Thursday, October 4, 2012

Romney's Muddled Message On Medicare and Vouchers

Lots of interesting things were said during the first presidential debate tonight, such as the following from Romney, which he stated during the discussion on entitlements:

ROMNEY: And by the way, if the government can be as efficient as the private sector and offer premiums that are as low as the private sector, people will be happy to get traditional Medicare or they'll be able to get a private plan.

I know my own view is I'd rather have a private plan.
This may seem like a small thing, but it's actually a pretty critical point. For years, Romney, his running mate, Paul Ryan, and the Republican Party in general have been arguing about the superiority of the private sector, and the inferiority of virtually everything run by the government. No surprise here, except when you put this within the context of the overall debate on medicare from the Republican side.

Romney and Ryan have taken great pains to assure seniors that their medicare plan wouldn't affect those who are currently 55 and older. The people who are under 55 would have a choice between medicare as it is now, or deciding to take a voucher (or "premium support", as they like to call it) to buy private insurance.
Today, Romney said that he himself would prefer private insurance.

Now, I think it's reasonable to assume that Mitt Romney, like most people, makes decisions based on his own self interest. I would think it's reasonable to assume that Romney, like most people would choose something based on the assumption that the thing they're choosing will be better than the alternative. Therefore, I feel it's reasonable to assume that when Romney says he'd "rather have a private [insurance] plan"  that he truly does think it's better than the alternative: medicare as it already is.

Now you're probably saying, "Of course Romney thinks a private insurance plan is better. He's ALWAYS been saying that! Why the hell is this noteworthy?".

Well, the reason it's noteworthy is because Romney is not offering this supposedly awesome and amazing private insurance option to current seniors. In fact, he's doing the exact opposite, assuring them that those supposedly awesome and amazing private insurance plans will NEVER replace the horrid government run health care program those same seniors are currently using.

Would have been nice if Mr. Lehrer asked Romney why he wants to deprive current seniors of the wonderful opportunities brought by the private sector.

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