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Senate GOP Presents Bill Ending Traditional Medicare, Putting Seniors Into Private Plans

Oh, here we go again. Remember, the Republican game plan is not just to pass the legislation — it's to first make the legislation seem reasonable. Thus, under the guise of "helping," they offer what appears to be a better deal to seniors,

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Oh, here we go again. Remember, the Republican game plan is not just to pass the legislation — it's to first make the legislation seem reasonable. Thus, under the guise of "helping," they offer what appears to be a better deal to seniors, knowing it's actually a time bomb that will undermine the federal employee coverage and destroy Medicare.

And really, what the hell do they care? Because they rarely even use their own federal insurance, that's just for the spouse and kids back home. Instead, they make use of their own top-quality onsite clinic — a small hospital, really, with several satellite offices — for the small yearly fee of $503. Guess who pays for the rest!

Senators, if you really want to impress us, stop funding that clinic and start actually using the federal insurance you have. Then you'll understand how the rest of us live:

A group of Senate Republicans has introduced legislation that would end traditional Medicare and sign seniors up for the same private healthcare plans received by members of Congress.

The "Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act" would allow seniors to choose from the array of plans currently offered to the four million federal employees and their dependents in the Federal Employee Health Benefit program, starting in 2014. It would also gradually increase the eligibility age for Medicare from 65 to 70 over a 20-year period.

The bill was introduced Thursday by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). South Carolina Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint are co-sponsors, along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).

"Our goal is to save Medicare from bankruptcy and ensure seniors have affordable, high-quality health care — a crisis President Obama has only made worse during his time in office," Graham said. "Allowing seniors access to the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) program, which members of Congress and federal employees use, will give them more choices and lower their out-of-pocket costs."

[...] Paul acknowledges, however, that adding seniors to the federal program would drive costs up for its current 8.5 million enrollees by about 24 percent.

"Federal employees are the one group of people who may have a legitimate argument with the Congressional Health Care Plan for Seniors," Rand's synopsis says. "Asking them to share their health care with the elderly will cause their premiums to increase."

Indeed, as soon as the bill was unveiled the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association expressed concerns that the bill would destabilize the federal workers' program.

"This is a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone kind of proposal that would both bring down Medicare as we know it and threaten the stability of the FEHBP," said association president Joseph Beaudoin. "As for the senators' notion that America's seniors should be in the same health care system as America's elected officials, they seem to have forgotten that starting in 2014, members of Congress will no longer be covered by the FEHBP but will be in state-based health care exchanges."

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