August 13 2012
NOW Has It All Wrong
While NBC’s Andrea Mitchell greeted the Paul Ryan announcement by saying, “This is not a pick for suburban moms. This is not a pick for women,” NOW President Terry O’Neill responded with a slightly more detailed statement that read in part:
Republican Mitt Romney could not have picked a better running mate to telegraph the very essence of his campaign for president than Representative Paul Ryan. Together, these two candidates plan to lead the way in transferring even more wealth from the middle class, the working class and even the poor to the very rich in this country. Women should beware, because they are the targets or the disproportionate casualties in virtually every policy Romney and Ryan propose.
All we need to know about Ryan is written down in his infamous budget plan, which Romney has wholeheartedly embraced. Its most hated feature is that it converts Medicare to a private voucher system -- something that would be particularly harsh for women because they rely on Medicare to a greater degree than men. …
Anyone who relies on Medicare should be cheering for Paul Ryan. Medicare is going to sink of its own weight unless changes are made. Ryan may be Medicare’s last best hope. As for the “hated” voucher system, yes, Ryan would would create a voucher system that would make consumers responsible for their health choices and rely on market-based insurance policies. But he would also allow the current system to remain in place as an option.
The American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis boiled down a post from Andrew Biggs (of the same think tank) that gives you the Ryan Medicare reform plan in fewer than 100 words. At that length, it’s worth quoting all three points in full:
1. No one over the age of 55 would be affected in any way.
2. Traditional Medicare fee-for-service would remain available for all. “Premium support”—that is, government funding of private insurance plans chosen by individuals—is an option for those who choose it. No senior would be forced out of the traditional Medicare program against his will.
3. Overall funding for Medicare under the Ryan-Wyden plan is scheduled to grow at the same rate as under President Obama’s proposals. Is this “gutting Medicare” and “ending Medicare as we know it”? In reality, it’s the market giving seniors cheaper, higher quality choices they can take if they wish, with the traditional program remaining an option.
This would be good for both women and men—not to mention saving the system.
And to respond to another point Terry O'Neill makes, Ryan doesn't want to "transfer" wealth from one class to another. Unlike the president, Ryan believes in earned success and wants the government to back off so that people can create new opportunities. The NOW mindset is such that it only takes into account moving resources from one group to another. Creation of new resources doesn't enter into their thinking.
The Daily Beast also had a piece on “How Would a Vice President Ryan Affect Women.” The highly revealing list of categories: abortion, Obamacare, contraception, the budget, personhood, funding for Planned Parenthood, and Medicaid.
The piece says that Ryan “vehemently opposed” the HHS contraceptive mandate, thus incorrectly making the issue contraception rather than religious freedom. Ryan is undeniably a social conservative, though, on the issue of funding for Planned Parenthood, you could make the argument that, no matter what you think about abortion, the federal government should not be funding Planned Parenthood. As for Obamacare and Medicaid, yes, Ryan prefers government that is smaller and delivers. Ironically, by reforming the system, Ryan would ensure that Granny isn't pushed over the cliff.