In an interview on my radio show Wednesday, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl underscored the fact that Senate Democrats do not have the 60 votes they need to pass Obamacare, and that reports about the inevitability of Obamcare passing are part of the Democrat's strategy. (The transcript of the interview is here.) Kyl asserted that Harry Reid routinely announces, and then the MSM echoes, statements about the inevitability of the bill's passing, but then reality catches up.
This is happening again today as the premature reports of an agreement to expand Medicare to those 55 and older are exposed as more puff talk from a disappointed and reeling left that has seen its dream of a public plan take some serious blows in the past few days. David Drucker's and Emily Pierce's report in Roll Call (subscription required) conveys the difficulty facing Reid:
Democratic Senators involved in crafting what Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) described as a “broad agreement” on health care policy appear to be at odds over both the policy proscriptions and the notion that they had even reached such a deal.
Though Reid announced late Tuesday that negotiations among a group of 10 liberal and moderate Democratic Senators had largely resolved the intraparty standoff over the public insurance option, participants in the group said their “agreement” had been mischaracterized and that they agreed only to send the proposal to the Congressional Budget Office for a cost estimate, saying more information was necessary before making any firm decisions.
Seniors especially have to hope that the new deal falls apart as it represents a savaging of Medicare. The Obama-Pelosi-Reid assault on Medicare has three parts now.
First, Obamacare proposes to loot Medicare of about a half trillion dollars in benefits. Obamacare enthusiasts dismiss the devastating impacts to Medicare Advantage enrollees as necessary to rebalance the system, but the loss of benefits to those senior citizens will be huge. So too will the cutbacks for hospitals treating the elderly if the bill passes.
Second, Medicare payroll taxes are raised in the Senate bill, but that massive flow of new revenue isn't going to secure the financial future of Medicare, but to instead pay for new entitlements, thus crowding out a source of future funding for Medicare when it hits the rocks in a very few years.
And now, third, Democrats are proposing the expansion of the nearly insolvent Medicare program to millions of new enrollees 55 and older. This enormous mistake will not only quickly drain the program of its remaining resources, it will accelerate the trend of doctors heading into concierge practices, abandoning the low-paying Medicare patients for the much more equitable payments provided by the dwindling number of privately covered patients.
All of the versions of Obamacare are radical assaults on seniors, but the latest version is a recipe for disaster for Medicare, and seniors know it. The seniors' political punishment of all Democrats will come in 47 weeks, but right now they have to act to alert the few Democrats on the fence that voting for this reckless scheme is political suicide.
Here are the five steps that everyone should take, but especially those already or soon to be covered by Medicare.
Readers should also take a moment to review the Democrats' plan on the debt limit --lifting it by nearly $2 trillion!-- which is every bit as reckless as their gamesmanship with Medicare. This is another transparent political trick, one that will further undermine the dollar and lock in future inflation that will destroy the savings of seniors that are in fixed investments.
Two days ago, Rupert Murdoch wrote in the Wall Street Journal about the failures and future of journalism. The very first thing that journalists must do to have their enterprises survive, Murdoch wrote, is to "give people the news that they want."
This doesn't mean the lowest common denominator of news such as sensational tabloid stories, but it most certainly does mean news about how readers' lives are going to be impacted by what D.C. does. Right now I am devoting most of every show to Obamacare because the audience is huge and very dialed in to how the Democrats' massive scheme will change their health care and thus the arc of their lives. Incredibly, MSM is not covering this aspect of the story --is not talking to seniors or doctors or hospital execs. Instead the Beltway-Manhattan media elite is covering Obamacare like a game of whether or not Harry Reid can get to 60 votes. Not surprisingly Reid announces he is going to win and the MSM scurries off to report that Reid is on the verge of winning. Almost nothing is being written about what the proposed deal will do to seniors' health care, just as the impact on the dollar of the massive hike in the debt ceiling is also largely unreported.
If Obamacare was fully and fairly explained, it would have been dead long ago, and the opinion polling shows that despite the best efforts of MSM to ignore the realities of the bill, it is deeply unpopular in the country and is triggering a massive blowback for Democrats, as it should.
Never have so many reporters produced so little in the way of accurate meaningful coverage of so important a bill. Perhaps they are simply not up to the complexity of the story, but the failure of MSM to get the story straight or the facts right or even to ask moderately difficult questions of so-called Democratic centrists like Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey is remarkable.
New media will continue to report the reality of the Democrats' assault on older Americans, and all the AARP propaganda and MSM misdirection will not obscure the growing recognition that Obamacare is a massive bait-and-switch that is not going to help Americans get better medical care but will instead hasten the collapse of Medicare and the arrival of rationing.