighten our belts, we put that burden on the backs of our elderly and our poor?
The president said that Congress has been quibbling over cutting programs that comprise 12 percent of the federal government’s spending; neglecting the other 88 percent. Well Rep. Paul Ryan addressed a part of the other 88 percent Tuesday, with his proposed cuts to Medicare. Yes, Medicare. And the cost of cuts being proposed would only put a dent in our deficit. But it would put a huge dent in the health and safety of our growing elderly population.
As of January 1, 10,000 Americans a day enter the senior set, and that will continue for the next 19 years. I understand the fear that we can’t pay for all these people; but you don’t cut a program that will cater to the majority of our population in the years ahead! You don’t cut a program so greatly that so many (myself included!) have been paying into for decades! Sure Medicare has had problems with fraud, and there are abuses to that system—so repair it, don’t defund it! Now, I know you’re saying: Leslie, no one’s defunding the program. And I say: Give them time.
What the Republicans are trying to do with this proposal is to push Medicare and Medicaid recipients to choose their own plan option yet pay more out of their own pocket. So I ask you, how does a middle or lower income senior pay for extra healthcare coverage when they’re retired, don’t have huge savings, don’t have pensions (especially if they’re union, the GOP will see to that), and can’t get jobs (ask anyone over 60 who will hire them, other than as a greeter at Walmart). And of course their Social Security checks won’t cover that cost. Sell their home? That’s funny in this housing market. Move in with their kids? Yeah right, it’s our nuclear family that keeps nursing homes in business (Medicare assists with the cost of nursing homes as well, by the way). So what will they do? [Check out a roundup of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]
They’ll go to the ER. Yes. The ER. One of the very problems that has led us to this economic crisis with healthcare. And with this GOP plan, it will only get worse. As it has gotten worse for the hospitals and for the emergency rooms. And there are less of them. Less students entering into medicine. Less doctors graduating from medical school. More hospitals closing. And if this plan passes, more public employees will lose jobs, as well as physicians and those throughout the medical community. The GOP will tell you this will create private sector jobs, but they fail to show you the number of jobs that will be lost as a result of this plan.
So it’s your choice, America. Cut a lot from Medicare now and pay even more later as our elderly people die on the streets outside of hospitals that simply don’t have the space and medical staff to treat them; or repair our current system, fund it to care for our elderly, current and future. [See who donates the most to Paul Ryan.]
Want to save money? Bring our troops home. Oh, and close Gitmo. It costs $650,000 to house a detainee there, only $28,000 to put them in federal prison. My point? This isn't about saving money, it’s about getting re-elected; and with Ryan’s plan, the Democrats can thank him for the exodus of senior voters they just won.