Friday, August 17, 2012

80 + Days of Lying?

There remain only 81 days until the November 2012 election. The pre-convention lies and false claims are already starting to fly from the Romney Ryan campaign. They and their surrogates, who are intent on gutting Medicare as we know it, are using an old tactic and accusing the Obama Biden team of doing what the Republicans want to do. "Are you over 65 -- don't worry, you'll be OK," they say -- "we are only talking about care for people who haven't made it to 55 yet. They are the ones who will face our new improved privatized Medicare plan."

As Howard Dean said on the MSNBC Ed Schultz show this week, "The Republicans are following an old Soviet propaganda trick -- lie and repeat it so often that it will seem to be true."

The affordable Care Act aka "Obamacare," actually creates savings in the Medicare plan by reducing fees paid to drug companies and the Advantage plans and reduced costs over several years by over $700 billion. This impending plan is not taking money from seniors or their benefits. It is already reducing the donut hole created by the Republicans. (The donut hole is the drug deductible in the Part D plan which kicks in after slightly more than $2000 has been spent by the patient and denies further payment until the $5000 cost level is reached, approximately.) This donut hole is gradually disappearing under "Obamacare" and will be gone in 2020 if this bill is not repealed. Wellness care is already being covered for seniors who will no longer have to pay co-pays for health maintenance exams and tests such as mammograms or prostate screenings. Although both Romney and Ryan have said that they will overturn this entire law. It may not be quite that easy to do, either, politically or legally.

Some may have forgotten that Paul Ryan was one of the Congressmen who jumped on the Bush Social Security privatization band wagon after the 2004 election. (One will note that Bush, Cheney, or Palin will have no role or be invited to attend the party convention this year!) Who now would revisit that after the debacle of the 2008 stock market free-fall? When asked, he now backs off that proposal. However he has been heavily criticized by his own Catholic church and the "nuns on the bus" for his total lack of empathy or understanding of the needs for services among those currently on Medicaid.

He must know that both Medicaid and Welfare differ greatly in benefits among the states. Those states run by Democrats and more heavily urbanized tend to have better services for the poor, while those run by Republicans define their poverty limits and those who qualify very sparsely. Cutting back food stamps and unemployment benefits when a country is coming out of a downturn is again showing how wide the gap is between those that have and those who need.
He has not apparently reconciled his belief in the theories of Ayn Rand of "every man for himself" with the church teaching on issues of social justice and caring for the least amongst us. Medicaid has been a joint effort between the federal government and the states, but these matching federal funds came with some strings, mandating that a minimum safety net of services be covered. Block grants, such as proposed by Ryan's budget plan and endorsed by Romney, would allocate a certain amount and let states decide how to use it and allow fewer services if desired. But Ryan and Romney both recently mischaracterized the Obama administration for allowing states, which had made requests to modify their plans within certain restrictions, as gutting the welfare to work programs and giving away money to those who do not wish to work. What had happened was that waivers were granted as usual to allow innovations or changes with educational and work programs in order to better meet local needs.

So we are looking at the two party conventions coming up very soon. Listen carefully and read between the lines for the real truths. Will Democrats speak only truths and Republicans speak only lies? Of course not! But if these last few weeks have been any examples, we will hear a torrent of misrepresentations from a party which has sought to defy any efforts that President Obama has made to improve our country's economy and increase employment for those who have lost their jobs. We will be waiting to see the tax returns of Governor Romney. Will his stonewalling and mumbling and the angry protestations of his wife work?

Wait and see. Let me know what you think by making a comment on this post.


  1. Well put Sharon. Will the Republicans get away with the big lie? Obviously it would help if the left were much stronger and could force the Democrats to act like real Democrats.

    Wally Malakoff

  2. "they say -- "we are only talking about care for people who haven't made it to 55 yet. They are the ones who will face our new improved privatized Medicare plan."

    It doesn't HAVE to be a lie to be disastrous.
    If Mitt Romney says what he means that his first priority is overturning Obamacare, that means the policy of rescission will be back.

    Future senior citizens will be buying policies that have ever escalating co-payments to cover basic needs and when an expensive medical condition arises, insurers will identify undisclosed medical conditions, claim fraud by the customer and refuse to treat the patient.

    We will return to a situation of insurance that covers none of the problems we most need insurance for.

    If Mitt and Paul are completely on the up and up, they should lose by garnering only the 1% of the vote that would benefit from their ticket's policies.

    Thanks for mentioning the donut hole, another very poorly publicized Obamacare boon. The donut hole is brilliantly evil.
    Seniors must scratch together 3000 dollars every year to survive. WHICH seniors will be the ones most likely to struggle with finding the 3000? People relying on Social Security and other struggling citizens. Just the kind of people the Republicans would like to start pill cutting and missing doses of life saving medicine. The donut hole is a Democrat-Exterminator; political genocide.

  3. One of the Rx Drug bill writers said he wanted the doughnut hole so the seniors would have "some skin in the game" and not ask for medicine that they really don't need. Since a chemotherapy drug can cost thousands of dollars for a single months supply and the 20% co-pay could exceed the entire yearly gap allowance, it is obvious that the 2002 Congress did not think this through. The gradual disappearance of this gap is very popular and I do not think either Romney nor Ryan will have much luck trying vouchers on this aspect of medicare.


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