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Paul Ryan vs. Medicare

This petition had 5,150 supporters

By selecting Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate, Mitt Romney just made this election about Medicare.

Rep. Ryan was the principal architect of a budget proposal that Paul Krugman called both "ludicrous" and "cruel." And the linchpin of the Ryan budget was his plan to end Medicare.

Now that Ryan's plan to privatize Medicare is in the national spotlight, we need to make sure that the debate isn't just a point/counterpoint between the center right and the far right.

We need to ensure that a progressive vision is on the table to counter what right-wing extremists like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are proposing.

We shouldn't destroy Medicare, we should expand it so that it covers everybody.

Tell Democrats: Support Medicare for All.

The Ryan plan would replace Medicare with a voucher program for seniors, who'd be dumped into the private insurance market.

Over time the vouchers would lose value relative to the cost of health care. And the seniors who couldn't afford the cost of insurance even with the vouchers would be out of luck.

In addition, the Ryan proposal does nothing to actually control costs.

All it does is shift the cost of health care onto the backs of seniors. And, in fact, by forcing seniors into the inefficient private insurance market, it would actually drive up the cost of providing health care to them.

President Obama will surely (and rightly) criticize the Ryan plan to end Medicare.

But in terms of providing a positive vision for how our nation provides health care, President Obama will be stuck defending his signature health care law, which made some positive reforms without truly fixing our broken health care system.

The debate requires a forceful push for the policy that will actually end our nation's health care crisis. And that push must come from us.

Every other industrialized country in the world provides quality, universal health care at a fraction of the cost of the U.S. system.

Private insurance companies are a big part of our problem. And while President Obama's health care law will expand health care coverage to millions of Americans, it guarantees customers and profits for insurance companies that put profits before people.

These companies didn't want to compete with a "public option" for a reason -- they want to maximize profits and minimize care.

Medicare, on the other hand, already covers 40 million Americans over the age of 65, providing quality care at prices that are much lower than the private market. It's also quite popular and unquestionably constitutional.

By staking out a progressive flank and generating a groundswell of public support for expanding Medicare so that it covers everybody, we can help prevent the debate from shifting further to the right.

Tell Democrats: Support Medicare for All.

Let's remember, when health care reform went through Congress, a single-payer system like Medicare for All wasn't even on the table.

In another example of Democrats preemptively caving to Republican obstructionists and their insurance company lobbyist friends, the starting position for the Democrats was a compromise in the form of a public health care option that might compete side-by-side with private insurance plans.

And then that compromise was compromised even further when the Democrats jettisoned the public option.

With Medicare sure to be one of the top issues in this election, we can't let the strongest voices be the Republicans who are working to defeat President Obama and the insurance companies that are looking to wring as much profit as they can from the rest of us.

If we do, we know how that will turn out.

America's health care system is in crisis, there's no more time for half-measures and unworkable compromises when we know Medicare already works.

Tell Democrats: Support Medicare for All.


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