Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rogers Lying About His Vote to End Medicare

Lying is second nature to Republican Mike Rogers, but even for him, his recent email to voters in Michigan's 8th Congressional Dsitrict regarding his vote to end Medicare stuns anyone who understands what he actually voted for.

Rogers, of course, voted for the Paul Ryan budget in the U.S. House which ends Medicare and gives senior citizens a voucher that will cover about a third of the cost of their insurance and forces them to try to find a private insurance company that is foolish enough to want to pay the health care costs of old, sick people with multiple pre-existing conditions.

But Rogers doesn't want anybody to know that he voted to end Medicare because that will upset vast numbers of his constituents. So instead of admitting what he has done, Rogers told them he had voted to "protect Medicare."

Then, he had the audacity to claim:

"The budget proposal would make all Medicare services operate more like Medicare Part D, the successful prescription drug program. This would provide retirees with a comprehensive health insurance plan, paid for by the federal government, where doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies are all forced to compete for your business. This is the same type of plan that members of Congress and all federal employees have today."

Actually, it is not the same type of plan that members of Congress and all federal employees have today. Not at all. The premiums paid by the federal government for Rogers' own health plan go up according to the average increase in health insurance premiums, which track increases in health care costs. Under the Medicare-ending bill Rogers voted for, what the federal government would pay for seniors' health care coverage would go up only as fast as the consumers' price index, which is much lower than health care inflation. So the federal government would be paying less and less for seniors' health care, and seniors would be paying more and more, if they can afford it. This is not at all the plan Rogers has for himself.

Then Rogers says:

"This proposal has the potential to inject competition into Medicare to reduce prices and improve the quality of care." Actually, no it won't. Congress already tried to get private companies to insure the elderly and it didn't work. In the Clinton administration, Republicans were so sure that private companies wanted into the market insuring the old and the sick that they insisted that Medicare be changed to allow people to buy policies from private companies instead of Medicare. But it didn't happen. Not until the Bush administration, when Congress gave private insures subsidies that amounted to 14 percent more than what the federal government pays per Medicare recipient. Even an insurance industry source says companies will compete for only the younger and healthier senior citizens. Even then, the costs will be higher because private insurance companies won't have the advantage of the lower, negotiated rates that Medicare limits providers to.

Rogers caps his lies about ending Medicare with an admission that part of the program is all about sparing him and fellow Republicans any immediate political pain for what they have done.

"It would be implemented beginning in 2022, saving Medicare for future retirees. Most importantly, it would not impact Medicare benefits for anyone over 55 years old today – period."

In other words, today's senior citizens are being told not to worry, don't vote against me for this, while Rogers and his fellow Republicans are counting on younger people not understanding what was stolen from them until it's too late.

Rogers also fails to point out that some senior citizens will be totally uncovered starting in 2022. Those who are between the ages of 65 and 67 will get absolutely nothing -- not even the reduced voucher and certainly not Medicare as we know it. Nothing. Although full Social Security benefits for younger Americans will not be available until age 67, they can still get reduced benefits, but for health care, under Ryan's plan, they get zilch. But of course they won't find this out until Ryan -- and Rogers -- are hopefully long gone from the political scene.

Rogers then has the audacity to claim: "You have spent your working life planning for retirement and the federal government must keep the promises it has made to you."

If he believes that, why did he vote for this plan?

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