Visions of the Apocalypse: Not in Fire, Nor in Ice, But in the Empyting Beds of a Nursing Home

A not-entirely-stray thought, pulled out of the swamps of pre-coffee semi-consciousness by Mistermix’s post on Medicaid and Medicare below.

The evisceration of Medicaid contemplated by the Ryan-Romney ticket and party is not simply a grotesque act of cruelty to people in their most urgent hours of need.  It’s not just going to kill people.  It’s not just crap economics, an enemy of prosperity on its face. (Short form argument here, for the sticklers among us: un- or under-treated illness sucks productive hours and capacity out of the economy.  Think of it as a labor-supply sea-anchor, dragging us backward in any wind.)

No, or rather, more:  gutting Medicaid, as Mistermix points out, radically constrains access to nursing home care for way too many Americans.  And with that, you get the final step in the sequence of moves that the GOP hopes to make that will, taken together, finally transform the traditional American middle class (back) into an atomized and largely defenseless proletariat

Why so apocalyptic?

Connect the dots:

In his keynote at the convention on Tuesday Mayor Julián Castro pointed out that class mobility is a relay, not a sprint.  The ability of lower income families to propel children into more secure futures than their parents lived was and is a key driver in creating what is both “middle”  and a “class” out of the great mass of Americans.

That is — to reach the point where your family is not always one paycheck from real trouble (my loose definition of what it means to be in the middle) you need to be able to accumulate two kinds of assets that you can transfer to your children.  One is intangible:  the human capital that comes with education and the increasingly wide range of entry points to the economy that such education affords.  And then there are the tangible assets, which for almost everyone short of Mitt Romney territory (or at least Paul Ryan turf), means a house.  The single moment when most folks acquire significant chunks of capital in excess of daily needs comes when parents die and the next generation inherits.  And most of what most people inherit is the value of their parents’ house.

I’ll try to keep this short (how….novel! — ed.)  The GOP policy package would not just further immiserate the poor (see Bill Clinton’s “I don’t know what those families will do”). The GOP agenda as a whole makes it harder every step of the way for someone running the first leg of that relay Mayor Castro talked about.  Cuts in education, the health care tax that the well and the halt alike would pay, all the rest — and the slog gets harder and the pace slows…until, if the GOP has its way, the baton drops — or rather, is stolen — at the point one generation hands off to the next, as the cost of being old sucks up whatever savings someone might have managed to accumulate over a life time’s work.

How?  Go back to Medicaid and nursing home care.  Long term care is already a huge drain on the resources of the poor and the middle class.  Hammer Medicaid and Medicare, kick away such a major source of help– and the net effect is that for far too many, the cost of aging will suck up everything they’ve earned in a lifetime of work. Update:  to be clear, as commenter Bloix points out, Medicaid helps those who are already basically out of assets.  The point I tried to compress in that last sentence is that you get hammered either way:  if you can’t get nursing home care for your broke parents, then — again as Bloix notes — you have to take them in (or abandon them…) and care for them, which is a huge drain of cash and time.  And even if you aren’t broke enough for Medicaid, constraints on Medicare will put the older-generation’s assets under increasing pressure…with the net effect that the inter-generational boost that a lifetime of work and saving could provide would get sliced or slaughtered in a Romney-Ryan war-of-all-against-all world. End update.

The spectre of old people dying in poverty is not the end of it, horrible as it is.  Their kids will face an sharply increased likelihood that they’ll face the same fate — because whatever cushion they might have received from even a modest inheritance will have long since disappeared into the medical-industrial complex the GOP is so determined to defend.  I’m not saying all social mobility will cease — that’s absurd. But if the GOP has its way, it will be a damn sight harder to enter–and remain in– a condition of genuine economic security.

Last thought, back to the significance of the word “class” for the middle class.  Those on top of the GOP heap seem to perceive a (false) advantage in a permanently vulnerable labor supply.  Henry Ford and his $5 day * long since demonstrated the folly of that idea by economic yardsticks as well as moral ones, but humans — especially, it appears, Republicans — are notoriously wretched one-trial learners.  Reducing the ability of American working people to accumulate wealth and education over generations leaves each person and each generation so much the more isolated.  Which is, of course, the point for everyone who breaks out in cold sweat at the thought of an actual middle class forging common cause among its members.

As the Big Dawg said, there’s a damn clear choice this time around.

*Yes — the history of Ford’s tension between paternalism and profit sharing on one hand, and intense loathing of unions on the other is much more complex than this post discusses.  But the underlying point remains:  the creation of an economically independent working class that becomes a middle class has been proven to be an explosive generator of wealth as well as a social good many times over.

Image:  Thomas Anschutz, The Ironworker’s Noontime, 1880

58 replies
  1. 1
    joes527 says:

    Ice floes solve that problem.

  2. 2
    quannlace says:

    Well, can’t we give those nursing home patients vouchers?

  3. 3
    jwb says:

    Not completely on topic, but another of these barriers to the middle class that has become increasingly common is the unpaid internship, almost required now to enter many professions, but almost impossible for those without money to hold.

  4. 4
    Bloix says:

    You don’t qualify for Medicaid unless you’re broke. Before you get Medicaid-paid nursing home care, you have to sell the house and pay the proceeds to the nursing home. And you can’t qualify for Medicaid by transferring assets to your kids – Medicaid has a five-year “look-back” period, and if it sees transfers it will treat that money as belonging to you.

    The children of elderly people who need long-term care have already lost all hope of inheriting anything. What they fear is that they personally will have to assume the cost of the care, which would bankrupt most families in a few months.

    What will really happen is that if Romney wins, families will have to take in incontinent, demented, bed-ridden elderly parents and care for them at home until they die.

  5. 5
    jl says:

    I was very happy to see Clinton summarize the argument tying Medicaid and Medicare for elderly and disabled who need long term care. And great bottom line (which is true), the GOP plans for Medicaid would also ‘end Medicare as we know it’.

    Clinton is brilliant at giving catchy short bottom lines to what seem to be issues to complex to get into voters’ heads.

    If that speech can get just a couple of media celebs to challenge a GOPer with “but won’t your Medicaid plans end Medicare as we know it for everyone, immediately, as Clinton said, with all those old folks losing long term care”, it would be a great thing. GOP BSing about that would not be shrugged off very easily by the audience, even if the newsie celeb talking head let it slide.

  6. 6
    catclub says:

    @joes527: “Be nice to your children, they will pick your nursing home”, will become, “Be
    nice to your children, they will pick your ice floe.”

  7. 7
    Chris says:

    @jwb:

    Well, that and most of the times the internship doesn’t lead anywhere anyway, it’s just a revolving door or blissfully unpaid grunts to do your bitch work.

  8. 8
    Poopyman says:

    Uhhh, I don’t want to be the one to be the downer here, but ice floes are disappearing too.

  9. 9
    cckids says:

    @Bloix: Actually, in most states, a spouse gets to keep the home. Of course, they usually can’t afford to keep it on one income/SS check, but they don’t automatically have to sell it.

  10. 10
    Nina says:

    Eliminating nursing home care will also put an extra burden on middle class women, since they’re statistically more likely to have to quit jobs to stay home and care for infirm relatives. You also punish elderly people who did not have children – them gayz and feminazis who refused to breed like cattle.

  11. 11
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Poopyman: #8

    Uhhh, I don’t want to be the one to be the downer here, but ice floes are disappearing too.

    LOL!

  12. 12
    The Moar You Know says:

    What will really happen is that if Romney wins, families will have to take in incontinent, demented, bed-ridden elderly parents and care for them at home until they die.

    @Bloix: This. Treatment in a crap nursing home – I’m talking bottom of the barrel place you wouldn’t board a dog in – is $50k/year. The average US home price is $221k. The average number of parents that every citizen has is two. The average Boomer has $65k in savings.

    Without Medicare/Medicaid, you are one major illness away from bankrupting you and your spouse. So you sell the house to cover your bills and go bankrupt. Time to move in with the kids!

    What happens when you get that second major illness hasn’t been addressed. Assisted suicide is still illegal. Maybe you can beg for help from a church. One way or another, you’ll be begging.

  13. 13
    Elizabelle says:

    @Poopyman:

    That’s a dimension beyond gallows humor.

    How the Republicans learned to pull one over “Kansas”: scare them someone’s coming after their guns, and use lobbyists and legislation to shiv and bleed them dry of their assets and potential before they realize their danger.

    Ooh, look. Socialist Democrats. They’ll take everything you have and distribute it to someone undeserving.

  14. 14
    catclub says:

    Two of the ten commandments have rather long explanations.
    Number one, and keep the sabbath. Honor thy father and mother just has a little tagline – you can look it up – which is somewhat unclear to me. But it relates to this thread pretty closely. Or ‘Honor thy father and mother’ relates very closely to NOT leaving them to die in poverty, uncared for, but the real why ( and why tribal people 3000 years ago thought it was important) escapes me.

  15. 15
    meander says:

    Seems like the old saying “Nothing is certain in life except for death and taxes” needs to be updated for 21st century America to “Nothing is certain in life except death, taxes and the medical-industrial system sucking up all of your wealth at the end of your life.”

  16. 16
    The Moar You Know says:

    You also punish elderly people who did not have children – them gayz and feminazis who refused to breed like cattle.

    @Nina: Neither gay nor feminazi, but the wife and I couldn’t – and now we’re too old to.

    We will simply have nowhere to turn to when that time comes.

  17. 17
    amy c says:

    @The Moar You Know: And if the kids are renting a small apartment because they can’t save for a downpayment on a house in this economy…yeah. The ill elderly parent sets up camp in the living room. Not a pretty picture.

  18. 18
    trollhattan says:

    @catclub:
    Good news for the proto-elderly: ice flows incresingly hard to find!
    Bad news: kids will instead strap you to swimming polar bears.

  19. 19
    lou says:

    There’s also the disabled issue, considering the increase in autistic individuals and other disabilities.

    Case in point: What would happen to my 45-year-old severely autistic cousin were the bottom to drop out of Medicaid? His divorced mother (whose ex was a drunk ne’er-do-well who abused her and is now dead) has no money. She has lupus herself and is disabled. He lives in an assisted living home. He could never survive on his own.

  20. 20
    joes527 says:

    @Elizabelle:

    shiv and bleed them dry of their assets and potential before they realize their danger.

    Don’t kid yourself. There is no “before they realize…” They will welcome the shiv and the bleeding and blame it on the liberals.

  21. 21
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    Paul Ryan watched “Soylent Green” and didn’t think it was about a dystopia. He thought it seemed kind of cool.

    Then he found Ayn Rand and a star was formed.

    In his pants.

  22. 22
    Original Lee says:

    My grandmother, now 97, has been in a nursing home for fifteen years. Her older sister, now 103, has been in a nursing home for twenty years. Both are still mentally sharp but physically frail and need pretty close to round-the-clock care. Without Medicaid, my mother and my aunt would have had to quit their jobs in order to care for them, moving them into their own homes, which would have driven them crazy as well as negatively impacted their incomes.

    Members of my generation of the family are currently helping pay for some things for our parents as it is. For instance, Medicare/Medicaid will only pay for dentures every so many years, so when my grandmother’s dentures got lost in transition between the hospital and the nursing home the last time she was in ICU, we had to pass the hat to buy her another set. Similarly with Great-Aunt B.’s hearing aid. So I shudder to think how much of our income will go to their support and to my mother’s and aunt’s support when the time comes, if there was minimal Medicaid.

  23. 23

    I don’t think it means anything any longer to Republicans that what they want ti do is “inefficient” or “uneconomical” or that it’ll “hurt productivity”. All that matters is that it will hurt helpless people, and to today’s Republicans, that’s a good thing. The Republicans have hitched themselves to a base that sees fucking people over as a good thing. I don’t see how anybody can come to any other conclusion: Republicans like hurting people. They’re fucking sadists. I guess it’s uncivil, and it’ll make Richard Cohen cry, but, shit, how much more evidence do we need that Republican voters are looking for ways to take aim at people who are only barely scraping by, and make their lives even worse? There’s no other answer; these people are like the leader of the posse in The Oxbow Incident*: they don’t care whether their victims have “done” anything; they only want to make them suffer.

    *If you haven’t seen this movie, you should; it’s like what the Republican convention would look like if it had been much, much smaller, and they’d held it in the Old West.

  24. 24
    kathy a. says:

    look, this is a serious issue. when my children were very young (1 and 3) and i was beginning a new career, my grandmother fell and broke her hip. her husband had died a few months earlier; she had depleted all their savings on experimental cancer treatments for him. and she had alzheimer’s. she had sold her house, but not figured out where to move. and my mother freaked the hell out and had my grandmother call me.

    the long story short is that my grandmother lived another 6.5 years — she never did walk again, and her dementia increased. so i moved her near me; found her nursing home care. the bit of money after her house was sold did not last long, so we applied for medicaid — that, with the SS and medicare, kept her in a not-great nursing home.

    the alternative was exactly what people upstream suggested: that we put her on the street, or that i destroy my career and family to provide the 24/7 care she needed. no joke at all.

    at that time, i was the primary breadwinner for my own family. at that time, my kids were early in their development; they needed our attention. at that time, i was building my career and skills; my siblings were, too.

    i had absolutely no legal obligation, but i did sacrifice a lot of time and energy visiting and managing things. it would have been impossible without medicaid. impossible. this is not a hypothetical for me.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @catclub:

    Honor thy father and thy mother:

    . . . that your days on earth may be long.

    If you help your parents meet their physical needs, your kids are more likely to help you. So when you reach the point where you can’t do it on your own, you are assured of some help.

    It’s also true that the traditional gifts of old age, patience and wisdom, come to the forefront during this stage of life. Any society of humans really needs all the wisdom it can get. And an extra dose of patience wouldn’t hurt, either.

  27. 27
    Original Lee says:

    @lou: You know, for people who allegedly do not believe in evolution, GOPers are practicing something that looks an awful like financial Darwinism.

  28. 28
    Maude says:

    @Original Lee:
    Just a thought, how far away is that from the theory of the Master Race?

  29. 29
    catclub says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (formerly Horrendo Slapp, Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): I just read a couple of speeches from the RNC and agree. They were angry and emphasized truth-telling, pain and suffering, mostly of those who are having hard times now.

    The difference from the DNC is stark. “We are all in this together.”

  30. 30
    Elizabelle says:

    @kathy a.:

    Kathy, please, please, please send this letter to as many newspaper editors as you can.

    They publish letters from nasty, Tea Partying cranks all the time, and are probably dying for a rational letter from the reality-based community. It’s human interest too, not just “get off my yard.”

    And I hope that the love and help you gave your grandmother (and mother) is repaid many times over throughout your own life. You did good.

  31. 31
    kathy a. says:

    @Original Lee:

    exactly. exactly that. the hearing aids and other things not covered. the lost in transition. things like clothing.

  32. 32
    Elizabelle says:

    Cutting and pasting “greyjoy’s” comment from this morning’s Medicaid discussion, because it’s pertinent.

    FROM GREYJOY: As of now, 40% of women in this country are breadwinners, and more women hold degrees and advanced degrees than men do—and the gap is increasing. I think somebody will have to stay home with Grandpa but I don’t think it’s a guarantee by any means that it’ll be women who do.
    __
    I do think that we are approaching a perfect storm of financial calamity in this country. Corporations are increasingly pushing the cost of benefits off onto employees—for health care, retirement, etc. and at the same time they are manipulating their workforce so that fewer people qualify for those benefits. And they are aging people out of the employment pool very early—people in their 50s and even in their upper 40s are having a bear of a time finding gainful employment despite their education and experience.
    __
    Combine that with crippling student loans which can’t be discharged through bankruptcy, and a stripped-down Medicare where seniors can’t afford care anymore, and suddenly we have a country where most of the population is about to take a nosedive into dire poverty. They can’t get a job, they can’t pay their loans for their education (much less help their children get an education), and they have to stay home to take care of Grandma with Alzheimer’s…I just can’t understand why anyone in this country would consider this a positive direction, or even a PROFITABLE direction.

    Greyjoy, comment 45 from earlier thread

  33. 33
    Betsy says:

    @Bloix: That’s what women SHOULD be doing, the lying, scheming, slutting, taking-jobs-away-from-men-who-need-them bitches!

  34. 34
    peorgietirebiter says:

    Been watching this happen since Reagan decided mental health facilities were filled with malingerers gaming the system and stealing our hard earned stuff. I grew up in the 5th largest city in CA. As a boy, my friends and I would explore downtown, the airport and even the harbor for weeks before spotting an an honest to god wino or drifter. Seeing someone “living rough” seemed exotic but sad to our young eyes. I couldn’t have imaginged that in ten short years seeing homeless men, women with children and whole families would become so common that in another ten years it would be accepted as unfortunate but inevitable. A consequence of poor choices.
    That republicans scoff at empathy pretty much tells the tale.
    The private prison lobby will offer a cost effective alternative to all the cadillac nursing homes that become “unsustainable”. I’m with Bill, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  35. 35
    David Hunt says:

    @MoeLarryAndJesus:

    Paul Ryan watched “Soylent Green” and didn’t think it was about a dystopia. He thought it seemed kind of cool.

    I’ve said before, but not here I think, that I sometimes believe that a big motivator behind a bunch of these right wing sociopaths is a burning desire to find out what Soylent Green really tastes like.

    Most of the time, I only believe that in a figurative sense.

  36. 36
    Emerald says:

    @Bloix:

    Before you get Medicaid-paid nursing home care, you have to sell the house and pay the proceeds to the nursing home.

    Not necessarily. I faced this possibility and found out just what the rules are, at least in California. I took care of my Dad for a decade. Fortunately, because I was there (24/7 with virtually no income) he didn’t have to deplete his assets, but here are the rules: You can have a little over $2,000 in cash, you’re allowed a car and you can make repairs to your house with your money. So, in a worst-case scenario, if I had been forced to deplete the assets, the money would not have gone straight to the nursing home. Instead, I would have bought Dad a car, which I could have sold after his death, and I would have spent the remaining cash on home repairs and remodeling. (Rules in other states may vary.)

    I could not have used the money to pay off my student loans, for example, because that would have been seen as transferring the money to me, and that isn’t allowed.

    As it happened I was able to keep Dad at home, so my sister and I inherited the money and the house (I might add that the house was fully paid off). I lost a decade of my life taking care of Dad (no regrets), but I preserved the family wealth, such as it was. I’m pretty sure Dad was happier and better cared for, too, than he would have been in a Medicaid nursing home.

  37. 37
    Mnemosyne says:

    @catclub:

    Or ‘Honor thy father and mother’ relates very closely to NOT leaving them to die in poverty, uncared for, but the real why ( and why tribal people 3000 years ago thought it was important) escapes me.

    Because in those days, it probably would have been easier for your parents to leave your infant self in the desert to die of exposure rather than have to raise you, and it would be an awfully assholish thing not to appreciate that.

    But it’s also the real reason why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed — when you live in the desert, hospitality is literally a matter of life and death. If you refuse to give someone food, water, or shelter, you may as well just cut their throats. So someone in a desert tribe who refuses to care for their parents in their old age is essentially murdering them.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    @catclub:

    Or ‘Honor thy father and mother’ relates very closely to NOT leaving them to die in poverty, uncared for, but the real why ( and why tribal people 3000 years ago thought it was important) escapes me.

    Because in those days, it probably would have been easier for your parents to leave your infant self in the desert to die of exposure rather than have to raise you, and it would be an awfully assholish thing not to appreciate that.

    But it’s also the real reason why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed — when you live in the desert, hospitality is literally a matter of life and death. If you refuse to give someone food, water, or shelter, you may as well just cut their throats. So someone in a desert tribe who refuses to care for their parents in their old age is essentially murdering them.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Chris says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (formerly Horrendo Slapp, Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.):

    This. Completely.

    Like I’ve said before, they have spent fifty years campaigning and governing by appealing to the very worst of human nature, so they’re left now with a base made up of the worst human beings in the country. Terrifying but simple.

  41. 41
    Chris says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (formerly Horrendo Slapp, Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.):

    This. Completely.

    Like I’ve said before, they have spent fifty years campaigning and governing by appealing to the very worst of human nature, so they’re left now with a base made up of the worst human beings in the country. Terrifying but simple.

  42. 42
    dianne says:

    My red state brother in law is a nurse in a nursing home and has not even thought about what will happen to him when 60% of the patients no longer get Medicaid. The nursing homes will slowly go out of business and he will lose his job. We will have a few left but no where near as many as we have now. As they become more rare, the prices will rise and only the fortunate few will be able to afford them.
    The wingers are so short sighted and selfish that they seldom see past the last viral email. The thought of having to pony up for elderly care out of pocket or bring them home to be cared for by family members might wake a few up as to what the Repubs really have in mind for us.

  43. 43
    Celeriac says:

    @kathy a.:

    I am watching my mother go through the same thing with my grandmother right now. Without the promise of Medicaid once Gram’s “wealth” (such that it is for a blue collar steel mill family) is depleted, my mother would have to quit her job–which would start a chain reaction inevitably leading to the sale of her own house and then . . . What? A teeny apartment for my mother, her partner and my grandmother? They all move in with me and my partner–who is currently supporting me but who could not likely support an unhealthy senior plus two others in addition? Some–or all–of us would end up on the street. There just wouldn’t be any other option.

    I can’t stress that enough to republican sympathizers who see this as a choice between passing along $5million or $2million to their children: for many, many, many people THERE ARE NO OTHER OPTIONS.

  44. 44
    Stuart_b says:

    I’ve thought for a while that destroying the middle class and further impoverishing those already poor is actually their way of solving a bunch of problems. And in an odd way it explains climate change denialism.

    If people can’t get jobs at minimum wage and are forced to take less–either by violating the laws or getting them changed–that goes a long way to restoring competitiveness for American industry.

    If people can’t afford to drive or heat and cool their homes, it will seriously reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission. And the same economics will reduce all use of resources.

    And how does that explain denialism? Well the Democrats and scientists are proposing voluntary conservation and taxes or mandates if that isn’t enough. They can “honestly” say that no one no one who can afford to waste has to be prevented from doing so. Then once they are in powerit becomes apparent that only the few will still be able to afford to do so.

    And there is no need to invest in public transit, as once their perfect world is realized it will be very much in demand–and profitable, but only if created in the private sector because of no pre-existing public version.

  45. 45
    roc says:

    Once again, I think it’s a bit much to assume the GOP cares about what happens 10 or 20 years down the road. They’re a sociopathic “me, now” crowd.

    Their goal is the protection of existing wealth. You can’t get votes for that directly, so you need proposals that stir up emotional responses from voters, because emotions short-circuit logic and can get people to vote against their interests. They literally do not care what their policies do down the line. They just need to throw enough emotion-stirring nonsense into the pot to cover what they really want to do. (Sell everything that isn’t nailed down and let corporations lease it back to the rest of us in perpetuity.)

    And as political winds blow, they can just change their lies. After all, no-one’s held any of their previous cynical bullshit against them. Why would they worry about it this time?

  46. 46
    Renie says:

    We are living this now. My father-in-law worked 25 years as a NYC beat cop then 12 more with NYS ATF. Retired with a house paid off, good pension. He died ten years ago. Now all the wealth he worked all these years for is gone. Why? His wife had to go into an assisted living place in NJ, they took all her money she had from selling her house plus all her savings. I believe they also take whatever Soc Sec she gets and now we are trying to get her Medicaid. We are fortunate she is in a place she is taken care of but I’m sure my father-in-law would be sadden to know everything he worked for is gone.

  47. 47

    […] Another possibility is that they have a substantive argument, but they are keeping it hidden because they know most of the electorate would run away screaming if they knew what it was. (Along those lines, do read Tom Levenson, “Visions of the Apocalypse: Not in Fire, Nor in Ice, But in the Emptying Beds of a Nursing Home.”) […]

  48. 48
    Anna in PDX says:

    So heartbreaking. I am so grateful for all of your stories and agree they would make great letters to the editor of local papers.

    Because of the GI bill we had generations of people who could pass their wealth to their offspring through real estate. It seems as if Republican and others austerity programs that cut things like medicaid will make sure that never happens for the vast majority of folks who are not independently wealthy. What a horrible world it will be, a sort of anti-GI bill. That was the part of C.’s speech I really remember thinking about. He did his part to contribute to the austerity loving culture but I will at least partly forgive him because of all the great things he said last night.

    My mother had to deal with my grandmother’s dementia by putting her in a variety of different types of situation (another thing that is really bad about elderly dementia is that as it progresses the person has to move multiple times, and the moving is so hard on elderly people) from independent living, to assisted living, to basically bedridden, and this was possible all because my grandmother inherited a house way back when she was starting out and this enabled her to have enough money that we could afford to do this without bankrupting ourselves. So many families have no such privileges.

  49. 49
    kathy a. says:

    @Renie:

    yes, renie — and celeriac, and anna. i’m sorry for what your families are going through.

  50. 50
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Anatoliĭ Lъudьvigovich Bzyp (formerly Horrendo Slapp, Jimperson Zibb, Duncan Dönitz, Otto Graf von Pfmidtnöchtler-Pízsmőgy, Mumphrey, et al.): My take on it is that the Republicans (despite all their bluster about “economic success”) believe that the American economy is entering a permanent decline, and the only rational thing to do is to make sure other people get less. That way, society can split up the scraps between fewer people.

  51. 51
    Todd says:

    @Bloix:

    What will really happen is that if Romney wins, families will have to take in incontinent, demented, bed-ridden elderly parents and care for them at home until they die.

    Death Panels!

    On the plus side, this odious task will fall hardest on lower middle class white folks, who will support Romney by significant numbers because the Sheriff is near. It gives me a smile to think that they’ll get to experience the maximum amount of freedom as they move through their middle age into twilight years worried and unable to enjoy life at all before going into their impoverished old age. In the end, they get to die hated, suffocating under the pressure of a pillow wielded by their resentful offspring.

  52. 52
    mclaren says:

    Since the ACA also cuts spending for Medicare, it’s a choice between how fast the Medicare dollars get slashed — very quickly (Republicans) or more slowly (Democrats).

    In addition to providing subsidies for the uninsured, the A.C.A. included tax increases on premium insurance plans, the imposition of certain user fees, and significant cuts in Medicare spending.

    Source: “Ferguson vs. Krugman: Where Are the Real Conservative Intellectuals?” John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 20 August 2012.

    Republicans want to increase America’s out-of-control military spending massively, while Obama has merely increased America’s out-of-control military spending hugely (8% in one year while freezing all other government spending. In a zero-inflation economy, that means America’s military spending will double in real terms in 9 years.)

    Republicans want to eliminate welfare, while Bill Clinton merely ended “welfare as we know it” so that little children are now living with their homeless parents in cars.

    Republicans want to kidnap and hurl American citizens into prison without charging ’em with a crime, whereas Barack Obama assassinates American citizens without charging ’em with a crime.

    Tweeldedum, meet tweedledee.

  53. 53
    darms says:

    @The Moar You Know: The wife & I didn’t and now it’s too late (if we’d wanted to which we didn’t) so we’re in the same boat. I don’t look forward to our future…

  54. 54
    darms says:

    @mclaren: Subtle point you seem to have missed – ACA cuts payments to Medicare Advantage, a private program that is more expensive per patient than regular Medicare, more expensive because Medicare Advantage has one expense basic Medicare does not – private insurer profits.

  55. 55
    nicteis says:

    @joes527: Won’t rMoney be surprised when he tries to put all the grannies onto ice floes, only to find that the global warming hoaxsters have somehow managed to melt them all.

  56. 56
    Porlock Junior says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But it’s also the real reason why Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed

    Speaking of which, I’m reminded of the biblical quote the Democrats forgot to use–

    Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
    –Ezekiel 16:49 (NIV; the grammar of the KJV is misleading, seeming to disapprove of the riches themselves, which are OK in Judaism, I’m told, provided one doesn’t act like the Sodomites.)

  57. 57
    e.a.f. says:

    lets see, Rommney & whats his name want to cut back on medicare. this will leave many elderly people, who are incapable of looking after themselves with no place to live. O.K. I’ve got the solution.

    A lot of these republicans also seem to espouse some religion, like christianity, so lets just take the elderly who can no longer reside in nursing homes to the homes of all those good christian & mormon republicans & have them look after them. We could start by dropping off a dozen or so at each of Romney’s homes. I mean they have enough money to get a $77K tax write off for medical expenses for their horse so a few old chronically ill people won’t hurt.

    I think that settles the problem.

  58. 58

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Another possibility is that they have a substantive argument, but they are keeping it hidden because they know most of the electorate would run away screaming if they knew what it was. (Along those lines, do read Tom Levenson, “Visions of the Apocalypse: Not in Fire, Nor in Ice, But in the Emptying Beds of a Nursing Home.”) […]

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