GOP THINKS ACA IS A-OK? LOL…. Two weeks ago, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was asked about his party’s plan to end Medicare, and replace it with a system that looks like the Affordable Care Act. Cantor rejected the “similarities.”
As it turns out, this week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told ABC’s Jonathan Karl the exact opposite.
KARL: Now Paul Ryan’s budget, which you voted for, which all but a handful of your members voted for, it ends Medicare as we know it.
BOEHNER: Now that’s Democrat talk.
KARL: Okay, what does it do then?
BOEHNER: I wanted to call it somethin’ else, because that’s what it is. It transforms Medicare into a plan that’s very similar to the President’s own healthcare bill.
The Speaker generally doesn’t care about policy details, but he really should have thought this one through a little more. Republicans, he says, want to “transform” Medicare, which in and of itself is a bad idea, since Americans tend to like Medicare as it is. But don’t worry, Boehner says, because the new “Medicare” will simply look like the Affordable Care Act.
But Boehner hates the Affordable Care Act; all Republicans do. It’s simply assumed in GOP circles that the health care reform law is quite literally the worst policy development in generations, if not in the history of the country.
The question then becomes: if congressional Republicans consider the ACA a communist/Nazi scheme to end American freedom, execute the elderly, and destroy civilization, why, exactly, do they think it’s a good idea to turn Medicare into the ACA? Indeed, didn’t Boehner’s caucus just vote, more than once, to repeal the entirety of the health reform law? If so, why model the new “Medicare” system after the same law they detest?
Now, I know what some of you are thinking. “Oh yeah, smart guy?” you’re saying. “If you like the ACA, why are you so apoplectic about the Republicans’ plans for Medicare? After all, they’d be practically the same.”
Nice try, but this doesn’t work. The whole point of Medicare was to provide a guaranteed benefit for seniors — who tend to have more health problems and whose care tends to cost more — in large part because private insurers didn’t want to cover them. The Republican plan wants to eliminate the guaranteed benefit and hand the elderly a voucher that won’t be enough to cover escalating costs. Worse, the new “Medicare,” gutted under the auspices of deficit reduction, will actually make coverage more expensive, not less, adding to the burdens on seniors and their families.
Ezra had a good item touching on this earlier: “The bottom line … is that the Ryan plan does far less and expects far more — at least if it’s presuming to save money by doing anything but shifting costs — while the Affordable Care Act does far more and assumes far less.”