House Republicans Dig a Deep Hole with Budget that Kills Medicare and Cuts Head Start

paul ryan

Republican whisperer Robert Costa explained in the Washington Post why the budget the President released today won’t matter much this year (others disagree). Included in this analysis was a rather stunning bit about House Republicans preparing a budget that will turn Medicare into a voucher program and make cuts to Medicaid and Head Start:

House Republicans are drafting a budget that ignores Obama’s request for more money for education and whatnot. Later this month, Ryan will put out his latest blueprint, which will not only press the case for using vouchers for Medicare benefits, but is also likely to propose sharp cuts to Head Start and Medicaid.

Yes, that’s the exact same budget that caused Paul Ryan to be such a drag on the Romney/Ryan ticket. The budget that the nuns protested. The budget Ryan couldn’t balance back then, and couldn’t even do the math on. Paul Ryan is staying true to being the Poverty Creator that my colleague Rmuse wrote about yesterday.

While Republican leadership is making a big effort to mask the tea crazy this election year by publicly stating that they support sanctions against Putin and refusing to go down on the SS GOP Debt Ceiling Disaster again, they are still busy appeasing the base. This budget is an example of how they plan to play to the base while edging their way out of the crazy corner for public relations purposes.

What is hard to understand, however, is how a play like announcing that House Republicans want to turn Medicare into a voucher program is going to help them in Senate races. And no matter what Fact Check says, turning a social safety program into a voucher program does kill the part of the program where it’s a social safety net, thereby effectively changing the entire meaning of “Medicare”, while still calling it “Medicare”. It’s not Medicare if you have to use vouchers that may or may not cover costs.

Theodore Marmor at Yale University wrote about this issue when Ryan proposed this same idea while running with Mitt Romney, and he concluded it would not work. “Medicare’s guarantee of affordable health care and ask future retirees to buy private insurance plans with limited vouchers that would cover less of rising costs as time goes on.”

If you recall, the non-partisan CBO was not impressed either, and pointed out that the Ryan voucher concept would result in rising costs for older Americans. People would have higher out of pocket expenses even as their medical bills escalated. The bottom line is that the Republican plan “saves” money by shifting the burden of pay onto seniors, and this means that they no longer have the guarantee of Medicare. By any logic, this fundamentally changes Medicare enough to call it killed, as the entire purpose was to provide a safety net.

Sure, picking on the vulnerable works for Republicans running in gerrymandered districts in the House, but it’s also easy for Democrats to seize on this as the Republican agenda (which it clearly is) and then run against this agenda, as revealed in the only chamber where the GOP has the majority. Democrats could easily use this budget to stamp all Republicans with the Mitt Romney brand.

“If you want your Medicare turned into a voucher program for some real death panels, vote Republican in 2014!”

I grant that no one does double speak better than this current crop of Republicans, but even these guys may not be able to overcome the alarming fear that taking away a social safety net from the people engenders. This is one of the more stupid things this House has done, and that’s saying something.

The budget released by the President reveals his values, and that’s why he said this today, “… our budget is about choices. It’s about our values. As a country, we’ve got to make a decision if we’re going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, or if we’re going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy, and expand opportunity for every American. At a time when our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years, we’ve got to decide if we’re going to keep squeezing the middle class, or if we’re going to continue to reduce the deficits responsibly, while taking steps to grow and strengthen the middle class.”

So while the President’s budget may not go anywhere due to Republicans refusing to budge off of their austerity rocks, it still serves a purpose in an election year, when people have choices to make.

16 Replies to “House Republicans Dig a Deep Hole with Budget that Kills Medicare and Cuts Head Start”

  1. They ran on changing Medicare into a chump change coupon system and they LOST.

    Why are they bringing it back???

  2. How Lyin’ Ryan can feel good about what he does is beyond me. This is one cruel, hypocrisy laden, morally devoid, arrogant and mean-spirited human being.

  3. Ole assistance boy Paul Ryan doesn’t get it, the poor kids today need the same opportunity that little Paul had when he was coming up. When you consider what kind of politician he’s turned out to be it doesn’t make good sense, he is one unworthy piece of shit.

  4. Guess he thinks people have forgotten he tried this once, so he will try it again. He know he lost the election, he will cry will they lose the house because of this, who will they blame then? Republicans don’t want to work with the president or democats on ideas or the budgets that will help the american people, their ideas is to cut all the programs that will help the american people.

    The president did all that in his first term and now he is ready tos top cutting programs for the american people but to make them better and stronger. We have to make sure people vote in this election and in 2016 and continue to send a message to congress that we are fighting for our rights and we are taking our rights backs. The teaparty was having a rally cry of taking back the country that went no where but they tried to take our rights away, so we are going to vote to take back our rights that they took away.

  5. Because today’s Republican doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fail’. (Or the words ‘sanity’, ‘intelligence’, ‘sense’, ‘fairness’ or ‘compromise’, for that matter!)

  6. We get it – the R’s want old people not to have health care, women to have no access to birth control, and children to be stupid. If that’s what they want, then fine… AND they need to quit itching about expensive healthcare, and families on WIC and SNAP, and children who learn no manners at home using up the budget.

  7. I found the anti-big government a bit hard to believe when the Republicans stopped on that issue to complain. They really are for the folks who have money. I know i trust many of the medicare standards for quality of care becuse it is a government program. It means a great deal to most hospitals so they comply with what Medicare says. It offers safety for those who may not have alternatives other than government assistance. It also has the ability to honestly help people. I dont see why else they would challenge medicare so strongly.

  8. What about corporate welfare and other companies that collect $$ from the federal government, and those who don’t pay their share of income taxes as is outlined in the Constitution!

    These are the greedy ones!

    I also include the military industrial complex and oh, BTW, those in Congress who don’t work yet still eat, while they deny Americans jobs and food.

  9. Since old white voters voted for Romney, will it matter to them? Many are just blind to reality and are into the hate for our President and the Dems. What fools they are!

  10. Why bring it back? They are counting on Dems and independents not voting in 2014. They hope by their putting up their hateful policies, it will bring out their ignorant base voters.

  11. There is no cure for stupidity. Will the POTUS sign any proposal Ryan and his ilk proposes? We must get every Democrat to vote these sadistic Gopers out of office. GOP GET OUR PROFITS….F___k the rest !!!!!

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