Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where's Adam Green When You Need Him?

Remember Adam Green? Sure, you do ... he's the geeky-looking guy who fronts the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. He's the grifter political activist, whose group holds accolades from no less than Ed Schultz ("The top Progressive group in the country"), Katrina vanden Heuvel ("Most Valuable Online Activism of 2010"), David "The Ineffectual Ninja" Sirota ("Stunningly successful") and Politico ("PCCC is the energizer bunny of the Left").

Hmmm ... well, damn, things do happen in threes! In three days, because the statement made by Politico is, arguably, the most truthful of all those listed above. Schultz, who famously implored Progressives to stay away from the polls in 2010, is a recently-converted Republican, who's either a ratfucker or who really isn't terribly bright - he's Virginian, and when we do stupid, we do it big - but then it doesn't say much for those Progressives who heeded Ed's cry, because look what we got when they didn't vote? Clever, huh?

The least said about vanden Heuvel, the better - the prototype of a person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, proof that money can buy you anything, except common sense. This is the woman who told everyone to vote for Ralph Nader in 2000 and now wonders why everyone blames her for eight years of Bush. But considering the majority of the PCCC's "online activism" in 2010 consisted of race-baiting and bashing the President at every opportunity, I'd say Katrina was probably too drunk couldn't see past this logic of pushing a pejorative meme about a person who is truly the most Progressive President since Franklin Roosevelt or LBJ.

Sirota, whose lack of integrity and plethora of personal arrogance allows him to compare the President's supporters to KKK members, is risible when he reckons the PCCC is "stunningly successful" - unless he's referring to their ability to raise $300,000 in 24 hours for Adam Green's bank account on a lie.

That lie, which he repeated, repeated and repeated ad nauseam throughout the spring and summer,was that the President intended to cut Medicare extensively, until it was almost unrecogniseable.

Today for the first time, President Obama made clear that he’s considering benefit cuts -- even for Americans that currently depend on Medicaid and Medicare. Even Paul Ryan didn’t say that much publicly.

That was Green's interpretation of this, where the President actually said:-

I’ve laid out some criteria in terms of what would be acceptable. So, for example, I’ve said very clearly that we should make sure that current beneficiaries as much as possible are not affected. But we should look at what can we do in the out-years, so that over time some of these programs are more sustainable.

I’ve said that means testing on Medicare, meaning people like myself, if -- I’m going to be turning 50 in a week. So I’m starting to think a little bit more about Medicare eligibility. (Laughter.) Yes, I’m going to get my AARP card soon -- and the discounts.

But you can envision a situation where for somebody in my position, me having to pay a little bit more on premiums or co-pays or things like that would be appropriate. And, again, that could make a difference. So we’ve been very clear about where we’re willing to go.

What we’re not willing to do is to restructure the program in the ways that we’ve seen coming out of the House over the last several months where we would voucherize the program and you potentially have senior citizens paying $6,000 more. I view Social Security and Medicare as the most important social safety nets that we have. I think it is important for them to remain as social insurance programs that give people some certainty and reliability in their golden years.

But it turns out that making some modest modifications in those entitlements can save you trillions of dollars. And it’s not necessary to completely revamp the program. What is necessary is to say how do we make some modifications, including, by the way, on the providers’ side. I think that it’s important for us to keep in mind that drug companies, for example, are still doing very well through the Medicare program. And although we have made drugs more available at a cheaper price to seniors who are in Medicare through the Affordable Care Act, there’s more work to potentially be done there.

So if you look at a balanced package even within the entitlement programs, it turns out that you can save trillions of dollars while maintaining the core integrity of the program.

You don't have to be a linguist to recognise that something's been deliberately lost in translation here and for a purpose.

And, speaking of Paul Ryan, yes, we know he wants to eliminate Medicare as we know it today. We know he wants to gut it like a hooked fish and replace it with a system of insignificant vouchers, which would allow seniors to "shop around" for their own special private medical cover, within reason, of course.

We know all the Republicans, in lock-step, support Ryan's plan. It's their collective wet dream, the beginning of the end of New Deal politics, a repudiation (or "refudiation" in Republican-ese) of the politics of Roosevelt and Johnson. And we also know that no Democrat - not even the Bluest Dog and certainly no Progressive - would ever countenance this ...

Wait ...

What? ...

Hang on ... Well, I'll be damned! A Democrat is actually teaming up with Ryan to completely turn over and revamp Medicare as we know it.

Ladies and Gentleman, from the Progressive and morally superior Pacific Northwest, I give you Senator Ron Wyden!!!!!!!

Let's hear a round of applause for Ron ...

Well, then ... so it's not actually that wicked, evil, spineless, caving, elitist, closeted Republican, war-mongerer, weak, clueless, pussified, dick, arrogant, ungrateful, uppity and black President Obama, who wants to see seniors and poor people suffer needlessly from having insufficient subsidised medical treatment, it's actually Ron Wyden. Ron Wyden, that ueber Progressive voice from the West, has made his political bed with wicked, evil, arrogant, Ayn Rand-loving, Rightwing, pussified, Eddie Munster-faced, little dick, Paul Ryan.

The two announced via The Washington Post that they’ll be teaming up on a different version of that Medicare plan — one that closely mimics plans offered by leading GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, and a proposal authored by former Sen. Pete Domenici and former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin, which loomed large in the Super Committee’s failed negotiations.

The move makes Wyden the first elected Democrat to endorse creating a premium-support system to compete with traditional fee-for-service Medicare, and for Ryan represents a de facto admission that his own plan was too radical to ever gain bipartisan support. That’s bound to affect how congressional and presidential candidates approach the issue, which will feature prominently in next year’s elections. But it raises a number of other questions, both about the merits of the policy and of the political calculus behind it.

The policy itself allows insurers to compete with traditional Medicare turning Medicare essentially into a public option on a private insurance exchange. Wyden and Ryan would give patients subsidies that could be applied to either private insurance or fee for service Medicare. It has features of both a “defined contribution” and “defined benefit” program. All plans including Medicare would have to meet a high benefit standard. But if seniors were to choose plans that exceeded a benchmark cost they would be required to pay the difference out of pocket. If Medicare itself were to come in below the benchmark, it would function no differently than Medicare does right now. If it Medicare were to exceed the benchmark, though, seniors would have to pay more out of pocket to enroll in it.

Requiring seniors to pay out of pocket for healthcare? Oooooh (sucks in breath)... smells kinda Republican to me.

Unlike previous plans, those subsidies would rise and fall with the cost of the plans themselves — not at a fixed rate below the explosive rate of health care inflation. But capping subsidy growth is exactly how Ryan’s original plan cut federal spending so much. This plan relies mostly on the theory that competition among insurers could hold down costs — a proposition with little evidence behind it — and would therefore save the government much less, if any, money at all. If the private plans were to prove popular, traditional Medicare would wither; if they proved popular to younger, healthier seniors, Medicare would end up with a severe adverse selection problem and could begin to unwind (though the plan does feature a so-called “risk adjustment” mechanism to guard against this possibility).

Hmmmm ... walks like a duck, quacks like a duck ...

Considering that the President was trying to frame part of his campaign message around the Republicans' antipathy to Medicare, this is like an open slap in the face from a ranking member in his own party. And considering that "Medicare cuts" was the cri de coeur of every dyed-in-the-wool Progressive every time the President opened his mouth, I'm straining to hear the rumblings and grumblings of Adam Green and his merry marauders, who would be viscerally gobsmacked that such a stalwart Progressive as Ron Wyden would be contemplating such a Rightward move.

Well, I've listened and listened, and you know what I hear?

I guess Wyden must not have the right kind of melanin for Progressives to whinge about what would normally be seen as a blatant piece of political treachery.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I've done some research on Wyden after this little announcement earlier today, and his career in the Senate hasn't been nearly as liberal as he'd like people to believe.

    Did you know he was the major Democratic pusher behind the Bush Administration's Medicare act? Or that he's been advocating his own health care "reform" called the "Health Americans Act" that would essentially privatize programs like Medicaid? He also apparently wants to abolish the estate tax, lower the capital gains tax and apparently would love to explore the idea of the ultra-regressive flat tax.

    I really doubt its naivete that's behind his team up with that sycophantic little Ayn Rand worshiper Ryan. Wyden's been full of crap for a long time now on healthcare and tax issues, he's just been more subtle about it then Galt boy.

    It also probably helps that he got millions in donations from the insurance industry.