Reform will affect them, not you!

There’s a piece in the WSJ today on how some Republican legislators are having difficulty explaining the benefits of Rep. Ryan’s proposal to seniors.  Evidently, some are upset by things they’ve heard. But the defense being mounted seems odd to me (emphasis mine):

Now Republican lawmakers fanning out across the country during their Easter break to explain the plan to constituents are finding their biggest challenge is convincing seniors already receiving Medicare benefits that those benefits won’t be affected, and that the changes would apply only to people who become eligible for Medicare in 2021 and beyond.

If you believe that the reforms that are proposed won’t slash benefits, that’s a reasonable defense. If you believe that the benefits may be reduced, but will be done in a way that doesn’t affect health outcomes, that’s a reasonable defense. Even if you believe that benefits will be reduced, but that’s necessary as we just can’t afford it as a country – that’s a reasonable defense.

But saying – none of the terrible things that you hear will affect you, just people younger than you and in the future – that’s an unreasonable defense. First of all, you’re going to continue asking those younger people to pay the same, if not more, for the continued benefits of those you’re pandering to. You’re also admitting that those terrible things people have been hearing are true, just not for the people you’re pandering to. Finally, what makes you think that in 10 years, when those younger people start qualifying for Medicare, they won’t be screaming just as loudly, meaning you’ll have to start pandering to them?

If you believe that Medicare reform is necessary and reasonable, then it should apply to everyone and now. That goes for all proposals, made by people from both sides of the aisle.

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