Critical Condition

Will Kathy Hochul Vote to Repeal Obamacare?

The surprise victory of the Democratic candidate in NY-26’s special election yesterday teaches a curious lesson: Seniors who rose up against Obamacare’s Medicare cuts at town-hall meetings in the summer of 2009 appear to have risen up against Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan in the spring of 2011.

Or maybe they didn’t. Certainly the faux Tea Party candidate who won 9 percent of the vote confused the outcome, as did the Democratic candidate’s “conservative” attacks on the Republican candidate, Jane Corwin. Kathy Hochul’s ads criticized Corwin for voting against Governor Cuomo’s budget cuts in the state legislature; and one of Hochul’s deficit-cutting promises is slashing foreign aid to Pakistan.

Nevertheless, it may well be that voters have hopelessly short-term political memories. In fact, Ryan’s plan would restore some of the cuts to Medicare already legislated by Obamacare through the early 2020s (as shown clearly in these charts). How soon we forget!

It looks like the Medicare debate — at least on 30-second TV ads — has settled into Republicans accusing Democrats of “cutting Medicare and raising taxes” and Democrats accusing Republicans of “cutting Medicare and giving tax breaks to the rich” (neglecting that President Obama has already extended the Bush tax cuts for a couple of years).

In her TV ads, Hochul promised to protect Medicare. Does that include rolling back Obamacare’s almost half trillion dollars of cuts to the program? Surely not. But even repealing Obamacare cannot solve Medicare.

Medicare cannot go on unchanged. Since at least 2009, we have received reports of physicians declining to accept new Medicare patients (as I wrote here). Asking the American people whether they want any flavor of reform versus “Medicare continuing the same as it is now” is like asking the Titanic passengers if they’d like the same dinner menu every evening until the ship docks.

Maybe NY-26 was a referendum on Ryan’s Medicare proposal. But the job of a leader, as Ryan recently put it, is to change the polls, not to follow them

Most Popular

Immigration

The Party’s Over — No More Guest(worker)s

Last month's Presidential Proclamation temporarily suspending a tiny sliver of permanent immigration in response to Great Depression 2.0 also called for a review of the alphabet soup of foreign-worker programs. The relevant cabinet departments were instructed to offer recommendations "to stimulate the United ... Read More
Immigration

The Party’s Over — No More Guest(worker)s

Last month's Presidential Proclamation temporarily suspending a tiny sliver of permanent immigration in response to Great Depression 2.0 also called for a review of the alphabet soup of foreign-worker programs. The relevant cabinet departments were instructed to offer recommendations "to stimulate the United ... Read More
U.S.

Unsustainable America

Americans are having fewer babies than ever, or at least than since the government began tracking the general fertility rate in 1909. The total fertility rate ticked down to 1.7 in 2019, meaning that the average number of babies an American woman would have over her lifetime is well below replacement ... Read More
U.S.

Unsustainable America

Americans are having fewer babies than ever, or at least than since the government began tracking the general fertility rate in 1909. The total fertility rate ticked down to 1.7 in 2019, meaning that the average number of babies an American woman would have over her lifetime is well below replacement ... Read More

The Makings of Modern Madness

The paradigm of mind–brain dualism, like the story of syphilis, is by no means virgin territory. However, Allan Ropper and Brian Burrell’s How The Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness puts both the legacy of dualism and the story of syphilis under the microscope, and offers a ... Read More

The Makings of Modern Madness

The paradigm of mind–brain dualism, like the story of syphilis, is by no means virgin territory. However, Allan Ropper and Brian Burrell’s How The Brain Lost Its Mind: Sex, Hysteria, and the Riddle of Mental Illness puts both the legacy of dualism and the story of syphilis under the microscope, and offers a ... Read More
World

‘Professor Lockdown’ Modeler Resigns in Disgrace

Neil Ferguson is the British academic who created the infamous Imperial College model that warned Boris Johnson that, without an immediate lockdown, the coronavirus would cause 500,000 deaths and swamp the National Health Service. Johnson’s government promptly abandoned its Sweden-like “social ... Read More
World

‘Professor Lockdown’ Modeler Resigns in Disgrace

Neil Ferguson is the British academic who created the infamous Imperial College model that warned Boris Johnson that, without an immediate lockdown, the coronavirus would cause 500,000 deaths and swamp the National Health Service. Johnson’s government promptly abandoned its Sweden-like “social ... Read More

John Wayne: The Hero We Need Now

America fits into John Wayne's filmography, and this does not make America small. It makes John Wayne huge. The coronavirus has brought us back to the Wild West. Lonely lives, deserted streets, looks of distrust, and whiskey for throat disinfection; the scientific community has not made an official statement as ... Read More

John Wayne: The Hero We Need Now

America fits into John Wayne's filmography, and this does not make America small. It makes John Wayne huge. The coronavirus has brought us back to the Wild West. Lonely lives, deserted streets, looks of distrust, and whiskey for throat disinfection; the scientific community has not made an official statement as ... Read More