On a Thought about Entitlements

As we hear all the political rhetoric about the budget, entitlements are one item that Capitol Hill seemingly continues to ignore (or scared to touch). Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer recently wrote this about a possible solution.

Everyone knows that the U.S. budget is being devoured by entitlements. Everyone also knows that of the Big Three – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – Social Security is the most solvable.

Back-of-an-envelope solvable: Raise the retirement age, tweak the indexing formula (from wage inflation to price inflation) and means-test so that Warren Buffett’s check gets redirected to a senior in need

Redirecting checks seems to be a form of redistribution of wealth. Hmmm โ€ฆ thatโ€™s an interesting concept coming from a conservative Republican.

Now Rep Paul Ryan [R-WI] is also getting into the act by suggesting Medicare should be distributed through a system that includes receiving a government voucher. Hmmm … given Ryan and Krauthammer’s words, I guess perspective defines socialism.

19 thoughts on “On a Thought about Entitlements

  1. The problem with Ryans Medicare “solution” is that he wants to give Seniors money to go out and purchase Health Insurance, This sounds like a good idea, However what insurance company is going to sell affordable insurance to people from age 65 to age 100+

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  2. I also have to complain about the purchasing, for pre-existing conditions. Partly due to the massive amounts of drugs my schmuck doctor had me on for my migraines, my pancreas is wonky. While it usually requires nothing more than a Jello diet for a couple days, it pre-disposes me to pancreatic cancer. Throw in my (apparently eternal) need for potent pain relievers, as well as my naturally high blood nitrates (which can, and are, well controlled my meds), and I quickly become a walking health risk, at least to insurers. Who’s gonna touch me when I haven’t had insurance since 2001, and probably won’t have until I can get something at either 60 (12 years off) or 62. At this point, all I’ll have is SS and Medicare. Not a really bright future, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I agree, I have heard many cases of illegal and ‘Legal’ Medicare fraud, Companies charging 3000% or more over the value for of drugs, and Medicare says No and only gives them 3 times the value, Then the companies can write off the difference of what they demand and what they get, I am willing to bet that if we got rid of abuses like that we caould cut the Medicare budget by 25% or more, also by not allowing these “legal’ write offs we would take in 100’s of billions of dollars in taxes, And with this not cut one benefit out and maybe be able to increase benefits, Also we have to consider means testing it. I heard Former Senator Republican Alan Simpson say this on Hardball today.

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      • Larry,
        Fraud is a probably … and may always be. Besides, some could say that Ryan’s plan reduces the potential for fraud because private companies may be more diligent. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Without some sort of caps on the rising cost of insurance, it is unclear to me, how vouchers help control the cost of health care.

    It seems simple common sense to give help to those who need it and not to those who don’t ( i.e. Warren Buffet etc.). For Christian, Jewish and Muslim people it is also consistent with our faith. If that’s socialism, well….ok.

    Raising the retirement age really only works for folks who have “office” jobs. People who work in factories or agriculture or roof houses, etc don’t live as long (on average). By raising the retirement age we may effectively reduce the number of people that social security covers. There is a link between ones longevity and health and socio economic status. By raising the age of eligibility we will effectively (once again) hurt the very people SS was designed to help. http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/91xx/doc9104/LifeExpectancy_Brief.1.1.shtml

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    • Nancy,
      Good points. Put another way, the longer people work – the sooner they die – thus shorter SS/Medicare/Metacaid coverage.

      BTW: I mention socialism in a tongue-in-cheek manner. After all, some Republicans love to use the word and references to Democratic plans as a scare tactic, yet, they also create and support other programs that could garner the same reference.

      Yet, your point is simple – how do we help those whom the system was designed to help? … and that is something that our faith would want us to do.

      Good thoughts Nancy, and thanks for the links!

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    • CCC,
      Between the brewing civil war within the GOP and the lack of strong, viable candidates, the party may be strong, but it lacks a defined identity. Talking is dangerous to some of their high-profile people. On the other hand, good Republicans exist, but they are forced into the quiet room at the moment. Thanks for commenting.

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  4. why is eddie munst…i mean, paul ryan the go-to guy for budgetary matters? he has a bachelor’s degree in economics. would you trust a doctor who only had a bachelor’s degree in biology?

    by the way, according to wiki, eddie munst…i mean, ryan’s father died when eddie munst…i mean, ryan was 16 years old. ryan collected social security until he reached 18, and that’s the money he used to pay for college.

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