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Congressman Ryan, I Don’t Want To Be A Lab Rat

An open and a sent let­ter to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)

Dear Con­gress­man Ryan,

Please explain your Medicare plan to me and my wife. We are in our early fifties and are con­cerned about how your changes to Medicare will affect us. We know that Wash­ing­ton can seem dis­con­nected from the real world but, for peo­ple of our age, your plan to do away with Medicare is very real.

Get­ting rid of Medicare feels like a free mar­kets exper­i­ment to us and nei­ther of us wants to be a “lab rat” for a social and eco­nomic exper­i­ment gone awry. Lab rats are usu­ally expend­able and we don’t want to be part of a dis­carded generation.…

.…Con­gress­man Ryan, please feel free to pro­vide as much detail as pos­si­ble on how, as a prac­ti­cal mat­ter, your plan will be imple­mented. I under­stand that your objec­tive is to save money — I just won­der if there isn’t a less rad­i­cal approach that would work.

For exam­ple what’s wrong with mod­i­fy­ing the cur­rent Medicare sys­tem to include means test­ing on co-payments and deductibles, increas­ing the eli­gi­bil­ity age by a few years, restrict­ing pay­ment of cer­tain elec­tive pro­ce­dures and work­ing to reduce hos­pi­tal and provider admin­is­tra­tive costs. Tort reform relat­ing to end of life care couldn’t hurt either. These changes would be easy to imple­ment, fair to all and still pro­vide pro­tec­tion for the elderly.

When I was a child I read sto­ries about how ani­mals that that get old walk into the for­est to die. They are never heard from again and as a result aren’t a bur­den on their herd. The remain­ing ani­mals have bet­ter sur­vival odds because they are not forced to waste pre­cious resources on old ani­mals that are going to die anyway.

For bet­ter or worse, a long time ago we decided that we were dif­fer­ent than ani­mals and that old peo­ple shouldn’t be asked to “take one” for the team.

Con­gress­man Ryan, I am wor­ried that your plan basi­cally is telling me and my wife to get ready for that long walk into the for­est. Please tell me it isn’t true and that I am over reacting.

Read the rest of this post and the ques­tions I ask Con­gress­man Ryan at Forbes.com.

Posted in: Finance, Fiscal Policy, Forbes, Medicare, Politics, Public Policy, REGULATION

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