Why the Senate rejected Ryan’s plan

Click on After Senate’s Medicare Vote, Ryan Remains Unbowed for a National Public Radio interview with Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican chair of the House Budget Committee.

Click on Ryan Budget Would Increase Health Care Spending for Medicare Beneficiaries for analysis by Paul N. Van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Click on Sharing Costs is No Way to Fix Medicare for analysis by Peter Orzag for Bloomberg News.

I spent the morning visiting a friend in her 80s.  During the past 20 years, she has been a devoted volunteer teacher in New York state prisons and now intends to join Literacy Volunteers.  She depends on Social Security for income, and on Medicare and Medicaid, plus free hearing aids from the Lions Club, for most of her medical expenses.  She has grown children who help her out, but they themselves are struggling in the current bad economy.

She holds no financial assets, and she contributes nothing to the bottom line of any corporation, so, if your only values are economic values, her life is worthless and her Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are a waste of taxpayers’ money.  If human life has intrinsic value and not just monetary value, then maybe we should not be so eager to get rid of those programs.

Economics writer Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., mentions on his web log that the projected Medicare shortfall over the next 75 years is 0.27 of a percent per year.  In contrast, military spending during the past 10 years has increased 1.6 percent a year.  In other words, the annual increase in military spending has six times as great an impact on the federal budget deficit as Medicare spending.

Click on Beat the Press for Dean Baker’s full comment.

Click on Medicare Trustees Report Summary for details.

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