August 14, 2012

Yea, Facts Be Damned

The Tribune-Review's editorial board set up a subtle, yet typical, strawman argument in today's paper. In defending Representative Paul Ryan against the "lamestream media" bias, Scaife's braintrust writes:
Why else would so many “reporters” parrot the Democrats’ lie that Ryan favors gutting Medicare for today’s seniors...
In case you missed the sleight of hand, I'll repeat it for you:
...the Democrat's lie that Ryan favors gutting Medicare for today’s seniors...
Now I ask you, has anyone said that?

Let's go to the Communist Broadcast Service (aka "CBS"):
Ryan, who since 2011 has served as chairman of the House Budget Committee, has led with a controversial budget plan that would turn Medicare into what's called a "premium support" plan -- in other words, instead of paying for the benefits a senior uses, the government offers a senior a predefined amount of money to spend in a health insurance exchange.

Starting in 2023, the plan would give seniors vouchers to purchase either private insurance or traditional, government-run insurance on an exchange. (This means that no one over 55 would see any changes to Medicare they now receive or expect.) Private insurers would compete with the traditional Medicare program to offer the best plan possible for the level of "premium support" that a senior gets. Once a senior had a plan, he would have to pay out of pocket for any health care costs the voucher couldn't cover.
Nope. Not CBS. Nor anyone else.

Simple fact of the matter here is that no one in the media says that Ryan's "Medicare" plan will have any effect on today's seniors.  Saying anything otherwise is the lie.  It's those people who are born after 1955 (who'd be seniors starting in 2030, if my math is correct) who'd have their Medicare gutted by Ryan's voucher program.

Facts be damned.


Unknown said...

But, with Obamacare, Medicare takes a 755 billion dollar hit beginning in 2013

EdHeath said...

An unsourced figure provided by someone using a pseudonym.

And with Ryancare, there are essentially the same cuts in Medicare, even while tens of millions of Americans under sixty five would lose their healthcare, not to mention college loans, food for children, housing ... “The difference between the two campaigns is not in how much they cut Medicare,” he writes, “but in how they cut Medicare.”

Unknown said...

But, are my figures wrong? No.

Also, you may not have been aware; but Romney said they are going to pursue his budget - not Paul Ryan's. so to attack Ryan's budget proposal is a bit disingenuous.

spork_incident said...

Here's my eternal question: if Medicare "reform" is such a wonderful thing that will produce such wonderful results why are "today's seniors" being left out of the fun?


EdHeath said...

So you are saying Romney rejects Ryan's budget? That's not what he says. And you are saying Romney plans to keep spending Medicare the same way it has been up until now? How does that balance the budget? How is that fiscally responsible? How is that sustainable? Sounds like you want to have your cake and eat it too (which actually is a silly analogy, but I will go with the familiar anyway).

And my figures aten't wrong.

Unknown said...

I am not saying that Romney "rejects" Ryan's budget. What I said is they are pursuing the economic plan that Romeny has been proposing since he announced his candidacy. From the information that I have gathered, Romney likes portions of Ryan's proposed budget; but it will not be the center-piece for their campaign.

Obviously, Medicare needs to be looked at and revised. Experts have said that left untouched it will default no later than 2023. I never said that Romney "plans to keep spending Medicare the same way". You've made wild assumptions based upon a one-sentence post. And you know what they say when one "assumes......"

An exact figure for the Medicare hit that takes effect in January of 2013 is not known; but a variety of sources range the hit from a 716 Billion dollar reduction up to as high as 760 Billion dollars. But for arguement sake, Obamacare will cause at least a 700 Billion dollar hit beginning January of 2013.

I don't recall saying that in this posting sequence that any of your figures were wrong. I guess you assumed........

Blue Number 2 said...

From the Washington Post:

The Romney campaign has gone on the offense on Medicare, charging that the Affordable Care Act “cuts $716 billion” from the entitlement program.

That $716 billion figure is one you’ll probably be hearing a lot about during this election cycle. It’s worth understanding where it comes from and what the spending reductions mean for the Medicare program.

First, where it comes from. On July 24, the Congressional Budget Office sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, detailing the budget impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act. If Congress overturned the law, “spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013–2022 period.”

As to how the Affordable Care Act actually gets to $716 billion in Medicare savings, that’s a bit more complicated. John McDonough did the best job explaining it in his 2011 book, “Inside National Health Reform.” There, he looked at all the various Medicare cuts Democrats made to pay for the Affordable Care Act.

The majority of the cuts, as you can see in this chart below, come from reductions in how much Medicare reimburses hospitals and private health insurance companies.

The blue section represents reductions in how much Medicare reimburses private, Medicare Advantage plans. That program allows seniors to join a private health insurance, with the federal government footing the bill. The whole idea of Medicare Advantage was to drive down the cost of health insurance for the elderly as private insurance companies competing for seniors’ business.

That’s not what happened. By 2010, the average Medicare Advantage per-patient cost was 117 percent of regular fee-for-service. The Affordable Care Act gives those private plans a haircut and tethers reimbursement levels to the quality of care administered, and patient satisfaction.

The Medicare Advantage cut gets the most attention, but it only accounts for about a third of the Affordable Care Act’s spending reduction. Another big chunk comes from the hospitals. The health law changed how Medicare calculates what they get reimbursed for various services, slightly lowering their rates over time. Hospitals agreed to these cuts because they knew, at the same time, they would likely see an influx of paying patients with the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansion.

The rest of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts are a lot smaller. Reductions to Medicare’s Disproportionate Share Payments — extra funds doled out the hospitals that see more uninsured patients — account for 5 percent in savings. Lower payments to home health providers make up another 8.8 percent. About a dozen cuts of this magnitude make up the green section above.

It’s worth noting that there’s one area these cuts don’t touch: Medicare benefits. The Affordable Care Act rolls back payment rates for hospitals and insurers. It does not, however, change the basket of benefits that patients have access to. And, as Ezra pointed out earlier today, the Ryan budget would keep these cuts in place.

In case anyone cares about the facts and not scare tactics.

EdHeath said...

So, Lefty, you still did not say what Romney's plan is, how he addresses Medicares finances, whether through cuts or I don't know what, and what his timing would be. All you are doing is throwing Obama's plan in our faces.

And thank you, Blue Number 2. Not only was your comment timely and on point, but it mentioned how poorly Medicare Advantage plans have worked. The reason I think that is important is that the Ryan budget's Medicare voucher plan is pretty similar to the Medicare Advantage plan (except less regulated). I remember reading Krugman columns describing how Medicare Advantage was failing during the mid Bush years, but that doesn't mean I could find the columns again.

Maria said...

Lefty can't say what Romney's plan is because like most of his tax returns, he refuses to release it.


Unknown said...

Maria - I am sure that Romney would make a deal with Obama and would release an unprecedented 10 tax returns, if only Obama would release his college records.

1, 2, 3 ..... her comes the birther allegations......... which would be false. I believe that Obama was born in Hawaii and his birth certificate is legitimate But, I have to wonder what he is hiding by not releasing his college records. Did he commit or perpetuate a fraud by receiving student aide or getting admitted because he claimed to have been a foreign student? Like your leader Harry "Yoda" Reid said: "Prove I'm wrong"!

My whole point has been that liberals are excoriating Paul Ryan for a proposal - while the law that has been enacted is much more onerous to the American public.

I don't know Romney's specific plan; but think of it very similar terms to what was presented in "the affordable care act" (aka: Obamacare), when Nancy Pelosi made her famous statement: "In order to know what's in the bill, you have to pass it, first".

EdHeath said...

You don't have the first clue about economics, do you, Lefty? You couldn't say why a universal healthcare plan is important for the economy, just like you can't say what Romney's plan is. You are just mindlessly repeating Republican talking points. You pull numbers like 755 billion dollars out of thin air on purpose to make it impossible to verify your claims. Then, as I said, it turns out you don't even know what Romney plans to do to Medicare, apparently it's just anything is better than what the Democrats passed.

And Ryan's budget is more than a proposal, it passed the House of Representatives (on a straight party line vote) twice. Even though it is missing many details.