I never really thought I’d see the day when Americans would choose to let government make decisions for them over their ability to choose for themselves. That is what we would be doing if we were to leave Medicare on the status quo trajectory instead of listening to Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America” plan.
Let me be clear: Ryan’s plan doesn’t go far enough. For instance, it takes over two decades to actually balance the budget and start paying down the national debt. But if it’s an incremental step, at least it is an incremental step in the right direction.
Amazingly, the Democrats in Washington — including our very own Congressman Ben Chandler — have been decrying this moderate plan to tackle America’s biggest fiscal issues as though it were the wholesale slaughter of nursing home residents. Indeed, one Democrat backed organization even ran an ad that depicted a Ryan look-alike pushing an elderly lady off the edge of a cliff in a wheelchair.
The same party that decried vitriolic rhetoric following the tragic Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s shooting in Tucson is engaging in some of the most over the top, ridiculous fearmongering to play out in the political arena in a generation.
While the Democrats scream that Ryan’s plan “ends Medicare as we know it,” perhaps they don’t want you to know what “Medicare as we know it” really is. Put simply, Medicare will be broke in less than a decade if we don’t address it now, which means the Democrats’ plan is to end Medicare altogether, slowly.
Much of the misinformation coming from the Democrats regarding Ryan’s plan centers on his concept of a voucher system.
Under Ryan’s plan, upon qualification for Medicare, you will be presented with an annual health care voucher for $15,000 and an array of private providers from which to choose. Instead of relying on the government to make your health care decisions for you, you become the customer again. This brings accountability one step closer to you. Rather than some anonymous board making decisions for you, you will have more control.
For those who are low income and need more than $15,000 per year to cover the cost of their health care, they will receive subsidies. For those who have the assets, they may have to pay some or all of the difference.
Ironically the Democrats who are demonizing Ryan’s plan find themselves demonizing their own policy goals. How long have they been whining about “taxing the rich at a higher rate”? Ryan’s plan simply requires those who have the means to pay a little for their health care while subsidizing those who do not. Isn’t that exactly what the Democrats have been demanding in our tax code?
In addition to tackling the Medicare issue, Ryan’s plan also makes big, across the board spending cuts — something that is widely popular with the American people right now.
The plan even tackles our incredibly confusing tax code, simplifying it by lowering the top corporate and income tax levels to 25 percent, while creating two lower percentage brackets for lower income earners (15 percent and 8 percent). It simultaneously closes many of the loopholes that America’s wealthiest use to skirt tax law.
A simpler tax code with lower rates will lead to economic growth and higher revenues for the government.
If I were president, I would propose vastly more significant changes to our system from top to bottom, but I suppose that’s a discussion for another day. But honestly, if the Democrats and Americans in general are incapable of wrapping their arms around such a modest proposal in a time when America is clearly on the brink of an economic abyss, then how will we ever save ourselves at all?
Leland Conway is co-founder and executive editor of www.conservativeedge.com and host of the Pulse of Lexington on News Radio 630 WLAP. He can be reached for comment at Leland@conservativeedge.com.