Defending The RNC’s Seniors’ Health Care Bill Of Rights

Yesterday, as part of their attack on Obamacare, the RNC came out with a “Seniors’ Health Care Bill Of Rights” and the reception to it on the Right was a little chilly:

PROTECT MEDICARE AND NOT CUT IT IN THE NAME OF HEALTH CARE REFORM: President Obama and Congressional Democrats are promoting a government-run health care experiment that will cut over $500 billion from Medicare to be used to pay for their plan. Medicare should not be raided to pay for another entitlement.

PROHIBIT GOVERNMENT FROM GETTING BETWEEN SENIORS AND THEIR DOCTORS: The Democrats’ government-run health care experiment will give patients less power to control their own medical decisions, and create government boards that would decide what treatments would or wouldn’t be funded. Republicans believe in patient-centered reforms that put the priorities of seniors before government.

PROHIBIT EFFORTS TO RATION HEALTH CARE BASED ON AGE: The Democrats’ government-run health care experiment would set up a “comparative effectiveness research commission” where health care treatment decisions could be limited based on a patient’s age. Republicans believe that health care decisions are best left up to seniors and their doctors.

PREVENT GOVERNMENT FROM INTERFERING WITH END-OF-LIFE CARE DISCUSSIONS: The Democrats’ government-run health care experiment would have seniors meet with a doctor to discuss end-of-life care that could mean limiting treatment. Republicans believe that government should not interfere with end-of-life care discussions between a patient and a doctor.

ENSURE SENIORS CAN KEEP THEIR CURRENT COVERAGE: As Democrats continue to propose steep cuts to Medicare in order to pay for their government-run health care experiment, these cuts threaten millions of seniors with being forced from their current Medicare Advantage plans. Republicans believe that seniors should not be targeted by a government-run health care bill and forced out of their current Medicare coverage.

PROTECT VETERANS BY PRESERVING TRICARE AND OTHER BENEFIT PROGRAMS FOR MILITARY FAMILIES: Democrats recently proposed raising veterans’ costs for the Tricare For Life program that many veterans rely on for treatment. Republicans oppose increasing the burden on our veterans and believe America should honor our promises to them.

This is an artfully worded piece and honestly, if you just look at what the RNC actually said instead of just going, “Ack! They’re defending Medicare,” there’s very little in it for conservatives to disagree with, even in theory.

We certainly shouldn’t be using money from Medicare, which is going broke, for another entitlement. Nor should we be rationing health care based on age. Do we want the government involved in end-of-life decisions between a doctor and a patient? Certainly not. Also, as a general rule, conservatives get huffy about anything that hurts vets. That leaves us with “seniors with being forced from their current Medicare Advantage plans.”

In an ideal world, we would probably move Medicare recipients to some form of subsidized private insurance. However, this isn’t an ideal world. In the real world, every plank of this “Health Care Bill Of Rights” lines up with exactly the policies that the GOP is going to pursue.

If you don’t believe that, imagine a world where the political situation is exactly reversed. Let’s say we have 60 Republican senators, 256 Republicans in the House, and a Republican President. You think they could reform Medicare without a lot of help from the Democrats? Not a chance. Older Americans vote, they tend to trust the Democrats more than Republicans on health care issues, and most of them, whether they are conservative or not, are going to be extremely reluctant to give up one thin dime’s worth of benefits that they’re receiving. So, if Democrats aren’t on board and start screaming, “The Republicans want to deny old people Medicare and leave them to die in the streets,” seniors would immediately turn on the plan. Nobody in politics, if he’s smart, wants to deal with hordes of cranky geezers who think you’re playing political games with their life. Obama’s finding that out now and Republicans in DC, foolish though they are about many things, already understand it.

Yes, we do desperately need to reform Medicare and Social Security. However, those are such explosive political issues that it’s going to genuinely be a two party job. Sadly for our country, until the Democrats get serious about the issue, we’re going to be politically stuck and in the interim, it’s vitally important to the future of our country that we get back in power and stop socialized medicine. This “RNC’s Seniors’ Health Care Bill Of Rights” is a step in that direction and is in line with what we can reasonably expect to accomplish in DC when we get back into power.

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