Not sure this is going to get the level of attention it deserves or that most political reporters will call it what it is: Paul Ryan today unveiled the new House Budget, which doubles down on Ryan’s previously announced plan to end Medicare as a source of guaranteed health care benefits for the elderly. It’ll still be called Medicare, but it will be Medicare in name only.
We’ve covered this ad nauseam, but it hasn’t really penetrated elite consciousness, let alone broader public awareness. (Incredibly obtuse fact-checking on the issue has compounded the problem.) But here we sit less than eight months before the election, with Republicans firmly and irrevocably on record as planning to dismantle Medicare. No guaranteed benefits. Period. End of sentence.
Republican candidates are going to try to have it both ways. But you can’t support the Ryan plan and want to preserve Medicare any more than you can have an affair and still be faithful to your spouse.
Political reporters are notoriously bad at covering these kinds of policy debates because they are so easily bamboozled by the double talk. Democrats are rarely as clear on these matters as they should be, although this time it looks like Democrats are catching on.
We’re going to be tracking candidates’ positions on this issue very closely, smoking out the bamboozlers and the double-talkers. It’s a totally fair question on one of the critical issues of our time: Do you support Paul Ryan’s plan for phasing out Medicare?
No candidate for federal office should be able to dodge this question. It’s that simple.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.