Monday, October 22, 2012

David Gregory Wins the Award For Best Sunday Talk Show Moderator For Today

No, the title is not sarcastic, though it's not something to brag about either.

Actually, I take it back. Gregory managed to ask a question that even good news pundits haven't so far, so credit where credit's due. The question dealt with the Ryan/Romney plan for medicare.

From the beginning one of the biggest and most fundamental problems with the Republicans plan was that they were trying to sell this idea that the private insurance that people could buy with specialized coupons and gift certificates would be infinitely better than the socialized atrocity that  is medicare. While at the same time trying to reassure seniors who are already using the program as is, that they (the Republicans) wouldn't dare get the government out of medicare.

Now, that doesn't really make a lot of sense, does it? If vouchers and private insurance are so awesome, then why deprive seniors of the brilliance of the free market? And it seems ole' Greggers was thinking the same thing (skip to 9:08):

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GREGORY: Let me ask you about another big issue in your state, you know it well, and that’s the issue of Medicare. What we do about the fact that Medicare is going broke and that something has to be done with-- with health care costs that affect the Medicare program. There’s a Romney ad that features you and this is a portion of it.

(Videotape; Campaign Ad)

SEN. RUBIO: My mother’s eighty-one and depends on Medicare. We can save Medicare without changing hers, but only if younger Americans accept that our Medicare will be different than our parents when we retire in thirty years. But after all they did for us, isn’t that the least we can do?

(End videotape)
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GREGORY: So what the Romney-Ryan ticket wants to do is change Medicare by offering premium support or a voucher to seniors to be able to purchase health care in the private market, choices of health care plans under Medicare including traditional Medicare. But you said, as a forty-one-year-old, thirty years from now, when we retire. But that’s not accurate, Senator, their plan would actually make these changes in ten years. So if you’re a senior, if you’re fifty-five years old, you have to think about the impact of these policies. If they have the right idea, why not do it now? Why not put these changes in place and affect your mother’s Medicare right now?

SEN. RUBIO: Well, first of all, because I think it’s doable without disrupting my mother’s Medicare and people in her generation. In the ad I was describing the impact it would have on people like me on my generation, and the truth is our Medicare is going to look different. We’re going to have more choices. Ours is probably going to be adjusted for how wealthy we are when we retire. Wealthy people will get less of a premium support. We’re going to have more options. It’s still going to be the best plan in the world. This is just going to a little different than what our parents have.

GREGORY: But if it was such a good idea, why not say to your mom, hey, look, you’ve to realize that we’re-- this system is going broke. You have to make the adjustment now, and it’s going to be great for you. You’re not going to have to pay anymore or is there fear that doing that would actually make your mom pay more?

SEN. RUBIO: Because two things, number one, if you’re eighty-one years old like my mom, you really-- you can’t afford and you can’t sustain the disruptiveness of an immediate change to her plan. Number one, they’ve paid into that plan all of these years. They retired with that promise. And at eighty-one years of age, you’re not in a position now all of a sudden accept wholesale changes to the way the health care is delivered for you. And that’s exactly-- that kind of disruptive change is what we’re trying to avoid. And the sooner we change, the sooner we go ahead and-- and put some of these measures in plus-- place, the less likely it will be that anyone that’s a current beneficiary will have to be disrupted. And that’s why it’s so troubling that the president has failed to put forward any agenda for the next four years including one that shows how you save Medicare. Where is the president’s plan to save Medicare? Is it now a pretty good time to offer it? I mean, what is he waiting for?

I don't say this very often, Dave, but good job.

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