EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Columns

August 19, 2012

Column: Medicare's future is perilous at best

I have a big news bulletin for everybody: Medicare, as we know it, is going to end.

The little sub-headline to this, which President Obama and his re-election team are going to try to do their best to make sure you don’t see or hear, is that Medicare as we know it is going to end even if that extremist, white (and therefore automatically racist) Republican Congressman Paul Ryan never becomes vice president.

They want you to think that if you just re-elect Obama, everything will continue just the way it is – it will even get better, since Obamacare is going to give everybody – not just old people – all kinds of free health care stuff, and it will all be paid by sticking it to those greedy, evil rich people.

Sorry. Medicare is going to end as we know it even if the saintly, compassionate (with your money) Joe Biden remains vice president. It will end whether Obama or Republican Mitt Romney becomes president.

In fact, if preserving Medicare as we know it is the most important thing to you about the coming election, you might as well not vote. It is out of your hands – it is even out of the candidates’ hands.

If you want to debate the best way to end it as we know it, and replace it with something sustainable, that is a debate worth having, and something worth a vote.

But it cannot remain in its present form by “asking the wealthy to pay a little bit more,” as the president will say several thousand times between now and November. Even forcing the wealthy to pay a lot more, which is more like what the president really has in mind, cannot do it. The wealthy, as much as they deserve to be resented and punished for their success, simply don’t have enough wealth to cover all the goodies we have come to believe are our divine right.

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