They were wrong about Medicare, too

Nicholas Kristof has a great column today on the critics of health care reform and how their criticisms about the dire consequences — socialism! government takeover! — are wrong. How does he know? It’s all been said before. Read his column or just go straight to an audio tape of Ronald Reagan blasting the proposed  Medicare plan in 1961.

Reagan was wrong, too.

If you don’t (oppose it), this program I promise you, will pass just as surely as the sun will come up tomorrow and behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country until one day as Normal Thomas said we will wake to find that we have socialism, and if you don’t do this and I don’t do this, one of these days we are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.

Medicare is now so popular that no politician dares talk about trying to change it. That included Reagan, who, when he ran for president, wanted voters to forget his earlier opposition to Medicare.

104 comments Add your comment

MedicareSucks

November 19th, 2009
12:25 pm

Medicare’s also has an unprecedented amount of wasteful spending and lack of government oversight, making it a boondogle, to say the least. If you think Medicare is fantastic, I will expect you, Cynthia, to be the first to sign up for the goverment-run public plan that is being touted by the libs. It’s easy to talk to the talk, but I’m anxious to see if you can step up and walk the walk, which I doubt.

Road Scholar

November 19th, 2009
12:32 pm

MS: And who is resposible for the wasteful spending? Could it be the doctors that request unneeded tests, or who overcharge for their services, or……

While government isn’t innocent, let’s look at the root of the problem. GREED! Without competition, costs will continue to skyrocket. Is this your idea of letting the free market set the rates?

dave

November 19th, 2009
12:35 pm

Wait, read that excerpt again… Reagan was wrong???

Steve

November 19th, 2009
12:39 pm

Medicare Sucks,
I agree with you; however, the members of Congress are who I want to see be REQUIRED BY LAW to use whatever form of Health Reform they pass.

The American People

November 19th, 2009
12:50 pm

“Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” – President Obama.

To achieve health care reform, “I’m going to have all the negotiations around a big table. We’ll have doctors and nurses and hospital administrators. Insurance companies, drug companies — they’ll get a seat at the table, they just won’t be able to buy every chair. But what we will do is, we’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN, so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or the insurance companies. And so, that approach, I think is what is going to allow people to stay involved in this process.” – President Obama.

What a guy. What a guy.

Chris Broe

November 19th, 2009
12:53 pm

Reagan looks and sounds sensational. You can practically smell the twenty mule team just off camera.

However, we have gone further down the socialist path since Reagan. This video, and the accompanying article only supports the nay sayers.

Tax rates are a disgrace. Nannys rule primetime. Infomercials mostly bray about free money from Obama’s bailout/stimulus package.
.

The whole country is filled with commie jackasses……

mike

November 19th, 2009
1:03 pm

Too bad Kristof chose to ignore the real criticism made of this bill: it will bankrupt us. Tucker also missed this crucial point when she was mindlessly regurgitating someone else’s work.

Oh and by the way, Medicare is already bankrupting us and if anyone was on record as having said so in 1960, they would have been dead right.

I think it is great that the left completely refuses to acknowledge the fiscal concerns that are really driving opposition to this bill.

Jake

November 19th, 2009
1:15 pm

They were wrong about Medicare in 1961. Especially in one really big area. They said it would never cost more tham $100M a year!!!!

mike

November 19th, 2009
1:22 pm

Road Scholar –

“Could it be the doctors that request unneeded tests, or who overcharge for their services, or……”

The unneeded tests are a direct result of the lawsuits that the Democrats refuse to curtail with tort reform. If you really cared about unneeded tests you would be demanding that Democrats stop working for the interests of trial lawyers and start implementing common sense tort reform. If you want to talk about greedy, you should be pointing your finger at ambulance chasing dirtbags like John Edwards instead of baselessly attacking the people who actually deliver health care.

Jack

November 19th, 2009
1:25 pm

If Obama had tried to make small, incremental changes in health care, he might have succeeded. But this wholesale change he and the Congress are trying to force on the people that will actually pay for it, will not succeed.

john

November 19th, 2009
1:52 pm

hmm…medicare cannot pay for itself?? did see some good news today on the ajc.com fulton county is slashing spending!!! AMEN!! time to run on a leaner staff, next up, lets get rid of the pension plans and maybe just maybe will not have to raise taxes….good day for the tax payers in fulton county

Phil

November 19th, 2009
1:54 pm

… and Cynthia’s never been right. How does someone distort reality like this keep a job?

Joey

November 19th, 2009
2:06 pm

Cynthia;
Have you and I lived in the same US since 1961? It seems obvious that Reagan was correct.

Democrats have been trying to legislate National Health Care continuously since Medicare was implimented. Their plan was to take an incremental approach. Fortunately Democrats have not had full control of the Legislative and Executive Branches for sufficient time to succeed.

Reagan served 2 terms as President. But what was one of the first efforts of Democrats under Clinton? National Health Care. The effort cost the Democrats control of Congress. Clinton held on, but did not make another effort at National Health Care.

Then we had 2 terms of Bush. But after that what was at the top of the Democrat to do list under Obama? Right. National Health Care. Will it cost Democrats control of Congress again? Almost certainly.

john

November 19th, 2009
2:07 pm

Road Scholar, hahahaha…you do not even know what a Rhode Scholar is..

Tom Middleton

November 19th, 2009
2:25 pm

Poor Reagan. There was a lot he was wrong about. One of my other favorites was his solemn campaign promise to balance the budget by the end of his first term. Whoops!

We didn’t get that one fulfilled until President Clinton got into office, and then we got a surplus. Like I said, poor Reagan. He wasn’t even here when he was here.

But with the health industry’s propensity for booting sick people off the rolls into nothing, today’s elderly would have no health care at all without Medicare. All you folks who love your parents, aunts, and uncles should be deeply grateful for your so-called “socialist” program, for can you imagine your out-of-pocket without it? Whoops again! (I’ll bet even the Reagan family used Medicare once Ronnie got sick.)

But you’d still be whining at the government like always, for that’s just what you do; but this time, it would be for an entirely different reason. This time, you’d be demanding your “socialist” program, not trying to destroy it. Poor Reagan for sure, but poor stupid right-wingers as well. Get a clue, folks!

Peadawg

November 19th, 2009
2:26 pm

Cynthia, are YOU saying that YOU think they were wrong about Medicare? How is Obama’s health care plan any different? How can you oppose Medicare but be FOR Obama’s health care plan?

I asked you this question the other day and you never answered(you even modified your blog itself after I asked it)…it’ll be interesting if you answer it this time.

Grumpy

November 19th, 2009
2:36 pm

Free stuff is usually popular for the people receiving it.

Doesn’t make it good when the free stuff will ultimately bankrupt us.

Skip

November 19th, 2009
2:50 pm

I guess wars must pay for themselves.

jt

November 19th, 2009
3:07 pm

Reagan was right!!

Medicare distorted the market, and now government will ride to the rescue of what itself screwed up. Listen to the man himself–

“One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.”

Ronald Reagan speaks out against Socialized Medicine, 1961

LibraryJim

November 19th, 2009
3:08 pm

Skip, National Defense is clearly called for in the constitution. Government run Health Care is not.

Scott

November 19th, 2009
3:17 pm

Tom, You are a dope. Enough said

Lookin In...

November 19th, 2009
3:21 pm

mike

November 19th, 2009
1:22 pm

Mike, In 2001, My brother went into the hospital to have a pin inserted into his left hand. The Dr. Not only inserted the pin into the wrong hand, but nicked an vein in his hand that cause bleeding after surgery that was not caught until two days later. He sued and during trail it was learned that the Dr. Performed one additional operation that day, and rushed the proceedure in order to make the second scheduled surgery. The insurance Co. offered 10K to settle the case. He now has 65% usage of his hand and they only offered 10 grand to settle this case. His Hospital bills are more the 20 times that amount! BTW he was awarded 1.9 million at trial… The Dr. is still practicing at the same hospital. This is why we don’t need across the board tort reform. Without the treat of monetary punishment, The medical community would piss all over us in an effort to maximize the money. If you can’t hit them in the pockets, you can’t hurt them….

Alex Rodriguez

November 19th, 2009
3:21 pm

YES!

No more government entitlement programs!

William

November 19th, 2009
3:25 pm

I want healthcare and not a job. I could get food stamps and if I am list that I am in poverty level I can get other subsidies too. So I have food, clothing, education(college degree), and now all I need is healthcare. Who wants to work all week and get stresse out. FORGET THE JOBS I WANT HEALTHCARE.

El Jefe

November 19th, 2009
3:27 pm

Reagan was not only right, but foresaw the creeping socialism that is so persuasive today.

Everyone wants something for nothing – that is why we are in such sad shape. We are saddled with tremendous debt and staggering new taxes just to pay for all the “free” benefits bestowed upon us by the benevolent dictator called Congress.

DAVID

November 19th, 2009
3:31 pm

MEDICARE IS BROKE…..you idiot………..

DT

November 19th, 2009
3:31 pm

It’s now an entitlement (unfortunately) and politicians are too scared to take on AARP and other well paid lobbyists.
But I would say that he was 100% correct that it started a wave of government programs that have screwed the company up royally, so Mr. Reagan was right (and he was even a Democrat in 1961(!)). Explosions in government programs have contributed to the disintegration of the family unit in the country, from which most of society’s problems emanate (crime, poverty, to name a couple small ones)

Chris Broe

November 19th, 2009
3:34 pm

ck hall

November 19th, 2009
3:41 pm

If you want to start some crap–How about FDR and his socialistic beginnings for America!

Gordon

November 19th, 2009
3:41 pm

OF COURSE IT IS POPULAR- IT ISN’T PAID FOR!!! As George Will puts it, we get 2009 medicine at 1960’s prices.

Don’t you realize that the unfunded liabilities on Medicare are in the tens of trillions of dollars? I’m sure politicians were telling us way back when that Medicare would only cost so much and we could afford it, but it has cost orders of magnitude more and is now beyond bankrupt. Why? Because politicians are not accountable for the bad decisions they make, especially when the cost of those decisions is decades later. Why in God’s name would you want more of that?

It is amazing that Cynthia Tucker would point to Medicare as an example of why more government involvement in healthcare is a good idea. This is the best argument of why we SHOULDN’T do it.

Unbelievable.

ck hall

November 19th, 2009
3:45 pm

Cynthia, Keep on paraphrasing articles to make yourself look like a writer, and it just might win you another “token” Pulitzer!

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama

November 19th, 2009
3:46 pm

Yes, and so was social security….it’s NOT the tax payer’s job to give entitlements, PERIOD!

Scott

November 19th, 2009
3:48 pm

Lookin in,
I am sorry to hear about your brother’s injury. If you think the doctor that operated on your brother was scary, think about the quality of doctors that our going to be out there when their pay is lower as a result of this scary legislation and they will still have to worry about the possibility of being sued due to a lack of tort reform. You are going to have wait in long lines to see a lesser-qualified doctor, who is going to order more tests than normal, and you will get to pay even more for this great service. Thanks everybody for voting for this change. Really. We all appreciate it.

Lookin In...

November 19th, 2009
4:04 pm

Scott

November 19th, 2009
3:48 pm
I am not an advocate for health care reform as it is currently being presented. I just felt the need to challenge Mike on the notion that Tort reform is the answer to our health care crisis. it is just not that simple. yes the cost of insurance needs to be controled for Doctors, but my premiums have risen about 35% in the last 3 years!!! Now I have no issues with any company making a profit, but I do have and issue with the Insurance conpanies pissing on my head and telling me its raining. Be upfront enoung to make it about your profit margins stop hiding behind all of the things that they hide behind and truly compete. And if that means competeing against a gov. insurance company, then doit…Offer better care in a better stiing at a competitive cost and they will survive and thrive. Just like UPS does against the post office.

getalife

November 19th, 2009
4:15 pm

Git ur guvmit handz off mi heathcare!

jconservative

November 19th, 2009
4:22 pm

Fact. Reagan did the single largest expansion of Medicare in history.
Added Federal employees to Medicare and expanded Medicare benefits to provide coverage for catastrophic illness and prescription drugs.
(Thankfully Bush 41 had this last one cancelled.) And, of course, Reagan made the famous deal with Tip O’Neill & “saved” Social Security.

Whats on the outside is not always a clue to what is on the inside.
Reagan was no exception.

On the otherhand Bob Dole fought Medicare to the end from the House floor. But it came back to haunt him; Clinton ran ads showing Dole speeches trying to defeat Medicare & the 1996 Dole campaign was dead on arrival.

Gotta give Reagan credit for a lot of political savvy.

rolheath

November 19th, 2009
4:25 pm

lets see national health care hasn’t broke britian, germany,japan ,the nederlands, france, italy,sweden,norway,
austria, there’s more

mike

November 19th, 2009
4:26 pm

Lookin In… -

That’s great. So let’s all deal with a health care system bloated by malpractice insurance expense and loads of unnecessary tests to ensure that the world is fair. Lord knows we need to punish those bad old doctors and ruin them for any mistake they make, because lord knows that we should demand infallibility from this particular group of people.

I love how liberals can groan about “greedy” doctors and insurance companies and then go right ahead and defend the disgusting greed of trial lawyers like John Edwards.

mike

November 19th, 2009
4:27 pm

getalife –

And as you would say, ‘get all meaningful and coherent thought from my comments”

Goldie

November 19th, 2009
4:28 pm

Cynthia — to the extremist wingnuts, trillions spent here at home for American families is “expanding government” and/or “socialism”, but just mention invading and occupying a foreign country for decades and spending TRILLIONS in the process and that’s known as being “patriotic”… seems like messed up priorities to me!

Mike Mc

November 19th, 2009
4:31 pm

Had Enough of Cynthia Tucker … Cythia is a “Worthless human being.” What the hell? She has a family who would say otherwise. Have a little respect and dignity and try infusing a little Pragmatism into the debate rather than your emotionalism. We can all hide behind our computers and spew such hate because it’s a lot harder trying to promote change at the grassroots level. UGH.

Scott

November 19th, 2009
4:31 pm

Tom, It’s funny. You must have me confused for somebody else. I am not a right-winger. I am a conservative independent. We went a few rounds one time and then I hung you for some questions and never saw you since. Given that your infatuation with Cynthia, I already know that I am light years ahead of you. Let’s hear some more of your liberal lies about how these programs are going help America. The economy is tanking, the wars are still going on in both countries, unemployment continues to skyrocket(All of these things were supposed to be fixed by Obama) and all Obamao can do is look for a way to have a “great photo op” with our troops. He is a clown, his policies are misguided and he is going to make this country worse than it was under Carter. But, hey keep believing that Americans are going to settle for this next year during the election. Keep thinking that they will go out and cast votes for more Dems when we all know the real truth. Next year, the people that voted for the American Idol rather than a president will not be at the polls. The REAL voting public will put an end to this 2-year catastrophe. Count on it.

SouthGaDawg

November 19th, 2009
4:33 pm

Uggh Cynthia you do realize that this new health care reform plan will “change” Medicare. It will basically kill it.

So what exactly is the point of this column?

Scott

November 19th, 2009
4:40 pm

Lookin in,
“Offer better care in a better stiing at a competitive cost and they will survive and thrive. Just like UPS does against the post office.” The problem is that the government has to constantly bail out the USPS all of the time. They are always getting more and more money but they never get any better. And what do they do????They raise the price of a stamp every couple of years in order to pay for a system laden in inefficiencies. Now there is also a big difference between the USPS and this healthcare garbage. The Constitution tells us that we MUST have a postal service. Not sure where it says taxpayers should pay for everybody’s healthcare even if they don’t pay taxes. If you can find it, please let me know where to find it.
Also, I agree with Mike. How can you hold doctors and insurance companies in contempt for being greedy, while overlooking the greediest of them all…..scumbag lawyers.

BS Aplenty

November 19th, 2009
4:44 pm

The socialist program Medicare’s impending collapse is the genesis of this healthcare non-reform from the Obama Administration. Medicare’s inability to support itself for little more than half a century ought to be caution enough for most Americans before they allow a complete Medicare-ization of healthcare in this country. Unfortunately, ignorance is no impediment for our Democrat Party and it’s bumbler-in-chief, Mr. Obama.

Here’s the problem: According to GAO estimates, Medicare will add 55 TRILLION dollars to the federal deficit over the next seventy years or so. That’s right, TRILLION, if Medicare stays “as is.” If you tack on the inevitable “government boondoggle multiplier effect”, those TRILLIONS will likely double.

Now, you’d think the Obama Administration would see this as a sign that a market based solution was necessary. Uh, no they don’t, there’s vested interests to be considered, redistribution to account for and just taking care of the Dem voting base. Instead of running away from a failing socialist solution like Medicare, the Obama Administration reasons that if a little government is bad then a lot more will even more terrible – but later on – after someone else is elected – and it’s someone else’s problem.

jconservative

November 19th, 2009
4:44 pm

El Jefe
“Reagan was not only right, but foresaw the creeping socialism that is so persuasive today.”

Foresaw? Foresaw? Sir it started in 1933 with FDR. Creeping? It was creeping in the 1930’s, by the 1960’s it was an avalanche.

You blame Congress – and I do not disagree. But you fail to blame the Presidents. Everyone of those “socialistic” acts by Congress was signed into law by a President. Some were Democratic presidents and some were Republican presidents. No one is innocent here.

Those congresses & those presidents were doing what they felt they had to do to get re-elected. Since Johnson, 4 of the 6 presidents who ran for re-election were re-elected. And you know the vast majority of both houses of congress were re-elected.

So what we have now is what “we voters” deserve.

I am thrilled that so many of you are now realizing the need to pay as you go. I have been fighting this battle since Reagan cut taxes & increased spending in his very first budget. I welcome the help.

Lookin In...

November 19th, 2009
4:46 pm

Scott

November 19th, 2009
3:48 pm

it is you and folks like you that make honest debate not possible in this country at this time. I never said anything in defense of any trail lawyer. My point was and ramins that tort reform is a red hearing thrown into the mix to distract from the real issues. And for the record, We or should I say I don’t expect Doctors to be perfect, But I do expect them to be responsible and mindful of the fact that these patients are real people not just a means to their next country club membership.

Scott

November 19th, 2009
5:02 pm

Lookin in….Come on…Most doctors are not scumbags. They are out to do the right thing. Yes, you have a few bad apples, but that is nothign compared to the scumbag attorneys. It sucks that doctors have to pay so much in malpractice insurance because of frivolous lawsuits. It sucks that they feel obligated to force us to go through millions of test in order to save their hides and even then, they still must worry that some jerk is going to sue them because they misdiagnosed something. Everybody make mistakes. Doctors should be able to practice medicine without the fear of being sent into financial ruin if they make one misdiagnosis. To say that we are going to reform healthcare without even touching tort reform is criminal and will not result in improved healthcare for everybody.

Lookin In...

November 19th, 2009
5:02 pm

Scott

November 19th, 2009
4:40 pm

Nice try, but the USPS have not recieved a single dollar of taxpayer money since the early 80’s. What are the insurance companies afraid of? If They can provide a service be it health care, Mail delivery, natural gas service or whatever, in a way that is better than the Gov. then They would and and do get my money. I run a business that ships roughtly 15,000 small packages a month and I get hit up for business by the USPS almaost daily. But UPS delivers it more timely and at a better price so they get the business. Now FEDEX is becoming a player in some of our markets so they are getting some to. See all you have to do is build the best mouse trap, and you will always have your share of the market. Now I ask again, what are the insurance companies afraid of?
BTW, try making Dr.’s be bad Dr.’s be accountable without them. If there was not so much malpractice, there would not be so many trail lawyers…

Lookin In...

November 19th, 2009
5:08 pm

Scott

November 19th, 2009
5:02 pm

I agree, Most are not bad doctors and even fewer are bad people, But i watched a Dr. nearly make my brother hadicapped in order to keep an overloaded surgical schedule. He was more concerned about the 40,000 or so that the surgery would cost than teh patient that he was working on. Now tell me, If that were you or your child on that table, would you be so willing to give him and Doctors like him a pass? How much is the use of your had worth to you? Would you be OK with a 250,000 cap as has been proposed? What happens when that amount covers the cost of fixing the mistake, but you never have complete use of your hand again? Pleas tell me you would be ok with that….