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GOP Budget ‘Threatens to Eviscerate Medicare by Privatizing It’

Last week, House Democrats unanimously said no to the Republican plan to end Medicare because it is the wrong choice for America. It would increase costs to seniors by $6,000 in order to give millionaires $200,000 in more tax breaks, put insurance companies in charge of seniors’ health care, and give tens of billions in tax breaks to Big Oil and companies that ship jobs overseas.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Alan Blinder, economics professor at Princeton University and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, writes the Republican plan “threatens to eviscerate Medicare by privatizing it” and calls the budget “breathtakingly mean-spirited”:

Worst things first. The plan threatens to eviscerate Medicare by privatizing it—with vouchers that, absent some sort of cost-control miracle, would fall further and further behind the rising cost of health insurance. And to make that miracle even less likely, House Republicans want to repeal every cost-containment measure enacted in last year’s health-reform legislation…

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, about two-thirds of Mr. Ryan’s so-called courageous budget cuts would come from programs serving low- and moderate-income Americans, while the rich would gain from copious tax cuts. That’s courage?

This reverse-Robin Hood redistribution is bad enough in the abstract. Coming on the heels of 30-plus years of rising inequality, it is breathtakingly mean-spirited.

Other recent commentary about the Republican budget:

Bernard Baumohl, chief global economist with the Economic Outlook Group: “Terminating Medicare as it now exists and handing out vouchers instead is a non-starter.” [CNN, 4/18]

Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt describes the GOP budget as “illogical arithmetic” and “fiscal never-never land.” [4/15]

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s O. Ricardo Pimentel writes Congressman Paul Ryan’s budgetary approach is “Cut, cut and then cut – inappropriately, both on spending and taxes. That would be like unnecessarily demoting yourself to part-time work and then making your kids pay for their own health care.” [4/16]

Democrats are committed to creating jobs, responsibly reducing the deficit, protecting our promise to seniors and strengthening the middle class.

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