Medicare turned 47 this week, but the government healthcare program for the senior set is battered and limping heading into the final stretch of the 2012 election cycle.
South Dakota’s own US House candidates are sparring over what to do about Medicare, but I’ll bet you can’t find a voter who isn’t paid to care about such things to explain it.
Set aside for a moment the real politic that darn few single House members – let alone candidates – bear a Band-aid’s worth of influence over what Medicare reform might look like at the line-item level. Democratic challenger Matt Varilek and Republican incumbent Kristi Noem are trying to get us to take our medicine, trying to get us to stare the root of our collective fiscal woes in the face.
Sure, they think they’re campaigning. But with a Fiscal Cliff as America’s horizon, Medicare literacy will become vital if we want to travel beyond that horizon in a non-Thelma-and-Louise fashion.
Predictably, the middle-of-the-road Democrat talks of protecting Medicare as we know it, while the conservative Republican backs some bold reform measures including a voucher program.
While we need to take it all seriously, it is almost August – seriously. So for today, I offer this bit of levity courtesy of the knaves at the SD GOP. Do not adjust your screen.
If you are in a more serious mood – and the issue certainly warrants it – you can read Matt Varilek’s real plan here, read Kristi Noem’s op-ed here and read the GOP press release response to Varilek’s plan here.