by Jack Landsman, Thu Oct 14, 2010 at 08:58:33 PM EDT
It would be a damned shame if we finally lost a constituency as prized as seniors because of the current Democratic president. And yet that appear to be exactly what’s happening. In the summer of 2009, there were reports of a Democratic “problem” with seniors. Victoria McGrane and Chris Frates, writing in POLITICO, described how the town hall rage was being fueled by senior citizens. Seniors, angered by proposed cuts to Medicare floating around Congress, controversial talk of “death panels,” and the like, promised to be a concern for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections. In 2008 they backed John McCain over Barack Obama by 8 points.
More than a year later, the news hasn’t gotten any better according to The Washington Post. A full 66% of older voters are enthusiastic about voting in November and most of them ready to cashier the Democrats. And they should be. Since they are free of the responsibilities of governing, the vocal conservative opposition has often been right.
In addition to the ones that exist with private insurance, governmental rationing regimes are not beyond the realm of possibility. People often confuse them with the completely innocuous concept of end-of-life counseling, which had been supported by Republicans in years past. The death panels, however, are notions of governmental bureaucrats—full of fulsome praise for the British system of rationing—with the power to deny care for the sake of cost-cutting. Responding to the criticism his work has engendered, bioethicist and administration official Ezekiel Emanuel assured us he was “writing really for political philosophers. [T]he average person, it's not what they're used to reading.”
As far back as 2009, there were new reports contradicting the president’s public statements that there were no cuts to Medicare in any of the proposed legislation. These days you find conservative activists warning us in the pages of The Wall Street Journal that the new reform law will: “Cut $818 billion from Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) from 2014-2023, the first 10 years of its full implementation; [Cuts] for Medicare Part B (physicians fees and other services) brings the total cut to $1.05 trillion over the first 10 years.”