Someone over on Daily Kos provides the perfect summary of why the left does not understand Medicare, particluarly the much-beloved-by-the-left "Medicare as we know it." The idea of the Daily Kos writer is to refute PolitiFact's finding that the right's proposal to change Medicare to a so-called voucher system does not change "Medicare as we know it."
Both far-left organizations -- Daily Kos and PolitiFact -- are wrong. "Medicare as we know it" is already effectively a voucher system. Here's what the government says as soon as you receive your initial Medicare and You booklet:
In other words, right off the bat the government says "Medicare as we know it" (which the government calls Original Medicare) is bad insurance. It is. Original Medicare "features" relatively low lifetime limts but lacks annual out of pocket limits, requires up to $6000-a-year hospital-admission deductibles and unlimited 20% co-pays for hospital observance/outpatient/doctor visits, has no vision/dental/annual-physical/drug coverage, and restricts seniors geographically. It's bad.
That's why right away in this diagram on one of the first pages of the booklet the government says pay your $99.90 for this lousy insurance that we're subsidizing (with the tax money you've paid for 40 years) and then get some good "private" insurance. But the private insurers require you to take Orginal Medicare first, so that's like a voucher (or premium support if you prefer).
In the end a couple on Medicare ends up with four, five or six separate policies in this confusing "Medicare as we know it" process. The current right-wing plan -- which does not affect anyone over 55 -- simplifies this whole process but even lets those under 55 keep this stupid mixed up process if they want.
But as pointed out elsewhere, over 90% of seniors take the government's advice now and add private insurance to Medicare as we know it" (or -- for the needy -- get Medicaid to supplement "Medicare as we know it") so it is highly unlikely that those under 55 will choose "Medicare as we know it" once given the chance to get out of it.