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Friday, February 23, 2018

Rand Paul’s Plan Would End Medicare As We Know It For All Seniors, Raise Retirement Age To 70

Rand Paul’s Plan Would End Medicare As We Know It For All Seniors, Raise Retirement Age To 70

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is pissed.

First, The New York Times’ John Harwood asked the Tea Party hero about Jack Hunter, who recently resigned as Paul’s social media director after a right-wing website outed him as “The Southern Avenger” with a history of neo-confederate commentary. The senator quickly said that some of Hunter’s comments were “stupid” but rejected allegations that his former aide was a racist and made it clear that he resented even having to address the subject.

Now, Harwood wants Paul to explain how libertarianism, a philosophy claimed by about 10 percent of the American public, can be embraced by a majority of Americans, especially when it rejects Medicare and Social Security.

Rand Paul refuses the premise. He says that Harwood is “using a straw man” and notes that the most libertarian members of the Senate — Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and himself — want to save Medicare and Social Security. The senator then describes his plan to reform Medicare, which he says has more than $40 trillion in liabilities. (You can listen to the interview from NPR’s On Point here.)

What is Rand Paul’s plan to “save” Medicare?

Paul’s Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act of 2013 made little to no news when it was introduced last week as the licensed ophthalmologist was feuding with New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

When Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) released a plan to privatize Medicare in 2010, it created an uproar that the congressman tried to dull by only phasing it in for Americans 55 and younger. Paul’s plan would immediately privatize Medicare, shifting all retirees into the same plans offered to members of Congress.

“The Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan (FEHBP) describes an array of insurance options available to 4 million federal employees and their dependents — roughly 10 million people. The government pays roughly three-quarters of the total costs of insurance plans chosen by beneficiaries based on their individual needs and preferences,” Paul wrote in an op-ed introducing his plan.

Paul’s plan would also raise the retirement age.

“In order to make this fiscally possible, the initial eligibility age for seniors will be increased gradually from 65 to 70 over a period of 20 years, and the benefits will be means-tested,” Paul wrote, meaning anyone 44 or younger would have to wait until they are 70 to receive Paul’s Medicare. “However, no current or near-term enrollees will have their eligibility delayed.”

How much more would seniors be paying under Paul’s plan? Ryan’s first privatization plan — which did not include a traditional Medicare plan or subsidies that increased as health care costs did — would double out-of-pocket Medicare costs for seniors. (Ironically, Paul’s plan, like Ryan’s, ends up resembling Obamacare.)

The CBO has not scored Paul’s bill yet so it’s unclear how much the costs for seniors would go up. But Paul’s point is made.

He believes in Medicare — just probably not the Medicare you expected.

Photo: Mark Taylor via

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31 Responses to Rand Paul’s Plan Would End Medicare As We Know It For All Seniors, Raise Retirement Age To 70

  1. What a horse ass!
    Open Medicare up to anyone that wants to join. Suddenly Medicare would not have all the old geezers sucking up their funds. They’d have a nice mix of demograhics of all ages.
    We all know young people don’t use te serivces while the elderly use it a lot.
    Retirement age UP!?! Are you crazy?
    The youth of America can’t find work because the geezers are hanging on util they can reach Medicare eligibility age (see above) so the kids get thru school & can’t find a job.
    Offer full SSI to those willing to retire at 57 & a half. Watch that job market open up.
    And would someone please tell this guys father to slap his kids big yap shut! He’s an idiot.

    • What’s worse, when the old “geezers” lose their jobs to someone younger, they often have no where else to go. Just retire early or go on the dole. Of course, we know what the Repub plan for that is.

      This plan looks good to Libertarian freaks, but accomplishes nothing. The side effects are worse than the disease. It’s not like the Repubs are going to find jobs for anyone they think should be working.

    • Absolutely. Put the whole country on Medicare. The whole country: private insurance companies restricted–follow the Swiss model. After all, no one could possibly consider the Swiss to be socialists.

  2. Rand Paul is not the only Republican determined to end MEDICARE. This has been going on since the program was created, and it was the centerpiece of Rep. Ryan’s plan when he proposed its dismantling and replacing it with a voucher system. The same is true for Social Security. Efforts to privatize it have been going on for decades by those who see evil in anything the government does for the middle class, the poor, and our most vulnerable citizens.

    • They called Franklin Roosevelt a socialist. If Ryan and Rand had their way, they would find someone like Kvorkian to take care of the senior problem.

  3. What happens to Seniors with Pre-Existing illness – will they be able to get insurance and how much are they going to have to pay under Paul’s plan? How much is this going to cost Seniors who are on fixed income this type of insurance? Based on this statement of Paul’s plan “The government pays roughly three-quarters of the total costs of insurance plans chosen by beneficiaries based on their individual needs and preferences,” Paul wrote in an op-ed introducing his plan.” This could be very costly to get insurance to meet your medical needs and living on a fixed income. What happens to those Seniors who may not be eligible for Paul’s insurance plan because of pre-existing illness or if the insurance they need to cover their medical needs?

    • Unfortunately, for seniors if Obama Care is overturned, then Medicare’s no pre-existing clause no longer exists. It was moved from Medicare into Obama Care as a demand from Republicans to gain their support. Not for one minute do I believe this wasn’t done with malice aforethought.

        • I meant to say, and thought I did, that Medicare has always included the exclusion of pre-existing conditions. However, in order to gain Republican support, while in committee, that exclusion was removed from Medicare. The reasoning being that provision in ACA covered everyone. However, should Republicans succeed in repealing the ACA, those using Medicare are SOL because Medicare now no longer excludes pre-existing conditions.

          • Well you did say that, yes. But, I had not ever heard that mentioned. And since that would be a tremendous issue,
            I’m thinking that perhaps you may have misunderstood something here. I can’t imagine Dems. putting a core component of Medicare at risk, to get what at the most
            might have been, 2 or 3 Republican votes at best. (Sen.
            Snow, and Collins.) Neither wound up supporting the bill.
            Plus, neither would have ask for such a concession.
            So, I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m just skeptical,
            because it doesn’t fit, for any number of reasons. I’ll
            check. But, if you remember a source, I’d appreciate
            reading more on this. Thanks.

          • A friend is a lawyer specializing in Medicare, SS, and disability. She’s studied the ACA to see how it will affect her practice and was horrified at the changes in Medicare. Given my husband and I are on Medicare, we checked it out. I suggest you do the same.

          • If they defeat the Affordable Care Act, seniors will go back to paying full price for medications after they reach $2700 in medicine.

          • I started Medicare with many pre-existing conditions. These conditions were never excluded — and I started on Medicare way before the ACA came along. Anyone who is on SSDI, begins Medicare with pre-existing conditions.

          • Agreed. Unfortunately, the clause in Medicare which excluded pre-existing conditions was moved to the ACA, which now overlaps and included some of Medicare. Kill the ACA and that exclusion doesn’t revert back to Medicare, it’s gone.

          • I must be reading something wrong here. Medicare has never excluded preexisting conditions. Medicare has always covered any and all conditions, subject to co-pays and deductibles. There would be riots in the streets before that change would be allowed. As one commenter put it, people 65 and over are walking preexisting conditions.

          • By excluded, I mean that Medicare did not count/include pre-existing conditions as most seniors have many pre-existing conditions when covering a person.

  4. This is one of the reasons Social Security was enacted in the 1930’s. First, the only “pension” most people had was their own savings, but the Crash of 1929 wiped that out (just think what the Crash of 2007 would have done to the SSA trust fund if W had gotten his way and had the funds invested in the stock market). People who ought to have retired, and wanted to retire, had no savings, so as Drawz said, they were holding on to their jobs, and enough of them were able to that the young could not replace them. Second, the older people who could NOT work any more, and those who had ALREADY retired and lost their savings, were either starving or having to live with their children, when the children THEMSELVES were hurting; so if, as frequently happened, the banks foreclosed, three or four generations were homeless at once. And third, with almost everyone (except a small number of poorer-but-still-very-rich families) barely able to stay alive, there was little demand for manufactured goods to put people to work.

    Roosevelt correctly saw that the way to get the economy to recover was to generate demand. He got Congress (once enough Hoover holdovers were voted out) to fund programs to hire healthy young people to beautify highways, improve tourist facilities in national parks and forests, clean up blighted cities, etc. He got improvements in infrastructure funded, starting with finishing Hoover’s ONE dam, which he renamed Boulder Dam (the old name was restored after the war), and electrifying the Southeast with the TVA (which, providentially, provided the power needed to enrich the uranium to make one of the A-bombs; what if a Republican President had neglected to do that?); providing a pension to all elderly workers; providing help to widows and abandoned wives who had children to raise (many men left their families, most of them intending in good faith to send money and bring their families to join them when they found a good job, but they died or never found a job).

    In addition to providing HELP for the immediate needs of people who would otherwise be starving, this measure pumped money into the economy to generate JOBS for more people. Yes, it was deficit spending, but for a good cause. And had not the war come along to require MORE deficit spending, the recovered peaceful economy would have paid back those deficits and then some. In fact, after the war, it DID eventually do so. Besides, what “we” owed was basically owed to US, through War Bonds, and the increasing GDP made the debt less significant.

    America was prosperous again as a result of the opportunity of capitalism TOGETHER with the tempering of Keynesian economics. When we were bamboozled into abandoning Keynes for supply-side “voodoo” by Reagan, Americans other than the wealthy few began to fall behind the cost of living. Those wealthy few, including many whose only “service” was to rearrange money to keep more of it for themselves (not venture, but vulture capitalists), have 30 to 50 TIMES as much income, adjusted for inflation, as they did in 1980, and they are spending some of it on ads to keep “conservative” values in the majority, for their own profit.

    • Hats off to a BRILLIANT post . isn’t Ironic that all those Southern states who benefitted from the TVA are so ardently opposed to ANY infrastructure spending .

    • All of the historical facts you present would only confuse today’s Republicans. But thank you for reminding people.

  5. Rand Paul and Paul Ryan can kiss my A&&!! I love it when they play with people’s lives at their age!! Easy for them, especially since they are milliomaires!

  6. Raising the retirement age and Medicare eligibility to 70 to “save” SS and Medicare is cynical and cruel. Paulie Ryan and Randy Paul are betting that you will die before your 70th birthday. You will pay into the system all your life, but The System will be saved by your death.

  7. Medicare started in 1965, and the Republicans have being trying to end it since 1966. Then again, Social Security passed August 1935 and the Republicans have been trying to end it since 1936. Anyone thinks people who’ve hated these programs since their inception won’t end them should they control the Congress, Senate, and White House at the same time is deluded.

    • Reason why Republicans always hated SS and Medicare is because them and their friends (Wall St.) can’t get their slimy hands on the money.

      • Actually, ococoob, the Republicans hate absolutely anything that puts money in the hands of anyone other than their rich friends.

  8. Yup, have people work until they are 70….wait a minute, many have been let go, especially older workers who were on the top of the pay scale. And no one would hire them, so, just HOW are they supposed to live until they are 70? Hmmm, have to go back to the drawing board, huh Rand? Only a fool promotes an idea that doesn’t stand a snowballs chance in h**l.

  9. This is a standard boilerplate attack on Social Security/Medicare and as always ignores a few facts:

    1. Social Security and Medicare are an earned benefit for which people pay an additional tax over and above their Federal income tax.

    2. Neither Social Security nor Medicare have a “liability”; “liability” have a very specific definition; and since benefits can be changed at any time by congress and beneficiaries have no legal right to any specific benefit; future payments from Medicare and Social Security are at best described as a “moral obligation” to future beneficiaries.

    3. Social Security and Medicare do not contribute to the federal deficit or debt; almost all Social Security and Medicare is “off-budget”; for the sake ob brevity journalists and politicians (both should know better) combine the two types of spending Federal Funds (defense, medicaid, FBI, NASA, CIA, etic) and Trust Funds (Social Security, Medicare, Highway, etc) into one chart.

    4. Social Security has built up a surplus of $2.66 Trillion dollars and Medicare a surplus of $69.8 billion dollars (the surplus is held in special treasury bonds that can be redeemed at any time by SS or Medicare).

    5. To help the attack on SS/Medicare critics will project 50 or 75 years in the future and incorrectly call this a liability and neglect to mention that this is not a liability and not mention that SS/Medicare spending has been changed in the past to deal with projected shortfalls. I sure Congress will do this again in the future.

    6. Fail to mention in the same breadth that national defense spending is far and away both the biggest spending problem and biggest source of the deficit. If you projected defense spending over the next 50 or 75 years the liability would be-what? $100 trillion, $200 trillion.

    7. Also fail to mention that Social Security (or Trust Fund) spending has run a surplus in all but four years over the past 79 years; Federal Funds (defense, Medicaid, FBI, NASA, CIA) spending has run a deficit in all but exactly one year (2000; and puny at $1.6 billion).

    Any balanced discussion of Federal spending will conclude that while Social Security and Medicare spending need some adjustments (as has been done in the past); Federal Fund spending has never been controlled or adjusted to reflect our income.

    If in fact defense spending is so vital lets create a specific tax for the spending as we did with Social Security and Medicare.

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