Since Mitt Romney selected cowardly GOP Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, the 2012 Presidential election has turned into a battle over Medicare. On one side, President Obama and Democrats have vowed to defend Medicare as a program of universal coverage for seniors and have worked to strengthen Medicare by protecting benefits while cutting back on waste, fraud, and subsidies to insurance companies. On the other side is GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s proposal to abolish Medicare and replace it with inadequate vouchers for seniors to try to buy coverage from private insurance companies. Mitt Romney has come out and endorsed Ryan’s plan, along with the Republican members of the House and Senate.
With the battle lines drawn, it is important to remind ourselves what it is we are fighting over. Medicare is a wildly successful program that provides quality health care coverage at a lower cost than private insurance. Abolishing Medicare would represent the greatest triumph of ideology over pragmatism, and would increase costs and impose significant new economic burdens on seniors and their families. As such, we should preserve and strengthen Medicare, not abolish it.
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