Learning From History

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and the author of Governing America: The Revival of Political History, looks at what renewed interest in American political history says about the country.


Julian Zelizer

Comments [16]


I thought I heard Brian say that Medicare recipients could use their "vouchers" to stay in the current Medicare as we know it.

According to this article by Dana Milbank that is not correct:

From the article:

...DeMint and his colleagues think the time to end Medicare is now — with a cold-turkey conversion to a private program, effective in 2014. “I think if Americans actually find out the truth about what we’re doing, it will be a very big positive for Republicans in the fall,” DeMint forecast.

All the details aren't out, but Paul says his plan would cut funding of Medicare by $1 trillion over 10 years and reduce Medicare’s liabilities by $16 trillion. It would do that by enrolling Medicare recipients in the health plan now used by federal workers. The government would pay 75 percent of the insurance premium on average but 30 percent or less for those who earned more than $100,000 a year. The eligibility age would gradually be raised to 70 from 65. If seniors can’t afford their share of the premium, they can apply for Medicaid, the health program for the poor.


With each answer, the senators seemed in danger of sparking an all-out Mediscare in the populace. No, seniors could not opt to keep Medicare as it now exists. Yes, this would sharply increase insurance costs for federal workers.

DeMint’s justification: Medicare will soon be dead anyway. “It is not going to be there in five or 10 years if we don’t do anything,” he reasoned.

End of quotes from the article.

But note the statements that all Medicare recipients would be folded into the Federal employees plan...beginning 2014. Note that recipients could not remain in Medicare, as Medicare will be done away with. By 2014.

I think Ryan and his cronies are trying to kill two birds with one stone: First, the Federal employees health care plan, which, with millions of those in Medicare --in their sixties plus older and very much older, those who have higher health care cost due to, well, aging and failing health-- will face soaring premium costs; and second, Medicare itself.

Third, possibly, will be the elderly, who, unable to afford the soaring costs will give up and die.

Where are the damn ice floes when we really need them?

Where are the Soylent Green factories when we will need them?

Ryan, his Repub cronies, and, fer cryin' out loud, WYDEN??? All working on the US Depopulation Plan of the 20-teens?

Mar. 20 2012 11:55 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Howard: The only problem w/that is that *all* of us would get what the crazies want. Besides, they'd find a way to blame the Democrats.

Smokey: I agree. If they'd remove the income cap, they could even cut the rate of the tax & still have it generate more money for Social Security than it does now. Then we'd just need a way to keep Congress from continuing to (illegally) draw money out of that fund for other expenses.

Mar. 20 2012 11:52 AM

There was a strain of conservatism known as communitarian conservatism which believed in community, spiritual values (often religious), and recognized the importance of a solid social base (investment in education, social security, etc.) so people could reach their full potential. Unlimited money-making was not considered the goal in life. This differed from socialism in that the intent was not the same outcome for everyone, i.e., if you were smarter or worked harder you were more rewarded (and you contributed more to society). Russell Kirk was a proponent of this brand of conservatism.

What we call conservatism today is libertarian conservatism, which stands for unlimited money-making by individuals, no social investment, and no regard for community.

Unfortunately, the libertarian conservative strain predominated, basically starting with Reagan (by today's standards Eisenhower and Nixon would be branded as socialists). If the Republicans get a chance to implement this libertarian conservatism fully, the U.S will become a third world country.

We throw around these terms like conservative without knowing what they really mean.

Mar. 20 2012 11:51 AM
Amy from Manhattan

On the Ryan ad, did anyone see Moyers & Company last night? It was about the crash of the economy after the reversal of the Glass-Steagall Act, & they showed clips of then-Sen. Byron Dorgan warning of the effects of allowing commercial & investment banks to merge. He said in 10 years we'd look back & see what a mistake it was. That was in 1999. Didn't quite take 10 years...I think we need to listen to the warnings now about the changes Rep. Ryan wants to make to Medicare/Medicaid.

Mar. 20 2012 11:35 AM
Reba Shimansky from NY

There is no need to destroy medicare in order to save it.
Medicare is perfectly sustainable just the way it is.
It just needs minor tweaking.
President Obama`s Independent Payment Advisory Board in the Affordable Care Act should be able to hold down costs.
Medicare is not going broke. Those are GOP scare tactics.
My medicare Part B premium was reduced from $115 to $99 in 2012 because medicare costs were overestimated.

Mar. 20 2012 11:32 AM

The way liberal programs are generally passed in this country are by the govt funding beneftits covertly by funneling them through private sector middle men.

All this really does is play into the right wing meme that govt does nothing but waste their money and attribute all good to the private sector.

Mar. 20 2012 11:24 AM
Jenny from Bronx

Healthcare is loaded with fraud (aka cheating the customer) and inefficiency and the money from that inefficiency and fraud finds its way into politicians pockets and creates more inefficiency and fraud.

The only other thing that will create a money making bonanza through inefficiency and fraud as the healthcare system is the public Education system.

Mar. 20 2012 11:23 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

BRAVO, PAUL RYAN !!!!!!!!!!!!

Mar. 20 2012 11:22 AM

Medicare Part C authorizes Medicare Advantage - Medicare HMOs

Mar. 20 2012 11:21 AM
Joseph Bell from fairfield county

Brain asked if there is a Medicare Part C. Medicare Part C encompasses Medicare Managed Care Plans -- HMOs and PPOs for beneficiaries offered exclusively by private insurers.

Mar. 20 2012 11:20 AM
roberta from bk ny

Medicare Part C is actually Medicare Advantage, which absorbs all parts of Medicare, including Part D, the drug plan.

Mar. 20 2012 11:20 AM

What good did Clinton's balanced budget do, when it was blown on Conservative goodies by the following Republican administration?

Mar. 20 2012 11:20 AM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes, NJ

From my book, Ornamentally Incorrect, second edition, Bijoux and Beyond (in the beyond part)

“If you don't stop Medicare, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.”
— Ronald Reagan, from a 1961 LP record recorded for the AMA. 3000 copies of "Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine ” were distributed across the country for use in Operation Coffeecup, coffee-klatches organized by the Women's Auxiliary of the AMA. The Reagan record was played at the gatherings.

Mar. 20 2012 11:16 AM
Howard from NYC

I for one think that the Republican crazy's need to get what they want, no healthcare no social security.
When their parents and grand parents die in pain without access to a place to live or healthcare, they will wises up and get the stupid out of their party.

Mar. 20 2012 11:13 AM

Why are we so reluctant to even discuss the obvious way to fix Social Security - to just raise the contribution limit above $107K? If you're making over $100K, what's the big deal?

Mar. 20 2012 11:12 AM
Edward from NJ

It seems strange that the restructuring of a major government program would be rolled into a budget bill. I don't recall this happening in the past. Is there precedent for this (other than last year's similar bill which went nowhere)?

Mar. 20 2012 11:11 AM

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