Anti-Obama, Anti-Medicare, Anti-Tax, Pro-Ryan, Tea Partying Angelenos' Day in the Sun?
What they lacked in numbers during tax season 2011, they made up for in zealousness
By Thom Senzee
WOODLAND HILLS (RoLA)--Patti Hutchens (far left, w/flag) came out in the late afternoon sun Saturday to a park in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of the City of L.A. and did something she's done every April 15 since 2009--wave the red-white-&-blue at passing cars to express her passion for what she believes America needs most: lower taxes.
"I like the Paul Ryan plan," Hutchens, 56 of Canoga Park, said.
Asked whether the part of Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Minn.) plan to end Medicare as we know it today in favor of a system that would give seniors a voucher and marching orders to fend for themselves in the private health-insurance market bothered her or not, the self-proclaimed former liberal aanswered in with a definite "no."
"I don't think [ending Medicare] is a problem," she said. "They can just go to Kaiser."
Hutchens and many of her fellow Tea partiers seem to believe seniors will find few if any barriers to obtaining health care from a largely for-profit private system, despite the fact that politicians and business leaders from both parties have long decried as dysfunctional and inaccessable to at least 40 million people in this country.
But on one defining aspect of the Ryan plan, Hutchens seemed confused. Republic Of L.A. asked her if she really believed an 80- or 90-year-old with pre-existing conditions (is there such a thing as a 90-year-old without pre-existing conditions?) would be able to find coverage with an $8,000 government voucher. That amount that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would be the average value of a voucher for a person aged 65.
"I think it's $12,000," she said. "I think Kaiser would insure someone like that for $12,000."
In fact, according to the non-partisan CBO, the cost for coverage of the kind now enjoyed by all seniors who receive medicare would cost, at minimum, $16,000 on the open market. The Paul Ryan voucher system would allow the average 65-year-old $8,000. The individual would have to come up with the other $8,000 on her own--assuming she could find an company that would accept her (keeping in mind that Republican plans also include repealing Pres. Obama's Affordable Care Act, and returning the nation to a system that allows for denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions).
Yet Tea Party "patriots" such as Hutchens, are confident that not only will insurance companies welcome 65-year-olds with pre-exisint conditions, they'll also roll out the red carpet for 85- and 95-year-olds too.