Preserving Beer

August 14th, 2012

You go into a bar and order a beer. They serve you a drink, but it has no head of foam, and in fact is clear as water. You taste it. It is water. “Hey!” you object, “I ordered a beer!”

“That is beer,” the bartender asserts. “We overhauled it. That’ll be seven bucks.”

“But beer costs five dollars here!”

“I told you,” the barkeep replies. “We overhauled it.”

“What’s with this ‘overhaul’? It sounds like a stupid idea.”

“Beer sales weren’t making enough money before. We would have had to stop serving beer. In order to preserve your ability to get beer, we made necessary changes. But it’s still beer.”

“No it’s not! It’s water!”

“It’s still a beverage. We just swapped out some of the ingredients. Stop whining.”

This is essentially what Ryan’s “Medicare” plan is: to end Medicare and replace it with something completely different, but still call it “Medicare.”

Ryan was only slightly more opaque; his plan was to give seniors “vouchers,” a set amount of money, so they could buy private insurance. It amounts to the same, however: private insurance costs more and gives lesser service, meaning that Ryan’s new program–one must refuse to call it “Medicare” because it is not “Medicare”–would instantly deliver less service to participants. It would effectively be a government subsidy of private insurance, exactly the opposite direction our system needs to go.

Worse, the vouchers would increase by the overall inflation rate, and not by the inflation rate of health insurance, which is notably higher. Thus, benefits would slowly decrease over time, making the coverage less and less each year. To top it off, Ryan would roll back the age of eligibility to 67.

So, waiting until you’re 67, getting a voucher which would buy you inferior care, which would decrease every year.

But it’s still an insurance plan, so let’s call it “Medicare.” See? We just “preserved” Medicare!

  1. Troy
    August 14th, 2012 at 11:22 | #1

    ain’t that a bitch

    • They ignored the fact that the Ryan plan would not affect people currently in Medicare — or even the people 55 to 65 who would join the program in the next 10 years.

    immaterial. Closing out Medicare behind the current beneficiaries means they get shittier access to care too.

    • They used harsh terms such as “end” and “kill” when the program would still exist, although in a privatized system.


    • They used pictures and video of elderly people who clearly were too old to be affected by the Ryan plan. The DCCC video that aired four days after the vote featured an elderly man who had to take a job as a stripper to pay his medical bills.

    because Ryan’s future changes hits the elderly! Duh!

    The stupid thing is that you can’t just voucherize something to make it affordable, all a voucher does is raise the price, since services that are in scarce supply like healthcare are sold on the ask (what the supplier demands), not the bid (how much we want to pay).

    Still need to restructure my life such that if this nation chooses Romney/Ryan over Obama, I can GTFO back to Japan.

    Obamacare doesn’t kick in until 2014 anyway so I guess leaving in 2013 would work.

    In the 12 years I’ve been back my fellow Americans have not struck me as particularly intelligent. I came back when Clinton was still Prez but it was all downhill since November of that year. Pretty brutal when you country commits financial and geopolitical suicide and you’re powerless to stop it.

    Ryan’s raising “Medicare” to 67 hits me directly, too. Fuck that guy.

  2. Charles
    August 14th, 2012 at 14:36 | #2

    Lets let the “free market” run Medicare and Social Security more efficiently, just like it did for electricity in California. I just watched the movie “Enron” and the part where they let a bunch of frat boy Enron traders flip the lights on and off all over California for a couple of months so that a bunch of criminal pals of Bush could clear a half a billion is a hoot–that sounds like something that would be cool to do with SS and Medicare too.

Comments are closed.