For Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, abolishing ObamaCare is not enough to satisfy his radical right-wing agenda. He’s also getting ready to aim his wrecking ball at Medicare in the name of saving it, via privatization.
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait explains:
During the campaign, coverage of the issues was blotted out by coverage of Hillary Clinton’s emails and Donald Trump’s broad suite of sociopathic tendencies. And of the issues that did receive any attention, a conspicuously missing one was Paul Ryan’s plan to push Medicare beneficiaries into private health insurance. Reporters just assumed that, since Trump never talked about it, it won’t happen. But Paul Ryan still wants it to happen. And in a Fox News interview with Bret Baier, Ryan said Medicare privatization is on.
Indeed. Despite the tension between Ryan and then-candidate Donald Trump, Ryan is now aglow – if not over Trump, himself, at least with the prospect of using his presidency to enact a long-dreamed-of plan to cut and privatize Social Security and Medicare. Without regard to the harm it would do to the recipients.
Not surprisingly, Baier didn’t bring up that pesky drawback. No, he listened quietly as Ryan gushed about Trump working on making 2017 “a success for the American people.” Now, Ryan acted like a Trump bestie as he dismissed the previous ill-will as “the past is the past.”
“Let’s go now execute,” Ryan said he told Trump. “Let’s get these things done.” And besides privatizing (i.e. destroying) social safety nets, Ryan also wants to get rid of other American protections:
RYAN: I think about, just the regulations. Think about the out-of-work coal workers. Think about the out-of-work timber workers in the west. Think about the ranchers who are getting hit by the Interior Department. Think about all these regulations that Obama’s rolling out that will put a wet rag on, a dark cloud on our economy. It’s being lifted!
As for ObamaCare, “We want to go big, we want to go bold,” Ryan enthused. “ObamaCare’s failing, so it has to get replaced quickly.” His so-called replacement seems to be tax credits and health savings accounts, which are not much good if you have a low income and high medical bills. He also dangles a nice gift to insurance companies in the name of "more choices" in his proposal to allow companies to sell across state lines (thus allowing insurers to locate solely in the most favorable states). He also plans to “encourage personal responsibility” by making sure “employers are able to reward employees for making healthy choices.” Read: penalize employees who don’t.
Ryan didn’t even have the decency to admit he's out to destroy Medicare. Instead, he pretended he wants to save it. Even though, as Baier pointed out, “entitlement reform” is “not Donald Trump’s plan.”
But clearly, Ryan doesn’t care.
RYAN: You have to remember. When ObamaCare became ObamaCare, ObamaCare rewrote Medicare, rewrote Medicaid. So if you’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare, you have to address those issues as well.
What people don’t realize is because of ObamaCare, Medicare is going broke. … Because of ObamaCare, Medicare is in fiscal straits.
That’s an out and out falsehood, Chait points out:
In fact, it’s the complete opposite of the truth. The Medicare trust fund has been extended 11 years as a result of the passage of Obamacare, whose cost reforms have helped bring health care inflation to historic lows. It is also untrue that repealing Obamacare requires changing traditional Medicare. But Ryan clearly believes he needs to make this claim in order to sell his plan, or probably even to convince fellow Republicans to support it.
Baier, of course, noted none of that.
As Politico reports, with a Republican House, Senate and White House, Ryan plans to use a budget tool to steamroll these changes through, meaning Democratic support is not necessary.
Watch the interview below, from the November 10, 2016 Special Report, and get ready to organize if you want any hope of stopping this.
My feeling is that he will do whatever he feels is most likely to get him re-elected and immortalised like Ronnie Raygun. Just what that will turn out to be is anybody’s guess, but I cannot see him agreeing to a scheme that downgrades the health service provided to his election fodder.
The best hope we have for the next two years is that the various factions of the Groper’s Own Party will be at each other’s throats so intently that they get damn near nothing done. Maybe they’ll get on with the deportation business, but the economy will shrivel, prices of all sorts of goods will increase, and enough jobs will be lost to ensure a swing back in time for the ’18 House and Senate elections.
The blue collar Dems in the Rust Belt have been waiting throughout President Obama’s terms for some kind of relief after they took a major hit in 2008. And the Obama White House tried to do so, but was repeatedly blocked by the intransigence of the GOP in Congress, as they were equally bent on making sure that Obama did NOT succeed in making the conditions better. This turning of the screws has to have been a factor in a portion of Dem voters in the Rust Belt thinking that they had nothing to lose in trying the other side.
I also think we need to remember that Trump did not sweep all the votes in these areas – he came in just enough ahead of Clinton to be able to claim the EC votes. Meaning that not all those Rust Belt workers fell for this. And unless Trump can make something happen for them quickly, I tend to doubt he’ll be able to hang onto them.
Hillary won the popular vote. Democrats came out just not in the right states.
I’ve mentioned elsewhere exit polls showed blacks crossing over to Trump. He was getting about double what was expected. That’s when my concern started.
In states like Florida, Hillary was pretty much winning the areas she needed to by the margins she needed to. It’s just the conservative rural vote swamped her.
An exception was Michigan and Wisconsin. She was supposed to win but it was obvious when CNN’s John King pointed out Trump actually flipped an urban area she needs to win by a large margin she was lost.
I’m more with Doors17. The problem was the rural areas and rust belt areas filled with people left behind with no clear path to economic security clung to any message of hope they could find. Trump’s was the easy path: scapegoat the foreigners. It’s the Chinese and Mexicans ripping you off. It’s rigged. We can un-rig the system by building a wall against the Mexicans and use protectionism against the Chinese.
Anyone with a brain knows this is idiocy. I think even the Trump supporters know it’s idiocy. But I heard one after another say they were going with their “gut”.
What did Hillary offer? First of all, the media normalized the election by fixating on her scandals so her message didn’t come through. The other problem is her message was largely pragmatic into the weeds of policy. People didn’t understand it.
The best idea she had was raising the minimum wage, IMHO, but she didn’t sell it as hard as Fox News sold it as a jobs killer.
I agree with Ellen raising bloody Hell is a hope. However, I think that’s why the GOP is hot to steamroll the first 100 days so opposition can’t form.
I can’t understand how anyone can believe that the Republican Party represents the interest of the working class and not the Democratic Party. It was from organized labor movements helped by the Democratic Party that gave the working class a voice. It’s as if so many either don’t know the history or just take for granted what has been accomplished over the years that the Republican Party opposed.
I hear so many stressing about who’s coming over the border, but not what’s leaving over the border and that’s our jobs for cheaper labor to help increase stock holder values and upper management bonuses. These same CEO’s overwhelmingly vote Republican so they can get a tax cut. It’s like a drug to them. Many make several million a year and it just doesn’t seem to please them. They need more. It’s a sickness of greed and that’s where our anger should be directed at.
The people coming over are not taking jobs away from Americans. They are working the farm fields in horrible heat, cleaning 5 star hotel rooms where the real elites stay at. We never hear of CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s or whatever other O’s you got jobs being outsourced.
I’m proud of the job President Obama accomplished during his eight years. It really seems that so many have forgotten the mess he had clean up from the Bush/Cheney years left him. I will always be proud to be called a liberal. I believe in equality for all and everything that we as Democrats represent.
End of rant.
Don’t go visit that Paul Ryan. He’s evil! EVIL!! e-v-u-l!!!
So we’re gonna have to do everything we can to keep that orange monkey on our side of the fence.
Nobody’s said anything yet about Nancy Pelosi. She has the right idea. Talk to Trump. We need to learn from her.
I simply don’t trust Trump to do anything other than what he has spent the last six years warming up to do. I don’t believe that he’s suddenly forgotten his hatred for Barack Obama because he had a 90 minute sit-down meeting with him and now has respect for a man he has viciously personally attacked for so long. I don’t believe that he’s suddenly decided he wants to keep the ACA because of two aspects he knows are popular. I don’t believe that this man will suddenly, on a dime, turn into a different person just because his supporters gamed the US electoral system to get him the ultimate power trip. I honestly think that within one week of taking office, Trump will, if anything, be truer to the man we saw repeatedly going off the rails on Twitter.
The only way that anything of the ACA survives February is if the Right Wing has suddenly decided they don’t want to repeal it. Ellen is correct to note that even if they keep those two aspects of the Act in place, none of it will work without the US government participation in the subsidies and exchanges. After they pull the funding, the whole thing collapses under its own weight – it was meant to be a system that worked with all those interlocking parts. When they take out the key ones, the whole of it implodes.
All of the misguided optimism of the reports around Trump “hedging” on his intention to destroy the ACA assumes that the GOP has a ready replacement plan for it. They don’t. They can’t even agree on which pieces to keep in what manner, or how they would make those pieces work together. To do what they’re talking about in these interviews would require them to completely start over from scratch and generate a new plan from the ground up in Congress. Forgetting about the Dems raising objections, this process would take years and still may not have a resolution. I don’t see Paul Ryan suddenly having a fully vetted and agreed-upon replacement system that can be voted on during the first 100 days or even the first 450 days. Which means that they couldn’t do “replace” with their “repeal” idea unless they tell everyone to wait another two years or more.
I do know that they all agree that they want the ACA gone. They have all repeatedly campaigned on this, and the GOP in Congress have attempted, literally dozens of times, to simply repeal it. If they were to not press this advantage while they have it, their own constituents will barbecue them and Fox News and AM Radio will pillory them on an hourly basis. I think Ryan and the Right are far more scared of their own voters than they are of whether liberals don’t like them. Paul Ryan remembers the spectacle of Eric Cantor being thrown out of the House by his own voters, and Cantor was a pretty far Right guy already. Ryan remembers what the Right did to John Boehner for even trying to find common ground with Obama once during the budget discussions. He won’t repeat those mistakes.
Which political consequence hurts the Right Wing more? The liberals complaining that ACA users are now losing their policies and have to find new ones? Or the entire Right Wing coming after them for failing to follow through on their promise to rid the country of the ACA? I honestly don’t think they have a lot of choice here. The only reason W could not destroy Social Security when he tried it in 2005 was because the Right’s own constituents opposed it. (And now Fox News is actually saying that a key Trump advisor is likely to see if they can try that again – I tend to doubt that will happen, but we’ll have to see what these guys do once they get inside the White House in January.)
I truly hope that I’m wrong on this, and that the Right Wing will put the good of the country ahead of their own selfish thoughts. But they’ve never done that before – their entire history has been one of putting themselves first and the heck with everyone else. That’s the entire mantra of the Libertarianism that they regularly espouse. I got mine, heck with you. If these guys can actually have some compassion for the real people whose lives they are going to badly impact, then maybe there’s some part of Obama’s programs that may survive a little longer. But I really don’t think it’s wise to assume that it will happen that way.
Until these people show that they truly understand what their actions mean to the country, I honestly think it’s wiser to prepare for what we’ve discussed – that they will repeal everything they can of the ACA and defund the rest. That there will be something else that will be generated at a later time, but not effectively until perhaps 2018.
I have the same thinking with the Supreme Court. I don’t expect Trump to suddenly nominate moderates to the Court after telling us he intends to nominate far-Right zealots. My hope there is that Ginsburg and Breyer can hang on until 2020 or 2024, just as John Paul Stevens did under W. (He was 90 when he was finally able to step down. Ginsburg and Breyer will be close to that age when they are finally able to do so as well.) My hope there is also that we have learned from what happened with Thurgood Marshall. People had hoped that Bush Sr would appoint a similarly liberal justice to replace Marshall – instead, he inflicted Clarence Thomas on the country. So we should expect the same from Pence if that opportunity should arise for them. My instinct is that Kennedy will step down in another year or so, while the GOP still has this majority in Congress – he’ll be replaced by someone farther to the right. I don’t expect the Dems to put up much of a fight over the Scalia or Kennedy seats – they tend to cave on these things. But I do expect them to raise hell if this happens with Ginsburg or Breyer’s seats. And that’s when we find out about whether the filibuster survives.
In any event, it’s time to start fighting like hell.
Of course, that’s not going to help anyone who can’t afford health insurance without the subsidies.
Also, in my chat with the broker this week, she said that all the insurance companies use the same open enrollment period even for their private-market policies, which matches the exchanges, in order to avoid people only signing on for a policy when they get sick.
Of course, they could come to some agreement to do that privately. But the point is, I’m not so sure the companies will just go along with insuring everyone without some sort of government protection or guarantee.
Either that, or you’ll have situations where someone who signs on with, say, cancer will be charged way more than someone else of the same age who is relatively healthy.
in other words, I don’t see that helping anyone all that much without some government management, which Trump is incapable of and the GOP is allergic to.
My girlfriend has very old distant relatives in Stio. Yeah, I know learn my east from my west. Seriously, hear it’s affordable with a lot of Medieval charm with expat communities.
Medieval and earthquakes. Come to think of it that might remind me too much of Ryan and Trump. 🤔
1. Tax cuts for the rich.
2. A little sabre rattling in the Middle East.
3. Gut Medicare and Social Security.
What’s your thing with eastern coast, anyway? Most of it is more prone to earthquakes than other parts.
I found your story interesting because my dream is to retire to the eastern coast of Italy and forget about Orange Hitler for a while.
It appears Medicare privatization was an agreement Der Furor and Paul Ryan had all along. Because, as I said earlier, during the campaign Hair Hitler praised Medicare and said he wouldn’t touch it then immediately his transition website said his administration would “modernize” Medicare.
I’m sure you’re all aware Ryan and Trump met early on in his campaign and it leaked out The Donald is on board privatizing Social Security but couldn’t admit to it during the election. It seems no Medicare was part of that discussion.
PBS “Frontline” did a must see investigative report on 401Ks “The Retirement Gamble”. If you have never seen “The Retirement Gamble” I highly recommend you see it here:
I use the term “Social Darwinism” a lot. But that’s where this country is headed. I’ve been following the populist vomit of the right since the late ‘80s and it’s why I no longer vote Republican. I’ve been fearing this day when not only the Republican Party ran all branches of government but it was the populist adherents of classic laissez-faire capitalism, Randian Objectivism, and Tea Party economic Libertarians stirred up by demagoguery and agitation-propaganda by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Mark Levin, etc.
It’s every man, woman, and child for themselves. God help us all!
There’s a rumour in Canada that Americans are screwing the Canadian health system. This has Canada’s own species of redneck all hot under the collar. In reality, drug prices in Canada are lower because the national health service is the biggest client of the pharmaceutical companies and the Government has always been intent on negotiating prices down. Americans who cross the border to buy their medications are, therefore, NOT screwing the Canadian system because everybody pays the same prices. It’s a different story with those who migrate to Canada in order to gain access to health services (the waiting time is minimal). They’ve paid nothing into the system and they’re taking the place of those who did. The typically Canadian attitude is, however, pretty laid back (except for the above-mentioned local redneck species). In fact, they know that these Americans tend to be highly vulnerable. In any case, the flows slowed when the ACA was activated. I guess they’ll increase again if the ACA is repealed.
The White House roof.
I apologize if I’m missing something but when did Ronald Reagan do anything to reach out to Dems in his transition?
Trump was quoted in a WSJ article as saying he would “think about” amending the ACA rather than simply repealing it, as a courtesy to President Obama, who asked him to do so. Note that he didn’t say he was backing off his main campaign pledge past the Wall and his vicious attacks on everyone. Just that he’d “think about it” as a courtesy. That’s the same message he was sending when he said he didn’t know if he’d accept the results of the election. I would not put any stock in such statements. His own people have repeatedly said that repealing the ACA and getting rid of it is a top priority for them.
The other major piece of this is that Pence has now taken over the transition from Chris Christie, which confirms that it’s Pence who will really be running things for Trump, as they agreed when he came on board. Given Pence’s past votes and behavior, and given his prior preference for Cruz, I’m not seeing how the ACA could survive even on a surface level.
I would be very happy for these people to prove me wrong and suddenly begin acting like decent human beings. I would love to hear Donald Trump or Mike Pence actually say “Don’t worry, we are not going to take away your health coverage.” But they aren’t going to say that and I don’t expect them to. Getting rid of the ACA is not about health care and it never was.
I agree that these people should be thinking about the millions who are going to need to scramble to get medical care, but that’s not their priority. Because their customers constituents want the ACA gone. Most of them don’t participate in it and want no part of it. From their perspective, it’s a terrible government program that only serves to remind them that Obama really was President for 8 years. I can’t tell you how many right wingers I know who’ve repeatedly yelled at me “I don’t want Obamacare! It’s a disaster from that empty suit!”
I really think the smartest course of action here is to be prepared for the ACA to be pretty much dismantled within Trump’s first hundred days. For anyone to expect otherwise would be like expecting Trump to re-nominate Garland to the Supreme Court rather than the hard right judge he will undoubtedly inflict.
I don’t mean to be less than optimistic but this group has given us no reason to trust them. I just think it’s more likely that they’ll do just what they promised.
On the Social Security meme, Over fifty years ago, when it seemed that public pensions were doomed, I decided to take the alternate route apparently recommended by the Trumplicans. I bought several life/pension policies and invested savings in secure instruments (such cute jargon). In short, the total income amounted to about a quarter of what I needed to maintain a modest life-style (you could say I’m a prude when it comes to luxury and ostentatiousness). I cashed in the policies and bought a property to rent out to tourists. Worse luck, I found myself in the midst of a boom of informal rentals and competition by unscrupulous shysters killed me. I sold the place and am back with the insurance companies. Last week, one of them notified me that they’d modified the original conditions. My broker says they can’t do that but I’d have to spend a lot of time and money in the courts. We’re waiting for a chance to mount a class action suit.
Bottom line: never trust the insurance companies. Best one can hope for is an honest and empathetic broker.
PS: I’ve never understood why Americans swallowed that idea of creating 401Ks for everybody. It’s totally screwy to expect a whole population to master the art of gambling on the stock markets and I suspect that the retirement funds are run by insurance companies.
I googled “Putin and Trump on horseback” to get access to a whole site of “trumped-up” photos, including one of a two-people bicycle, where the person behind Trump is clearly a woman with Putin’s face. That one’s clearly a spoof, but the others are presented as fact in Rumania.
Whether its the criminal justice system or healthcare, these guys sure love capital punishment . . .
Social Security I’m 100% with you. The plan for people to put roughly 1/2 their money into the stock/bond market is idiotic. It’s idiotic because Social Security isn’t a pension plan. It’s a senior anti-poverty program. It’s idiotic because it introduces risk to people’s financial security. It’s stupid because it’ll mostly fatten the wallet of Wall Street sucking huge fees out of senior’s wallets. It’s stupid because it siphons off half the money going into the Trust Fund and blows some mega-trillion dollar hole into it.
On simple fixes I’m 100% with you. For example, one huge hole plugger is lifting the salary cap the payroll tax. But it’s a tax increase which gives Ryan & Co. the vapors.
On ACA I’m 100% with you. It can be fixed and the Obama administration did a damn fine job of making it fit sound insurance and public health practices. Sure, you can’t toss something that complex out without expect adjustments. But stuff like premiums is fixable even applying GOP logic. Like health savings accounts (pre-tax dollars) to store premium money. You’re right. The GOP has no clue what to do and realizes the simple ideas they pimp on Fox like selling across state lines is empty rhetoric.
On Medicare I hit the panic button too soon though. Medicare Advantage for all subsidized via means testing makes some sense. However, is that what Ryan means and what are the details? While he’ll likely f—k it up. At least I’ll keep an open mind until he does.
Oh, did you hear Medicaid ‘reform’ is now added to Ryan’s f—k up list?
These guys have not learned their lesson, and they appear bent on doing something rash. I still don’t think they’ll touch Social Security, but they’re apparently willing to hack into Medicare while they destroy the ACA. I have the same problem with these plans that I do with their attack on the ACA. Which is that the right wing agrees that they want to privatize Medicare – but I don’t think they remotely agree on how they would do it. Which means they’ll do some real damage in the name of improving it but not actually help the people who need it the most.
There are extremely simple fixes that can help both Social Security and Medicare, if legislators are actually looking to do so and are concerned that the programs will run out of funds in their long range projections (which assume the economy is in a mostly worst-case scenario, and for the next 4-8 years I think we have a good shot at that). The simplest way is the one done during Reagan’s presidency: For Social Security, they made a minute increase in the withholding so that you’d pay a few pennies more for every 20 or 30 dollars or something close to that. This isn’t anything you or I would feel, but when you add up the numbers over hundreds of millions of citizens, you find those pennies add up to real dollars. If the right wing really was concerned about helping a program like Social Security, they could update that same idea, and it wouldn’t hurt anyone – in fact, it would help a LOT of people if the right wing’s fear mongering about these programs were to be based on anything real.
But the right wing will never acknowledge such an idea now, as they see it as raising taxes. They’d rather just cut and privatize various programs. It’s the Grover Norquist syndrome. These guys have really embraced the far right notion that they are trying to reduce government to the size where “you could drown it in a bathtub”. Which is great for very rich or very independent people who want nothing to do with anyone else. Not so good for those of us who actually have to function in society with everyone else.
There’s more I have to say on this but my research is far from complete and I need to hear more of what they plan. Undoubtedly I’ll end up paying more for Medicare under this scheme but I’ve been preparing for this day. I’m more worried about seniors I know and others near retirement I know who can’t take a hit.
I can’t take 4 (forget 8) more years of this. Man, I need a drink!