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(9,387 posts)
Sun Jul 26, 2015, 09:32 PM Jul 2015

Jeb Bush now says he wouldn’t ‘phase out’ Medicare.

Jeb has repeated difficulty saying what he means. Because family syntax.

And besides that, his BHAGS ("big hairy audacious goals&quot are colossal failures.

We heard with profound displeasure, the latest Jeb Bush utterings this past week, that he thinks that Medicare should be "phased out".

Now, he's being forced to walk it back, as the sheer nonsense that it is.

Hey, I was taken out of context! I just want to reform the system!

This is what he's saying now, and it's basically a repackaged version of his original opinion.

“It’s an actuarially unsound health care system,” said Bush, who said something must be done before the system burdens future generations with $50 billion of debt. “Social Security is an underfunded retirement system; people have put money into it, for sure.

“The people that are receiving these benefits, I don’t think that we should touch that; but your children and grandchildren are not going to get the benefit of this that they believe they’re going to get, or that you think they’re going to get, because the amount of money put in compared to the amount of money the system costs is wrong.”

Bush hasn’t yet released his plan to phase out/reform Medicare, but given these comments it seems likely he’ll embrace something like what Paul Ryan has been advocating for years. It involves changing Medicare from a guaranteed single-payer government insurance plan into a voucher plan, in which the government gives senior citizens a set amount of money with which they can go out and get private health insurance. It saves money by limiting the value of that voucher, so if it’s less than what coverage actually costs, well, tough luck. In that way, it eliminates the central promise of Medicare, which is that every American senior citizen will have health coverage.

Bush's argument is:

'....because of skyrocketing costs the program is doomed, so privatization is the only way to make sure it’s there for your kids. But don’t worry, current seniors, we won’t touch your Medicare! Which is one of the ironies of their argument: the free market is supposed to make everything wonderful, but they fall all over themselves to promise senior citizens that they won’t disturb the big-government, socialist program that seniors love.'

Now on to the cost question. As it happens, the Medicare Trustees just released their annual report on the future of the program. And as Kevin Drum noted, things are looking a lot sunnier than they were a few years ago:

Ten years ago, Medicare was a runaway freight train. Spending was projected to increase indefinitely, rising to 13 percent of GDP by 2080. This year, spending is projected to slow down around 2040, and reaches only 6 percent of GDP by 2090. Six percent! That’s half what we thought a mere decade ago. If that isn’t spectacular, I don’t know what is.

Those are projections for what’s going to happen decades from now, so things are doubtless going to change. But the presumption of the Republican argument is that Medicare is eventually going to eat the entire federal budget, and so we have no choice but to fundamentally alter it. And that’s just not true.

Let’s not forget that at the same time Republicans cry that Medicare is unaffordable and so must be dismantled, they fight any effort to actually lower costs in a rational way. For instance, they’re adamantly opposed to comparative effectiveness research, which involves looking at competing treatments and seeing which ones actually work better. That this isn’t something Medicare already takes into account sounds ridiculous, but it’s true. If there are two medications for a particular ailment that are equally effective, but one costs $100 a year and one costs $100,000 a year, wouldn’t it make sense for Medicare to 1) find that out, and 2) make coverage decisions accordingly? But Republicans have said no — Medicare should just pay for both, no matter what it costs.

And, it's funny, how Republicans' rejection of any effort at cost control for Medicare would play into the story of how a close former associate of Jeb Bush was able to pull off the biggest theft of Medicare funds in the history of the program, and remain on the run as a fugitive today. Yes, Miguel Ricarey, and he now lives in Spain. Gotta keep those federal spigots flowing to Bush's associates and friends; cost overspending in Medicare is a GOOD thing for them, because it's easier to steal from it. Now, we can see why Republicans run for the hills when someone asks about cost containment for the Medicare program. Uh-uh, no way. Wouldn't be prudent.

It's also notable that Jeb's chosen home of Miami is perhaps the top hotspot in the country for Medicare fraud. Just noticing.

Republicans also oppose the most significant effort to reduce Medicare costs in decades, something called the Affordable Care Act, which included all kinds of provisions meant to achieve this goal. Perhaps most critically, the law starts a move away from the fee-for-service model, in which doctors and hospitals make more money the more procedures they do, to a model where they get paid a single rate for treating a patient. Under the fee-for-service model, if your hospital screws up, you get an infection, and you have to get re-admitted, they make more money; the ACA actually punishes them for that, giving them a greater incentive to provide better and less expensive care.

But Republicans not only want to repeal the ACA, which means repealing all those kinds of payment provisions, they have nothing much to say about how, specifically, we might save money in Medicare. Their only answer is that if we privatize it, the magic of the market will produce savings. Of course, if that were true America would have the cheapest health care system in the advanced world, since ours is already more private than in any other similar country. And yet we don’t — ours is far and away the most expensive, and that’s precisely because the market has failed.

So to sum up, this is the Republican argument on Medicare: We absolutely can’t do anything in particular that would bring down the cost of Medicare, but the cost of Medicare is so outrageous that we have no choice but to privatize it.

Or, in other words, we have to destroy Medicare in order to strengthen it. This is classic Bushspeak.

All this reminds me of the 1994 Florida Governor's race, between Governor Lawton Chiles and a 41-year old Jeb Bush. After losing to Chiles, Jeb and Poppy whined about "dirty tricks" by the Chiles campaign, in making calls to Democratic voters prior to the election, to warn them that Jeb Bush wanted to dismantle Medicare. 'Not true, not true!', Jeb! sniveled.

The calls, possibly as many as 684,000, went to senior citizens in Pinellas, Pasco, Sarasota, Polk, Orange, Manatee and Palm Beach counties. Callers advised seniors that Republican Jeb Bush was no friend of elderly Floridians because he opposed Medicare and wanted to abolish Social Security.


Some of the calls labeled Bush a tax cheat and said he profited at taxpayer expense from business deals involving failed savings and loans.

Before a Tampa debate in November 1994, Lawton Chiles and Jeb Bush shake hands. (Times Photo (1994) | Jim Stem)

WELL. Governor Chiles (RIP) knew Jeb Bush then. And we know him now.

A Savings and Loan Bailout, and Bush's Son Jeb, NYT, October 14, 1990

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13— After Jeb Bush, a son of the President, and a partner bought a Miami office building using money an associate had borrowed from a local savings and loan, the Federal Government wound up repaying most of the loan.

The savings institution became insolvent, and the Government paid more than $4 million to make good the loan as part of the bailout of the savings industry. Mr. Bush and his partner negotiated a settlement with regulators in which they repaid $505,000 and retained control of the building. While they still have a $7 million mortgage to pay on that property, the settlement with the Government lifted from their backs a $4.565 million second mortgage.

There is no evidence that Mr. Bush or his partner improperly influenced the settlement process. Mr. Bush, in an interview, said he was a ''victim of circumstance'' and had no involvement in the settlement talks.


Jeb Bush's dealings in Miami are not related to those of his brother Neil, who was a director of the Silverado Banking, Savings and Loan Association in Denver. Neil Bush, who is 35, defended himself last month in Denver on civil charges by the Government that he acted improperly in his role as a director of Silverado, which failed in 1988 after making questionable loans, including some to Neil Bush's business associates.

It is now 21 years after Governor Chiles pulled the curtain back on Jeb Bush, and Jeb Bush is, indeed, determined to dismantle Medicare, bulldoze Social Security (just like his brother tried and failed to do), and to keep his cronies in the money.

For the candidate who wants us to forget his last name; his brother's spectacular failure in the White House; his father's and brother's long history of nasty political campaigns; his own role in stopping the votes from being counted for Al Gore in Florida in 2000...

well, we can assure Mr. Jeb Bush that many of us have long memories.

And all of this leads to one inescapable conclusion. Barney was the smart one.

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Jeb Bush now says he wouldn’t ‘phase out’ Medicare. (Original Post) seafan Jul 2015 OP
*phew!* for a second there I thought he'd go after Medicare MisterP Jul 2015 #1
Jebbie was for Medicare before he was against it ... lpbk2713 Jul 2015 #2


(42,795 posts)
2. Jebbie was for Medicare before he was against it ...
Mon Jul 27, 2015, 12:07 AM
Jul 2015

and then against it ... and then for it ... and then ...

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