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August 24, 2009

Contract with America Seniors: GOP Offers Seniors Health Care Bill of Rights

Typical gray people:

First, we need to protect Medicare and not cut it in the name of "health-insurance reform." As the president frequently, and correctly, points out, Medicare will go deep into the red in less than a decade. But he and congressional Democrats are planning to raid, not aid, Medicare by cutting $500 billion from the program to fund his health-care experiment. The president also plans to cut hospital payments and Medicare Advantage, all of which will mean fewer treatment options for seniors. These types of "reforms" don't make sense for the future of an already troubled federal program or for the services it provides that millions of Americans count on.

Second, we need to prohibit government from getting between seniors and their doctors. The government-run health-care experiment that Obama and the Democrats propose will give seniors less power to control their own medical decisions and create government boards that would decide what treatments would or would not be funded. Republicans oppose any new government entity overruling a doctor's decision about how to treat his or her patient.

Simply put, we believe that health-care reform must be centered on patients, not government.

Third, we need to outlaw any effort to ration health care based on age. Obama has promoted a program of "comparative effectiveness research" that he claims will be used only to study competing medical treatments. But this program could actually lead to government boards rationing treatments based on age. For example, if there are going to be only so many heart surgeries in a given year, the Democrats figure government will get more bang for its buck if more young and middle-aged people get them.

[points 4 and 5 omitted; 4 is ending Obama's end-of-life Soylent Green counseling, and 5 is protecting and improving the Tricare system for military families.]

Barack Obama campaigned on "post-partisanship." As president, however, Obama has shown that he is beholden to his party's left-wing ideologues. It's not too late for him to honor his pledges for bipartisan health-care reform. Reversing course and joining Republicans in support of health care for our nation's senior citizens is a good place to start. Doing so will help him restart the reform process to give Americans access to low-cost, high-quality health care.

If ObamaCare fails, it will be due to seniors. (And I think they were also critical in stopping HillaryCare.)

It's very difficult to ever scale back federal commitments to seniors, as they are famously a high-turnout cohort in any election, and tend to be interested (for obvious reasons) in senior issues. It's a one-way ratchet, in which benefits can only increase. And any time you want to try to cinch an election, you push for expanded benefits and new programs for seniors.

So if we can stop this madness, we'll have seniors, mostly, to thank.

But this demonstrates an overlooked problem with ObamaCare. ObamaCare would put 50 million Americans (and, um, non-Americans too) in the same position as seniors with regard to federal benefits -- we'd add 50 million people not only as regards federal entitlement, but to the already-huge bloc of voters for whom entitlements can never be trimmed and can only be increased due to their strong political clout.

Seniors constitute 20% of the electorate; adding another 10%, more or less, to a bloc of voters whose federal benefits can only expand would dramatically reshape this country's politics and economics.

Which is of course probably the whole idea.

Different Than Seniors, Too: Although seniors have been forced on to a socialized system of medicine, they lived their lives under a capitalist model, and can be expected, then, to appreciate the benefits of that latter model.

Barack Obama's plan is to put a huge number of Americans on the socialist system from cradle to grave.

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posted by Ace at 02:01 PM

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