The Republicans in Congress, specifically Paul Ryan, are preparing to reveal a new budget proposal for 2012 this upcoming week. Although a budget proposal is applaudable, what will be included in the proposal is not. Instead of going after defense spending or raising taxes on the rich, or making some more sensible reforms to entitlement programs, they are planning on effectively destroying Medicare and Medicaid as we know them.Medicaid in itself was quite obviously going to be a Republican target. Republicans are generally opposed to anything that helps underprivileged Americans, and as Medicaid provides health benefits to low-income people, it’s on the firing line. The Republicans know that they don’t have to hide their hatred for hard-working Americans, and they are proud of their identity as a party of the rich. Medicare, however, is another story. Medicare is a government program that provides health insurance to elderly Americans, and it is paid for by a tax that working Americans pay throughout their careers. Then, just like Social Security, those Americans will be able to get the benefits that they have been paying for while working, and will be able to have some peace and security in their old age. However, the Republicans want to turn Medicare into a voucher system for private insurance. Never mind that Medicare Part C gives Americans an option to take private insurance- Republicans want EVERYONE to be forced to take this option. However, it has been made clear that the Medicare Advantage (Part C) program costs more per person than traditional Medicare plans- a voucher system would simply expand a more expensive system. A Medicare Advantage beneficiary currently costs the government 14% more than an ordinary Medicare beneficiary. If everyone, instead of just 24% of people enrolled in Medicare, use the more-expensive Medicare Advantage system, how will this help the budget? The answer: it won’t, this is just an attack on a Democratic program that the Republicans don’t like, just like NPR, only this one is far more vital to the lives of ordinary senior citizens.
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