President Fuck You continues drive to kill people by denying them Medicare
The bright side: Under pressure, the administration has backtracked on its vicious and reprehensible proposal to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. Here's what they're plotting instead. Izvestia:
The proposal also includes $580 billion in adjustments [Nice!] to health and entitlement programs, including $248 billion to Medicare and $72 billion to Medicaid.
Gee, that's great. Medicaid was supposed to be the backstop for all of us who won't be able to afford the junk insurance we're going to be forced to buy under Obamacare. Oh well. And the nature of the cuts? Well, given that the Ds are sneakier and more dishonest than the Rs -- who are quite open and honest about their desire to kill you -- you know it's got to be a complicated Rube Goldberg device, and so of course it is:
Administration officials said 90 percent of the $248 billion in 10-year Medicare cuts would be squeezed from service providers [who will nevertheless maintain the same level of care. Naturellement]. The plan does shift some additional costs to beneficiaries, but those changes would not start until 2017, and administration officials made clear as well that Obama would veto any Medicare cuts that aren't paired with [designdly evadable] tax increases on upper-income people.
To begin with, as usual in kabuki drama with Obama, this is not a baseline, but the top line. The merely awful is the best, and the outcome will be worse. From the same story:
All in all, the president's plan is as much an opening bid as it is a political statement designed to draw contrasts with Republicans, who control the House of Representatives.
As such, it was not intended as a compromise and did not include agreements Obama had reached with House Speaker John Boehner during failed deficit reduction negotiations this summer.
OK, now let's pick it apart.
First, did you notice where the cuts did not fall? That's right. Insurance companies. Under rentier capitalism, it's a moral imperative that parasites like health insurance companies -- who add no value to any transaction in which they engage -- must be enabled to suck the maximum rent from their helpless hosts. Heck, the state even helps strap the host down so the parasite can sink a feeding tube into a vein!
Second, did you notice where the cuts did fall? That's right. Service providers. In other words, if they can't kill you by raising the eligibility age to 67, they'll try to kill you by decreasing the quality of care.
Third, that 2017 date. Am I supposed not to worry about that? What is there about the new normal that gives me a reason not to worry? And isn't that date exactly the kind of thing that Obama would sell us out on in the course of the kabuki "negotiations"?
Finally, did you parse this sentence? "[A]dministration officials made clear as well that Obama would veto any Medicare cuts that aren't paired with tax increases on upper-income people." Sounds great, until you realize that everything is right back on the table. And such a deal! The top 1% trade something they can well afford to give -- some money -- for something the 99% can't afford to lose: Their health and their lives. But that's the kind of compromise President Fuck You excels at, right?
NOTE A sane political class, and a non-sociopathic elite, would be implementing Medicare for All, not cutting Medicare back. That would save the country a minimum of $350 billion a year, and would also save tens of thousands of lives. Of course, it's far more important to Obama that health insurance companies continue to collect rent, and that health insurance CEOs continue to collect fat bonuses, because the Ds really need the money, because, ya know, look over there! I understand this. Also, too, falling life expectancy is a policy objective in Versailles, so win win.
NOTE When I started using rhetoric like that in the headline, I thought it might be over the top -- moi? Lambert? -- as rhetoric, even if the obvious policy outcomes make the rhetoric true. But I'm seeing identical framing everywhere; it's not just me.
The insiders experienced the debt debacle as a sort of watershed or breaking point, the point when the disconnect between Versailles and the rest of the country finally became obvious to at least some of them, but I would bet that in the coffee shops and the bars and the VA posts, raising the Medicare eligibility age was the breaking point. The debt debacle and the proposal to toss elders onto the ice floes all happened at the same time, so causality is hard to determine, but really, the only one who responds "I'm thinking" to "Your money or your life" is Jack Benny.... Medicare, as part of the social contract, is far more important to people than ZOMG!!!! Teh debt!!!! even if, under the careful direction of their bankster owners, the well-insured Versailles courtiers are obsessed with the latter, and regard the human Medicare beneficiaries as mere counters in their games.