Braude=”Alan Greenspan, former head of the Fed, wrote his book in the tub, he says. And that one of the main points he made, is that Medicare, in the age of the babyboomers, is the real budget buster, saying we’ll have to cut big time Medicare for affluent Americans-potentially as much as 100% co-pays for wealthy Americans. Would you support such a change and if not, what change would you support to rein Medicare in. Kurt Hayes.”
Hayes (B)-Makes a reasonable argument for private health insurance for all “as can possibly afford it, then subsidized for those who can’t.” Then launches into an irrelevant lecture on the Democrat-Republican cant.
Braude-“But would you go after the affluent at all, on the recommendation of Greenspan. Is that one that would appeal to you, if in fact Medicare is in trouble down the line like he suggests?”
Hayes (A)-keeps everything on the table in the debate on this issue.
Murphy (B)-favors universal healthcare by the expansion of Medicare, essentially the “single-payer” proposal which is gaining traction elsewhere. With Murphy, it’s plain that his answers are well thought out. His problem seems to be articulating them effectively. This question evidently caught him off guard or something. His arguments, apt though they were, are marshalled poorly here.
Thompson (F)-Medicare is unconstitutional and should be administered by the states (as Florida and Arizona go bankrupt). Anyone know what planet he’s from?
Ogonowski (D)-I think he forgot the question. First he launches into statement bemoaning partisanship. Then he’s pressed and says, “no tax increases like that” for the wealthiest seniors.
Tsongas (B)-She gets a B for ignoring the demographic premise of Greenspan’s argument, proposing instead a series of areas in which healthcare costs can be managed. Reasonable, detailed and extremely well articulated. This may be her best answer of the evening.
Braude-“The expansion of healthcare to children that was mentioned a minute ago, the SCHIP program, ‘State Children Health Insurance Program” for families who make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Congress voted, as I think most people know, to expand the program, which would extend coverage in Massachusetts, from 160,000 kids to 200,000. George Bush vetoed it. The House seems to be scheduling a vote on overriding that veto shortly after one of you will be the next Congressperson. Would you vote to override the veto? Or would you vote to sustain it, Jim Ogonowski?”
Ogonowski (F-MINUS)-The worst answer of the debate. Ogonowski says, “it allows illegal immigrants access to these benefits?.” Then, “this bill actually takes money away from the poor children by giving it to the illegal immigrants” It’s not the first time he’s made this mistake.
My question is, what peabrained campaign strategist encourages him to lie so stupidly to the voters time and time again?
Now, SCHIP isn’t my thing, but even I know there’s a provision in the bill explicitly stating that illegal immigrants are not eligible for SCHIP benefits. (H.R. 3162: Title I, Subtitle D, Section 135), cunningly titled: NO FEDERAL FUNDING FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS. He’s likely a good farmer. He should seriously consider sticking to that and leave governing to grownups.
Tsongas (C)-She is awarded a C here for not knowing when to stop. The first twenty seven seconds of her answer were perfect, but then she goes rhetorical, wasting everyone’s oxygen.
Hayes (C)-a qualified override vote, stating that at $80,000 is too high a cut off point for those eligible for SCHIP benefits (whatever happened to helping the middle class?). He then waxes poetic on the partisanship issue, associating himself with Ogonowski’s view.
Murphy (A)-States his position: “vote for the override, work in Congress for single-pay.”
Thompson (F)-SCHIP is unconstitutional. (NASA, can we get this guy a ride home, please?)
Braude-“Social Security is another program in trouble. We’ve talked about Medicare. Under the current laws, you know, the payroll taxes only impose on the first $97,000 of a person’s income. The age to receive full retirement is 67. Would you raise either the payroll tax cap, or the retirement age to help fix Social Security?”
Ogonowski (D)-won’t raise taxes + won’t cut benefits = won’t fix Social Security
Tsongas (C)-would “look at” raising the payroll cap.
Hayes (C)-same as Tsongas
Murphy (B)-advocates eliminating the cap entirely
Thompson (F)-didn’t really address the question other than to say he leans toward eliminating it, and pretty much every other entitlement program entirely (on constitutional grounds?)