In Affordable Care Act/Obamacare, art as social inquiry, healthcare, Medicare, Ryan Budget, subsidy, voucher

I just listened to 5 minutes of Paul Ryan’s speech  posted by Kaiser Health News — the one you’ve been hearing about where he got booed at an AARP convention in New Orleans.

I’m wondering why he is using the language of the “other side?”

Notice how Paul Ryan is throwing around the word “subsidy” — a word from Obamacare — when he is really referring to the “voucher” or “premium support” in his own plan to change Medicare?

I’m guessing  his goal is to sound reasonable. Is this kind of manipulation designed to make you “feel good” about the guy? And if you feel good, you will want to believe his message and vote for him?


Paul Ryan’s ideas regarding Medicare(and Medicaid for that matter) are anything but reasonable. They are draconian.


SO WHY IS PAUL RYAN NOW USING THE WORD “SUBSIDY” when he talks about the changes he would like to make to Medicare?
First, definition of terms.  Medicare is a GUARANTEED BENEFIT for seniors. You pay into this healthcare program your whole working life, and it is guaranteed to be there for you to use when you turn 65. “Entitlement” is a misnomer.  The word conjures “giveaway” which Medicare is not. The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare provides the facts about Medicare.

The Ryan plan would change Medicare into a voucher program, or as Ryan is now calling it a “subsidy” program (NOT to be confused with the healthcare law.)  Here’s how ABC News describes “voucher.

If implemented (the Ryan plan), the government would no longer pay doctors to treat Medicare beneficiaries. Instead, beneficiaries would buy their own private insurance plans, and the government would give people money to pay to buy health plans from an approved list.

In his speech, Ryan calls his vouchers “SUBSIDIES.”  Is Ryan trying to confuse people? “Voucher??? Who me…naaaaaah….it’s a ‘subsidy’….get it?”  And the difference is????

Let’s sort out the mess.

Subsidies are a part of the healthcare law and are for people who are NOT on Medicare.

In traditional Medicare like we have today, you are eligible for the program just because you turn 65. You sign up.  You are NOT given a subsidy/voucher when you enroll.

Medicare as we know it today does NOT send seniors into the private insurance market to buy what they can with the subsidy/voucher they have. The Ryan plan does.

The Ryan plan would also change the eligibility age for Medicare to 67.

Obamacare provides subsidies. Traditional Medicare does NOT.

Ryan uses the language of Obamacare when he calls his voucher a “subsidy.”  This tells me that the new healthcare law must be gaining ground in people’s minds. Ryan wants to draft off of the growing popularity of Obamacare by using a word associated with the healthcare law he has worked to undermine.

A subsidy is very simply, financial assistance.  Subsidies in the healthcare law are for lower income workers between the ages  of 19-64 (NOT Medicare) who do not get insurance through jobs. The individual pays his share of the premium and gets help for the rest.  Otherwise these workers would not have access to health insurance. And their medical debt gets cost-shifted to those paying the premiums. Kaiser Health News has a subsidy calculator.

Many middleclass Americans are uninsured or under-insured. This social disaster wreaks havoc in so many lives. We are the only first-world country where a citizen can go bankrupt from medical debt

 All politicians use wordplay to win audiences. The point?  Know the facts. Make up your own mind.

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