Tag Archives: Privatization

What Congressman Inslee Thinks about the Republican Plan to Privatize Medicare

Congressman Jay Inslee thinks the Republican plan to privatize Medicare is a bad idea. The Republican proposal by Republican Congressman Ryan would basically shift the burden of paying for Medicare from the nonprofit public sector onto seniors. The costs would increase dramatically over time to seniors as the voucher proposal is static and would not increase over time.

In addition as medical costs increase, seniors would be asked to pay these increased costs as well as salary increases for private health care administrators, financial returns to investors and shareholders and rising costs due to inflation.

As noted in a recent press release from the Center for Economic and Policy Research:

“The Ryan plan does nothing to control private-sector waste in health care costs,” said David Rosnick, an author of the report. “As a result of the waste in the private system, beneficiaries will end up paying substantially more for Medicare, in effect paying a hefty new tax on their health care.”
The report, “Representative Ryan’s $30 Trillion Medicare Waste Tax, documents the potential effects of replacing Medicare with a system of vouchers or premium supports and raising the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 as suggested in the Ryan plan, which was passed by the House of Representatives with almost unanimous support from Republicans and no votes from Democrats. The authors note that each voucher under the plan will initially be worth $6,600, but would be frozen at this amount over the program’s 75-year planning window, paying less and less of a beneficiary’s health care costs over time.
In addition to comparing the costs of Medicare to the government under the current system and under the Ryan plan, the authors also show the effects of raising the age of Medicare eligibility. The paper also demonstrates that while Ryan shifts $4.9 trillion in health care costs from the government to Medicare beneficiaries, this number is dwarfed by a $34 trillion increase in overall costs to beneficiaries that is projected based on the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis”.

The following is an email sent out by Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee stating how he feels about this Republican plan and urges you to sign a petition opposing this blatant effort to end Medicare as we know it and shift the costs unto seniors instead:


Lesson number one for any elected official worth their salt is that you can’t outrun the public record. But that’s exactly what many members of the GOP are trying to do. As public opposition to their Medicare privatization plan mounts, they’re doing everything they can to run away — despite overwhelmingly supporting it in the House as part of Rep. Paul Ryan’s extremist budget.Here’s the truth: Rep. Ryan’s budget plan ends Medicare as we know it. It forces seniors into the private insurance market where they’ll pay far more and get far less.The good news is our efforts to show how much people oppose their privatization scheme are having an effect. The privatizers are on the defensive, and if we can keep the pressure on, we stand a good chance of stopping this in the Senate when it comes to a vote next week.Join me and thousands of others who are already speaking out — urge the Senate to oppose this Medicare privatization scheme!Supporters of this plan have made a big show of claiming that it will bring costs down, but they’re not being honest. It doesn’t bring medical costs down — it just shifts them onto the backs of America’s seniors.No one is trying to hide from the fact that we need to seek out creative and comprehensive solutions to fix our long-term deficit. But trying to do that by telling Americans who’ve paid for Medicare throughout their careers that they’re on their own is unfair and wrong.We can win and protect Medicare, but to do it we need everyone who supports preserving this program to stand up and fight back. Can you help?Urge the Senate to oppose this Medicare privatization scheme!Thanks so much for your help.Very truly yours,Jay Inslee      

Tell the Senate: Oppose Medicare Privatization

BIAW Dumps $100,000 into Initiative1067 Campaign to Privatize State’s Industrial Insurance

PDC reports filed for March show that the BIAW (Building Industry Association of Washington) has just dumped $100,000 into their Initiative 1067 campagn.  Word is that they have hired Roy Ruffino’s Citizen Solutions of Lacey, WA to start collecting signatures using paid signature gatherers. Citizen Solutions has run previous paid signature campaigns for Tim Eyman’s initiative efforts.

As David Ammons of the Washington Secretary of State’s Office notes in his blog From Our Corner, the initiative is:

aimed at ending the state-run workers’ comp insurance program, which covers 2.5 million workers with coverage for work-related injuries, including lost-time compensation, medical care and other services.

The BIAW initiative, filed with the state Elections Division …would transition the state from the government-run plan to a privatized system. Currently the state covers 171,000 employers, but some of the larger companies are allowed to self-insure.”

Here is the official ballot title and summary for Initiative 1067:

Ballot Title
Statement of Subject: Initiative Measure No. 1067 concerns industrial insurance.
Concise Description: This measure would establish a joint legislative task force to develop legislation that would eliminate Washington’s state-run industrial insurance fund by December 1, 2011, with recommendations to the legislature by February 1, 2011.
Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]
Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would establish a joint legislative task force on industrial insurance privatization consisting of sixteen members: eight legislators, five representatives of business, two representatives of insurers, and one representative of labor. The task force would be directed to develop proposed legislation that would eliminate the state industrial insurance fund by December 1, 2011. Task force recommendations would be provided to the legislature by February 1, 2011. The legislature would provide staff and budget support.

One obvious negative impact for workers in this proposal is obvious in the proposed task force mentioned above. Besides 8 Legislators: the committee has 5 business representatives, 2 insurers and only 1 labor representative. Yet the issue is about providing worker’s compensation for injured or sick workers. This committee composition immediately sets up a bias against workers.

David Groves of the Washington State Labor Council writing in Outside the Echo Chamber notes that Washington State has the fifth lowest employer costs of any state.

One of the most persistent myths about Washington state’s business climate is that our workers’ compensation costs are higher than in most other states. The fact that many employers and public policymakers believe this to be true is another indication of the power and resonance of the negative internal rhetoric about our competitiveness.

….In fact, the gap between the truth and the negative rhetoric about our workers’ compensation costs is shocking. Not only do we have comparatively low premiums, by the national measure most often cited, the workers’ compensation costs to employers in Washington state are the fifth lowest of any state in the nation.

Despite these low costs, Washington’s model state-run system is able to provide comparatively high benefits to injured workers. That’s how this myth took hold that Washington is not competitive in this area. Business lobbying groups continually and deliberately decry the level of benefits –not employers’ actual costs — in their quest to cut premiums even further.”

We are sure to be in an intense campaign of misinformation and disinformation from the BIAW about this measure. The BIAW has previously run an initiative campaign against ergonomic standards for workers which grossly misrepresented the facts. They also have dumped enormous amounts of money into political campaigns to try to elect their candidates to the Washington State Supreme Court as well as backing Dino Rossi for Governor and Rob McKenna for Attorney General.