Oh wait, maybe funny isn't the word we're looking for here…maybe ridiculous would be a better choice. Maybe the ad should have been run in the obituaries since they are seeking the untimely death of Medicare. You see, the notion that Congressman Grimm is fighting to save Medicare is not just a little wrong, but is instead 180 degrees from the truth. Congressman Grimm has done little so far as a freshman Congressman, but one thing he has consistently shown is that he is interested in anything but saving Medicare.
Much to the dismay of American Action Network and Congressman Grimm, let's try looking at the facts:
1. Grimm Dislikes Medicare So Much He Ran On It
Congressman Grimm's campaign and subsequent election to Congress was in large part based on opposition to President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Interestingly, according to the Trustees Report, the Affordable Care Act is the one thing that is actually helping to extend the life of Medicare, more on this later.
2. Grimm Voted To End Medicare As We Know It And Said He "Would Do It Again"
Congressman Grimm in his one town hall meeting stated that he was proud to vote for the Ryan budget plan, and "would do it again". The problem is that the Ryan budget plan would end Medicare as we know it. In fact, it has been shown that it would shift the majority of the burden of healthcare costs onto the "backs of seniors" while doing nothing to control healthcare costs. The Ryan plan does have the added bonus of decreasing the amount of care that seniors would receive while simultaneously increasing the deficit.
3. AAN, Ryan and Grimm Seek To Make The Problem Worse
According to the Social Security Trustees Report, the primary factor affecting the future of Medicare and our entire healthcare system is rising medical costs. The campaign by the American Action Network, Ryan's budget, and Grimm's votes all seek to increase the problem of rising costs while simultaneously decreasing benefits.
We can see in these three points how Grimm and the claims of AAN are 180 degrees from the truth.
First, according to the Social Security Trustees report, the single biggest challenge to Medicare's future are rising healthcare costs. Yet the AAN campaign is promoting profits and therefore increased healthcare costs.
Second, according to the Social Security Trustees report, the major factor contributing to strengthening the future of Medicare is the Affordable Care Act. AAN and Grimm, in their opposition to the Affordable Care Act are actively seeking to weaken Medicare.
Don't take my word for it, the Trustees Report said it best when they noted:
"The Affordable Care Act introduced important changes to the Medicare program that are designed to reduce costs, increase revenues, expand the scope of benefits, and encourage the development of new systems of health care delivery that will improve health outcomes and cost efficiency. "
AAN and Grimm oppose the Affordable Care Act and are actively working to increase medical costs, therefore, their actions are 180 degrees from their claims. In seeking to increase healthcare profits at the expense of both Medicare and our national healthcare outcomes AAN and Grimm are deserving of anything but praise and support. It is deeply troubling that they would run an ad campaign targeting seniors in an attempt to get them to act to end the very programs they rely upon.
The problem facing our healthcare system and Medicare is rising healthcare costs as a result of decades of profits in the healthcare and insurance industries. Medicare and medicare alone is doing the best job of keeping these cost increases at bay. Undermining Medicare will undermine us all. No amount of AAN astroturfing can change this fact. Perhaps actual Americans should form a Network and take Action on that. I checked my calendar, maybe a Tuesday in early November 2012 could work.
Updated November 9, 2011:
The GOP Medicare lie is apparently a concerted effort. AAN is joined by RetireSafe.org a project of DCI Group with their latest fictional mailer about their fictional “standing up for seniors” award.
If you have to lie this hard it makes the truth far too obvious. Nice try RetireSafe, AAN and GOP, but we’re not buying it.
If you have the time, be sure to read the Medicare article, I’m sure you’ll find the section on the Ryan Medicare Plan that Congressman Grimm voted for and “would do it again” interesting.
Here’s the punchline:
The Center for Economic and Policy Research emphasizes that "According to the Congressional Budget Office's assessment of the Ryan plan, it would increase the cost of buying Medicare equivalent policies by $34 trillion (5 times the projected Social Security shortfall) over the program's 75-year planning horizon. Adding in the $5 trillion in costs shifted from the government, the Ryan plan would increase the cost to beneficiaries of buying Medicare equivalent policies by $39 trillion." In a separate article, Rosnick and Baker underscore that "This increase in costs – from waste associated with using a less efficient health care delivery system – has not received the attention that it deserves in the public debate."