THE TREATMENT AUGUST 28, 2009
The Republican Party website today carries a new press release titled "Real Solutions for Seniors." It has a lovely picture of an elderly couple walking and the idea, I gather, is to show how the Republican agenda will help seniors get better health care. But look closely--heck, not even that closely--at the content of the release. There are five bullet points, each one explaining a different Republican proposal. Four of them have absolutely nothing to do with senior citizens; they're about reforms that target working-age Americans. The fifth touts malpractice reform, on the theory that elminiating junk lawsuits will mean significantly lower health care costs.
Most experts dispute that conclusion, but forget veracity. The remarkable thing about this press release is its focus and what it says about the GOP agenda. For all of the Republican talk about helping seniors, they have almost nothing in their policy arsenal that would actually, you know, help seniors. They're not, for example, proposing to fill in the donut hole--the gap in Medicare prescription drug coverate that means high out-of-pocket costs for seniors with multiple conditions. Nor do they have any ideas for how to improve the program's fiancial footing--except, of course, to cut it. Democrats are trying to do both, though you'd never know it from the way the health reform debate is unfolding.