Gardner and Tipton vs. Perlmutter on Medicare Privatization

Discussing the surprise victory this week by Democrat Kathy Hochul in New York’s CD-26 special election, for which credit is broadly being attributed to the Republican 2012 budget proposal and its replacement of Medicare with a voucher system in ten years, we posted video clips of Colorado freshman Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton defending it for posterity.

Tuesday, reports the Colorado Independent’s Scot Kersgaard, Colorado Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter responded to the GOP budget proposal, and attacks on Medicare generally.

“Americans know Medicare didn’t get us into this financial pickle, yet the Republicans in Congress want to pick on Medicare because they’ve never liked the program. Medicare is not harming the financial success of this country, so why are we blaming a program that is working and helping seniors have healthier, longer lives?”

Like we said yesterday after the Senate rejected the “Ryan Plan” with five GOP defections, it’s a very easy choice for us which of these two positions we’d rather run on in 2012. Fortunately for our two freshman Republicans, we haven’t seen any redistricting maps that would pit either of them against Perlmutter–but we expect their challengers will know what to say too.

And now there’s evidence it might really work, like 2010’s “death panels” but based in reality.

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  1. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    Than to watch Ed Perlmutter mop the floor with Cory Gardner in a head-to-head debate. Not so much with Tipton, though, that would just be sad to watch like Muhammad Ali vs. Nelson Muntz.

    Ha ha!

    • ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

      Perlmutter’s good when he isn’t even challenged, but if the other guy gets a couple decent jabs in, he really kicks into high gear and takes them apart. That’s the only thing I don’t dig about how there’s no way anyone’s wasting a promising young Republican on CD7 after Frazier’s failure. Ed’s awesome to watch with a real opponent.

  2. If you want to understand why Ryan Call and his mouthpieces are devoting so much energy to inside-baseball attacks on Brandon Shaffer, look no further. Right now, the one-word comeback to any GOP attack in the Fourth CD is Medicare.

  3. reubenesp says:

    Paul Ryan not likely to run for open Senate seat

    http://publicpolicypolling.blo

  4. 20th Maine says:

    The alternatives are that it’s beneficial or neutral to the federal budget.

    A.  That’s a bigger lie than “I didn’t have sexual relations with that woman.”

    B.  It’s easier to prove.

    C.  If it were true, why did Obama’s budget cut hundreds of billions from the Medicare budget?  (Though, he’s cutting it by cutting the Medicare reimbursements even more, thereby driving costs still higher).

    It amazes me that everyone on this thread is 100% convinced that global warming is man-made and yet none of you think Medicare is detrimental to the budget.

    2012 is likely to lean Democrat because Obama will run a good re-election campaign.  Add that to the slightly high GOP numbers (as a result of the wave in 2010) and the Dems should make modest gains.

    Maybe the Medicare line of attack will work and they’ll make major gains.  But I like that (so far) the majority of GOP is sticking to its guns and pointing out the giant elephant in the room that the Dems aren’t willing to admit to.

    Dems are taking the politically expedient route of telling seniors that the GOP plan will drastically change/ end Medicare for them.  While that is 100% false, it doesn’t stop Dems from pushing it.  Meanwhile, Dem leadership is literally out there saying that they don’t plan to change anything.

    Do you guys really believe that shit (that Medicare is good for the budget) or do you gain something from the eventual shitstorm?

    You can’t possibly be reasonable or sentient and say that Medicare, as is, is good for consumers, providers or  taxpayers.  No one says that!  The best you can find are old people who are scared of any alternative and consequently defend the existing program.

    • Fidel's dirt nap says:

      because they’re expenses !  

      You think a broke senior citizen holding a $ 500 voucher in his hand facing a $ 50,000 procedure is good for taxpayers or consumers ?

      You are right about one thing though. It is good for ” providers “, only at the expense of everyone else.

      • droll says:

        we’re making old, useless folks live longer. Hear me out. By having a strong healthcare program we are also raiding Social Security (whoops, I mean more than Bush), withholding estate tax, paying more for our golf course property, and using more car insurance premiums to pay for fender benders.

        The conservatives can fix all of this by having a universal death panel. The answer is always “die, sucker, die.” Thus saving the budget and many car bumpers.

        It sure is fun to watch people argue on both sides. We either pay to keep seniors healthy/heal them, or we let them die with a voucher in hand… next to their foreclosure papers. Those are the options. Fund or watch them die. Even if we make things super efficient, which I’ve not heard any good ideas on lately, we still have to fund. That’s it. It’s not difficult.

        Sigh, FDN. Outside of election woo-hooing, doesn’t this crap just wear you out?

      • 20th Maine says:

        First of all, you mean senior in 2022 since the Ryan changes wouldn’t affect a senior now.

        Second, the senior wouldn’t be stuck with a voucher that doesn’t cover the cost.  He can shop around.  If he’s got $500, he can pick the $750, $500 or $250 procedure.

        The competition among providers will drive the costs down.

        Your scenario doesn’t help anyone b/c the providers would never get a taker if they priced themselves too high.  

        Ironically, you somewhat describe the current Medicare scheme.  Except now, the doctor gets short-changed by the govt. – so he drives up the costs to everyone else (those not on Medicare) to cover his shortfall.

        Costs rise faster, harming everyone (taxpayer, consumers, providers) except the Medicare recipient.  He gets screwed when doctors are forced to stop accepting Medicare because of the afforementioned problems.  Now he has less access to care.

        Great program you all are endorsing.

        • droll says:

          isn’t the best way to go about this. What you’re basically saying is that I’m fucked and all the money I’ve already poured into it is gone. Me literally. And of course my mom. But grandma is OK!

          But hey, deeming a program unworkable because you don’t want to put effort into efficiencies is certainly easier. I mean other than all those bills the GOP has offered to fix our healthcare system, bringing everyone’s price for everything down. Those were great. Like that time I meant Santa and he gave me a pretty pony that lives on starlight and dreams.

          Killing off old people is the easiest solution. Yay easy! Unless I’m missing your point. Because if your point is no government = lower prices, we already know that isn’t true. We only have to look at every other part of healthcare. Or nearly any other industry.

          • 20th Maine says:

            Efficiencies can fix everything.  This is awkward- You saying that they can and me saying they can’t.  At least not in Medicare.  In this case, the system is fatally flawed.  100% efficiency couldn’t save it.

            Though I’m pretty sure price controls have proven to be a loser, I wasn’t saying that govt. shouldn’t have a role.  But by intentionally short-changing doctors on Medicare reimbursements, they are driving costs way up.  The system needs to be reformed.

            • droll says:

              See PR’s comment. And then source.

              And then find where any GOP bill has addressed anything you just said in a meaningful way that doesn’t leave seniors dead.

              Basically what you seem to be counting on is that Medicare is keeping healthcare costs at like quadruple what they should be. What happens when that’s not true?

              Stop advocating death for seniors. It’s just rude.

        • allyncooper says:

          The competition among providers will drive the costs down.

          Health insurance premiums have increased annually usually by double digit percentages the past ten years in a supposedly competitive market of providers.

          And why are countries who have universal single payer plans spending 10% – 12% of their GDP while the US is now paying about 16% of GDP on health care?

        • Colorado PolsColorado Pols says:

          Just go to Dr. Nick for the $129.99 surgery.

          Shopping for medical care isn’t like shopping for a new TV. Nor should it be. If you buy a $100 TV and it turns out to be a piece of crap, then you’re out $100. If you go to the cheapest doctor you can find and he turns out to be a quack — then what?  

          • 20th Maine says:

            Just like he would now.  It’s a fairly heavily regulated industry and no one is talking about changing the consumer protections.  On the other hand, it will do a lot to bring down costs.

            I assume you choose the generic medicine over the brand name when you have the option?  How is that different?

            • PERA hopeful says:

              I don’t think so.  I think they get sued for malpractice and their insurance company pays.  But I also don’t think that answers Pols’ question, which to all normal people is, “What happens to the quack’s patient?”  Answer: Worse off than before or dead, right?

              I choose the generic medicine … when the professional who wrote my prescription says it’s as good as the brand name.  But if I’m having severe chest pains in the middle of the night, or if I am bleeding profusely from an orifice, or if I fall off my bike and break my arm, how do you propose that I shop around for the most effective generic doctor?

    • Ralphie says:

      By eliminating Medicare Advantage, a Bush-era gold-plated giveaway to the insurance lobby.  Basic Medicare is intact.

      • 20th Maine says:

        From your beloved NY Times yesterday:

        Democrats don’t like to admit this, but President Obama’s health care law reduces Medicare spending by more than $500 billion through 2019. This is done mostly by reducing the increases in payments to providers and cutting Medicare Advantage plans.

        And from Wiki:

        Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 does not eliminate Medicare Advantage, it does do away with the subsidies which the federal government first used to establish the Medicare Advantage program and which many Medicare Advantage health insurance plans use to offer supplemental benefits. These subsidies (which added an additional $14 billion to the Medicare program last year alone) will gradually be reduced until they are eliminated altogether.

        Sooo, you get a moral victory.  Afterall, $14B out of $500B is still more than nothing!

        • AristotleAristotle says:

          about the GOP preserving the oil tax breaks? Not to threadjack – I’m curious if anyone on your side sees why that might have been a bad move as far as balancing the budget and addression the national debt goes.

          • 20th Maine says:

            But I honestly don’t know a lot about the oil tax breaks.  It was my impression that they aren’t that big in the grand scale of things.

            Meanwhile, gas prices continue to fall.  Should ‘big oil’ get credit for being so charitable to the public?  We all know that gas prices aren’t driven whimsically by producers.

            All the charts I’ve seen on the profitability of major industries show ‘big oil’ somewhere in the middle.

            But I don’t know if they should continue to get the breaks or not.

    • How might Medicare be financially helping this country?

      1. It has a 1-5% overhead (depending on the study you listen to), compared to a 15-35% overhead (depending on the company) for private insurance.  That means more of the covered person’s dollars actually go to medical care.  That’s financially good for the country – unless you like insurance companies a lot.

      2. Institutionally, there’s more pressure on Medicare and Medicaid to control costs.  Since the US has the least competitive health care system in the developed world, anything we can do to make it more competitive would be financially good for the country, and for our nation’s businesses.

      3. Medicare is keeping the costs of our private insurance under control.  By taking our most expensive to insure citizens out of the private pool, private insurance costs are lower than they would be otherwise.  This, last I checked, is very good financially for our nation’s business – and I’m told that freeing up our nation’s businesses from unnecessary expenses will result in greater tax revenues and a healthier government.

      The problem with Republican thinking appears to be that any money collected by the government disappears into some black hole and provides no benefit to our society (be that individuals or corporations), and that is necessarily too much money in any event.  Which means you can make asinine statements asking why Obama “has to” cut Medicare spending if Medicare is so good for the economy.

      • 20th Maine says:

        #1.  Legitimate citation please.

        #2.  What is ‘institutional pressure.’  You mean middle managers yelling at govt. employees to keep the costs down?  Are you familiar with the term ‘monopsony?’  I’m sure the govt. employees are well-intentioned, but their sentiments don’t drive costs anywhere.  It’s a fundamental flaw in the system that needs addressed.  (Were you serious about this one?).

        #3.  False.  It drives up costs for everyone.  You act like insurers don’t pass on costs to consumers.

        Here’s a primer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

        • 1.

           A. Medicare Overhead

             i. Medicare itself cites a 2% overhead.

             ii. The Council for Affordable Health Insurance (CAHI), a pro-private insurance group, adjusts that figure for the administrative costs of Medicare borne by doctors etc. and comes up with 5.2%.  It also states that tax collection is not included in this figure, but does not attempt to place a value on that.

             iii. Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP), a single-payer advocacy group, doesn’t dispute this number.

           B. Private Insurance Overhead

             i. Private insurers themselves have indicated to Congress that most of them could not meet a target of 15% administrative overhead during discussion of the health care debate, and that many of them would have to make improvements to make the 20% overhead requirements of the PPACA.

             ii.  The CAHI places the overhead for private insurers at 16.7 percent (including profit, etc.).

             iii. PNHP notes that CAHI’s figures make biased assumptions, but accepts them as face value for purposes of comparison – after all, 5.2% is less than a third of 16.7%.

             iv. PHNP also notes that CAHI’s figures do not include the administrative overhead for doctors and hospitals processing private insurance payments (which is how CAHI came up with the 5.2% figure for Medicare).  PNHP cites a separate study from a group called Health Affairs (a peer-reviewed journal for medical practitioners) that says private insurance administration (excluding health-related functions) accounts for 21% of premium costs on average.

          2. By “institutional pressure” I mean the public oversight that we’re seeing at its most extreme right now.

          3. The HA study I mentioned above cites the average monthly medical premium (per person) for private plans at $177/month, while Medicare is $650/month.  If private insurers were to take on Medicare patients, it would drive up the premiums on all current customers to account for the influx of sicker people.  Of course, this assumes your solution actually forces insurers to take former Medicare patients.  The alternative is, at least to me, unthinkable.

  5. morgancarroll says:

    He’s a fighter in the best sense.  He is never afraid to call BS on BS. We’re lucky to have him there.

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