Sweet-Talking Plans To Destroy Social Security, Medicare, & Medicaid
For decades now, Republicans have wanted to cut and destroy Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, even though these programs are incredibly efficient and help keep our elderly, disabled, and poor from extreme poverty.
Republicans want to issue cash vouchers and force everyone to buy their own health insurance and retirement investment plans from private companies.
Trump has already allowed health insurance companies to charge more to people with pre-existing conditions and to offer less comprehensive policies without things like physical therapy, mental health treatment, or prescription medicines.
If we end up giving people cash vouchers, our government will give Americans a small check and in effect, say “You’re on your own, sucker! Go try to find a good health insurance plan.”
This would save their billionaire donors plenty of tax money. It would also let the billionaires profit from investing in the new private companies on Wall Street. These companies would charge fees and interest and create new, lucrative executive positions.
Letting private companies take over would, of course, cut our health and retirement checks to produce these profits for millionaires and billionaires.
Of course, Republicans won’t say any of this! Instead, they pretend Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are broke, going bankrupt, fatally flawed, or doomed to death spirals.
They call these programs “entitlements” to make it seem like a government handout that many people don’t deserve. Actually, most people have earned these benefits by paying into Medicare and Social Security their entire working lives. We should call these programs “earned benefits.”
Republicans plan to begin by attacking Medicaid. It is the easiest target because most people think it only serves poor people.
Actually, Medicaid covers 1 in 4 Americans, with 60% of the money going to elderly, disabled, and mentally ill people, very often from middle-class homes. It pays for most long-term care, most old people in nursing homes, and most people with dementia.
Medicaid covers health care for 40% of all children, many in the middle class, and 75% of poor children. Medicaid covers nearly half of all births in the US and 75% of the births of poor children. It is also the largest provider of mental health care in the US.
By paying for these services, Medicaid supports most of the middle class so that the family and loved ones of all these people don’t have to pay for their care. By taking care of these extremely expensive needs, it greatly lowers the cost of Medicare and private health insurance for everyone.
Republicans claim to want to “save,” “fix,” “reform,” or “modernize” Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare by giving people “access” and more “choice” with “premium support” (vouchers) and by turning the programs into block grants to let states “creatively experiment” and “improve” the programs.
When Republicans say “access,” they don’t mean everyone gets access to services. They just mean access for those who can afford to pay whatever private insurance companies want to charge. As Bernie Sanders said, “We all have access to buy one of Donald Trump’s mansions, but we can’t all afford them.”
Republicans always propose cuts to Medicare that begin a few years down the road, so they can claim “no current Medicare beneficiaries will be affected.” They try to hide the fact that when these new changes do kick in, it will affect current beneficiaries.
If we push younger, healthier seniors into private plans using vouchers, everyone on Medicare will see their own premiums rise dramatically. Before long, all those people who earned Medicare and counted on it may soon find it unaffordable.
Block Grants To “Improve” Public Programs Destroy Them
We’ve already seen the disastrous results when states get money in block grants to “creatively experiment” and “improve” public programs. Bill Clinton’s welfare reform law did this but no state experimented and made any successful innovations connecting poor families to work.
Instead, states ended up using much of the money for other purposes. Now only about 1/4th of federal money for welfare nationwide goes to basic assistance for poor families with children. Another 1/4th of the money goes to childcare for poor families or to connect welfare families to jobs.
Ten states spend less than 10% of the money on basic assistance for poor families with children! In 8 states, less than 1/4th the money goes to basic assistance, child care, and work activities combined!
Also, if you don’t adjust the federal money for inflation each year, it loses its value greatly over time. Bill Clinton’s welfare reform money has lost 1/3 of its value since 1997.
The old welfare (AFDC) would expand its caseloads during recessions. The new welfare (TANF) did not expand during the Great Recession. In fact, when unemployment was up to 8.5% in 2011 at the end of our economic crisis, nearly 1/3 of states assisted fewer families than at the start of the Great Recession.
Because of the welfare reform block grants to states, the percentage of children in poverty getting assistance plummeted from 68% to 23%. The number of children in deep poverty increased almost 50%. And families in extreme poverty (less than $2 per person per day) doubled overall and tripled among single-parent families.
The Republican plan to convert Medicaid to block grants would slash Medicaid funding by 33% by the year 2026.
After sabotaging Social Security (see our petition on Strengthen Social Security and Medicare), Republicans now use the long waits for assistance & disability decisions they themselves caused to argue for overhauling and privatizing it.
The Debt, Deficit, Bankrupt Excuse Is Total Nonsense
Republicans pretend Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid must be reformed because they’re the source of all our terrible debt or deficit spending bankrupting our economy.
Yet these same politicians were happily celebrating adding $1.5 trillion to our debt to give billionaires extra tax breaks. Just read our article about Corrupt Politician Puppets Of Greedy Billionaires to see how little they really care about deficit spending.
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