Paul Ryan adds further flame to role of government debate

The Wall Street Journal has an article that gives some insight into what we should expect this week from the House budget committee’s proposed fiscal year 2012 budget. U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin and House budget committee chairman, reportedly has a plan that would cut four trillion dollars from the federal budget over the next ten years, with most of those cuts targeted at Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security make up 60% of the federal budget.

Apparently, Mr. Ryan wants to shift more of the burden of financing health care unto the individual by subsidizing what the elderly and poor should be paying in premiums.

Is Mr. Ryan’s approach the right one? Is part of government’s role to provide health care to Americans? If it’s in the interest of the federal government to have a healthy America, are there other ways to go about achieving that social policy without Medicaid and Medicare as we know it?

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
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5 Responses to Paul Ryan adds further flame to role of government debate

  1. Kenneth Ciszewski says:

    “Is part of government’s role to provide health care to Americans?”

    It’s puzzling–there are those who say that tax money is our (the people’s) money, and so we should pay less in taxes so we can keep more of our money.

    Suggest, however, that our tax money should go to things like providing national, government run, single payer health care, as opposed to the many other things it gets spent on, because that’s what we, the people, want to happen, and the outcry of “socialism” (which is made to sound more like “Communism” ala the former USSR) is so loud that it drowns out all rational discussion. Obviously, continuing useless wars with countries that pose no national security threat to our country, foreign aid to countries who oppress their people and are only nominally our allies, corporate welfare and incredible tax breaks to big businesses who exploit the people who work for them, appear to more important than whether or not we can get the health care we need at an affordable price.

    The point is that our government is supposed to be representative of the desires of the people and provide for the people’s common welfare. In a fairly stated, non-propaganda couched comparison of the current health care system, which wastes all kinds of money on merely managing money and preventing health care treatment, with a single payer system, which would have less overhead, and therefore would provide more actual care, we the people might actually see that the latter has some real merit. Many other countries do a form of national health care with considerable success. This happens because that’s what the people in those countries want, and their governments represent them by providing what they want.

    It comes down to a discussion of core values–what we believe is really important, where and how we really want our money to be spent, what we think should be fair and reasonable compensation to health care providers, how we can make health care more affordable. Or do we actually believe that if you get sick and can’t pay, you should either go bankrupt or die? I’ve not seen the argument couched in those terms. What about the idea that without health, the whole concept of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are essentially meaningless? I’ve not seen the argument couched in those terms either. It’s time we decided whether or not we care about ourselves and our fellow citizens enough to demand that our government spend our money on something that can actually be a benefit in our lives.

    There is, of course, one other issue that we will have to face: real cost control. This means limiting what we pay health care providers, who for too long have had a virtual blank check, despite previous attempts to rein in costs.

  2. I have to admit that you make a powerful argumemt that the pursuit of life, liberty, and prosperity is no good without good health. Given all the constitutionally-based fervor against the Obama health care plan, why haven’t liberals made a clearer argument based on the general welfare clause?

    • Kenneth J. Ciszewski says:

      Alton–good question as to “…why haven’t liberals made a clearer argument based on the general welfare clause?”. I suspect they think it’s so self evident they don’t bother. It’s not self evident to the lobby who wants to keep the present system going. Besides, such an argument wouldn’t fly with strict constructionists, which is what much of the opposition seems to believe in. However, the general public might see it differently if the argument were clearly made. Maybe I should become a “propagandist” for this point of view. I wonder how I convince the Democrats to make this argument.

  3. John Eley says:

    The assertion that Ryan’s plan, now approved by the House Republicans, will shift more payment responsibility to seniors is not quite the full story. The plan will shift responsibility for selecting health insurance plans to seniors who will receive premium support to purchase policies in exchanges. This is designed to make seniors more cost conscious in their use of medical services with the expectation that this will reduce purchasing of unneeded services. This should be a vast improvement over the fee for service system.

  4. Ken Ciszewski says:

    So let’s see–seniors are now expected to get three bids for their health insurance and pick the best one, like a government entity does when it puts out requests for proposals for goods and services? How is it possible to evaluate different policy exchanges? But the bigger question is, why does anyone believe seniors purchase “unneeded services”? When is the last time a senior asked a doctor for an “unneeded service”? How would anyone know (medical professional or “civilian”) whether or not a particular treatment is an “unneeded service”?

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