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Does Paul Ryan’s budget plan serve as a convenient foil for Barack Obama?

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One of President Obama’s political problems of late is that he hasn’t had an antagonist with whom to contrast himself.

But perhaps that situation has changed, as we see HERE.

An excerpt:

Obama may have found an answer to that problem in the House Republican he arguably admires the most: Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, author of a comprehensive plan to reduce the deficit that, among other things, would fundamentally change Medicare, replacing it with a system that would subsidize private insurance.

“The Ryan proposal could be the foil Obama needs,” said former Bill Clinton adviser Paul Begala, who could not sound happier at the prospect. “I hope every vulnerable Republican in Congress signs on to the Ryan plan to kill Medicare, because we will beat ’em like a bad piece of meat.”

And Begala offered this advice: “I would not focus on Ryan personally — he is a pleasant enough fellow, it seems to me — but rather on the fact that he is the GOP’s point person on the budget, and his budget would end Medicare as we know it.” 

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17 Comments

  1. Ryan’s plan doesn’t kill Medicare. It saves it. These are topics that are too important to be subject to political hacks like Begala.

    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/apr/11/moveon/moveonorg-says-proposed-house-republican-budget-ab/

  2. doc: Ryan’s plan doesn’t kill Medicare, it saves it???

    You really are naive, aren’t you?

    You remind me of the guy in Vietnam who said the troops had destroyed a village in order to save it.

    Ryan’s plan would destroy Medicare, as America’s seniors will realize soon enough.

    Paul Ryan’s the best thing to happen to Barack Obama since John McCain ran against him in 2008.

  3. You of course ignore the politifact link that I provided that rates your claim as FALSE.

    In Ryan’s plan, Medicare will be changed only for those younger than 55. Your Medicare is safe old man, don’t worry. For those younger than 55, it will be changed to a plan that gives them more choice in their health care choices, not less. It actually holds some hope for controlling exploding costs of Medicare.

    I agree with you that Paul Ryan is the best thing to happen in awhile alright. We’ll see what Obama releases as his plan to fix the budget disaster this week. I expect higher taxes, less military spending and little or nothing to address Medicare or Social Security entitlements.

  4. doc: I don’t care what PolitiFact calls it. The Ryan plan on Medicare ain’t gonna fly. No way. Not a chance. Never.

    Remember where you heard it.

  5. Neftali

    This headline would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic…

    “Debt Jumped $54.1 Billion in 8 Days Preceding Boehner-Obama Deal to Cut $38.5 Billion for Rest of Year”

    http://cnsnews.com/news/article/debt-jumped-54-billion-8-days-preceding

  6. I never said Walker’s plan was going to pass or even become law, but at least it saves Medicare as a health care program to help seniors pay for their healthcare in retirement. That’s better than what we have now.

    It’s OK to admit I’m right Pat. The first step toward getting help is admitting you have a problem. The first step to thinking like a rational, intelligent human being is to agree with those who are just so.

  7. Medicare is a health care PAYMENT program. Ryan’s plan shifts those payment from everyone sharing (taxes) to the individual paying a higher share of their own expenses.

    The real problem is not how to pay, but reducing the cost in the first place. For example, why do US doctors get paid (in terms of purchasing-power parity) about twice as much as doctors in Europe?

  8. Mr. TP doesn’t care since he will most likely be gone when it goes bankrupt, he will stay the party line while the ship sinks.
    I am with you Jerry we need the Feds to dictate what wages should be, especially for those capitalist doctors like expdoc.

  9. Jerry,

    Doctors get paid more in this country because they can. Seriously. Recently,most insured patients in this country have had little or no interest in controlling their health care costs. They either had insurance that covered their care or they didn’t.

    Those with coverage, particularly government plans like Medicare and Medicaid, but also commercial insurance had no interest in the cost of their care. They just wanted to know that a) Everything is covered and B) It is free. If it is free they want to know why they can’t have it right now.

    I never have patients ask me about the cost of procedures unless it will have some impact on their personal pocketbook. The beauty of the Ryan plan is that it puts patients back in the business of controlling their own costs because they have to do so.

    It would be like mandating that all restaurants must serve free food to those with food insurance card. If you don’t have a card, you have to pay for your entire bill, if you have a card everything on the menu is free.

    Who do you think is going to eat more food and more expensive food?

  10. Getting medical care is like eating at a restaurant?!? Choosing a doctor is like choosing a restaurant?!? REALLY???

  11. The analogy is in relation to controlling costs.

    When care is perceived to cost nothing, utilization skyrockets.

    When care is perceived to be the responsibility of the patient, even if they are using money provided by someone else (employer or government supplement) suddenly patients factor cost into their decision making. I see it every single day.

    In fact, to further the restaurant analogy, different consumers are willing to pay for different things. Quality, access, timeliness of care, location of facility and other amenities all drive patient choices.

    Just like some people are willing to pay for steak and lobster with a downtown,waterfront view, others are happy with a burger at the local burger joint. They all get fed but the burger lover has alot more change left in his pocket after the meal.

    Before you go all class warfare on me, this is the exact kind of plan I have myself. A high deductible, HSA plan. If I need my HSA dollars I use them, but I try my darndest not to and they can accrue in a tax deferred account. My plan has a 5000 dedcutible.

    I can guarantee I think about every healthcare dollar I utilize.

  12. Too bad we are not all doctors and can make as informed decisions as you can.

  13. Milton Waddams

    Jerry:
    Too bad most people are too lazy to make an attempt to inform themselves.

  14. Too bad you have such a low opinion of your fellow man Jerry.

  15. Hey, I am all for controlling costs. Let’s start by reducing the cost by 25% to 30% and get private health insurance out of the business of providing primary health care insurance. Let them provide secondary insurance for those that want gold-plated policies. Medicare has shown it can provide the same service for much less overhead. I would even let the government set premiums the same way insurance companies do. It would still save the enormous overhead they charge.

    We can save at least 25% to 30% with no change in services. It would make things easier for doctors too, only one insurance company to deal with.

    Hell, doc, you probably could get rid of at least one employee with less insurance stuff to do and make more money.

  16. The difference is nowhere near 25-30%.

    Much of my overhead comes from dealing with Medicare rules and regulations.

    Remember, the key to controlling cost is letting patients decide what care and coverage is appropriate for themselves and their families. Not the government. If they need help to afford it, then so be it, but give them the money to decide like human beings what is best for their situation.

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