No matter what claims you hear to the contrary, the Republicans really are trying to kill Medicare. Past Republican plans would come pretty close to doing that. Now the Republicans are taking this even further with their latest proposal, even extending this to those currently on Medicare. Dana Milbank explained in his column yesterday:
Republican lawmakers announced their proposal to abolish Medicare — “sunset” was their pseudo-verb — even for those currently on the program or nearing retirement.
In Medicare’s place would be a private plan that would raise the eligibility age and shift trillions of dollars worth of health-care coverage from the government to the elderly. “This will be the new Medicare,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the proposal’s author, announced.
For years, Republicans have insisted that they would not end Medicare as we know it and that any changes to the program would not affect those in or near retirement. In the span of 20 minutes Thursday, they jettisoned both promises…
All the details aren’t out, but Paul says his plan would cut funding of Medicare by $1 trillion over 10 years and reduce Medicare’s liabilities by $16 trillion. It would do that by enrolling Medicare recipients in the health plan now used by federal workers. The government would pay 75 percent of the insurance premium on average but 30 percent or less for those who earned more than $100,000 a year. The eligibility age would gradually be raised to 70 from 65. If seniors can’t afford their share of the premium, they can apply for Medicaid, the health program for the poor.
Paul claimed his idea came from the Democrats’ 2004 presidential platform. But John Kerry wanted to extend the federal employee health plan to the general population, not to Medicare recipients. The 2004 platform vowed to “oppose privatizing Medicare.”