Lord of the Peach
19th April 2004
Washington (CNN) -- House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan said Sunday he will unveil a Republican budget for 2012 this week that proposes dramatic changes to Medicare, Medicaid and other political lightning rods. The plan, to be released Tuesday, calls for a controversial overhaul of Medicare, the health care program for seniors, and would impose deep cuts in Medicaid, which provides health benefits to low-income Americans, Ryan told "Fox News Sunday." Starting 10 years from now, in 2021, elderly Americans would receive government help in paying health insurance premiums instead of enrolling in the government-run Medicare program, Ryan said. He rejected the label of "vouchers" for the payments, calling them "premium assistance" payments instead. The plan is modeled after one Ryan proposed last year with Alice Rivlin, budget director under President Bill Clinton. The Ryan-Rivlin plan said the amount of assistance would be calculated in part by taking the average federal cost per Medicare enrollee.
Basically anyone under 55 who enrols in Medicare(at age 65+) will get a voucher(basically a check) from the government every month to pay for their health insurance. Anyone over 55 will continue get the current system. Medicaid(government insurance for the poor) would be hander over to individual states to deal with. The bill has also tacked on a permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts. If Ryan's number are correct the reform will save "trillions" of dollars over the next 20 years.
Entitlements(Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid) comprise close to 50% of all federal spending. The current budget fuss has been over $60 billion in cuts to non-defence discretionary spending which is only 20% of the total budget.
I am not the biggest fan of the GOP, but this is one of the most sensible ideas they have brought forward in years. It is not perfect, but it is a big step in the right direction. I would propose a handful of changes to the bill to make it easier for the democrats to swallow.
The goal of this bill should be to help reduce the current and future budget deficits. Cutting the budget if half of the battle. The other have is revenue. Remove the Bush tax cut extension. Let the cuts expire. Extend the current tax brackets to incomes of 10 million dollars from the current cap of around $400,000. In these new brackets extend the tax rate up %50 for those earning over 10 million. Close all of the corporate tax loopholes and drop the rates by %5-10. Current providers of Medicare/Medicaid services should be looked into to see if price gouging is occurring.
SCHOFIELD DID 4/30
10th August 2004