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Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Big Lie: Medicare is unsustainable and Republicans want to save it.

The Truth: Medicare is the most cost-effective health care system in America. Paul Ryan’s plan to turn it into a fixed benefit voucher program would void the Medicare promise and cost seniors trillions.

Less than two years after his inauguration, a charismatic Democratic president suffers a shellacking in a midterm election. A fiery Republican majority floods into the Capitol, declaring they’re determined to take their country back and attack the scourge of big government. A bold intellectual leader roundly praised by the Washington elite for his “seriousness” steps to the forefront, certain that he has answers for the American people.

His solution to budget woes? End Medicare as we know it.

The year? 1995. The Republican leader? Newt Gingrich.

“Now we don’t get rid of it in round one because we don’t think that that’s politically smart, and we don’t think that’s the right way to go through a transition,” Gingrich said, in a now famous statement replayed thousands of times during the 1996 presidential campaign. “But we believe it’s going to wither on the vine because we think people are voluntarily going to leave it — voluntarily.”

When Medicare was signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965, a majority of Republicans voted against the creation of a single-payer health care plan for retirees that, combined with Social Security, promised security and a basic standard of well being for all Americans 65 and older. Generations later. Medicare remains one of the most popular government innovations in American history. A 2011 poll found that 88% of Americans believe that Medicare has been good for the country—making it nearly as popular as the tax rebates, mid-afternoon naps, and apple pie.

And it’s not only liberals who love Medicare. In 2010, in the midst of the Tea Party’s peak furor, a New York Times/CBS poll found that 62 percent of Tea Partiers answered “Yes” when asked, “Are the benefits from government programs such as Social Security and Medicare worth the costs of those programs?” 62 percent! That’s nine points higher than the percentage of Tea Partiers who described themselves as “angry” at the federal government.

Still, the Republicans cherish their fantasy that people would voluntarily want to leave Medicare — even after saving it helped Bill Clinton win an easy reelection in 1996.

Fifteen years after Newt Gingrich revealed his plan to let the original vision of Medicare wither away, another right-wing scion stepped forward to propose an updated version of the same scheme. Call it “Kill Medicare 2.010.” Like the second version of the Terminator, this futuristic destroyer was a shape shifter, determined to succeed where its predecessor had failed.

Paul Ryan—the latest GOP wunderkind to believe that all retired people are missing in life is the joy of wrangling with private insurers—is part of a new House majority that has even less shame than Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract With America” class. For Ryan and the so-called Tea Partiers who took 63 seats in the 2010 elections had actually won their majority by campaigning against cuts to — say it with me — Medicare!

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23 responses to “The Big Lie: Paul Ryan Repackages The Gingrich Medicare Hoax”

  1. docb says:

    Mr. campbell brown is a lie by the yard guy! They fit neatly together, ryan, senor, and akin…romney is just a bystander!

  2. old_blu says:

    How come he says for the peolpe 55 or older? They know it’s not right, and they still want the vote, that’s why.

    I’m over 55, but my wife is not, so anyone messing with Medicare scares me, and should everyone else.

    • Clever Bob says:

      Old blu: I shudder at the elderly I see cheering on the candidates at Republican misinformation clown-hall events. They are either terribly wealthy or senile. I better understand the fanatical follwership for Hitler by the populace when he told them he would take Germany to war . . . And then there is the pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act; still the oldsters cheer and clap . . .

    • ottokristen says:

      Read over one more time,please.

  3. Ever since it got started, Medicare has annoyed the nay-sayers because they don’t want it to work. This program has spat in the face of their deceitful book-cooking excuse for an economy for almost a century.

    Simply put, Medicare works. It’s worked from the start and with proper adjustment, it always will.

    Medicare Advantage was mentioned. I’m going to say what the articles have not said; Advantage was a conservative-driven effort to kill the program, part and parcel of the Bush Economy and the beginning of the outright attempts to keep all the money.

  4. WhutHeSaid says:

    Republicans have opposed Medicare since before it was even enacted into law. Knowing full well that it is one of the most popular government programs ever devised in this country, they must devise deceitful arguments to continue to attack it without getting zapped by the ‘political third rail’. If the Big Bad Wolf was half as clever, he would tell the little pigs a story about the little pigs down the street, who want to live in a ‘piggy hammock’ at their expense, and how if they would just let him in he would make them safe forever and ever.

    Americans don’t want nursery tales, and they’re not stupid enough to believe them. Well, OK — I’ll give you that certain percentage of slack-jawed, redneck Tea Partiers I saw in the RNC audience, but MOST Americans are smarter than that, and they take into account the history of the people telling them the story before they decide to buy into it. The GOP ‘Big Bad Wolf’ still wants to be let into your Medicare, and it isn’t so that he can make you more ‘comfy’ in your retirement. Nothing new here.

  5. Eddy says:


  6. Here is one for you parents: Did you ever have your child try to tell you a lie (most of themwill do a save-face-lie)? Do you remember the look on the child’s face while he or she was trying to lie?

  7. Talk about fairy tales. Since the greater portion of the population is over 55 (baby boomers) tell them they have nothing to worry about.

    As the fox said to Chicken Little, “Come with me and I shall take you to the king.” How about the gingerbread man whom the fox offered to swim across the river on his back? I wonder what expression was on the fox’s face those times.

  8. Gingrich: “But we believe it’s (Medicare) going to wither on the vine because people voluntarily sre going to leave it”.

  9. Clever Bob says:

    On paying for Medicare Faux-reform: We’ll build more ships, more planes, extend the decade old war in the rathole that is Afghanistan; all budget breakers. How will we do this? We’ll gut Medicare and Medicaid and blame the elderly for getting old and the poor for getting sick . . .

    • Lynda says:

      Addressing the obviously bloated Pentagon budget seems to have been left behind in GOP land. Yes indeed blame the old, the sick and poor for their condition is working…at least for the folks in the hall in Tampa.

  10. bcarreiro says:

    still yet to see the 2% paying more in taxes we all should take the hit……this is what mitt and ryan are doing attacking the less fornuate while the 2% get away with paying as little as 13% on taxes…donate means donate too doesnt mean you get half back the following year. we need to fix the taxes not attack the seniors and disabled… ask mitt and ryan to drop their voucher expense accts and see how they like them apples.

  11. nomaster says:

    At least Newt stands for his BS, his posh lifestyle and many ex-wives. unlike Willard the Ratman and his flip-flop cohort, Ben the Rat Ryan.

  12. If anyone out there has applied for health insurance and been given the third degree (questioned about any past health issues). You’ll find it unbelievably refreshing when you apply for Medicare. Last September I applied for Medicare and it took maybe 10 minutes. I did not have to answer a long list of questions. It was just a verification process of who I was and where I lived. That was it. So If the folks who are trying to change Medicare get their way, you’ll end up back with a clip board and an extensive form to fill out to then “qualify” for something you’ve paid for your entire working career. So the next time you hear voucher and Mediare mentioned in the same sentence, just think about what the future holds for you.

  13. onedonewong says:

    Its unsustainable unless trial lawyers are stopped from stealing $400B a year from it

  14. Besr in mind that the Republicans that are in favor of reducing the size of government don’t want Social Security, MEDICARE, DoD or portions of MEDICAID (most seniors in nursing homes are covered by that program) touched. With that in mind, and since there is little we can do to eliminate interest on the debt, the need for air traffic controllers, research doctors at the CDC, border patrol, customs officers, food and drug inspectors, diplomats and a host of other civil servants whose skills and dedication are critical to our well being, it is not clear who or what they want to eliminate to significantly reduce our budget deficits and subsequent accumulation of debt. The real reason for their diatribes is because recognizing the benefits of government sponsored programs and services would require willingness to fund them, and since they prefeer a freebie the only option available to them is pretend they don’t really want what they use and benefit from. In a nutshell, the GOP and, especially, the Tea Party is fiscal and social irresponsibility on steroids.

    • grammyjill says:

      I think we should start a petition to have those in both house and senate get a 45% pay cut. That ought to go far toward balancing the budget.

      • Grammy, We should also quit giving legislators the public option insurance that pay 100% no matter what. Let them purchase insurance like we are expected to or let them have a voucher program. We pay heavily for things they resent us getting.

  15. Bigspender says:

    Gingrich and Ryan have another feature in common — they are both egg-sucking, chicken stealing gutter trash.

  16. grammyjill says:

    The latest is that they are going to defund it just enough to make people not trust it anymore so they can do away with it. In the meantime they are going to defund medicade. The main block of people getting that is elderly in nursing homes and children. Thet just don’t care.

  17. Does Paul Ryan lie? How about the one about Obama closing the Janesville auto plant? It closed in 2008. Who was president in 2008?

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