I have tried to ignore politics since the election. My candidate lost even though, from the enthusiasm at his rallies, I thought he was winning. I have trouble understanding why people would vote for Obama. Some of it is the 47% theory that Romney was so criticized for voicing. I agree that it had a big effect. Another factor was the drop in turnout among lower income white voters. They seemed to buy the argument that Romney was a rich man who didn’t care about them. Why they would believe that Obama, rich and intending to be much richer after his time in office, would care more is a mystery to me.
Now, we face a supposed crisis of the “fiscal cliff,” a manufactured crisis related to the negotiations over the debt limit and the ignored Simpson-Bowles Commission recommendations. I think the Republicans would have been well-advised to try to enact the commission recommendations into law but they have have consistently chosen the less wise alternative, in my opinion.
Dating back to the Clinton Administration, the GOP majority on Congress had the opportunity to assure the future of this country as a free market, prosperous nation. Instead, following Gingrich’s lead, they looked out for their own political futures. We now face the consequences and I see no more willingness to deal with it than before. Paul Ryan had a plan That might have avoided what is coming but the voters rejected it.
It preserves the existing Medicare program for those currently enrolled or becoming eligible in the next 10 years (those 55 and older today) – So Americans can receive the benefits they planned for throughout their working lives. For those currently under 55 – as they become Medicare-eligible – it creates a Medicare payment, initially averaging $11,000, to be used to purchase a Medicare certified plan. The payment is adjusted to reflect medical inflation, and pegged to income, with low-income individuals receiving greater support. The plan also provides risk adjustment, so those with greater medical needs receive a higher payment.
The proposal also fully funds Medical Savings Accounts [MSAs] for low-income beneficiaries, while continuing to allow all beneficiaries, regardless of income, to set up tax-free MSAs.
Based on consultation with the Office of the Actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and using Congressional Budget Office [CBO] these reforms will make Medicare permanently solvent
Modernizes Medicaid and strengthens the health care safety net by reforming high-risk pools, giving States maximum flexibility to tailor Medicaid programs to the specific needs of their populations. Allows Medicaid recipients to take part in the same variety of options and high-quality care available to everyone through the tax credit option.
The plan would have addressed the Medicare issue that is coming in the near future.
The Social Security issue is a bit less urgent but was aggravated by the Congress use of Social Security trust funds in the 1990s. We hear about a “surplus” but that surplus was made up of Social Security trust funds that were not necessary at the time to pay benefits. Now, they are needed but have been spent.
I have no solution.