Speaker Boehner Lauds “Road to Ruin” Budget Plan to End Medicare

Posted on by Karina

This morning, Speaker Boehner came out not only defending the GOP-Ryan “Road to Ruin” budget but specifically endorsed legislation’s provisions ending Medicare:

“I fully support Paul Ryan’s budget, including his efforts on Medicare.”
Speaker Boehner, 4/13/2011

And while it’s very clear the GOP-Ryan budget ends Medicare and shifts the cost to seniors:

Napkin Drawing

Speaker Boehner earlier today tried to say the GOP-Ryan budget doesn’t privatize the program but rather “transforms” it. TPM:

Faced with growing public skepticism of House Republicans’ plans to privatize Medicare, Speaker John Boehner claimed Wednesday that the GOP’s Medicare privatization plan doesn’t privatize Medicare.

“There’s no privatizing of Medicare,” Boehner said. “We’re transforming Medicare so that it’ll be there for the future.”

If “transform” is another word for “ends” then perhaps he’s right:

Economic Policy Institute: The budget resolution eliminates Medicare as we know it, shifting costs onto seniors.

Paul Krugman called the it a “proposal to abolish Medicare and replace it with vouchers”

192 Health Economists and Health Care Experts: The voucher plans would remove the option of traditional Medicare, now preferred by three-quarters of enrollees…

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: By eliminating traditional Medicare, the Ryan budget plan would throw away the opportunity to use these tools to promote cost reduction throughout the health care system.

Ezra Klein: The current Medicare program would be dissolved…

Despite Speaker Boehner’s linguistic cartwheels, it hasn’t changed how Americans feel:

Americans, by a 2 to 1 margin, and 66 percent of seniors – support only minor changes or none at all to Medicare. In fact, 61% of Republicans and 58% of Independents oppose overhauling Medicare.

Gallup Poll

Maybe that’s why, as Politico reports, “Some in GOP squirm over Paul Ryan budget“:

…Whether they’re new lawmakers in formerly Democratic seats or House veterans who represent districts with large elderly populations dependent on Medicare, a significant number of Republicans realize that embracing the Ryan plan may be one of the most treacherous votes of the year.

So rather than taking a strong stand, they’re hedging during the leadup to the roll call.

Rep. Tim Murphy, a fifth-term Republican who represents a western Pennsylvania district south of Pittsburgh with roughly 17 percent of residents older than 65, is still undecided. Susan Mosychuk, Murphy’s chief of staff, said it’s a “high-profile vote” that they are “still taking a look at.”

Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Republican from western Florida with a district in which roughly 20 percent of its residents are older than 65, is “still looking it over and trying to decide.”…

When queried by POLITICO, more than a dozen offices either pointed to week-old nonstatements expressing vague support for the plan or refused to indicate whether the member planned to support it on the floor.

One freshman representative in a senior-heavy state, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, released a statement calling the proposal an “important step in what will be a serious, and at times difficult, conversation” about spending…

But when asked whether he’d actually vote for it, his office wouldn’t respond…

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