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Does Anybody Want To Cut Medicare?

February 10, 2010

Krugman calls the Republicans hypocrites for opposing Medicare cuts while supporting Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap” at the same time:

Remember what the 1995 government shutdown was about: it was Newt Gingrich trying to force Bill Clinton to accept, yes, deep cuts in Medicare. And it’s not just history: Republican plans to balance the budget rely crucially on … deep cuts in Medicare.

Consider the “Roadmap for America’s future” released by Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican on the House budget committee. In the long run, this would convert Medicare to a voucher system and impose sharp cuts in Medicare spending as a percentage of GDP. And even in the next decade, it would involve substantially less Medicare spending than under the Obama administration’s budget.

He then gives us a nice graph which, surprisingly, shows that Medicare spending as a percentage of GDP would be lower during the next ten years under Ryan’s plan than it would under the current health-care proposal.  Sounds like a good idea to me!  The difference, however, between the two schemes is quite large: one propounds complicated ways to change the way doctors are reimbursed and counts on things that might not necessarily happen, and the other “just goes after Medicare with a chain saw”, which certainly seems like a good way to get more doctors to quit seeing Medicare patients.

I would disagree, however, with the assertion that “Republicans are denouncing Obama for proposing Medicare cuts, while themselves proposing much deeper Medicare cuts.”  The Republicans that are proposing deep Medicare cuts are guys like Paul Ryan, who is the chief budget wonk of the GOP, was the primary reason that the Republicans didn’t get laughed out of the room during the Baltimore retreat with the President, and hopefully will do most of the talking during the “summit” on February 25.  The Republicans who are proposing no cuts to Medicare in hopes that the elderly will flock to the polls to vote R in November are guys like Michael Steele, Karl Rove, and Newt Gingrich.

And, I’ve said before, these guys need to shut up.  A Republican Party that wants to increase the deficit with permanent tax cuts needs to come up with a way to compensate for the losses with spending cuts.  What do these guys want to cut other than Medicare?  Defense spending?  The prescription drug benefit?  We’ll see how that goes over.

(Also: another reason to be for means-testing Medicare!  Perhaps via the Medicare Buy-in!)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Your Cousin permalink
    February 11, 2010 9:20 AM

    I’m still not quite sure why I don’t see a “Jersey Shore” section on this blog! Disappointing, cuz!!!

  2. February 11, 2010 11:04 AM

    Yeah, I’m disappointed in myself to certain extent. That said, I still haven’t forgiven JWOWW for that spinning backfist she delivered to The Situation’s noggin when they were in AC. A classless move from an otherwise first-class lady.

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