Republicans think robbing Medicare and handing the money to their insurance company cronies while pawning off future seniors with 30% off discount coupons good toward the purchase of private policies is a great idea. It makes big insurers even richer than they are, and condemns anyone under 55 to misery and early death as seniors if they are unable to pay 70% of the price of premiums, deductibles, co-pays and other expenses. Better still, as new seniors become sick or injured, they'll have to empty their bank accounts and retirement savings, making sure big pharma and big med get rich first before the impoverished elder is tossed out to die horribly and painfully in the gutter. The GOP figures there could be no more perfect solution to health care.
The vast majority of Americans, however, beg to disagree.
A recent Washington Post/ABC News Poll revealed that 84% of Americans begged to disagree. When asked if Medicare, which pays seniors and the disabled's medical bills, should be replaced with a voucher seniors could use toward the purchase of private insurance, 65% said no. Of those who said vouchers would be okay, 60% changed their minds when asked how they'd feel if the cost of private insurance rose faster than the value of the vouchers. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found just that problem with Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) coupon scheme. By 2030, the CBO said, seniors would end up paying 68% of their health care costs while the coupons covered 32%.
When the WaPo/ABC pollsters combined the 65% of folks who opposed Medicare couponization from the get-go with those who opposed couponization after finding out it wouldn't keep up with inflation, the pollsters discovered the grand total came to 84% of those polled opposing Paul Ryan's Medicare-gutting genocidal love tome to big insurers.
The same WaPo/ABC poll found that, to help balance budgets, 74% of Americans favored raising taxes on those making $250,000 or more, and Ryan found himself in a verbal tussle with some of that 74% in a Town Hall meeting in Wilton, WI recently. When Ryan argued with an audience member who thought the rich should pay more in taxes, the crowd booed. Ryan was no doubt miffed the crowd didn't just swoon over his cheap matinee idol mug.
Ryan's constituent questioned whether the rich should pay more as so much wealth has become concentrated among a fortunate few. Recent studies revealed the top 20% of Americans owned 85% of the nation's wealth. The constituent, who described himself as a "lifelong conservative," said to Ryan, "There's nothing wrong with taxing the top because it does not trickle down."
Actually, Ryan believes there's everything wrong with taxing the top, and doesn't care whether anything trickles down. Ryan's GOP 2012 Budget proposed giving the richest Americans another 10% tax cut on top of the tax subsidies they already enjoy. Ryan is a big Ayn Rand acolyte who believes individuals owe nothing to society, and that societies are useless. He figures the rich are entitled to indulge any whim no matter how excessive, and regardless of who has to die for it. Ryan is enamoured with Atlas Shrugged, and doesn't seem to realize that basing his life on a work of fiction makes him sort of like a Trekkie, albeit a narcissistic, uber-entitled, sociopathic Trekkie. Clearly, America would have been much better off had Ryan opted for pointed ears.
Ryan and legions of right-wing narcissists and sociopaths have loved Rand for generations because she justified their self-centered, self-indulgent, self-absorbed frat boy mentality. That Rand was a lunatic who idolized a serial killer and died of lung cancer and heart disease while receiving Medicare benefits she and her ilk hypocritically would deny others doesn't faze these deep thinkers.
Many believe Atlas Shrugged was a crappy book that could only impress self-possessed frat boys who'd never read anything weightier than the Playmate Profile behind the Centerfold.
Just as Trekkies talk about Klingons and starships as though they really existed, Randies like Ryan think abolishing Medicare and reserving health care for the rich is a good idea.
Hopefully, there will soon be a generation of lawmakers who'll base their entire lives on Harry Potter.