I'm not Republican, but I like Paul Ryan. Medicare is a complete shambles, and it definitely needs to be fixed, but most politicians won't even consider trying to do anything about it. It's called the third rail, same with social security and the like. Take a look at some of Harry Reid's lies about social security:
The problem is that the GOP's core attitude toward anyone who is not a profit center for the Forbes 400 is that they are a useless eater who needs to be set out on the ice so the top 1% can afford more toys.
Sorry, but it's only the truth.
The issue here isn't Medicare per se
, but the relentless profiteering of Big Insurance and the healthcare industry in general. If for the past 20 years, health care costs had risen at only the rate of inflation--hell, even core CPI+1%--no one would be talking about Medicare being unsustainable. But the increase has been closer to twice the rate of inflation. Healthcare has become a vampire feeding off the working class and the rest of the U.S. economy. And the GOP's stance on this is, "well, that's the free market, can't do anything about it, sorry." Well, we're going to have
to do something about it, because if we don't, no
reform of Medicare can succeed. I'm all in favor of an industry making a fair return on investment, but premiums have been going up at 5 to 10% and higher during times when core inflation has been 1 to maybe 3%. This is beyond a fair rate of return, and well into the realm of profiteering.
But even if we set this truth aside (and make no mistake, the GOP would love
for us to ignore it so their rich health insurance CEO friends can get richer at society's expense) the insurance model for taking care of seniors is not economically viable. The insurance model means paying a small, fixed amount per month to insure against occasional disasters. You insure against, say, storm and fire damage to your home, and it works for both you and the insurance company because your house doesn't get hit by a tornado or lightning or a fire every year or every two or three years. You might file a claim once a decade or so. Health insurance for seniors is a non-starter because they need healthcare--sometimes expensive healthcare--on a frequent basis. For the company to make book, a 60 year old would need to pay $2,000 a month or even more.
Universal healthcare makes much more economic sense. People pay into the system when they're young and healthy, and that amount covers them when they get old and sick.
The problem isn't Medicare. The problem is the healthcare industry has this sense of entitlement that their bottom line has to improve by double-digit amounts every year, and they have the free-marketeers in the GOP willing to indulge them in this at the expense of the rest of us. It needs to stop. We need to roll back health insurance premiums and costs to 2008 levels and freeze them for four years. Big Insurance will have to make do with less...just like the rest of the country outside of Wall Street.