• How serious is Medicare reform?

    From the Washington Post:

    On the eve of debt-reduction talks led by Vice President Biden, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said Republicans remain convinced that reining in federal retirement programs is the key to stabilizing the nation’s finances over the long term. But he said Republicans recognize they may need to look elsewhere to achieve consensus after President Obama “excoriated us” for a proposal to privatize Medicare.

    Huh? “Excoriated”? I must have missed that one.

    Look, I get that politicians might want someone to blame when they want out of a position that is not popular, but if you’re serious aboue something, it should take more than a speech to dissuade you. Remember the town halls from 2009? Those were painful, and the PPACA still got passed.

    I’m not saying that I believe that Medicare reform as put forward in Rep. Ryan’s budget is workable, or even a good idea. But I do think it’s a sign of how little support for it really exists that leaders in his party are so ready to abandon it. Moreover, without the Medicare cuts in his budget, I’m not sure how Rep. Ryan’s deficit reduction plan actually reduces the deficit.

    What’s left?

    UPDATE: Evidently, Rep. Cantor is not disputing what he said before, and says Republicans fully back Rep. Ryan’s budget. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

    UPDATE #2: Rep. Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, seconds Rep. Cantor’s earlier assertion, specifically “that legislation to turn Medicare into a voucher system would likely not get a hearing in his committee.”

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