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In light of this:

“Before Medicare was implemented—as a social-welfare program designed not just to deliver care but to poverty—one in five Americans lived below the poverty line. After the program was implemented, and after related “War on Poverty” initiatives were developed, that number was cut almost in half. Poverty among seniors dropped by two thirds.

Why? Before Medicare, millions of elderly Americans could not afford to buy healthcare. They did not have access even to basic care. When they needed treatment for the inevitable ailments that are associated with aging, they and their families spent down what meager savings that retained and a stumble into poverty soon followed.

Medicare broke the vicious cycle for the elderly, as Medicaid did for disabled Americans and their families. “For more than four decades, Medicare has kept millions of our senior citizens from living out their days in poverty,” explains one of the program’s steadiest champions, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin.

Medicare continues to serve the purpose for which it was created. Indeed, so much good continues to come of this program—and of Medicaid—that it is difficult to imagine why anyone would seek to dismantle the program.”

What the hell is up with this?

“Obama administration officials are offering to cut tens of billions of dollars from Medicare and Medicaid in negotiations to reduce the federal budget deficit, but the depth of the cuts depends on whether Republicans are willing to accept any increases in tax revenues.

Administration officials and Republican negotiators say the money can be taken from health care providers like hospitals and nursing homes without directly imposing new costs on needy beneficiaries or radically restructuring either program.”

Yeah, right. Now tell me the one about Goldilocks and the bears.

“Before the talks led by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. broke off 12 days ago, negotiators said, they had reached substantial agreement on many cuts in the growth of Medicare, which provides care to people 65 and older, and Medicaid, which covers lower-income people. Those proposals are still on the table when Congress reconvenes this week, aides said, and are serious options that Democrats could accept in exchange for Republican concessions that raise revenues.”

So in exchange for tens of billions of cuts to Medicare and Medicaid Republicans might “concede” on the much over-hyped tax break for corporate jet owners, which amounts to a whopping $300 million a year.

Shared sacrifice, 2011 style.

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