The headline, “AARP President: Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plan Could Hurt Seniors,” made me think that @AARP had gone way to soft on Paul Ryan and his plan to dismantle Medicare. I thought this because anyone who has taken more than cursory glance at Ryan’s plan knows that it would not benefit America’s seniors or disabled. In fact, it would make life more difficult for them.
After reading the article, I realized that AARP president and writer of the article, Eric J. Schneidewind, made it clear in his first paragraph that he thought Ryan’s plan would be a disaster for Medicare participants.
Medicare is being targeted by key congressional leaders for a sweeping set of changes that would dramatically increase healthcare costs for seniors and ultimately leave them paying more for their healthcare while getting less.
Highlighting the specific way Ryan’s plan would hurt seniors
Under these congressional plans, what happens to seniors if, for example, the values of the vouchers they receive fail to provide them with enough to buy what Medicare now covers? And what happens if the ongoing costs of their coverage exceed the amount of the vouchers they will now receive? The two choices appear to be a) either pay more out of their own pocket for the same coverage, or b) skip the medical care in question.
While Speaker Ryan has dubbed his voucher-based approach “premium support,” no one should be misled by the benign-sounding term. This is a clear downgrade of the Medicare benefits people have earned throughout their working lives, and the use of buzzwords like “modernization” and “choice” cannot hide the fact that seniors will be asked to bear more risk at greater personal cost.
There is not one ounce of “could” in Schneidewind‘s remarks about Ryan’s plan. He is crystal clear in his assessment that Ryan’s plan will hurt America’s seniors. Therefore, the question arises, why so much disparity between the content of the article and the message conveyed by the headline? Is Time magazine trying to lull America’s seniors to sleep?
We live in perilous times. This is especially true of American’s who are vulnerable to changing political policies. We rely on the media for information. We expect it to be accurate. Everyday Americans are not well served by alternative facts and distorted headlines. Time, we need for you to be more thoughtful and precise.