The chief attack on Paul Ryan electorally is simple: His now-famous Plan “ends Medicare as we know it,” thereby stripping the elderly of their health care. They should fear it and fear him and vote against him.
The next three months will be a test of something important: Whether this assertion, which is an out-and-out lie, can overcome the plain explication of the truth.
The design of the Ryan plan is as follows. Everyone age 55 and older remains in the current Medicare system. Period. Nothing changes. Nothing. Assume for the sake of argument that a President Romney actually adopts the Ryan plan in its particulars, and fights for it in the way President Obama fought for Obamacare.
It took 15 months for Obamacare to be signed into law. So let’s say it takes until April 2014 for the Ryan Medicare plan to become law, and it says what it says now—that everyone in the Medicare system now stays in and everyone a decade away from the Medicare system will join it.
As a practical matter, this means that in 2012, anyone 53 or older, not even anyone 55 or older, will have total access to the current Medicare system.
The political argument against the Ryan plan is that it endangers Romney’s chances in Florida; indeed, the Obama campaign has already begun running scary ads about Ryan taking away Medicare.
But it’s not true. It’s true for me; I’m 51. It’s true for the people who were two grades above me in high school. But it’s not true for anyone older than me; not a single retiree in Florida or anywhere else, in other words.
That’s just the plain fact of it. There’s no argument. The complex new system won’t even come into existence, by Ryan’s own design, until ten years after his plan becomes law.
So how can it threaten current Medicare recipients? It can’t.
Like I say, this is an interesting test. There’s the undeniable truth, and there’s the bald-faced lie. Which will be believed?