There are a couple of types of campaign issues that attract my attention. There are those issues that a candidate makes an impassioned and logical case for, and there are issues that directly or soon will affect me directly.
One of those issues is Medicare, as the lovely and talented lady of the house and I are quickly approaching that age where Medicare comes into play in our lives. Medicare has, during the
current presidential campaign, become something of a political ping pong ball. Charges and counter charges have been flung back and forth, often with little,if any regard to accuracy or the truth.
Let us start with money. You have likely seen, and I believe I’ve seen an Obama ad, stating that the Romney/Ryan reformation of Medicare is going to cost senior citizens $6,400 in additional out of pocket expenses. The basis for the claim comes from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
However, the claim is false on two levels. First, the CBO figure comes from an outdated Ryan budget plan which is no longer current or even being presented. Secondly, seeing as this is not a plan being put forth by the Romney/Ryan campaign, the claim has no basis in reality. Also, reading further into the CBO analysis, the CBO acknowledges that its estimates are really nothing more than guesses as they are unable to incorporate what effect competitive pricing will have on Medicare.
Vice President Joe Biden has brought the second falsehood to the campaign, describing the Romney/Ryan Medicare reform as Vouchercare. So just what is a voucher? According to Merriam-Webster a voucher can be;
A form or check indicating a credit against future purchases or expenditures
A coupon issued by government to a parent or guardian to be used to fund a child’s education in either a public or private school.
The food stamp program is another example of a voucher program. Those who qualify for food stamps are given vouchers, which they take to the store and use to buy food and essentials. Medicare reform proposals do not work this way.
Once again, the claim from the Obama/Biden campaign is patently false. The proposal put forth by the Romney/Ryan plan is a defined-contribution system. This type of plan/system would provide direct payment from a government account to a health plan of the qualified individual’s choice. This would include, traditional Medicare health plans, including employer based retiree plans. The plan/system would have to meet government standards, including benefit standards of the current traditional Medicare program.
Now that we’ve covered this issue and put it to bed, we can move on to more important issues as we move towards election day, November 6, 2012.