As this budget debate heats up, Republicans will remind us all that their plan preserves Medicare as it currently exists for people 55 and over -- so it's not really fair to say anybody's benefits are in danger. If you have it now, or will get it in 10 years, you're in traditional Medicare.
Think about that for a second, and you'll see why it's a bogus promise. Let's say you're 55 and Ryan's plan passes and you think "whew! I dodged a bullet. I still get the regular, mostly reliable Medicare my parents had."
Then 15 or 20 years later, when you get really sick, you find that the Medicare program itself has dwindled dramatically. About half the people who were in the risk pool when you entered the program are dead, and the other half are older and sicker than they were at the outset. Keep going down that rabbit hole and one day there'll be a program called Medicare designed to insure one person -- the oldest surviving Medicare recipient who got in before Ryan's plan took effect.
This is absurd -- and the obvious implications are that either a). doctors will stop taking Medicare patients in larger and larger numbers over time, or b). that Congress will have to ratchet up its reimbursement rates to make sure those patients can realize their guaranteed benefits, and thus eat into the spending cuts Ryan's plan is supposed to achieve.
Either way the policy makes no sense.