Monday, June 6, 2011


One of the more interesting developments since Paul Ryan's budget proposal was released is watching Republicans scramble and whine because of how their healt care proposal for Medicare is being described in the media. What they're really mad about is that people are learning the truth. Their biggest gripe is that critics of Ryan's plan are explaining how the GOP plan dismantles Medicare, only to replace it with something Paul Krguman is adequately calling Vouchercare.

To counter the attacks the Republicans are trying to scare America into believing that Medicare is going broke, and that they have the only plan that can save it. And they do ... if you prefer underfunded vouchers or underfunded coupon-like credits to go shopping for health insurance.

Under our current Medicare insurance system the federal government directly pays health-care providers. No vouchers. No coupons. No shopping. No hassle.

The GOP plan is a nod to their fairytopian market ideas, and would work something like this. Instead of having the federal government take money that you've paid over the years, and then paying your medical bills when you get old (as it currently does), the Republicans want to give you a voucher, or a coupon, to go shopping in the private sector for your insurance plan.

If your voucher (or coupon) can't cover your insurance needs you pay the difference out of pocket (current estimates suggest you would pay at least $6,000 out of pocket).

If the insurance industry wants to deny your claim, they can do so.

If the insurance company you select wants to deny procedures or kick you out of the system they can do it.

If you have a disease like Alzheimer's and get ripped off because you can't remember critical health information, that's OK with the GOP because that's the way the market is supposed to work.

Caveat emptor!

Paul Krugman has an excellent article describing the shortcomings of the Republican Vouchercare system. It's as direct and succinct a description of the program as you're going to find out there. Take the time and read it.

Vouchercare doesn't deserve to see the light of day.

- Mark

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