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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Outraged Democrats from Capitol Hill to the White House are denouncing Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) for sponsoring a new Medicare “reform” bill with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The House Republican budget authored by Ryan last spring, which would have transformed Medicare into a voucher program, left him and his party on the defensive with voters. But now conservatives are crowing. And Democrats are asking why Wyden would provide “bipartisan” cover for Ryan and the Republicans, just in time for the 2012 election?

Wyden’s explanation, which hasn’t satisfied many of his fellow Democrats, is that he has long sought a deal with Republicans on health care to extend coverage by controlling costs. While Ryan’s original plan did neither, but merely turned Medicare over to the private sector in a much diminished form, the Ryan-Wyden model would supposedly preserve traditional single-payer Medicare for those who prefer it while offering cheaper private health coverage funded by vouchers. In theory, at least, this approach would eventually reduce the burgeoning medical costs that have swamped federal and state budgets and burdened the U.S. economy.

  • stevenb

    Wyden I realize getting re-elected is your main goal,but jumping into bed with a repuplican the party of “no” is truly sinking to
    the level of slime. The only thing that is going to happen is you’re getting fucked at our expense and you’re going to be sleeping in the wet spot you traitious sob.

  • pisces62

    I am so tired of the right and their so called MC reform. There will be no lower rates. Check out the costs for secondary coverage under a private insurace most MC enrollees have to cover deductible and co-pays. They are not cheap and you really think they would get a better deal. Pennies on the dollar are paid to providers and they are forever cutting that. Medicare covers 80% of the their ALLOWED amount, not the total amount. The allowed amount could very well be only 50% of ther actual charge. If your provider does not accept assign, the patient has to pay more than the 20% out of pocket. It could be the 20% plus thousands more. Learn about it. I have never seen so many cowards just because they want to be invited to the next barbeque.

  • freethinker

    A smile went across my face as I once again noted the Republicans being called the party of ‘no’ when the article is about the Democrats saying, “no”. The only idea for months from the Democrat side is ‘tax millionaires and billionaires’ which would not solve a single budget issue. In the meantime, Harry Reid has been sitting on a number of bills passed by the House, saying ‘no’ to allowing vote on them. It appears there is more than one party of ‘no’.

  • Shirley

    We don’t need Democrats like this in our party. Tell him to switch parties when he runs to be elected as a Republican. This outrages me and the Democrats on the Hill had better stop him right now in his tracks.

  • vshepparddesign

    Bipartisan is well and good, on common sense issue. But for this Senator Wyden to side with the Ryan”s Medicare Plan is just outrageous. This is one of the reason why I can’t understand why Democrat don’t stand by President Obama and the Democratic Party. I say to the people of OR, REPLACE- this fool and vote for someone that is with the party. And to you Senator Wyden go ahead and switch sides….Call yourself a Republican, No one will miss you.

  • AnnaSolomon

    to the insurance companies and kepping the money flowing into corporations and not into the government for dispersment to the masses.

  • VictoryBiker

    Sen. Wyden will learn what the Republicans are about to learn this coming election year. Whoever supports privatization of Medicare, Social Security and/or Medicaid is going to find it very difficult, if not impossible, to be re-elected. We older citizens, who have paid in all to these programs our entire lives, will vote out of office those who seek to take away our financial safety net. And if you don’t believe it, take another look after the fall 2012 election.

  • Cary pruitt

    Wyden should be ashamed of himself. If I remember correctly, the reason we have medicare is because insurance companies were dropping everyone over 55 like flies
    and dropping group plans that were heavy on older folks therfore companies were
    firing or early retiring people. Do we really think those same people are going to do medicare without destroying it?

  • snarky

    I can’t understand Wyden changing his stance. Unless he believes that a conservative wave is coming, I can’t grasp why he would partner with Ryan. US is in financial problems because of fraud. The benefits of being an American is not the cause of our problems.

  • Dean May

    Ron — Senator I am in California now but was raised & spent the first 40 years of my life in Ore (P.S.U. grad. 1964) & I used to brag that you were the only Senator that I knew – (not really) but we were at meetings, rallies, worked on the same campaigns in 60’s days.
    Going back to those those days -in my teens -20’s 30’s 40’s & even 50’s & till maybe yesterday I ALWAYS had something better, somthing more important, more urgent to do with my money FOR NOW than for the FUTURE & many – if not most of my friends were the same. As it was not as it should have been.
    Now I would hope kids/young people are smarter now but have yet to see a lot evidence of it.
    And we know that to keep cost down of any kind of insurance down we need to keep the customer, enrollee base up.
    The world of vouchers and options is the world of Should Be & we need to live in the world of IS. Please give me a reason to be proud of you again.

  • BobVietVet

    Your language is inappropriate.

  • azbirdwoman

    Wyden must be desperate for 1% funding for his next election…that is the only reason I can think of for so negative a move.
    When will we learn that the only way to end this control by the wealthy is to have truly fair elections. How about vouchers for people to run for office ie funding thru the government. That is the only voucher system I see am appropriate!

  • Ralph Valenzuela

    As a member of the people of these United States of American. I offer this suggestion.

    LEAVE MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY, THE HELL ALONE.!

    SWITCHING SIDES ARE WE? RATS, ARE USUALLY FOUND TO LEAVE A SINKING SHIP. I DON’T BELIEVE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS SINKING. WHAT LOBBYIST IS FRONTING YOU UP WITH CASH.? COULD IT BE THE AARP, THAT HIRE LOBBYISTS FOR THERE OWN BENEFIT. USING
    THE MONEY FOLKS ARE HANDING OVER TO PAY FOR SUPPLEMENTAL/PREMIUM INSURANCE.?
    CREEP!!

  • rustacus21

    … about the tainted, filthy, obscenity that money now represents in our politics, means that, just as in the last days of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome (shall I continue, or do you, as well, see a pattern…), Hopewell, Inca, etc, cultures, they ALL lost their morality, their virtue, their ability to conduct civilization for the benefit of it’s citizens, even while it was the CITIZENRY that made possible the civilization itself. As a citizen, I’m personally obligated to engage what I see as my society going wrong. What I write here has no meaning whatever, unless others decide it does & engage likewise. Senator Wyden is pandering. He has lost his morality. Had Democrats held the line, across the board, in support of the president & Liberal/Progressive policies, they would not have to worry about money mechanic politics threatening their Senate careers. But it is what it is. Voters are now more confused than ever. But why? Understanding what money has done to OUR Democratic system of government means that in all 50 states, to any citizen w/in eye-view of this commentary, it’s up to YOU AND I to ACT. Engage. Run for office. Take back our Democracy! And stop COMPLAINING!!! DO SOMETHING YOURSELF!!!

  • wnordlund

    WHO IS THIS GUY? HE IS NOT A DEMOCRAT. I USED TO LIVE IN OREGON AND I PLAN TO LET ALL OF MY FRIENDS STILL THERE TO VOTE THIS “DEMOCRAT” OUT. WE MIGHT HAS WELL HAVE A REPUBLICAN FROM OREGON BECAUSE AT LEAST WE WOULD KNOW WHERE HE STANDS.

  • Tom45424

    Another idiot who thinks joining the Regressive party on one issue will get there support. Committing political suicide. Doesn’t He realize He can never be conservative enough for todays republican base. THE REPUBLICANS WILL NOT STOP UNTIL
    BLIND PEOPLE ARE PLAYING ACCORDIANS ON THE STREET and POOR HOUSES ARE BACK IN STYLE.

    How did this idiot ever get elected?

    The republicans always have a plan. The plan is to always have a secret plan until after they are elected.

  • Hankk

    I hate to say it,but it seems that no Democrat in office today has the guts to stand for what they say they want. I call them the cave in party now, I understand that they caved on this tax cut for the middle class and working poor, you know the one that our President said he would veto. hankk, MI

  • Nicholas Rudolph

    NO respectable Democrat that wants to get reelected would cut a deal with Paul to do anything. It is time we started marking the roster of who goes and who stays, and I vote that this weasel goes along with all the other treasonous pukes that are nothing but shills for big money.

  • rustacus21

    … at the man behind the curtain; U’r liable to see him pulling Wyden’s strings… & Ryans… & Walkers… & Boeners… & (GASP) – OBAMA’S!!! Regular Dem’s transforming into “bluedogs?” Liberals turning into “Conservatives”? Criminals waltzing in & out of our governments private chambers – w/the nations wealth, & a once wealthy Middle Class is living pennyless in shacks? Where are the Patriots? Where are the “Mad As Hell & Taking No MORE…” Americans? The solution to this is simple & I’m going to say it again: recall – Recall – RECALL!!! From the president on down. In all 50 states. This is NOT the Democracy the Constitutions authors signed on to. The president on down, across & back to the Supreme Court ALL know THIS!!! The only ones who don’t get it are non-conservative voters who are too unsophisticated to even understand Democracy, let alone READ the Constitution in its entirety. Recall them & replace them w/local, affected CITIZENS!!! Then we can change this to what we truly believe in – A PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACY…

  • Common Sense Patriot

    As a retired senior who is on Medicare and Social Security, I think I have the right to speak out about something that I personally experience. Let me be clear — I don’t like Medicare, with all it’s bureaucracy and poor payments that mean a lot of doctors and hospitals, not to mention other medical providers, won’t even accept it.But, I need it. I don’t have any other choices for medical coverage (Medicare Advantage plans are a bad joke). Yet, even I can see that Social Security and Medicare in their present form are unsustainable. It doesn’t matter how much we want it or need it — the costs make it unsustainable without substantial cuts in benefits or raising eligibility age, and/or raising premiums. Yes, a lot could be saved by eliminating the massive amounts of fraud involved – but when has the government ever been good at that? There is massive fraud in virtually every federal government program that exists, and it is unlikely to change. Private insurance, on the other hand, has very little fraud, because they are on top of the business and know they must make a profit. Unlike Medicare, they can’t just continue to pay out the fraud and tap the taxpayer (federal budget) for more money. Remember, folks. There is no such thing as free anything, especially if it comes from the government. For them to spend a dollar, they have to take it out of the pocket of somebody who earned it. Yet, I don’t believe there should be a sudden change in Medicare that forces seniors into higher cost plans or cost sharing arrangements that increase their out of pocket costs. Most of them just can’t afford it. The only answer is to introduce a change for people under 50 (or maybe 45) so they have time to prepare for higher medical costs when they retire. If change is not made that substantially reduces the cost of Social Security and Medicare, then it will bankrupt the government in not too many years. Do we really want to see our government and it’s social programs go the way of Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland? You can’t spend money you don’t have. You can borrow for awhile but sooner or later even governments go broke. Do we really want to see the draconian austerity measures forcibly instituted that these countries are having to endure? They have no choice. Taxes are being raised and benefits cut, and their credit is veritually worthless and their currency close behind. This is inevitable. There’s no easy way to get around these hard facts. And given the 235% increase in welath of the top 1% of Americans over the past 3 decades vs. the 5.9% in real wages for the average American, I have no problem with raising taxes on people who earn more than $250,000 a year (and I’m a conservative but not a radical one). But even that will not save Social Security and Medicare. The only answer is major reform, but reform that allows current or over 50 age seniors not to be forced to bear the burden. It breaks a contract and imposes costs on seniors who don’t have any options to increase their income. How many seniors can find a job in an economy like this one where almost 14 million people are out of work? There are hundreds of applicants for every job. Employers know how to skirt the law and discriminate against seniors, so they rarely get hired. But change has to come, so let’s dod it but introduce it gradually so those presently in a situation with no options will not be screwed, and those who have time to prepare can prepare for the real world that faces us.

  • JayCuze

    Medicare just shot up to $99 a month from $35 is no way compensating for the modest increase in social security.

  • jerryketel

    Why Wyden has chosen to make this concession now is very disconcerting. Is he trying to show bipartisanship? If so, why give away the store? The only explanation seems to be that he has received hundreds of thousands in money from the healthcare industry. Senator Wyden, this doesn’t look too good.

    The Sunlight Foundation puts his career total in 2008 at $1,161,488.00
    http://sunlightfoundation.com/projects/2009/healthcare_lobbyist_complex/

    Open Secrets says his contributions from health professionals during 2007-2010 was $455,560
    http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=n00007724

  • mcchatman

    Typical Democrat with “Spine Removal Surgery” performed by $$$ in the REAR End!
    This is a common procedure a person would have done when he/she is inducted into the Corporate Slavery Hall of Shame!
    Simply grab the individual near the Rectal area and pull downward in a swift motion detaching the Spine along with any Common Sense that was present prior to the procedure – thus rendering the individual “Spineless and Ignorant”
    It’s really “Trending in the D.C. Area these days.!
    “Prices may vary due to Original Personal Dignity”

  • cocosjungle

    While I am against the Republican plan to change Medicare into a voucher system, at the same time I’m not naïve enough to say Medicare is a perfect system.

    For example, a couple of years ago, all the providers were forced to re-sign up, as if they had never been Medicare providers. The fiscal intermediaries then jerked them around by frivolously denying their applications for as much as a year and a half. When they were finally approved, Medicare refused to allow them to back-bill for all the services they provided in the meantime. This is a way of justifying fraud against the physicians, and physicians can’t fight Medicare because they don’t have the clout.

    Now Medicare is frivolously denying a small percentage of low-dollar provider claims at random. $20 here and $20 there adds up to billions of dollars after a while, and the physicians would have to spend more to fight Medicare than they would collect, so Medicare gets away with cheating them. The fraud committed by Medicare against the physicians makes any cheating by the physicians pale by comparison.

    If we are a just people, we need to insist that the government be as honest as the providers, and pay them according to what the law provides. Cutting Medicare benefits and cheating the providers only runs the risk that at some point, Medicare providers are going to opt-out of the program and leave vulnerable seniors with no health care. Many providers in California opted-out of Medi-Cal (California Medicaid) for exactly that reason.

    If we implement a voucher system, the law must provide that the insurance companies provide coverage at least as good as current Medicare Advantage programs, and at no more cost to the enrollee than at present. Otherwise, gouging will certainly ensue, resulting in a skyrocketing senior death rate as a consequence.

    I believe that a “Medicare for All” program can be created where private companies and government work together to create a fair system where everybody pays into the system according to their ability to pay. Everyone would be required to participate, and everyone would pay something. Payment would be made through by Medicare, Medicaid, Employer contributions, government and private benefit deductions, payroll deductions, and other sources, just as is done now. In some cases, individuals may be able to choose among several payment options.

    A “single payer” system would be created where all insurance companies would be required to pay claims through a single clearinghouse (probably using regional fiscal intermediaries as Medicare does now). Such a system would be more economical for insurance companies, allowing them to provide better rates, and would reduce the physician’s cost of billing also.

    Such a system would reduce the government’s role to one of regulation, to keep the playing field level, protect consumers from price gouging, and still allow for a free-market, private sector solution providing health care for all America.

    Undoubtedly, I haven’t thought out all the salient details, but such a system can be made to work, be fair, and provide all America with health care. We currently spend more money per capita on health care than other modern nations, so the money to do this is here now.

  • dfrosenzweig

    I believe that medical reform is going to become necessary, but for the politicians, not us. I think they need to have some of their lifetime medical benefits taken away after they leave office or get unseated. I also believe that they should have to pay their own insurance costs, not us. I also believe that as long as there continues to be the same poor selection of Republican presidential candidates we presently have, that Obama, no matter how incompetent he might seem, still stands a chance of getting reelected. He stands a more likely chance of reelection as long as the Republican party is favoring this Medicare reform bill. Too many middle class seniors are still voters to have their votes not matter. Don’t worry unless you hear more talks about it after the election. Then it will be time to speak to your representatives.

  • cocosjungle

    It’s not that the President isn’t smart; he’s highly intelligent. His speeches show that he understands perfectly what’s at stake. But with him getting more money from Wall St than all the Republican candidates combined, you have to assume that there’s some allegiance there.

    In the Democratic coal mine, every cave-in dirties us all. The President knows what to do; why doesn’t he stop caving in to hate mongers and extremists and do the right thing?

    I’m shocked that in all the Republican party, there is not one person as intelligent as Obama. How do the Republicans think their candidate will fair in debates against Obama? They won’t have a chance.

    A high school kid came by selling books, and we got to talking, and he said he was a Republican. I said I’ve been a Republican for 50 years, but I didn’t mention that I voted for Obama. I asked him what it was about the Republican party he liked, but he couldn’t say, other than he hated Obama, so I asked him why he hated Obama, and he couldn’t name any particular thing, only that he hated the guy. This response is typical of other Republicans I know.

    So that’s where we’re at? The Republicans think they can win on hate alone? It’s a sad state of affairs.

    I should re-register as an independent.

  • Sgt. Friday

    So, Mr. Conason, you’re only objection to Wyden’s actions on Medicare is that he’s doing it before the elections and it reveals how unreliable the incumbents Democrats, especially the President, will be on preserving traditional Medicare once they are re-elected? Not one word about what a blow anything like this will be to millions of seniors in the real world? Readers, get ready for operatives like Conason to change their tune once Obama is safely re-elected.