The Grand Obstructionist Party has known ever since it voted for the Paul Ryan economic plans in 2011, The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America’s Promise; and again in March of this year, The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal, that the provision calling for the voucherization of Medicare would present the single greatest obstacle to their success in the 2012 election.
Even Willard Mitt Romney, feeling the heat from his Teabagger base, was forced to sign on to this species of what President Obama has called “thinly veiled social Darwinism.” In contrast, Romney called Ryan’s plan “marvelous.” (About as marvelous as a human devolving into a knuckle dragging primate.)
Naturally, the Romney campaign would have preferred to tip toe around the issue, known, along with Social Security privatization (which Ryan helped convince George W. Bush was a political winner) as the third rail of politics.
Which is a measure of just how desperate Romney has become in light of his deteriorating poll numbers. Rather than making a non-controversial, generic choice, of say a Tim Pawlenty or a Rob Portman, nominating an Ayn Rand devotee is a Hail Mary pass reminiscent of John McCain‘s nomination of “gamechanger” Sarah Palin.”
So, having adopted the Ryan Medicare voucherization plan in spirit, Romney has now essentially adopted it in form. The political damage done, Romney must have figured that naming Ryan as his Veep has less downside than further demoralizing the party base by naming a more traditional GOPer; that his only way out of the party’s Medicare box is to go all in. Thus the current Romney campaign’s propaganda offensive to mischaracterize Obamacare as degrading Medicare, while the Ryan-Romney plan is saving it.
Good luck with that.
Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich clarifies the differences today in HuffPo:
Stumping in Florida today, Mitt Romney charged President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will “cut more than $700 billion” out of Medicare.
What Romney didn’t say was that his running-mate’s budget — approved by House Republicans and by Romney himself — would cut Medicare by the same amount.
The big difference, though, is the Affordable Care Act achieves these savings by reducing Medicare payments to drug companies, hospitals, and other providers rather than cutting payments to Medicare beneficiaries.
The Romney-Ryan plan, by contrast, achieves its savings by turning Medicare into a voucher whose value doesn’t keep up with expected increases in healthcare costs — thereby shifting the burden onto Medicare beneficiaries, who will have to pay an average of $6,500 a year more for their Medicare insurance, according an analysis of the Republican plan by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.
Moreover, the Affordable Care Act uses its Medicare savings to help children and lower-income Americans afford health care, and to help seniors pay for prescription drugs by filling the so-called “donut hole” in Medicare Part D coverage.
The Romney-Ryan plan uses the savings to finance even bigger tax cuts for the very wealthy.
Spread the word. Don’t allow the GOP to get away with this demagoguery.
Consider it done, Mr. Reich.