By now everyone has heard a little bit about the advertised possible Medicare plan of Representative Paul Ryan, Republican from Wisconsin. Controversial? You bet. Thinking outside the box? Definitely. Good idea; not even close.

After the Democrats were able to pass the health care bill last year, the Republicans spent an entire year beating it up, along with Tea Partiers, and were able to alter the landscape of politics in Washington by taking back the house. This year, it’s the Republicans that have had to answer to the public for a health care plan that they say will extend the life of Medicare, without realizing that just because they took back the house didn’t mean they’d received a mandate to change things at will.

Medicare is coverage for people over age 65 and the disabled. Touching Medicare is one of the most dangerous things any politician could even think about unless it offers more benefits for its consumers. That’s a strong voting block, and it goes further than the Republicans have ever imagined. At this point even two Republican senators have said they’d vote against it, and numerous Republican representatives have said they won’t support it either. So much for them all voting as a block as they were able to do when it was Democrats trying to push through legislation.

Why is this bill so bad? I have 3 reasons why I don’t like it; here they are:

1. The Ryan plan calls for anyone already over 55 to continue with the regular plan and for everyone else to go on a voucher system. At my present age, this means I’ve paid into Medicare for more than 30 years and I miss out? How fair is that? How fair is it for those people who missed it by a year, or even 10 years? What an arbitrary figure; can’t support that.

2. Voucher system. The idea of a voucher system, where people will be given so much money to invest in their own health care plan, is reminiscent of what President Bush wanted to do with Social Security and his investment plan. That was before the stock market crashed, and it hadn’t been looking all that good before then. With a voucher system, what happens when the money runs out, which it almost has to at a certain point? Does that mean that everyone moves over to Medicaid, and we now put more pressure on the states, which don’t have enough resources to handle what they’re dealing with now?

3. The plan offers no protection for seniors when it comes to things such as higher deductibles, co-pays, and even yearly premium increases. Medicare has always had a limit on how much these things can go up every year, but the same doesn’t apply to Medicare Advantage Plans now, where seniors buy into an insurance plan instead of staying with Medicare to pick up some medical benefits that Medicare doesn’t cover. Some seniors can afford to pay more, but many others can’t so they stick with traditional Medicare. And seniors are the one group that doesn’t have the ability to drastically increase their income, especially if they’re also on Social Security, which has rules that prevent seniors from making even $10,000 a year before they start losing benefits.

At this point the plan looks like it’s heading towards an easy defeat, so much so that even Rep. Ryan has stopped talking about it all the time. But one never knows how the tides of the country will turn; I hope it’s a done deal.

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