Boehner: ‘Political Realities’ Make Medicare Privatization Difficult

May 5, 2011 8:48 a.m.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) is the latest GOP leader to acknowledge that his party’s plan to privatize Medicare — which passed the House as part of the Republican budget — will hit a wall in the White House and Senate.

Responding Thursday to the news that one of his most powerful chairmen, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) of the House Ways and Means Committee, will not push ahead with the Medicare plan, Boehner told reporters, “My interpretation of what Mr. Camp [said] was a recognition of the political realities that we face. While Republicans control the House, the Democrats control the Senate and they control the White House.”

Boehner insisted the GOP hasn’t abandoned the plan, and isn’t prepared to take anything other than tax increases off the table. But with multiple top Republicans now acknowledging that budget negotiations will focus on other areas of potential agreement, it seems understood that the plan is basically dead.There’s just two problems with that, if you’re a House Republican: 1.) The plan is still very unpopular, and 2.) There’s over a 97 percent chance that you already voted for it.

“I was born with a glass half full,” Boehner said. “I believe that the White House understands that dealing with the major challenges that face our country is important. How far they’re willing to go, no one knows. They haven’t put their plan on the table — we have. But I think we have a window of opportunity that I have not seen in the 20 years that I’ve been here, a real opportunity to sit down as adults and to address these major challenges.”

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