Democratic Split Over Medicare

The News media has begun to pick up on back room fighting among rank and file Democrats.  Dems are fighting over whether entitlements should be up for modification to avoid the “fiscal cliff”.  Senator Bernie Sanders is leading one group which oppose any changes to entitlements.  Ironically this gives solace to GOP types trying to make the case that the top 2% should not pay more in taxes.  Bernie clearly thinks they should but his “don’t touch my favorite government spending” makes him a little exposed to hypocrisy charges.

Sanders is actually a long time universal care person.  His opposition to any Medicare or Medicaid cuts, while politically troubling and mathematically foolish, are at the end of the day consistent with his fundamental belief. On Sanders’ web page, one will read:

With more than 47 million Americans without health insurance coverage, it is clear that we need major changes in our country’s health care system.  The United States must join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee health care to every man, woman and child in a cost-effective way.

President Obama probably believes universal health care is the best alternative too.   He may also believe the US will ultimately land there.  The President, however, has concluded now is the time for incremental changes (if there is to be any change at all), and not a complete game changer.  The President must realize that such common sense changes as eliminating “pre-existing conditions”, keeping children on parents health care policies until age 26, and providing full women’s health care coverage are considered by many “a complete game changer” already.

The issue facing Democrats is to ensure a fair and balanced deficit plan is passed.  From the math,  a seventh grader can see that without changes to Medicare and Medicaid funding, expenditures, or both, there is no way to close the deficit.

Bernie is leading a good fight but he might think through whether some incremental improvements might not offer some relief while others think of how to explain to all Americans that they paying twice as much for adequate. but in comparison to other countries, mediocre health care.

 

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