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Here's an idea for reforming Medicare: Let seniors join their Member of Congress’s health plan.
Would that save taxpayers' money while improving quality of care? Senator Rand Paul, M.D. (R-KY) thinks it would. So he's drafted the bold yet simple idea as a bill, which he plans to unveil today as bill number S. 2196.
He calls it the Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act.
Joining him at a press conference this morning will be Senators Mike Lee (R-UT), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Jim DeMint (R-SC).
In addition to letting Medicare seniors join the same excellent health care plan enjoyed by Members of Congress and federal employees, Dr. Paul proposes raising the Medicare retirement age from 65 to 70, very gradually, over a generation.
Guess what? According to independent experts, these reforms would save a full $1 trillion over 10 years and cut Medicare’s $38 trillion unfunded liability nearly in half.
Without benefit cuts.
And without government rationing.
Jeepers, why didn't anybody think of this before?!
Maybe it takes a freshman to come up with an idea so obvious and sensible. And it probably doesn't hurt when that freshman is also a physician and a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington type -- optimistic, principled, unjaded -- a committed advocate for individual liberty and constitutionally limited government.
When Dr. Paul first broached this "congressional health care for seniors" idea last year, the Beltway establishment ignored it, but it was an instant hit with tea party supporters around the country. In mid-November, the Tea Party Debt Commission, a national citizens panel, included the idea in its grassroots-generated "Tea Party Budget" report to Congress, which Sen. Paul, in turn, consulted in putting together his own recently unveiled budget plan, "A Platform to Revitalize America."
We at FreedomWorks are proud to endorse the bill. Our President and CEO Matt Kibbe says:
Watch out, Washington. The Medicare issue just got a lot friendlier for reformers, thanks to the legislative entrepreneurship of Rand Paul.
This patient-centered bill proves once again that freedom works.
It reduces Medicare spending the right way, by giving individuals more freedom, without cutting benefits or causing ObamaCare-style bureaucratic rationing.
The Tea Party Debt Commission embraced this elegantly brilliant concept last year, when Sen. Paul first broached it.
We will be urging our 1.5 million grassroots members across the country to get behind this bold, principled reform.
Thank you, Senator Paul! You've set a great example of the American "can do" spirit at work.
Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks' Legislative Counsel and Vice President, Health Care Policy