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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

 
The Ryan Express Rolls On

by digby

So Paul Ryan is going to reintroduce some of his most toxic plans to destroy whatever is currently working in the health care system and replace it with vouchers and tax credits. (If he succeeds, look for them to be called "tax expenditures" in about 20 years with centrists and conservatives both clamoring to "reform" the system by cutting them.)It's the usual nonsense, insisting that people should "shop around" for the cheapest coverage in order to lower costs. And for all of you who haven't had the fun and privilege of doing that already, he wants to end employer coverage too. Feel the magic.

Dave Weigel reported that Ryan has an unusual interpretation of recent events --- apparently he believes his plan is working for them. Weigel writes:

Hm. This isn't how I remember NY-26. Jane Corwin, the Republican candidate, was very clear: She supported the Ryan plan, and blind opposition to the plan was the same as rooting for Medicare to collapse. "It's not like you're given a certain of money to go out and you have to shop around," she told me at the time. "The plans are defined. And how much gets paid is based on your wealth and your wellness, so if you're sick or you're lower income you receive more than someone who's wealthy." The non-"courageous" thing, maybe, was attacking Democrat Kathy Hochul for Medicare cuts, when the Ryan budget also assumes the cuts. I don't think that's what Ryan is talking about.

But once we learned that lesson and started to get our message out… well, a funny thing happened: People listened. They learned that our plan did not affect those in or near retirement; that it guaranteed coverage options like the ones members of Congress enjoy; and that choice and competition would drive costs down and quality up. They also learned more about the Democrats’ plans for Medicare, and they didn’t like what they heard.

And the scare tactics stopped working.

Look at what just happened earlier this month in the recent special elections next door in Nevada and out in New York. The Democrats threw every scare tactic they could think of at the Republican candidates running in two special elections for vacant House seats. But the attacks failed to connect with voters hungry for solutions. The Republican candidates prevailed.


Is that what happened? In Nevada, sure. Democrat Kate Marshall tried to make Republican Mark Amodei suffer for the Ryan plan ... in New York, Republican Bob Turner didn't actually support the Ryan plan. Turner's backers accused Democrats of lying about the candidate because, hey, even theyadmitted that Medicare would be changed somehow. The Ryan plan was neutralized as an issue. This isn't great evidence for Ryan's point that starting to privatize Medicare will no longer hurt Republicans.


Democrats certainly don't agree with Ryan. According to Greg Sargent, in spite of the President's foolish unforced error in mentioning Medicare cuts in his jobs speech, they are going after Ryan hard:

The DCCC is going out in the districts of 50 House Republicans with a press release designed to get local media to pressure them to say whether they will — again — support Ryan’s controversial health care vision.

“Ryan acknowledged his new plan doubles down on his earlier controversial budget proposal to end Medicare that Bucshon supported,” reads the release going out in GOP Rep. Larry Buschon’s district. “Will Representative Bucshon go along again, with Ryan’s latest radical scheme to end employer health care at the expense of the middle class? ”


Sargent writes:

Dems are now hoping that Ryan has given them fresh ammo to remind voters just how serious Republicans are about fundamentally transforming the health care system — and profoundly altering aspects of it that remain very popular — in the months and years ahead.


From the defensiveness of the NRCC response to Sargent's report, they haven't exactly signed on to Ryan's double down:

“The only healthcare plan Americans are familiar with is President Obama’s massive government healthcare takeover that is destroying jobs and forcing middle-class families to pay thousands more in premiums when they can afford it the least. ObamaCare’s disastrous effect on America’s weak economy will continue to haunt Democrats at the ballot box in 2012.”


It doesn't sound to me as if they are entirely confident that proposing that everyone, including those currently covered by their employers and Medicare, should be thrown into the private insurance market to find the cheapest coverage they can is a big winner. But hey, live by the law of the jungle, die by the law of the jungle.



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