05 April 2011

Slate publishes crap article on Ryan plan to kill Medicare and Medicaid

I mince no words here. Almost needless to say, I was disgusted by Jacob Weisberg's piece in Slate praising the Ryan Republican plan to kill Medicare and Medicaid. I'm sure enough there is a pro-sickness exploitation (aka "health insurance") industry hidden agenda here that I'd bet money on it. My comment is appended to the Slate article, and reproduced below:
 Why anyone would think that private health care, with average administrative costs of up to 20%, would be better than Medicare, which manages to spend 2 to 3% for the same job, would be an improvement, is beyond me. There is simply no objective reality to this... it is purely a scheme to privatize for privatization's sake, when there is no conceivable cost saving other than via drastic reductions in services. 
Weisberg's reasons make no sense, other than as pure ideology; preference for profit making systems over public systems just because of philosophical preference for private profit over public weal.

What Republicans refuse to acknowledge is that seriously addressing budget deficits requires REVENUE reform, as Robert Reich very intelligently discussed in his recent Huffington Post piece on why we must greatly increase taxes on the very rich.

Both Social Security and Medicare can only be made permanently fiscally sound by increasing the cap on income subject to taxation (or, better, removing it altogether). In the case of social security, (as I point out here), this would easily and permanently fix Social Security's fiscal problems. In the case of Medicare (and, for that matter, Medicaid), we need a comprehensive system, comparable to France's or Germany's to control health care costs, not only for seniors, but for everyone, but once that were done, the system could be made solvent in much the same way, by removing caps on incomes subject to taxes for it. Better, as David Cay Johnston has pointed out, by essentially creating Medicare for All, or Single Payer, and controlling health care costs by removing the profit making insurance industry from the picture, we would not only save hundreds of billions over the next ten years, but eventually it would actually erase the debt entirely, according to his calculations. Weisberg doesn't acknowledge any of this, preferring to just conclude without evidence that private is better, when, in fact, it clearly is not.

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