Wyden Turns Traitor, Becomes First Dem To Advocate Private Medicare System

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) joins Paul Ryan (R-Hell) in calling for a private plan to replace traditional Medicare. In doing so, he becomes the first Democrat who openly supports such a plan, thereby weakening the Democrats’ position on keeping traditional Medicare and raising taxes if necessary to pay for it.

Here are Brian Beutler and Benjy Sarlin of TPM on the political ramifications; here is Digby examining many other writers’ viewpoints and her own assessment that this is a terrible idea. I’m afraid, though, that it is a terrible idea whose time will come, thanks to some Democrats as well as all Republicans. What else is new…

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  • jams o donnell (Shaun Downey)  On Friday December 16, 2011 at 7:44 am

    What a bastard.

    • Steve  On Friday December 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

      Shaun, while I don’t know Wyden well, I admit I am dumbfounded. Heretofore, he has been fairly dependable on traditional Democratic issues. To break ranks on one of the very most significant issues is beyond my comprehension. I’m an ex-Democrat, and even I wouldn’t flip-flop on that one. If I find out why, I’ll post on it.

  • upyernoz  On Friday December 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

    i find it equally odd that ryan is endorsing what is effectively obamacare for seniors, except with a public option.

    if only the media paid attention to the details of these proposals, maybe someone would ask ryan why he is so opposed to obama’s health reform and the public option for everyone else, but for it when it comes to seniors.

    • Steve  On Friday December 16, 2011 at 11:43 am

      ‘noz, from my very few conversations with conservative Republicans (one of my best childhood friends and occasional contracting colleague is a fundamentalist Christian and a reluctant Republican because they’re not radical enough for him), I have learned that Republicans’ hatred of Obama 1) is completely irrational and 2) knows no bounds. I have my serious differences with the president, and I may detest many things he has done, but I like to think my differences are at least rationally based. With some GOPers, you have only to mention Obama to see their eyes dilate and their complexions flush.

      I am most concerned with proposals that the payment mechanism be privatized. I fear we are going to end up, 10 years from now or so, with a system that literally allows people to die because they can’t afford private insurance premiums even with their vouchers, which IIRC decrease steadily over the years. The real irony is that, if I recall, the CBO has already analyzed Ryan’s plan, and it won’t save the government any significant amount of money. I suspect he knows that, and that the real motivation… the only motivation… is to shovel money from individuals’ pockets into insurance companies’ bank accounts.

      CBPP has a good analysis of Ryan’s entire plan, including some insights on the hit taken by Medicare. Face it, ‘noz: few seniors are big campaign contributors, so we’re expendable.

      • upyernoz  On Friday December 16, 2011 at 12:23 pm

        Face it, ‘noz: few seniors are big campaign contributors, so we’re expendable.

        yes, but seniors turn out to vote in greater numbers than any other age group. that’s why, until the bush era, social security and medicare were called the third rail of american politics. i think the big problem w/r/t medicare is that the AARP started up its own medicare advantage programs. which means that now the organization has a direct financial stake in some degree of privatization, even though it will screw many of its members. so the organization that in the past would have raised a major stink and used its enormous lobbying heft to shoot down the privatization plan, has completely gone quiet even when entitlements that affect its members are under the most serious assault in decades.

        • Steve  On Friday December 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm

          ‘noz, I regret to say that I, in hopes of getting some medi-gap insurance, joined the AARP for a period of five years, ending two years from now. I was unable to find such insurance… I have enough pre-existing conditions that no one really wants to insure me… but AARP successfully suckered me into joining. Their little magazine is very respectable and reports some useful information, but I would not have put out my money just for the mag. I recommend that people not bother joining: AARP has at least one conflict of interest, and their members aren’t always their primary interest. AARP may or may not be harmless, but it is certainly useless.

          An aside: I am now covered on Stella’s insurance through her employer. For 11 years that was not possible, but she recently changed to a job with an employer that will allow domestic partners to be covered. It feels strange to have insurance again, but as employment is never assured, I’m trying not to get used to it. We’re in the USA, where corporations rule everything.

  • karmanot  On Friday December 16, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    “I recommend that people not bother joining: AARP” Exactly so. their insurance is no less a scam than the worst of the others. I had it for the first year after turning 65, now for the second year they have increased the supplemental 106%. What about all those senior Republicans on Social Security and Medicare….what are they thinking?

    • Steve  On Friday December 16, 2011 at 11:30 pm

      karmanot, as I noted, I finally have medical insurance at an affordable price because my s.o. no longer works for the feral gummint, where Republicans in Congress make sure that domestic partners of feral employees are screwed.

      “What about all those senior Republicans…”

      karmanot, it’s like a religion to them. You wouldn’t abandon God, would you (if you are a fundie Christian)? They are afraid of what will happen if they abandon the GOP. Hey, GOP is almost like GOd, with the last letter turned upside down…

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