GOP: What Medicare Plan?

Several Republican politicians have used the hoopla over OBL’s death to quietly drop the scheme to privatize Medicare. Brian Beutler writes,

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is the latest GOP leader to acknowledge that his party’s plan to privatize Medicare — which passed the House as part of the Republican budget — will hit a wall in the White House and Senate.

Responding Thursday to the news that one of his most powerful chairmen, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) of the House Ways and Means Committee, will not push ahead with the Medicare plan, Boehner told reporters, “My interpretation of what Mr. Camp [said] was a recognition of the political realities that we face. While Republicans control the House, the Democrats control the Senate and they control the White House.”

Translation: This thing is going to kill us in the 2012 elections.

Some of them actually are making noises about cooperation.

Senior Republicans conceded Wednesday that a deal is unlikely on a contentious plan to overhaul Medicare and offered to open budget talks with the White House by focusing on areas where both parties can agree, such as cutting farm subsidies.


On the eve of debt-reduction talks led by Vice President Biden, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said Republicans remain convinced that reining in federal retirement programs is the key to stabilizing the nation’s finances over the long term.

Translation: Are there no prisons? Are there no work houses?

That search could start, Cantor said, with a list of GOP proposals that would save $715 billion over the next decade by ending payments to wealthy farmers, limiting lawsuits against doctors, and expanding government auctions of broadcast spectrum to telecommunications companies, among other items.

Limiting lawsuits against doctors ain’t going to do squat to lower the federal deficit. And “wealthy farmers” is an oxymoron, unless you’re talking about corporate factory farms. But any plan Republicans might come up with won’t end payments to anything “corporate.”

But this is relatively picayune stuff. Reading the entire article, I get the impression some Republicans are fishing for some token concessions to give them some cover from the baggers for voting to raise the debt ceiling.


Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, acknowledged Thursday that Republican plans to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law were “dead.” Instead, Camp predicted, the GOP would turn its focus to overturning the most controversial portion of that legislation: the mandate requiring individuals to buy insurance.

I still predict that won’t happen, because the insurance industry likes that mandate.

Speaking of which, one little-noticed feature of the apparently dead Ryan Medicare plan is … an individual mandate. Simon Lazarus explains — the Ryan plan would have changed the tax code so that people who didn’t purchase insurance would have faced a tax penalty. which, bottom line, is what the evil individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act does. Rightie bloggers object to this characterization of the Ryan plan, saying the plan provided for a tax incentive, not a tax penalty.

In other words, under the Dem plan the glass is half empty, but under the Ryan plan, it is half full.

Stuff to read — how the Affordable Care Act already is changing the insurance industry, and Loony-ass Insurgents vs. Waffling Bores: GOP Presidential Fight Starts Tonight!

5 thoughts on “GOP: What Medicare Plan?

  1. Leaving Afghanistan would change our economic situation for the better; maybe eliminate any need to cut some valuable programs.

  2. If I was negotiating for the administration, I would pass on demanding tax increases (for now) and look at closing tax loopholes as an issue with broad voter appeal. This (barely) gives the GOP assets coverage on taxes, while it actually moves the budget in the right direction.

    Before anyone points it out, I know closing tax loopholes will not sit well with the corporate masters, but the GOP is already scared that the next election will be a rout if they don’t have some victory. They can repeal the law of gravity in the House, (and might) but it will have no more real effect than the other legislation that can’t get past the Senate. If the GOP thought they had the momentum to capture the Senate in 2012, they would press on. But the reality is – they are afraid of a disaster in 2012. That means they have to negotiate for whatever will make the GOP look relevant.

  3. OT – I heard that a fox commentator with a sense of humor (it could happen) came up with a nickname for Obama. Spongebomb Squarepants.

  4. My spellchecker channged ‘Osama’ to ‘Evan’s which ruined the joke.

    Impudent electron-pushing piece of junk.

  5. So, after every stupid thing they wanted to do is exploding in their faces, they still demand their pound of flesh.
    Why is it that no only do I think the Democrats will give it to them, but carve it off the tenderloin section.
    Please, Democrats, learn how to play this politics game. Your adversaries just painted themselve into a corner. Now is NOT the time to be the nice guys and lead them out by the hand. Now is the time to screw them, and screw them hard! Wall off that corner, like in “The Cask of Amontillado.”

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