It’s quite possible that, for all of their “Mediscare” tactics, like ads depicting a Paul Ryan look-alike throwing a wheelchair-bound senior off a cliff, the left has not done nearly as much damage to Congressman Ryan’s budget and Medicare plan as some of his own colleagues on the Republican side.
We have seen former House Speaker, and newly announced presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, begin his campaign by criticizing Congressman Ryan’s proposal as “right wing social engineering.”
Now, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown has announced, in an op-ed in Politico, that he will vote to defeat Ryan’s proposal to overhaul Medicare. Despite the fact that Senator Brown has had weeks to review his Republican colleague’s plan, he just now takes issue with the House Budget chairman on several curious points.
First, Senator Brown has adopted the position that Medicare, as it is now, needs to remain as is for those who have been counting on it. That’s an odd conclusion to draw when Medicare’s own trustees announced, last week, that the program will likely go broke about five years sooner than previously thought. According to the trustees, many seniors currently using Medicare as their health insurance plan, and those approaching the age of eligibility, will find themselves out of funds in about 12 years.
Second, Senator Brown asserts that a plan to change Medicare should “phase changes in over time.” But, isn’t that what Congressman Ryan’s plan does? Those currently over age 55 would be able to keep the current Medicare program in Mr. Ryan’s budget.
Third, the senator expresses concern that inflation will erode the “premium support” sums that Mr. Ryan’s proposal would provide to future seniors who are currently under age 55. However, doesn’t the senator acknowledge that most current younger and middle-aged Americans would be planning ahead for their healthcare, if they knew they had responsibility for their futures, and not simply waiting to turn 65 to have the government move in on their lives?
Fourth, Senator Brown states he is against Congressman Ryan’s plan to cut spending in Medicare because Obamacare already has cut Medicare for today’s seniors. However, Obamacare is repealed in Mr. Ryan’s budget, and thus the board of unelected bureaucrats who would be rationing, and thus, cutting costs in, seniors’ healthcare, would also be relieved of their duties.
Fifth, the senator states that “waste, fraud, and abuse” and “tort reform” should be addressed before we consider changes to Medicare. Problem is, Senator Brown, that Mr. Ryan does acknowledge the importance of addressing those issues in his budget, but knows that addressing them will not be the major drivers to solving the entire problem.
Senator Brown sounds confused: he says that the debate to change entitlements, like Medicare, “is long overdue,” but,“I do not think it requires us to change Medicare as we know it.” Or, maybe the senator is desperately trying to hang onto "the people's seat."
The adult conversation is happening now. As we have seen in European countries that are now coming to terms with the enormous debt the "nanny state" incurs, many Americans will fight to keep their entitlements. Thus far, Congressman Ryan is the only Republican who has been willing to take his plan to reform these programs directly to the American people, and that demonstrates the kind of character the nation needs.