Have We Found a Straggler?

Rep. Leonard Lance
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We’ve been hunting around to try to find out where everyone stands on the Medicare phase out question, as you know. And we may have found a Republican who’s on the fence or wavering about supporting Paul Ryan’s plan to phase out Medicare and replace it with private insurance and vouchers. Most Reps and Senators line up along expected party lines. We’re most interested in the ones that don’t. We may have found one: Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ).

We’ve now heard from 5 TPM Readers who’ve spoken to Lance’s office and they’ve all heard some version of the same story. Lance supports Medicare, doesn’t want to cut Medicare, has serious concerns about the Ryan Phaseout plan. But when readers push a little further they heard about looming insolvency and that … well, maybe Lance would consider Ryan’s voucher system after all.

Here’s TPM Reader RM from this afternoon …

Spoke to a lovely person who transferred me to a very nice legislative analyst. She said the Rep had serious concerns about Ryan Privatization. She used that word as I did as well. However, she raised Medicare insolvency, future benefits, that sort of thing. In sum, I’d put in the word salad group.

TPM Reader BGB told us this …

[Staffer] first spoke about his position on Medicare and Medicaid – said that he is not in favor of ‘phasing this out’. However, when I asked about vouchers, she said that he is ‘weighing’ a number of options, which could include vouchers. She asked why I thought that was not a good idea. So while I gave a couple of points, I felt that I could have used some better prepared talking points about why the voucher system will not fly.

We called Rep. Lance’s office a short time ago and were told we would hear back from someone. So far we haven’t.

New Jersey’s 7th district is a fairly Republican district for New Jersey but definitely a GOP-leaning swing district in a broader sense. Romney won it in 2012, Obama won it in 2008. Bush won it twice by narrow margins.

It certainly seems like Lance wants to express ‘concern’ about the Ryan Phaseout plan but still leave himself the option of supporting it.

If anyone has more information please let us know. We’ll let you know when we hear more.

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