Per the Tea Party: “The Ryan Budget is a Good Start”

Version 2 of Representative Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” (in reality, a path to Poverty for many), is due out today.  Believing that the attacks against last year’s Path have failed, they’ve decided to double-down and go after the prize of privatization of Medicare and Social Security in this year’s budget as well. In his op-ed about the impending release of his budget, Rep. Ryan stated

“Like last year, our budget delivers real spending discipline. It does this not through indiscriminate cuts that endanger our military, but by ending the epidemic of crony politics and government overreach that has weakened confidence in the nation’s institutions and its economy. And it strengthens the safety net by returning power to the states, which are in the best position to tailor assistance to their specific populations.  

Our budget’s Medicare reforms make no changes for those in or near retirement. For those who will retire a decade from now, our plan provides guaranteed coverage options financed by a premium-support payment. And this year, our budget adds even more choices for seniors, including a traditional fee-for-service Medicare option.

We also introduce a competitive-bidding process to determine the growth of government’s financial contribution to Medicare. Forcing health plans to compete against each other is the best way to achieve high-quality coverage at the lowest cost, and implementing these reforms in Medicare can have the effect of lowering health-care costs for everyone. This is the key to increasing access and affordability while preventing government debt from threatening the health security of seniors and the economic security of all Americans.”

Ryan’s new version of the “Plan” is purported to include a Ryan-Wyden “bipartisan plan” to strengthen medicare and expand health care choices for all.  That’s pure bull-puckey if you ask me.  They may be wrapping it up in prettier packaging, but it’s still a plan to privatize Medicare by gifting it to the Insurance industry and providing vouchers to seniors that will have ever-declining values.  Now if you ask me … that promotes health care rationing as aging seniors would no longer be able to afford effective health care.

The “Plan”  continues to promote no changes for those in or near retirement. Americans currently over the age of 55 would see no changes to the structure of their benefits, although they would be “free to opt into a private plan” once the new Medicare Exchange was established in 2022.  That’s the point at which Medicare would begin offering seniors a choice among Medicare-approved private plans competing alongside a traditional Medicare plan on a Medicare Exchange.

All of us have paid in throughout our working careers, both poor and rich.  Many of us have planned for retirement based on certain assumptions … well I guess Ryan’s plan is reminding us about that old adage about “ass u me.”  Supposedly, the “Plan” would provide more help for those who “need” it and less help for those who don’t.  Personally, I want to see just exactly how Mr. Ryan proposes to define those who “don’t.”

Ryan’s “Plan” would purportedly repeal or defund the Independent Payment Advisory Board which was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).  This is the board that is supposed to analyze the effectiveness of health care practices and make recommendations to Congress for improvements in Medicare.  The GOP would have you believe that the IPAB is nothing more than a “death panel.”  They’re wrong, this panel assures you are receiving effective care, not just the cheapest service they can provide.  It’s mandate is to assure that ineffective practices and medications are set aside and more effective treatments are used instead.  By eliminating this board and relying on Insurance companies to dictate what type of treatment or medication they’re willing to fund, seniors will get less effective health care.  Thus, the Ryan Plan promotes insurance company death panel strategies.

We know what the President has proposed.  Ryan’s budget is expected out at 10AM this morning. Like version 1, it’s been reported that it won’t increase any revenues and proposes further tax cuts for individuals as well as corporations, taking the tax code down to two rates: 15% and 25%. But this far, he’s not indicated any income levels associated with those rates.

Ryan claims his new budget is “revenue neutral” as he’s proposing to close a few loopholes, but he has yet to identify which loopholes and who would be affected.  You can expect to see extremely low spending on education, infrastructure, and research.  I certainly hope that seriously deficient bridge you drive across each day to get to your workplace doesn’t decide to fall into the river or some abyss anytime soon, because the GOP doesn’t understand the need for maintenance and replacement.

I look forward to being able to peruse the numbers, specifically military spending which consumes a huge portion of the federal budget.  Purportedly, he’s treated that as a seriously sacred cow and has not cut a single penny.  I want to see if that’s true, or worse, if he’s actually proposing to increase spending for weapons and war as he did in version 1.

Regardless, Ryan’s approach won’t be balancing the budget or closing the deficit anytime soon.