dailykos.com — Republican demagoguery of Medicare began well before President Johnson signed it into law in 1965. "I was there, fighting the fight, voting against Medicare," Bob Dole later boasted, "Because we knew it wouldn't work in 1965." In 1964, George H.W. Bush was among the first to call it "socialized medicine." And three years earlier, Ronald Reagan voiced his opposition. But they were wrong. Medicare did work and Americans in their sunset years were more free, not less. Before Medicare, half of seniors had no health insurance at all, a crisis which has been virtually eliminated. And the poverty rate for Americans 65 and older was cut in half in under 10 years. Of course, for Republicans yesterday defeats are tomorrow's battles. Their long war on Medicare was no different.
thedailybeast.com — Paul Ryan’s elevation to the national stage has triggered heightened interest in the critical debate on the future of Medicare. We should welcome and engage it. The outcome will affect the health and quality of life of every American, either immediately or at some point in the future. Thus far, candidates Romney and Ryan have focused exclusively on the size and sustainability of the Medicare budget. But that misses the most important factor in this debate: one can’t address rising Medicare costs without also addressing our nation’s health-care costs in total. Neither Medicare nor any other health-related program in the country can survive unless we contain health costs sectorwide. But to do that successfully policymakers must take three fundamental realities into account.
truthdig.com — Deficit hawks are worried that the Medicare debate in the presidential campaign will make it impossible to reach a post-election deal to balance the budget. At the same time, much of the punditry focuses on how mean and nasty this campaign is. Those who are anxious about the deficit should relax. This campaign could actually pave the way for a sensible budget deal. And those who bemoan the rock-’em-sock-’em campaign should stop wringing their hands and get about the business of calling out falsehoods and identifying misleading assertions.
robertreich.org — I keep hearing that Mitt Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan “enables the country to have the debate it needs to have,” or “permits us to have a grownup discussion,” or “finally presents America with a real choice.” The New York Times oped page proclaims: “Let the Real Debate Begin!” Debate? What debate? Romney’s choice of Ryan won’t usher in a “real debate” about much of anything except, perhaps, the danger to our democracy of billionaires like casino-magnate Sheldon Adelson (whose blessing Ryan immediately sought this week) who are pouring tens of millions of dollars into negative advertising. (Adelson alone has committed $100 million of his fortune.) Those negative ads, by the way, are making it all the harder for average Americans to sort out the truth from well-financed big lies – and understand, let alone debate, the big issues this election year.
prospect.org — At the moment, the hot issue of the 2012 presidential campaign is Medicare, with the Obama and Romney campaigns trading charges and counter-charges over the health-insurance program for the elderly. Since we at the Prospect love clarifying the muddy and making the complex understandable, we thought we'd unpack the arguments the two sides are making and provide some context so we can all grasp this a bit better. We'll start with the campaigns' claims.
washingtonpost.com — Everyone agrees that something has to be done about skyrocketing costs for Medicare and Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor. The question is what do we want Medicare to be? There is no reason Medicare cannot be reformed as social insurance. Other industrialized countries provide universal health coverage for their entire populations for a fraction of what we spend in the United States, and those other countries achieve equal or better health outcomes. Surely we can continue to do so for those of retirement age — if we still want to. The question to ask Romney is whether he believes in social insurance — whether his objections to the way Obama has begun to reform Medicare are fiscal or ideological. Ask him and Ryan whether they agree that markets are often efficient but seldom compassionate. Ask him whether he sees the free market as our servant or our master.
motherjones.com — If you want to know what a Mitt Romney presidency and a Paul Ryan vice-presidency would mean for your local family planning clinic, look at what happened in Texas and Ryan's home state of Wisconsin. Women's health clinics around the country rely on federal funding for family planning. Almost all of that money comes from two sources: Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for low-income people, pregnant women, and infants; and the decades old program known as Title X. GOP governors like Texas's Rick Perry and Wisconsin's Scott Walker have targeted both of these income streams in their states, blocking many clinics from receiving crucial funds. But Romney and Ryan would gut both programs on the federal level, all but ensuring that clinics in blue states have to close, too.
alternet.org — In May, the Romney team promised a laser-like focus on the economy . But that was then and this is now. This week, Romney changed the conversation when he caved to his right flank and chose Paul Ryan as his running mate, a man known for a budget proposal that's so toxic voters in focus groups, “simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.” Now, the Romney team is trying to avoid a backlash against the Ryan plan's most loathesome feature (replacing traditional Medicare coverage with a private insurance voucher that would pay for a dwindling share of seniors' healthcare bills over time) by following the old adage that if you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, then just baffle them with your bullshit. But there are a number of good reasons why this strategy is unlikely to succeed.
washingtonpost.com — I’ve got a modest proposal: You’re not allowed to demand a “serious conversation” over Medicare unless you can answer these three questions: 1) Mitt Romney says that “unlike the current president who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion. We will preserve and protect Medicare.” What happens to those cuts in the Ryan budget? 2) What is the growth rate of Medicare under the Ryan budget? 3) What is the growth rate of Medicare under the Obama budget? The answers to these questions are, in order, “it keeps them,” “GDP+0.5%,” and “GDP+0.5%.” Let’s be very clear on what that means: Ryan’s budget — which Romney has endorsed — keeps Obama’s cuts to Medicare, and both Ryan and Obama envision the same long-term spending path for Medicare. The difference between the two campaigns is not in how much they cut Medicare, but in how they cut Medicare.