Terry Jeffrey

Socialism had not worked in the other places it had been tried, and it did not work in the health care system for American seniors.

As of now, Medicare is the main force driving America toward bankruptcy. In January, the Government Accountability Office figured that under one projection (in which current tax rates were generally maintained) "roughly 89 cents of every dollar of federal revenue will be spent on net interest costs, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid by 2020."

To deal with the impending fiscal catastrophe, House Budget Chairman Ryan came up with a long-term budget plan that would cut $6.2 trillion in government spending over the next decade compared to President Obama's budget proposal. Along the way, Ryan's plan would reform entitlements to get the federal budget on a trajectory toward a long-term balance and to begin liberating people from government dependency.

Despite Gingrich's description, Ryan's Medicare reform plan is not radical change.

First, it would not in any way impact Medicare for people 55 or over today. They would keep the current system.

Second, younger Americans would have more than a decade to get ready for the new system.

"Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health care program that members of Congress enjoy," says Ryan's budget plan. "Future Medicare recipients will be able to choose from a list of guaranteed coverage options, and they will be given the ability to choose a plan that works best for them. This is not a voucher program, but rather a premium-support model. A Medicare premium-support payment would be paid, by Medicare, to the plan chosen by the beneficiary, subsidizing its cost."

"The Medicare premium-support payment would be adjusted so that wealthier beneficiaries would receive a lower subsidy, the sick would receive a higher payment if their conditions worsened, and lower-income seniors would receive additional assistance to cover out-of-pocket costs," says the plan.

This does not get America back to 1965, when seniors were not dependent on the government for health care. They will still be dependent.

But it will introduce a little market discipline into the system, where instead of having the government ration care -- like they do in completely socialistic systems -- people will have some latitude to pick and choose what type of plan they want to purchase.

Newt Gingrich's reaction to Ryan's plan on "Meet the Press" exemplified the debilitating effect establishing a welfare state has on the nation. Not only do people tend to become satisfied with government dependency, but politicians become pandering fools for it.

Terry Jeffrey

Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSNews

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