Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Will Democrats let Republicans off the hook on Medicare?

Alex Parker at U.S. News & World Report says Republicans may have found a way to dig themselves out of the Medicare hole Ryan created with his voucher proposal.  As Parker notes, most Republicans are on the record as voting in favor of Ryan’s Medicare voucher plan so there is no going back.  They have to defend, or at least find some political cover, for grabbing hold of the Medicare third rail.  He says Republicans are planning to use the battle over the debt ceiling to find  the political cover for their stance on Medicare that they so badly need.  He writes:

With Republicans unanimously behind Ryan's budget plan, the GOP still has a little bit of leverage to demand some sort of Medicare cost-cutting as part of a compromise to raise the debt ceiling, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is demanding that Democrats agree to do just that. If they manage to work out a deal on the issue as negotiations continue over the summer, it would complicate the Democrats' message and give the Republicans some bipartisan cover to explain their votes. 

Will Democrats bite?  Let’s hope not.  Republicans just gave Democrats a key issue to run on in 2012—protecting traditional Medicare.  Now is NOT the time to let Republicans off the hook. 

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