Senior citizens protest threatened cuts to Social Security and Medicare in Chicago in November 2011.
Credit Scott Olson / Getty Images
Like a mirror that reflects one's ideology back at the viewer, and no more so than during a general-election year, the political players saw what they wanted, and what they thought was most politically useful to their side, in the reports Monday by the Social Security and Medicare trustees on the long-term prospects for those two entitlement programs.
Falling into the "doughnut hole" of Medicare drug coverage led people to stop taking medicines more often than to search for cheaper alternatives.
Medicare patients who reach the annual gap in coverage for prescription drugs known as the "doughnut hole" are 57 percent more likely than those with continuous insurance coverage to stop taking drugs for heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.
"The 228-191 vote gives the embattled GOP leadership what it most wanted: a show of party unity behind a bold election-year vision that includes new private options for Medicare and a simplified tax code.
The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Thursday on what's known as the Ryan budget, the spending plan from Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that among other things changes the structure of Medicare and rewrites the tax code. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has endorsed the plan, but some are saying his rhetoric on the campaign trail may not match up with at least one reality of the Ryan budget.
Romney said he supported the Ryan budget the day it was unveiled.
"I applaud it," he said. "It's an excellent piece of work, and very much needed."