Um... By "exactly the same thing they're getting now" I mean...
...you mean they WON'T be getting exactly the same thing now.
They wont be getting the exact same thing if we don't implement Ryan's plan either though. We're talking 16+ years in the future here Joph. Do you receive exactly the same TV programming today as you received 16 years ago? Do you wear the exact same clothes? Do you drive the exact same car? No? Guess what? Medicare will not provide the "exact same care" in 16 years, even if we don't change a thing in terms of funding or payment methodology, just as medicare doesn't provide the "exact same care" that it did 16 years ago.
The promise that they will receive care to meet their needs by using the available technology and medicine of the day will still exist though. Which is the important part. And btw, the status quo alternative doesn't do this. Unless we change something, there will be no money to fund any where near enough care in 16 years. That's the part you seem to be unable to grasp. Unless we start cutting the costs of medicare by a smallish amount today, we'll have to cut it drastically in the future. The Dems just want to ignore this and kick the can down the road and let those folks in the future worry about it and then complain when someone suggests that maybe we should do the responsible thing *today*. Shocking, I know!
And I see nothing guaranteeing the exact same benefits -- in fact, if everyone was required to provide the exact same benefits, everyone would pick the cheapest option and shove their underwear full of government rebate checks.
You're getting caught up on "exact same benefits". When someone bids on building a building, there are requirements. How many floors, total square footage, basic facilities involved, etc. But within those parameters, each bidder can come up with a specific design that they think is best and the cost that they can bring that to the customer. The lowest bid is the guy who can build the building that was requested at the lowest price. That doesn't mean that a higher bid might be a design that the customer might prefer, or that includes extras he might be willing to pay extra for, but all the bids must meet the criteria requirements. Absent that you can't have a "lowest bidder" competition at all.
The point is that health care insurers will do the same thing here. They'll come up with packages that offer the required coverage, but may think that they can deliver it cheaper than someone else and thus can bid lower. Others may decide to over slightly better than the requirements figuring some might choose to spend slightly ore to get their pl,ans. In any case, it's competition, which doesn't currently exist. And yes, everyone can choose the lowest plan and pocket the difference. But some might want to "spend" that difference on extras, or even spend some additional money out of their pockets on even more. You're trying to invent possible problems while ignoring the problems that this solves.
It would be ridiculous to ever choose Option #2 (or any other) because Option #1 gets you the same coverage as Medicare AND a free government check.
Then what's your problem? Seriously.
Also, your assumption is completely wrong. So no one ever buys food at any but the lowest priced restaurants? No one ever buys anything but the base model car? No one ever buys more than basic cable? You're seriously going to argue this bizarre point? Some people might want more than the basic coverage, and might just be willing to pay for it. Why is this such a hard concept to wrap your head around. It only happens around you every single day.
Did this little fact fly past you when you blindly assumed that everyone would be at least as good as Medicare for coverage?
The previous CNN quotee wrote:
The first is that the proposal requires that the plans be "actuarially equivalent," but not that they provide the same coverage benefits
So, no, not "exactly the same". Not remotely. And crying "semantics!" won't make it magically true.
Ok. Tell me what you think that means and how that will magically make the low bid coverage insufficient for the needs of seniors. You're just speculating, aren't you? But can't we do that right now with the existing system? I mean, we could speculate that under the Dems plan (ie: no plan at all), medicare will drop payments for any of a set of things it provides for right now. We could speculate that it wont cover any of a number of procedures, hospital costs, etc. Again, what do you think "actuarially equivalent" means in this context? And how does that compare with how medicare determines coverage over time already?
You're complaining about things that aren't really changes to the system (actually just repeating such complaints voiced by others like a writer at CNN). But what they're really complaining about, and what the real change is, is that this would introduce a little bit of competition into the system. That's what the left hates. Their greatest fear is that something like the Ryan plan will be introduced and by golly it will reduce the costs while providing the same amount of service. Because then their decades long claims that the free market doesn't work, it doesn't benefit anyone but the rich, and that only government can save us all from it. The left is terrified that the bulk of "the people" will finally really see that the socio-economic policies of the left don't work, and those of the right do. That's why the get so shrill whenever something like this is proposed. Because their entire political strength rests on a population of people convinced (aka lied to) that conservative economic ideas don't work and if sufficient evidence is presented that they do, it would spell doom for them politically.