Dr. Newquist notes a convergence of good news about Medicare (which just turned fifty years old yesterday and did not usher in the socialist devolution Ronald Reagan feared) and access to health care. Hospitals are reducing deaths, hospitalizations, and costs for Medicare patients, just in time to absorb the increasing demands of aging Baby Boomers. Since full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, millions more Americans have health insurance, have a personal physician, report easy access to health care, and can afford health care.
The Affordable Care Act also appears to be helping Medicare live longer:
Ever since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, per-enrollee Medicare costs have decreased a little and are rising more slowly than overall health-care costs, and somehow or another the Medicare trustees have added 13 years to the program’s solvency.
In fact, let’s go mildly wonky here. This is worth knowing. Before the ACA passed, projections of Medicare bankruptcy were pegged, as noted, at 2017. Then shortly after the ACA became law, that was pushed to 2024. Then in 2013, it was nudged to 2026. Now it’s at 2030. See a pattern here? The main reason is simple. Overall spending is lower. You might remember Mitt Romney’s famous attacks on Obama for cutting $716 billion from Medicare, which took some cheek given that a) Republicans’ own projected cuts under Paul Ryan’s budget were far more severe and b) Ryan and other Republicans used the same budgetary assumptions Obama used for all their Medicare “reform” plans [Michael Tomasky, “Expand Medicare, You Damn Idiots,” The Daily Beast, 2015.07.31].
Dr. Newquist finds this GOP resistance to good results maddening:
While significant strides are being aade in improving healthcare in the U.S., the GOP expresses its intention to destroy the vehicles of that improvement. The question they never answer is, why? They bring up big government, but they never address the hard facts about healthcare in the nation or acknowledge the improvements being made. And they never suggest a plan to imake healthcare accessible to more people….
…[W]ill the GOP have the integrity to acknowledge the progress being made? Or even care? [David Newquist, “Get Rid of Medicare and ACA; They’re Getting out of Hand,” Northern Valley Beacon, 2015.07.29]
In a way, Reagan was right: Medicare and the Affordable Care Act brings socialism to America’s health care system. Both programs are examples of Americans working together as a community to solve social problems with public resources. But rather than being short steps to depriving us of the freedom to choose our jobs and all the rest of our liberties, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act are giving Americans more health security and thus more liberty. Medicare and the ACA are socialism working… and that drives Republicans nuts.