aside “We The People” Must Be Vigilant v Any Of President-Elect’s Sleight Of Hand, Part I

american-peoplesartwork_images_14_660259_faith-ringgold-e1332712866638
Faith-Rnggold

Dear Readers, Republicans have long suffered from an ideology that when ever possible, privatization is the preferred option over any service delivery organization run by the U.S. government.

My argument against the above option, based on partisan ideology, is that when the over-all well being of the population is at stake, then having only privately run systems which are profit driven is a recipe for long term failure, as in the privatization of U.S. jail systems.

Faith-Ringgold
Faith-Ringgold

There is that middle ground of oversight, creating standards and methods to insure that government programs are cost effective and competently managed as well as being held accountable for being efficiently run with a superior track record for delivery and results.

For right now, I do not want to give any credence to anyone trying to sell to fellow Americans, the benefits of privatization of social security, Medicare and the Veteran’s Administration’s health care delivery system. This is the exact opposite of what the president-elect promised his followers during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Faith Ringgold
Faith Ringgold

As per the 11/21/16 CNN Money News report, “Trump’s Social Security point man called for privatization,” by Andrew Kaczynski points out that a major red flag is the appointment of Tom Leppert to be part of the team overseeing the management of entitlement programs,  because he has been a strong proponent of privatizing both social security and Medicare. Here are excerpts:

Image result for PHOTO OF TOM LEPPERT Social Security lead,
Tom Leppert

“But Leppert’s past plans advocating privatizing both Social Security and Medicare make him a peculiar choice to run point on the Social Security Administration. Trump has unabashedly opposed any effort to change entitlements throughout the campaign, saying economic growth would keep entitlements from needing cuts.”

“Trump talked about entitlements earlier this year with a local Wisconsin radio station, saying, “Now, I want to get rid of waste, fraud, and abuse. I want to do a lot of things to it that are going to make it much better, actually. But I’m not going to cut it, and I’m not going to raise ages, and I’m not going to do all of the things that they want to do. But they want to really cut it, and they want to cut it very substantially, the Republicans, and I’m not going to do that.”

“We’re gonna save your Social Security without making any cuts. Mark my words,” Trump said in February.”

“But archived versions of Leppert’s plans from his 2012 Senate run show how diametrically different his views are from Trump’s on the issue.”

“I will never shy away from any issue, even the so-called ‘third rail’ of entitlement reform,” Lippert writes in his 2012 plan. “Talk to any young person today, and they will tell you Social Security and Medicare won’t be there for their generation. To preserve these vital programs, we first and foremost must not change anything for those ages 55 and older. These folks rely on their benefits and we’ve made a promise to them. But for younger workers, we need to provide Medicare subsidies for the purchase of certified private plans, raise the retirement age, encourage greater retirement savings, and launch an initiative of Personal Retirement Accounts to allow every American, not just the wealthy, to save and invest toward their retirement. Make no mistake—if we don’t act now, these programs will go bankrupt. The simple fact in this debate is that people who oppose reform are the ones who want to destroy our entitlement system.” american-peoples8158782032_6dfdeffc88_b

Leppert also called for Medicare to move to a system where seniors received a subsidy from Medicare to buy health insurance.”

“This would be gradually phased-in over time and would not affect anyone currently over the age of 55,” he wrote. “For younger individuals, when they reach retirement, they will receive a subsidy from the federal government that will allow them to purchase certified coverage plans. Those with the lowest incomes would receive more funds from vouchers and would be eligible for additional Medicaid coverage.”

Bob McDonald
Bob McDonald

In a previous VA blog, I detailed how political shenanigans by the U.S. congressional  republicans are holding up the passage of the VA omnibus bill, (Veterans First Act) after it was voted out of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in an unanimous, bipartisan manner in May, 2016.

It seems that Jeff Miller (FL-R), the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and campaign advisor for Donald Trump’s presidency and his 10 point VA reform, is pushing for privatization.clinton-va-pres-obama-joe-robles-president_obama_at_va_roundtable

In addition, some congressional republicans established the “Commission on Care” board with members who were mostly medical industry executives with the bias towards the VA becoming more of a privatized entity which is directly counter to every established veterans’ organizations’ wishes.

Congressman Miller along with other conservatives like Senator John McCain are convinced that the VHA system is permanently broken and not worth waiting for the VA Secretary Bob McDonald and MYVA Chairman General Joe Robles, both of whom are ex-military, with outstanding business executive skills to have the time to successfully accomplish the transformation of the VA system to be an exceptional well managed health care delivery system.

The 6/9/16 American Prospect report, “McCain Pulls A Bait-and-Switch on Vets,” by Suzanne Gordon reports the following: “And what’s wrong with “The Care They Deserve Act? Just about everything, which is why many service organizations like the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) and Vietnam Veterans of America oppose the plan.”

4 comments

  1. Gronda, the mutual fund industry is the one lobbying for the privatization of Social Security, as they want access to those assets and corresponding fees. One of the beauties of Social Security system is it has a defined benefit which is not based on the vagaries of the capital markets. As a safety net for many and core retirement income for others, this defined benefit is a key part of the equation. This is more important with the termination of so many defined benefit pension plans during the 1980s. We need to be smart about how interface changes here.

    As for privatizing Medicare, VA and Medicaid, we need to be mindful that an insurance company will tack on its profit load to premiums. Right now, the cost of these programs are less than they would be with an insurer. Could they be more efficient – absolutely? But, like with Social Security, we need to be mindful of what that entails. It does transfer the risk to insurers, which is not a bad thing, and places more burden on the consumer.

    Your example of privatizing the prison system is a good example.
    Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      I am firm in not wanting to see Social security, Medicare and the VA privatized. Social security and Medicare should be a base by which other options can be added. I have observed the problems with 401k programs from the view of the consumer. Most who invest are not savvy in the investment management side. When they want advice, the agents of the various funds will tell the consumer to go check out “Morningstar.” This is a savings by companies not to have to fund pension plans. This is the transference of risk. Multiple reports indicate that most retirees do not have sufficient funds to do so.

      This is another example of the working person being short changed and why there is a lot of anger and feelings of insecurity out there in the real world.

      There are options to be considered for all three programs. For social security the amount capped at around $140,000 per yr. before one no longer pays into it should be raised significantly; the costs for pharmaceuticals needs to be capped and subject to negotiation for Medicare and the VA.

      These folks who are struggling, need to be able to count on something that is solid.

      Ciao, Gronda

      • Gronda, good points. Social Securtity funding shortfalls are fixable, such as increasing the Taxable Wage Base and extending retirement. Most people are not good investors and most advisors actually detract from potential returns when contrasted with picking an indexed return fund.

        Our medical costs are going up for several reasons which have little to do with insurance system. We are the most obese country in the world, we are aging, we are over-medicated, we are too fast to perform surgeries and introduce risk, and we get put in the hospital more often than we should. A doctor once said, if you are well, the hospital is the worst place to be given exposure to illness and germs.

        So, to this last point, we need to improve our systems rather than overhaul and focus on prevention and wellness.

        Keith

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