Aging & Attitude
“Hardball” with Chris Matthews is on the television as I join Mr. Wonderful on the couch to snuggle. The urgent tone in Matthew’s voice compels me to listen. A heated discussion about Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as a VP running mate is taking place, analyst predict Ryan’s budget cuts will intensify the political fight over Medicare.
By commercial time I feel stupid, have difficulty following the ping-pong conversation and question what I can follow, as not making sense.
What fight over Medicare? Every republican in the House and Senate, including Paul Ryan signed into law Obama’s cuts to Medicare Providers (insurance companies, hospitals, nursing homes and drug companies).
Oops, right the 2012 budget was never passed on July 31st, a continuing resolution was approved.
“Oh wait, wait, don’t tell me,” Romney says he will not sign the bill into effect if elected.
After the break I turn up the volume and lean in to concentrate.
Chris Matthews introduces Ezra Klein,a political columnist for the Washington Post, and David Leonhardt, Washington bureau chief of New York Times, to clarify the politics of scaring people especial baby boomers.
Matthew insists Leonhardt delineate Obama, Romney and Ryan on Medicare for viewers.
Delineate sounds dangerous and I am nervous but Leonhardt delivers the difference clearly, with a smile. It is simple without all the political double talk.
- Obama keeps a single payer government system with cuts to provider management and an emphasis on quality care in the future.
- Paul Ryan voted yes for all of Obama’s cuts (“only because Obama did first”) but in ten years wants to move to a voucher system, aka, premium support e.g. a check sent to Mr/Ms Senior Citizen to shop around for a provider.
- Romney wants the voucher system in ten years, but not the cuts in the 2013 Budget/ resolution deal, he will veto when brought to a vote in March 2013 if elected. (Republicans are foxy.)
Ezra Klein confirms the points and reiterates that Obama makes modest changes, the voucher plan is radical; and all three politicians predict the same path of growth in Medicare but look for savings in very different ways for the entitlement program.
The term entitlement blurs my mind and triggers thoughts of stupidity. I know I’m entitled to Social Security and Medicare benefits because for the past fifty years I and my employer have contributed to the fund. We had a deal; give Uncle Sam part of your pay weekly and the money will be returned for retirement and medical coverage.
Why do I feel caught with my hand in the cookie jar?
Wait, wait don’t tell me, I’ll get my money back but what is left will not cover the costs of Medicare so cuts are mandatory.
Let me get my pea size brain around this with an analogy I can relate to.
I put aside $100 to buy a dress, when I go to buy the dress it costs $115. There is only $55 in the kitty because my sister Judy borrowed money to buy designer shoes, consequently, the dress costs too much. If Judy returns the designer shoes the dress becomes affordable.
Wait, wait don’t tell me, Judy has already worn the shoes so I have to shop around for a much cheaper dress (something under $55); what retires, now fifty-five will do in ten years according to a voucher plan.
Am I stupid or are people fifty-five and younger being thrown under a bus? …just asking